MARIA’S JUNE WRAP UP 2015

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June seriously flew by and I can’t believe my first month of my summer vacation is OVER! I am beyond happy to have 2 more months to enjoy before university starts up again! Fun fact: I did not purchase 1 SINGLE BOOK in the month of June! Money has been very tight and I only started working my summer job a few weeks ago. It sucks, because my to-buy list keeps growing, but at least I got some good reading time in! I managed to read a total of 10 books in the month of June. That is the most i’ve read since DECEMBER guys! I am hoping to pass that book count in July.

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1. Clockwork Angel (TID #1) by Cassandra Clare ★★★★
2. Clockwork Prince (TID #2) by Cassandra Clare ★★★★★

3. City of Lost Souls (TMI #5) by Cassandra Clare ★★★★
4. Clockwork Princess (TID #3) by Cassandra Clare ★★★★★
5. City of Heavenly Fire (TMI #6) by Cassandra Clare ★★★★★
I am super excited to announce that I finally finished Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices series. It took me a little while to get back into the world, but I flew through them and highly enjoyed them. The books just kept getting better and better. I have to say that Tessa was my favorite character out of them all. I am so glad that I decided to read the Infernal Devices series. It was so worth it! Now I have them all sitting beautifully on my shelf and I can say that I read them all! 

115943374. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate ★★★★★
This middle grade story touched my heart! Ivan is a gorilla, living in a mall. I loved Ivan! He wasn’t any ordinary gorilla, he loved to draw and paint. He makes a promise to an old friend, and does everything to keep it. The ending was adorable and perfect. I will definitely be rereading this someday.

71295882. Forget You by Jennifer Echols ★★★★
When I placed one of my first book outlet orders, I decided to get a bunch of Jennifer Echols books. It’s been at least a year since then, and I haven’t read any of them until now. Forget You was better than I had expected. I flew through it in one sitting. The characters may not have been that memorable, but the story was a really great one.

183445343. Clipped Wings by Helena Hunting ★★★★★
I had my eye on Clipped Wings for such a long time and guess what? It did not disappoint! This was such a good new adult romance for tattoo lovers! Throughout the entire book, Hayden is working on Tenley’s back tattoo and learns more and more about her past. The characters were amazing and the book ended on such a cliff hanger. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next one.

684299. The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2) by Brandon Sanderson ★★★★★
I read the first book in the Mistborn series last month. It was good, but it took me a while to get into the story. The first half of the book was full of details and explanations, so it was slow for me. It wasn’t until the last half that I really started loving and appreciating the fantastic story. This second book had me invested from the very first chapter. I already knew the characters from the first book and  understood everything. The Well of Ascension was full of ACTION ACTION ACTION and I LOVED every single minute of it. At this point, I feel very attached to our main characters, Vin and Elend, and am addicted to this fantasy series.

582197810. The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer #1) by Jenny Han ★★★★

I started walking (almost) everyday in June and during that time I listened to The Summer I Turned Pretty on audiobook. It was the perfect summer read for those sunny days. The actual story didn’t blow me away, but I really did LOVE getting to know the characters. Plus the summer house setting was beautiful and so fun. I hope to read the other books in this contemporary series very soon.

I am currently reading the third book in the Mistborn trilogy, The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson. I’m really loving it, but i’m not flying through it as quickly as the second book. Maybe I just need an afternoon to dedicate to this awesome series. Sorry about the lack of reviews lately! I really have to get back into the groove… Let me know what you think of these books, as well as the books that you read during the month of June. Happy reading!

maria

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MARIA’S #TBRTAKEDOWN READ-A-THON TBR

11348932_10153267815780465_1367828997_nHey readers! I just decided to participate in the TBR TAKE DOWN read-a-thon that is taking place this week, June 1-7th. I am going to do my best to stick to this TBR and knock out the 5 challenges below. I just started Clockwork Angel and am loving it, so I am hoping to marathon the Infernal Devices/Mortal Instruments series this month if possible. If you’re interested in participating, I would love to hear what you plan on reading. Following the challenges while making my TBR list was a lot harder than you’d think! CLICK HERE to watch Shannon’s read-a-thon announcement video

#TBRTAKEDOWN challenges:

1. A book that’s been on your TBR shelf over a year!

Forget you by Jennifer Echols. I don’t know why, but I can’t stand the small weird size of this book. It’s actually one of the reasons i’ve been putting it off… I’m terrible, I know.

2. An unread sequel sitting on your TBR shelf.
Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare, because it’s about time I continue on with her series.

3. A first book in a series on your TBR shelf.
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare.

4. An “out of your comfort zone” book on le TBR shelf!
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. It’s not that it’s really out of my “comfort zone”, but I really don’t read much middle grade and i’ve heard amazing things about this book.

5. A book from your most recent book haul!
Clipped Wings by Helena Hunting. Still in the new adult mood, so I hope it’s a good one!

maria

MARIA’S APRIL BOOK HAUL (2015)

11166069_10153178984205465_1714532663_n1. Clipped Wings by Helena Hunting
2. On Dublin Street by Samantha Young
3. Find you in the Dark by A. Meredith Walters
4. Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire
5. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
6. The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead
7. Landline by Rainbow Rowell
8. Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
9. City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
10. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
11. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
12. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
13. Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
14. Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
maria

BOOK REVIEW: SNAKECHARM BY AMELIA ATWATER-RHODES

30329Title: Snakecharm (The Kiesha’ra #2)
Author: Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Published: June 13th 2006 by Laurel Leaf Library
167 pages
Source: Purchased
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Click here to find it on Goodreads

I was happy to find out that the character’s that I’ve grown to love in the first book, Hawksong, were present in this second book. It picks up right where Hawksong left off, except instead of being told from Danica’s point of view, it is Zane who has the voice of narration.

In the first book, Danica and Zane were dealing with an ongoing war between the avian and the serpiente. They got married, in hopes of setting a good example for their people. The peace that Zane and Danica’s union has brought to both the avian and the serpiente in Hawksong continues in this second instalment.

Danica learns the dance of the serpiente, an important part of the snakes culture, to please her new husband. Being a hawk shapeshifter, she isn’t expected to succeed at this art. The avian were raised to hide all emotion and were not permitted to move as gracefully as the serpiente. She does her best, surpassing everyones expectations, but begins to feel very ill. Zane worries about the health of his new wife and they soon learn that Danica is with pregnant with her first child.

Danica and Zane deal with this news, not wanting to harm the newfound peace between their people. They have enough on their plate when an ancient falcon arrives, claiming that one of her people are hiding in the avian and serpiente land. The falcons are very powerful shape shifters and don’t agree with the alliance that has formed between the avian and serpiente. The presence of the falcon shape shifters stirs up a lot of trouble in the avian and serpiente land.

We get to see a lot more relationship development between Danica and Zane, as they deal with their new marriage and pregnancy. We also get to learn more about Danica’s guard, Rei. I really enjoyed learning about his past and background in this second installment. Lot’s of surprises! It was nice to see that Rei met someone new, after finally realizing that Danica was happy and in love with Zane.

For me, Snakecharm was just as captivating as Hawksong. Both are so full of twists and turns! I love that a new shapeshifter species is introduced in every book and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series! I rated Snakecharm 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. Click here to read my review of the first book in this fantastic young adult series.

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BOOK REVIEW: HAWKSONG BY AMELIA ATWATER-RHODES

30334Title: Hawksong
Author: Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Published: September 28th 2004 by Laurel Leaf Library
243 pages
Source: Purchased
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Click here to find it on Goodreads

Do you ever not know what to read and just pick a random book from your shelf? That’s what I did with this one. None of my friends have read it and it hasn’t had much hype in the booktube or bookblog community, but it totally surprised me. I loved it!

Hawksong is in Danica Shardae’s point of view. She is an avian shape shifter and has the ability to shift into the golden hawks form. Her land has been at war with the serpiente as long as she can remember and she’s watched too many people die to let it go on any longer. As she will soon become heir to the avian throne, she will do what ever it takes to make peace with the serpiente people. She learns that her best option of stopping the war would be to live in peace with the serpents herself, in order to set a good example for her people. She risks her life as she accepts the serpiente prince, Zane Cobriana, as her husband.

The character’s were very well developed and each had a unique personality. Danica was a brave and independent female lead. Zane was a strong and free spirited love interest. As he points out many times in the book, if he wanted Danica dead – he would have killed her easily. The cobra leader also had a soft side. He cared for his new partner and would do anything to protect her. It took time, but eventually Danica and Zane learned to trust and love one another. I found myself caring deeply for them, as well as the side characters in this captivating fantasy tale.

Overall I was very intrigued with Atwater-Rhodes wonderful writing. The rich shapeshifter history added a lot of depth to the story and to characters. I enjoyed learning about their customs and traditions. The cultures were total opposites. For example, the serpiente’s are very open about they’re feelings. Wether it is love or anger, they don’t hold back any emotion and affection is a very important part of their lifestyle. On the contrary, the hawks were raised to show no emotion whatsoever. It is wrong of them to show tears as they are trained to be tough. Reading about Danica and Zane deal with these differences was extremely interesting!

I seriously couldn’t put this book down after starting it! I had only planned on reading the first 100 pages, but flew through the 243 pages in no time at all. The twists and turns kept me on my toes and I loved the romance build up.

I’m so happy that I picked this book up! I do plan on reading the rest of the books in the Kiesha’ra series, but i’m pretty convinced that this is the most loved book of them all. If you want to give shapeshifter books a try, I highly recommend starting out with this one! It had an awesome setting, a captivating writing style, complex characters, some action, some adventure and a swoon worthy love story. Need I say more? Don’t let the odd covers fool you…
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FRIDAY READS (#11)

Happy Friday to everyone! So far i’ve spent mine in bed… It’s just one of those mornings I guess, but I am going to get up and start being productive as SOON as I post this. I just finished my last week of classes and am heading into exams. I have to say, I’m pretty lucky this year. My exam schedule seems pretty “doable”, so I am hoping to keep my good reading momentum going. I’ve actually been having a good reading week! Now that classes are over, I will be spending all of my time either studying, reading, or procrastinating. I’m sure next week will be interesting…

Now onto my Friday book pick:

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Today I am definitely continuing The Retribution of Mara Dyer. I am currently only 30 pages in, I am loving the Mara Dyer trilogy and can’t wait to post a full series review for you guys.

I was contemplating on taking a quick break from the creepy-ness to pick up something either in the urban fantasy or new adult genre, but still haven’t decided yet… I really want to read Written in Red by Anne Bishop, so I might pick that up if I feel like it. I’m craving some new adult romance ever since I read Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover, but have no idea what to read. I know that some NA is amazing, but others are just “meh”, so if you have any recommendations, do comment below!

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So that is basically my weekend reading plans. My boyfriend is working 12 hour shifts and I’m not working at all right now, so I should be able to get a good chunk of reading done if nothing gets in the way.

Question: Is there any December read-a-thons going on that I should take part of?
I’m sure everyone is trying to get as much reading done as possible before the new year. December can be a pretty crazy month though, with everyone preparing for Christmas.

One more thing… I’d like to wish my blog partner Mallory a very happy birthday today! Hope you have a great day girl 🙂 and it’s friday so don’t forget to celebrate!

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Have a great weekend everyone!

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BOOK REVIEW: WHEN WAR CALLS BY ZY J. RYKOA

22915365Title: When War Calls
Author: Zy J. Rykoa
Published: 2012
First in The Heroes Fall series
Source: Author
Click here to find it on Goodreads

Maria’s thoughts:
2.5 out of 5 stars.

I am not giving this a low rating because it isn’t a great book. I honestly think that if you are someone that enjoys a good war story and doesn’t mind sci-fi elements being thrown in – you could very well LOVE this book! It is well written, with complex characters and packed with adventure. I just can’t bring myself to give When War Calls a higher rating because I had so much trouble connecting to the story. This is no surprise to me. I’ve always found it difficult to get through war-related novels and this was no exception. As much as I desperately wanted to love this book, it didn’t keep me interested. The world building was hard for me to grasp. I had a very hard time following the story and had gotten confused from time to time. There were some parts that I enjoyed quite a bit, but others were really slow for me.

Most of all, I enjoyed the character development and the dialogue.

Jaden was a wonderful main character and I loved getting to know him throughout this book. I felt for him from the very beginning, as he went through the many difficult emotions of losing loved ones at war. I found myself rushing through the other chapters, just so I could read more about Jaden. I would have liked to see more of Jaden and Alyssa. I am glad that the love interest was thrown in there (really enjoyed those parts) and was very surprised with how it ended.

I have to say, Zy J. Rykoa is a new author with very much potential. I recommend this series to those who are interested in stories of war, sci-fi, fantasy and adventure and look forward to hearing your thoughts on When War Calls.

Mallory’s thoughts:
The world is at war and our main character Jaden is smack in the middle of it.

With no lack of action, we follow Jaden through World War 4, making decisions that could impact a lot more than just himself.

From the very beginning I loved reading about Jaden. He was genuinely nice and really cared for his family, which is an aspect of a character that I really respect. I enjoyed watching him develop so much throughout the book and overcoming the struggles he had to face. He was very strong getting through everything that happened.

I loved the multiple perspectives and getting to see what was going on in different parts of the world.

I typically don’t read this genre so I had a hard time getting through some parts and I did get a bit confused, but at the same time there were parts that I absolutely loved. Especially the tennagen game that was played in the beginning. I was very pleased with the turnout of the characters and the development that we see through a few of them. I loved getting to know more about each person and more about the world they were living in. The descriptions were very well done.

So a little confusing to start but then was enjoyable when I finally figured out what was going on.

If you are looking for an adventurous action packed was story then this is a series you should definitely check out. As a debut novel I am very impressed and I believe the series will only be going up from here.

3/5 star rating.

Thank you so much to the author for sending a copy our way!