It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #22

Last Week’s Reads:

 
Libriomancer
by Jim C. Hines
The Chosen One
by Carol Lynch Williams
 

This Week’s Reads:

Between You & Me♦♦
by Marisa Calin
The White Forest♦♦
by Adam McOmber
Dearie♦♦
by Bob Spitz

I forgot today was Monday! I’ll probably get mixed up every day this week, ack.

I had thought about starting the Sookie Stackhouse series, because I want some fun reading, but I spent most of my long weekend with a headache. Lucky me. Not. I’ve decided to just take the rest of today and be lazy, catch up on TV shows and whatnot, and kick off Tuesday with trying to get caught up. I’ve got a ton of stuff upcoming at the blog, so I think it’s time for me to make a calendar so I can keep track of everything!

I have been plugging away at Dearie. It’s a good biography, but quite long, so it’s taking a while to read. Last week I read Libriomancer, which was one of the best books I’ve read in a while. I might try to do a GIF review, because nothing else could show how much I loved it. I recommend it if you love the magic in books.

On September 5, the blog tour for The White Forest will be stopping by here with a review, so check back then to see what I think of it.

Review books received from:
The White Forest: Publisher for blog tour
Dearie: Amazon Vine
Between You & Me: Bloomsbury & NetGalley

Thank you! ♥

♦♦ indicates books received for review

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Book Journey.

The YA linky list for It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Teach Mentor Texts.

– leeanna

Instagram for August

I’m still on my Instagram kick! Follow me, I’m leeannac.

September 2012 Page Count Contest

I’m participating in Reading Angel’s page count contest. It’s a fun way to push yourself to read more. My goal for September is 4,000 pages.

Title Author Date Finished Page Count
The White Forest Adam McOmber 09/03/12 320
Safekeeping Karen Hesse 09/07/12 291
Dearie Bob Spitz 09/07/12 534
God Save the Queen Kat Locke 09/16/12 351
Crewel Gennifer Albin 09/18/12 357
The Second Empress Michelle Moran 09/19/12 320
Lies Beneath Anne Greenwood Brown 09/22/12 303
The Fire Rose Mercedes Lackey 09/23/12 448
Sleepers Megg Jensen 09/23/12 171
Afterlife Megg Jensen 09/24/12 151
The Sundering Megg Jensen 09/26/12 159
Nefertiti Michelle Moran 09/29/12 474
       

Running count: 3,879

Goodbye August, Hello September

IN AUGUST…

Wow, it feels like I just did July’s monthly roundup about two days ago. I’m not sure where August went — I feel like I got nothing done! I’m really behind on my email, and have barely looked at Twitter lately, so if you’ve tried to get in touch with me, I promise I really will reply soon. I also need to reply to some comments, and I will get to that soon. I do value every comment, so thanks for leaving them. :)

My August attempt at Camp NaNo was almost a failure. I didn’t write anywhere near 50k words for it, but I did write quite a bit on ideas and characters, and I feel things are moving closer together. So I’ll call it partly a success. Part of the trouble is finding time to write. I’ve tried waking up early, so I can sneak some in before work, but I am just NOT a morning person. I will figure out a balance. For September, my writing plans are to do fun stuff — aka fandom — to re-energize my batteries.

I’m taking at least a month off from challenges, too. Unless something really catches my eye, that is. ;) Otherwise, I’m going to try to get blog stuff done, more reviews written, more books read, and the like. I’d like to break 1,000 site visits in September, as well.

Reviews Written:
The Wild Princess: A Novel of Queen Victoria’s Defiant Daughter by Mary Hart Perry. Blog review.
Poison Tree by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. Blog review.
Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer. Blog review.
The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry. Blog review.
Darth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown. Blog review.
Hollowed (Half Life Saga #1) by Kelley York. Blog review.
Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses by Ron Koertge. Blog review.
My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century (My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century #1) by Rachel Harris. Blog review.
The Assassin’s Curse (The Assassin’s Curse #1) by Cassandra Rose Clarke. Blog review.
Before the Rain: A Memoir of Love and Revolution by Luisita Lopez Torregrosa. Amazon Vine review.
Crapshoot Investing: How Tech-Savvy Traders and Clueless Regulators Turned the Stock Market into a Casino by Jim McTague. Amazon Vine review.
Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy #1) by Sarah Rees Brennan. Amazon Vine review.

It’s Monday, What Did I Read?
August 6, 2012. I read 5 books.
August 13, 2012. I read 2 books.
August 20, 2012. I read 3 books.
August 27, 2012. I read 4 books.

Tuesday Top Tens:
Top Ten Posts that Give You the Best Glimpse of Me.
Top Ten Favorite Books I’ve Read During the Lifespan of My Blog. Some of my picks include Ash by Malinda Lo and Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff.
Top Ten Bookish Confessions. Some of my confessions are that I multitask at everything possible, to fit in more reading, and I usually think, Why didn’t I write that? after reading a really good book.

Waiting on Wednesday:
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.
The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna.
The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke.
Origin by Jessica Khoury AND Fathomless by Jackson Pearce.
What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton.

Promotional Events:
Blog Tour: Hollowed by Kelley York.
Blog Tour: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris.

Other Totally Random Stuff:
August Page Count Contest.
Challenge: Review Copy Cleanup. I didn’t remember to update at all for this. :(
Writing Inspiration via Strange Chemistry.
Camp NaNo August Session: Update 1.
Camp NaNo August Session: Update 2.
Instagram Photos for July.

Readathons:
Olympic Readathon: August 2, 2012 Update.
Olympic Readathon: August 7, 2012 Update.
Olympic Readathon: August 10, 2012 Update.
Olympic Readathon: August 12, 2012 Update – The End!
Bout of Books Goals and Progress.

Stats:
I had 745 visitors in August.
I have an average of 17 feed subscribers.
I have 219 Twitter followers.
I read 14 books or 3,764 pages.

Site Stuff:
I added a related posts plugin.

 

SEPTEMBER PLANS…

Site Stuff:
Add total number of reviews widget.
Add total number of books read widget.
Add picture to “About Me” widget.
Stay up to date on email.
Get my Goodreads up to date.

Reading Goals:
4,000 pages or 20 books.

Writing Goals:
I’m only going to work on “fun” projects in September, so no word count goals.

Review: The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke

the assassin's curseInfo:
Title: The Assassin’s Curse
Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Source: Strange Chemistry & NetGalley
Series? The Assassin’s Curse #1
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Adventure, Speculative Fiction
Page Count: 320

Summary:

Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an allying pirate clan: she wants to captain her own boat, not serve as second-in-command to her handsome yet clueless fiance. But her escape has dire consequences when she learns the scorned clan has sent an assassin after her.

And when the assassin, Naji, finally catches up with her, things get even worse. Ananna inadvertently triggers a nasty curse — with a life-altering result. Now Ananna and Naji are forced to become uneasy allies as they work together to break the curse and return their lives back to normal. Or at least as normal as the lives of a pirate and an assassin can be. (summary from goodreads)

My Review:
I’m ashamed to say it took me a while to start The Assassin’s Curse, but once I did finally start reading, I couldn’t stop until I finished it. This is the book for you if you like pirates, assassins, and magic — and even if you don’t, I still encourage you to check it out. You’ll find out why so many of us like pirates, assassins, and magic. :D

Ananna is one of the most unique heroines I’ve met this year. How many girls run away from an arranged marriage ON THE BACK OF A CAMEL THEY STOLE? Ananna doesn’t sit around and wait for others to change her destiny — she does it herself. She is impulsive, and often lands herself in more trouble, but she goes ahead anyway.

Ananna doesn’t want to be a pirate captain’s wife, she wants to be the captain, with a ship of her own. After running away without a plan, she’s suddenly in even more trouble when her intended husband’s parents send an assassin after her. Hell hath no fury like a pirate scorned?

I have a thing for kick ass heroines, and Ananna more than qualifies. Her skills, from weapons to thievery, are believable, as she grew up on a pirate ship, one of the crew from an early age. She definitely has some flaws, including the impulsiveness I mentioned, but she’s also extremely loyal, and usually tries to do the right thing, even if may not always be the smart thing to do. Also cool about Ananna — she’s not your typical gorgeous girl character. In fact, she doesn’t trust beautiful people, because:

“Beautiful people, things are too easy for ‘em. They don’t know how to survive in this world. Somebody’s ugly, or even plain, normal-looking, that means they got to work twice as hard for things. For anything. [...].” (Chapter 9)

Naji, the assassin sent to kill Ananna, is just as interesting as she is. He’d be next to the definition for “mysterious” in the dictionary, as he never explains anymore than necessary, and sometimes not even that. I can’t wait to find out more of his secrets, because I know there have to be a lot of them.

When a twist of magic binds the two together, they set off a journey to end the curse, which exposes us to more of their world. It sounds fascinating, and I really wanted to learn more about it. There’s a Pirate Confederation, different types of magic, mythical creatures, ASSASSINS YOU CAN HIRE (if you have enough money), and so on. In one way, not getting a lot of information about the world in The Assassin’s Curse is good, because there aren’t page long info dumps, but on the other hand, I’m greedy and wanted to know more.

The writing is a joy to read. Usually it bugs me when authors try to make dialogue realistic — using “ain’t” or improper grammar, for example — but Cassandra Rose Clarke pulls it off flawlessly. There’s also a lot of humor in the writing, and this was one of my favorite parts:

“So are you here to kill me or to rob me?” the old man said. “I generally don’t find it useful to glow when undertaking acts of subterfuge.” [...]

You know, that pissed me off. [Ananna] (Chapter 18)

The ending is somewhat disappointing, because it … just ends, without any real resolution, as if this book is mostly set up for the next one. Fortunately, The Assassin’s Curse is part of a duology, so the next book, The Pirate’s Wish, should finish the story. Unfortunately, The Pirate’s Wish won’t be released until 2013.

I also had some trouble believing the romantic aspect, but to go into that would spoil too much. The summary for the book itself is pretty spoilerish, but even so, The Assassin’s Curse is an enjoyable read.

Rating: 4 owls

Socialize with the author:
Cassandra Rose Clarke:
Website
Twitter @mitochondrial

Waiting on Wednesday: What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton (@ColleenYA)

what happens nextWhat Happens Next by Colleen Clayton
Release Date: October 9, 2012

Before the ski trip, sixteen-year-old Cassidy “Sid” Murphy was a cheerleader (at the bottom of the pyramid, but still…), a straight-A student, and a member of a solid trio of best friends. When she ends up on a ski lift next to handsome local college boy, Dax Windsor, she’s thrilled; but Dax takes everything from Sid—including a lock of her perfect red curls—and she can’t remember any of it.

Back home and unable to relate to her old friends, Sid drops her college prep classes and takes up residence in the A/V room with only Corey “The Living Stoner” Livingston for company. But as she gets to know Corey (slacker, baker, total dreamboat), Sid finds someone who truly makes her happy. Now, if she can just shake the nightmares and those few extra pounds, everything will be perfect… or so she thinks. (summary from goodreads)

I first heard of What Happens Next thanks to Colleen’s post on the Apocalypsies. I immediately squeed and jumped around, because her book is set where I live. There’s something magical about reading a book set where you live, and thanks to the loveliness of Ohio — snark — I haven’t found a lot of books set here. Or I’m missing them. But anyway!

I don’t read a ton of contemporary, but this is interesting to me from the memory loss angle, and Sid sounds a little like me: straight-As, and a cheerleader.

Socialize with the author:
Website
Twitter @ColleenYA

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Bookish Confessions

This week’s Top Ten is Top Ten Bookish Confessions. Hopefully you all stick around after reading some of my craziness!

01. I multitask everything I can with reading, including eating, brushing my teeth, standing in line, waiting in the car … anywhere and anytime I can do it, I do. Reading ebooks on my phone has made this really easy.

02. I’m terrified to lend books to other people, because I baby my books. If you return it to me with a creased spine or bent pages, or worse damage, I. WILL. HURT. YOU.

03. When I was a teen, I went through a period where I read only adult books. I thought people would look down on me for reading “kids books” because I was smart, and therefore should be reading adult books. And there wasn’t a lot of YA, like there is now, even though that was only 10 years ago.

04. Big fat series? I won’t start them anymore. Case in point: I refuse to read A Song of Ice and Fire until it is FINISHED. Call me harsh, but I don’t want to invest my time in such a long series only to have it go unfinished for various reasons. Short series or trilogies don’t bug me as much.

05. I have a baaaaaad book buying habit. I know I’m not alone in that, though ;) I tend to buy books when I’ve had a bad day or need some cheering up … or just because.

06. I have to have at least one book started at all times, otherwise I suffer through the WHAT DO I READ NOW phase. I usually have more than that going, but sometimes I finish all my started books in one day.

07. I have a hard time buying ebooks because I don’t feel “ownership” of them. I always worry about what would happen if I lost my files, or if the site bought from went out of business. I have been trying to get over this, because I do want to support indies. I prefer to buy from Smashwords, because you get ALL the file formats, but I’ve had to get some from Barnes & Noble because they at least have .epubs. I suppose I COULD convert Kindle titles, but I’m not sure how well the formatting would stay.

08. Sometimes when I read a really good book, I think: Why didn’t I write that?!

09. I read a lot of “bad” books. I’m not talking the p0rny bad, but books based on tv shows, series books (like Xanth, Star Wars, Forgotten Realms)*, whatever. I don’t care — I’m not a literary snob!

10. I’m not a big fan of used books because they usually smell. If I do find an overstocked book in Half Price Books or a similar store, I give them the sniff test. Same with old books — I don’t like the smell.

* I am not calling these books bad personally, just going on the eye rolls I sometimes get when I say, “I read ____.”

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #21

Last Week’s Reads:

The Assassin’s Curse♦♦
by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Sister Wife
by Shelley Hrdlitschka
My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century♦♦
by Rachel Harris
   
Unspoken♦♦
by Sarah Rees Brennan
   

This Week’s Reads:

 
The Chosen One
by Carol Lynch Williams
Between You & Me♦♦
by Marisa Calin
 

Again, I’m having trouble deciding what to read this week. I need to slow down a little until I get some reviews written. Otherwise I’ll have to reread, or do some heavy skimming. I may not write reviews for Sister Wife and The Chosen One, because with that type of book, it’s hard to say something different. The story is basically the same. I have some thoughts, though, so we’ll see.

I’m kicking myself in the behind for waiting so long to start The Assassin’s Curse! I hope to get my review for it written and posted this week.

Review books received from:
The Assassin’s Curse: Strange Chemistry & NetGalley
Unspoken: Amazon Vine
My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century: the publisher for blog tour
Between You & Me: Bloomsbury & NetGalley

Thank you! ♥

♦♦ indicates books received for review

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Book Journey.

The YA linky list for It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Teach Mentor Texts.

– leeanna

Blog Tour Review: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris (and giveaway!)

Today I am one of the stops for Rachel Harris’s new book, My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century, hosted by Shane @ Itching for Books. As I participated in both cover reveals (!) and am a history buff, I was eager to read this book. As part of the tour, I am doing a dream cast, so check after the review for that, as well as a giveaway.

my super sweet sixteenth centuryInfo:
Title: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century
Author: Rachel Harris
Release Date: September 11, 2012
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Source: From publisher for blog tour
Series? Yes, #1
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Romance, Fantasy
Page Count: 304

Summary:

On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze.

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore.

Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever? (summary from goodreads)

My Review:
Wow! I read My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century in one sitting. I bonded with Cat the minute we met, and I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen to her over the course of the book.

Going in, I expected the book to be fluffy and mindless fun. On one level, it is. But on another level, there’s an important message behind it, a message that hit home for me. Cat reminded me a bit of myself — a loner, afraid to let people get close — so it was great to see her grow and learn some lessons about herself and life.

My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century would make an awesome beach read, if we were going into summer. So instead I’ll call it a cozy read, to be enjoyed under the blankets, curled up with a backpack full of snacks.

I got swept away by Cat’s enthusiasm for her time travel trip. Instead of being freaked out by being sent hundreds of years into the past, Cat decided to just go with it, a decision I approved of. I also liked that she was into history and had a passion for art, so being sent back to Renaissance Florence was almost like a dream come true for her. Mostly. I don’t want to spoil the story, but I think it would be a great introduction for readers who may not like full on historical fiction. The author doesn’t overload you with detail and history lessons, but there is enough there to keep you interested if you are already a fan of historical fiction.

The only thing that really bugged me was the relationship between Cat and Lorenzo. I’m not a big fan of instant or almost instant love, but in this book, it did make sense. Lorenzo himself is a good character — a nice guy who likes Cat just as much as she likes him. At first I thought he would be the typical bad boy, a player, but he proved me wrong.

Alessandra is also a real sweetie, and she was my favorite character after Cat. Niccolo is delightfully creepy, and a great illustration of the differences between the sixteenth century and modern day.

I honestly can’t remember the last time I’ve read a historical fiction that has made me laugh! There’s a lot of humor in My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century, largely because Cat makes some funny blunders, including mixing modern day slang with sixteenth century formal speech.

I wasn’t sure how Cat would get out of her predicament — and let me tell you, she gets in some real trouble. I liked how the author handled and told the story, and while the ending is open for a sequel, most things are resolved, so you aren’t left on a cliffhanger.

I definitely recommend My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century if you’re in the mood for a fun read.

Rating: 4 owls

Socialize with the author:
Rachel Harris:
Website
Facebook
Twitter @RachelHarrisYA

Dream Cast!


Cat played by Alexandra Daddario. I know Cat has dark eyes, but there’s something about this actress that reminds me of her. Maybe that’s the sort of look Cat gives the paparazzi — I don’t care that you’re taking five hundred pictures of me!


Lorenzo played by Alex Pettyfer. His hair may not be curly, but he’s definitely got that brooding artist look in this picture.


Alessandra played by Ariana Grande. As soon as I found out this actress was Italian, I knew I had to pick her. I like to think Alessandra would look like this, after Cat gets her to loosen up!


Niccolo played by Pierce Brosnan. I don’t know why, but Pierce kept popping into my head every time there was a scene with Niccolo.

Giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Waiting on Wednesday: Origin by Jessica Khoury (@jkbibliophile) AND Fathomless by Jackson Pearce (@jacksonpearce)

originOrigin by Jessica Khoury
Release Date: September 4, 2012

Pia has grown up in a secret laboratory hidden deep in the Amazon rain forest. She was raised by a team of scientists who have created her to be the start of a new immortal race. But on the night of her seventeenth birthday, Pia discovers a hole in the electric fence that surrounds her sterile home—and sneaks outside the compound for the first time in her life.

Free in the jungle, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village. Together, they embark on a race against time to discover the truth about Pia’s origin—a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever.

Origin is a beautifully told, shocking new way to look at an age-old desire: to live forever, no matter the cost. This is a supremely compelling debut novel that blends the awakening romance of Matched with the mystery and jungle conspiracy of Lost. (summary from goodreads)

The summary pretty much sums this one up. A new immortal race? A secret laboratory? Plus, I think the cover is super original, and definitely eye-catching.

Socialize with the author:
Website
Facebook
Twitter @jkbibliophile

And … I’m also waiting on:

fathomlessFathomless by Jackson Pearce
Release Date: September 4, 2012

Celia Reynolds is the youngest in a set of triplets and the one with the least valuable power. Anne can see the future, and Jane can see the present, but all Celia can see is the past. And the past seems so insignificant — until Celia meets Lo.

Lo doesn’t know who she is. Or who she was. Once a human, she is now almost entirely a creature of the sea — a nymph, an ocean girl, a mermaid — all terms too pretty for the soulless monster she knows she’s becoming. Lo clings to shreds of her former self, fighting to remember her past, even as she’s tempted to embrace her dark immortality.

When a handsome boy named Jude falls off a pier and into the ocean, Celia and Lo work together to rescue him from the waves. The two form a friendship, but soon they find themselves competing for Jude’s affection. Lo wants more than that, though. According to the ocean girls, there’s only one way for Lo to earn back her humanity. She must persuade a mortal to love her . . . and steal his soul. (summary from goodreads)

I haven’t read anything of Jackson Pearce’s yet, but I’ve heard a lot about her books. I love fairytale retellings. I also haven’t read many retellings of “The Little Mermaid,” so I’m excited about this one.

Socialize with the author:
Website
Facebook
Twitter @jacksonpearce

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.