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August 2014: Review Recap!

Review Recap

 While putting together this recap I had a revelation: although I wrote a ton of reviews this month I didn’t actually post that many of them. You see, I’m going on vacation for two weeks and decided to try my hand at scheduling posts… And now I have figured out why that method doesn’t work for me – I end up neglecting what I’m supposed to be publishing now in favor of what’s going to happen later. Oh well. At least I don’t have to worry about anything while I’m on my cruise. :-)

Books Reviewed:

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman – 3.5/5 stars

The Hundred by Kass Morgan – 3/5 stars

Inventor’s Secret by Chad Morris – 4/5 stars

 And since I couldn’t possibly decide which of these two I liked better, I have two favorites this month:

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson – 5/5 stars!

Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb – 5/5 stars!

  So, even though my review rate was pathetic, at least that included two of the best books I’ve read. Ever.

Top Ten Tuesday Features:

Top Ten Books I Want to Own!

Niki’s Top Twelve Must-Read Books!

Top Ten YA Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic Books!

 Waiting on Wednesday Features:

 Even though I am definitely interested in all of these books, I’m not really dying to read any of them… But I am excited to pick up Ignite.

 Escape Reality Book Club:

TBD next week

by Niki Hawkes

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Stacking the Shelves – August 2014 Edition!

Stacking the shelves

Hosted by Tinga’s Reviews

While I didn’t go totally hogwild this month buying books, I still somehow managed to knock my Read 4, Buy 1 challenge back several weeks. As it sits, I have about twelve books to read before I can start working towards my next book purchase. I have no one to blame but myself… and those really awesome Barnes & Noble coupons. I was tempted to just say “Happy August to me – here are some extra books!” which I’m totally within my rights to do (because I make the rules for my own challenge and that’s one of the perks). However, this reward system has been working so well for me this year that I decided I’m going to actually “earn” the books I splurged on this month before I let myself buy more. Don’t panic!! I have a two week cruise coming up where I will have ample time to read and very few opportunities to purchase books. :) Here’s a look at what I picked up this month:

Hardcopies:

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 I love the books I acquired this month. A couple of them were bargain splurges, but the real gem is my signed copy of Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb. It’seasily one of my favorite books EVER and I am tickled to add it as a beautiful hardcover to my collection. I also thoroughly enjoyed Defy, and will be chasing down the author at the Vegas Valley Book Festival this October to get it signed. And you all know how much I loved The Girl of Fire and Thorns, so I had to have these short stories… it really wasn’t a choice.

Library:

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March this year is the first time since I was twelve that I have taken advantage of my local library. You see, after working for a bookstore for eleven years, I got used to the convenience of buying all the books I wanted to read at a discounts and being able to check out hardcovers (although, I tended to just buy everything). I am a very flighty reader, so I was concerned that I would check books out from the library and end up returning them unread because I never got around to them. While that has happened with a few, I have actually managed to get through almost everything else. This surprises me. Anyway, I’ve already read Perfected and will definitely be adding it to my collection (as soon as I catch up with my reading challenge of course).

 That’s it for me this month! All-in-all, not a bad haul. :-)

What books stacked your shelves this month?

by Niki Hawkes

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Book Review: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

seraphinaTitle: Seraphina

Author: Rachel Hartman

Series: Seraphina #1

Genre: Teen Fantasy

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

The Overview: Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty’s anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high. Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen’s Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

The Review:

Since I featured Shadow Scale in a recent WoW post, I figured I should probably get around to writing my review of Seraphina. As someone who openly professes to have a Dragon Obsession, I’m surprised it took me as long as it did to read this one. Well, I guess it’s not too surprising. You see, I initially found the overview a bit dry and didn’t think the cover was particularly appealing (and still don’t even though there’s nothing technically wrong with it). Even so, it’s a YA dragon book, so I knew I still wanted to read it… eventually. So, when my Escape Reality Book Club voted it in as March’s selection, I was thrilled to have the excuse I finally needed to pick it up.

As I’ve implied, I’ve read quite a few dragon books in my day, and  Seraphina was not quite like any one of them. The unique take on dragonkind, specifically how they interacted with humans, was as refreshing as it was different: as accomplished scholars, some dragons take the form of humans and more or less integrate into their society. What I liked is that, even though the dragons were in human form, their behavior was anything but human. It was nice to see them stay true to their nature and I especially loved seeing how they interacted and coped with everyone around them. Overall, I think the book had a great atmosphere – some of which was due to the voice and setting, but most of it stemmed from the quirks of these cool dragons.

While the storyline was unique, I have to say nothing particularly epic happens. It’s honestly a good thing the atmosphere, characters, and dragons were interesting because otherwise the story would have really been a drag. In fact, even with all of those cool elements, there were a few places I found a bit boring… specifically the dream sequences. I should point out that I have very little patience for dream sequences in general, which definitely affected my overall rating of the book. I doubt many other readers would be bothered by them, so take what I’m saying with a grain of salt.

Anyway, I enjoyed Seraphina enough to be interested in seeing where it goes next in Shadow Scale, although I’ll definitely be at risk of forgetting key elements by the time it comes out in 2015.

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

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July 2014: Review Recap!

Review Recap

Although I started several amazing books, I only actually finished 2 novels throughout the entire month of July. I am a bit horrified at this. Considering I average 2.5 novels per week, 2 per month is just pathetic. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever read so little in a month, even when I was going through my Masters program. I blame 1) starting a new business with my husband and 2) a Wii game called Fortune Street that I’ve been playing with my mom several times a week. I certainly can’t blame the amount of excellent books in my TBR!

 However, all is not lost! If you caught my Book Review Conundrum post, you’re aware that I have over a dozen books that still need to be reviewed, so at least this month’s review posting wasn’t as sad as my reading habits.

Book Reviews:

Crashed by Robin Wasserman – 3/5 stars

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi – 3.5/5 stars

Prophecy by Elizabeth Haydon – 3.5/5 stars

Cinder by Marissa Meyer – 4/5 stars

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson – 4/5 stars

The Jewel by Amy Ewing – 4.5/5 stars

And my favorite:

The fiery heart

The Fiery Heart – 5/5 stars!

 Top Ten Tuesday Features:

Niki’s Top Ten Blogging Confessions

 Top Ten Movies and TV Shows

Top Ten Series I’d Take With Me on a Deserted Island

Top Ten Authors I Own the Most Books From

Waiting on Wednesday Features:

 Escape Reality Book Club:

August’s Selection:

How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier

How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier

That sums up my month! How was yours?

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Escape Reality Book Club – August’s Selection!

Escape reality book club

Hosted by your’s truly and Charlotte at Apathy and Rhetoric

Your votes have been counted and the results are in! The voting was incredibly close this month – in fact, there was a tie. In the event of a tie, it seems reasonable that the nominator (in this case, Charlotte) make the final decision on which book we read.

August 2014′s official book club book is:

How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier

How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier

Title: How to Ditch Your Fairy

Author: Justine Larbalestier

Welcome to New Avalon, where everyone has a personal fairy. Though invisible to the naked eye, a personal fairy, like a specialized good luck charm, is vital to success. And in the case of the students at New Avalon Sports High, it might just determine whether you make the team, pass a class, or find that perfect outfit.

For 14-year-old Charlie, having a Parking Fairy is worse than having nothing at all—especially when the school bully carts her around like his own personal parking pass. Enter: The Plan. At first, teaming up with arch-enemy Fiorenza (who has an All-The-Boys-Like-You Fairy) seems like a great idea. But when Charlie unexpectedly gets her heart’s desire, it isn’t at all what she thought it would be like, and she’ll have resort to extraordinary measures to ditch her fairy. The question is: will Charlie herself survive the fairy ditching experiment? From the author of the acclaimed Magic or Madness trilogy, this is a delightful story of fairies, friendships, and figuring out how to make your own magic.

So what happens now?

If you missed the Escaped Reality Book Club launch post, click here for more details.

Otherwise, you are all invited to join in the fun!

We will be reading How to Ditch Your Fairy throughout the rest of August and geeking out about it on our official Facebook page, followed by a meeting at Menchies Frozen Yogurt for those of you in the Southern Utah area.

This blog reaches a global audience, so not everybody will be able to make it to the meetings. Because of that, if you read the book and want to be included in the discussions, I would love to host a Facebook conversation for anybody who shows interest (just send me a message through our Facebook group, or leave a comment).

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Top Ten Authors I Own the Most Books From!

top ten tuesday

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

My apologies for posting this TTT so late – it took a surprising amount of time and effort to round up all of these amazing titles. Before you view the photos, you need to know that I am a book hoarder. If you don’t believe me, this slideshow presentation should alleviate any doubt. I tried to keep the focus on the authors I’ve actually read the most books from, not just collected. I think my collection of Mercedes Lackey, Terry Brooks, and Anne McCaffrey books might surpass a couple of these here, but I haven’t had a chance to read them all yet… #booknerdproblems 

Top Ten Authors I Own the Most Books From!

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I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my library. :)

by Niki Hawkes