Random Musings by Frodosco

Posts tagged “New Author Challenge

Mini Review Monday: Mind Games by Kiersten White

MiniReviewMonday

Storm

Summary From GoodreadsMind Games by Kiersten White

Fia was born with flawless instincts. Her first impulse, her gut feeling, is always exactly right. Her sister, Annie, is blind to the world around her—except when her mind is gripped by strange visions of the future.

Trapped in a school that uses girls with extraordinary powers as tools for corporate espionage, Annie and Fia are forced to choose over and over between using their abilities in twisted, unthinkable ways…or risking each other’s lives by refusing to obey.

In a stunning departure from her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy, Kiersten White delivers a slick, edgy, heartstoppingly intense psychological thriller about two sisters determined to protect each other—no matter the cost.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————

It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews on Mini Review Monday! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

I wanted to like this book so much. Cool mind powers in a ninja/forced boarding school/asylum-like setting, a quirky MC and her blind sister who has a story just as interesting, all wrapped up in deceit and mystery. How could this possibly go wrong?

It is pretty simple. Take the story and all of its potential, jumble it up by bouncing back and forth between different times in the past and the present while also changing POV every so often, none of which has any regularity to it. Then make the MC try to act tough and pull off that persona when in reality she just whines and complains constantly. Follow it up with all of the potentially cool action scenes being messed up by mixing real-time action with a weird inner monologue that ruins any possible fluidity. Finally, make the romantic whatever-the-heck-that-was forced and awkward and the rest of the cast be bland and have no backstory to speak of.

That right there is what will result in a DNF for me. I made it through about 150 pages which is over halfway before giving up, refusing to read 100 more. Maybe my brain just wasn’t ready for all of the “mind games” that were going on, but it never felt cohesive or smooth and just no. Not for me. Plenty of people did enjoy this one, so I’m not going to say DO NOT READ or anything so drastic, but I certainly won’t recommend it. Blah. Thanks as always for reading!

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #71/365; Mount TBR Challenge #51/200; 2014 TBR Pile #51/50; New Author Challenge #29/50

DNF


Mini Review Monday: Storm by Brigid Kemmerer

MiniReviewMonday

Storm

Summary From Goodreads

Earth, Fire, Air, Water – they have more power than you dream.

Ever since her ex-boyfriend spread those lies about her, Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys—all the ones she doesn’t want. Then she saves Chris Merrick from a beating in the school parking lot. Chris is different. Way different: he can control water—just like his brothers can control fire, wind, and earth. They’re powerful. Dangerous. Marked for death.

And now that she knows the truth, so is Becca.

Secrets are hard to keep when your life’s at stake. When Hunter, the mysterious new kid around school, turns up with a talent for being in the wrong place at the right time, Becca thinks she can trust him. But then Hunter goes head-to-head with Chris, and Becca wonders who’s hiding the most dangerous truth of all.

The storm is coming . . .

—————————————————————————————————————————————————

It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews on Mini Review Monday! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

Storm was everything I had hoped it would be and more! All sorts of cool elemental powers were on display, but they weren’t overpowering or superpowery (that’s totally a word now) which was great. It made the characters, even as awesome as they were, seem mostly normal, even openly mocking stuff like the X-Men when the MC, Becca, would expect too much of their abilities.

The biggest surprise for me with this book was that, with such a large cast, I really enjoyed all of them. Becca was funny and sweet, Chris was adorable (something I’m sure he’d love to hear), and the rest of the brothers each had a unique voice, which makes sense given the rest of the series, but something that you can’t really take for granted.

Storm was so good that I didn’t even mind the love triangle, and THAT is saying something! It was fast paced, the romance was so sweet no matter what the pairings were, and the cool displays of elemental awesome were as fabulous as you could hope for. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series and to see the world from the point of view of the other brothers, I know it is going to be a crazy ride. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #63/365; Mount TBR Challenge #45/200; 2014 TBR Pile #45/50; New Author Challenge #27/50; Seriously Series Reading Challenge #20/75

Five Smiling Frodos w Background


January & February Wrap-up

January & February Wrap-up

Somehow it is already March! The first two months of the year went pretty quick, and while I’m not as ahead in my challenges as I’d like to be I’m at least on pace which is good. While I know a few people regularly check my widgets on the sidebar to keep up with my progress, I still figure a recap of how this year has gone so far wouldn’t be remiss. I’m going to go over challenges, my favorite books, my least favorites/biggest disappointments, and what I’m looking forward to in the coming months. Here we go! ^.^

Challenges

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge – The overall reading challenge I use to keep track of my progress, out of the 365 books I have for my goal this year (a book a day challenge in case you haven’t heard about it) I’ve read 62. I do count novellas in this, so it is a little padded, with 15 of them being of shorter length. I’m on pace, managing to stay a few books ahead, but I had hoped to have a bigger cushion at this point. Oh well, not a bad start!

 Mount TBR/2014 TBR Pile Challenges – The goals are different for these two (200 for Mount TBR, only 50 for 2014 TBR Pile) but I’m counting TBR books for both and am currently at 44 which is a ways ahead of even Mount TBR’s needed pace. I’ve done a pretty good job of trying to read TBR books for the majority of my reads, but since it is early in the year it has been easier since there just haven’t been that many books released in 2014 yet. As the year progresses this might be more difficult, but I’m thrilled with this progress! TBR book of note – Pivot Point by Kasie West

 New Author Challenge – This is one of my two new challenges this year and I’m having a blast with it! The biggest possible goal amount on this one is 50, and right now I’m at 26 which I’m pretty ecstatic about. I imagine this one will slow down if/when I work more on my next goal, but for now I’ve been experiencing plenty new authors and for the most part loving it! New Author book of note – Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

 Seriously Series Reading Challenge – I do want to start, continue, and finish more series this year and I set a goal of 75 books total (rather than a series amount) and am currently at 19. This does mean I’m ahead of where I need to be, but most of these came in January, so in March I’m going to try to read and complete at least 3-4 series to get back into it. SSR book of note – Three by Kristen Simmons

 2014 Ebook Reading Challenge – This is my other new challenge this year and what sparked the idea for my weekly Killing My Kindle feature that is on Thursdays. I set a reasonable goal of 75 eBooks and am currently at 22 which is a solid start, just a bit ahead of my progress on SSR. I’m using eBooks for two features that run almost every week so I have no doubt that I’ll surpass 75 here, though I’m not sure by how much. Ebook of note – Fosgate’s Game by David C. Cassidy

—————————————————————————————————————————————————

Favorite Books

Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen – This was such a great read and the sequel, Lady Thief, was excellent as well. Love this Robin Hood retelling! ScarletUS.indd

The Unbound by Victoria Schwab – An excellent sequel to The Archived. The world is amazing, I love Schwab’s writing style, and the characters are excellent. Can’t wait for book three!

If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch – I knew the serious material in this one, but I didn’t expect to get as emotionally invested as I have. This book is amazing, touching, and so sweet. All the feels!

Most Disappointing Books

Vitro by Jessica Khoury – My only DNF so far this year and with the potential it had this sucked even more than usual. Ugh. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge – A beautiful cover, a Beauty and the Beast retelling, and an awesome world, what could go wrong? Everything else apparently. The MC was whiny, the love triangle sucked, the book was jumbled and all over the place, and I skimmed the last 75 pages or so and found the ending to be exactly what I figured it would be. *groan*

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut – I didn’t know you could make time travel, aliens, war, and a quirky MC boring. It didn’t seem possible, but Slaughterhouse-Five proved me wrong. What a drag to make it through this one, oh well.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————

What’s Next?

More Series! – I plan to read at least a few series as I mentioned before including: Elemental by Brigid Kemmerer, The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, Secrets of the Eternal Rose by Fiona Paul, The Heroes of Olympus, and Kane Chronicles.

Readathons! – Ides of March: Mar. 13-17th hosted by Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer, UKYA Day: April 19th a 24hr readathon hosted by Lucy at Project UKYA, and Dewey’s Readathon: April 26th hosted by Dewey!

Read All The Books! – Seriously, I just want to read as much as I possibly can, get ahead on my overall reading challenge, and somehow keep blogging every day. Let’s do this!


Killing My Kindle: The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant

KillingMyKindle

Killing My Kindle

For 2014 I am tackling my Kindle app in an effort to make a dent in the large library of often forgotten eBooks. Every week I will talk about an eBook I read, be it good or bad, so that I can stay motivated and share some of it with you.

This week I took a stab at: The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant by Joanna Wiebe

Released On: January 14th, 2014

Summary From Goodreads

So many secrets for such a small island. From the moment Anne Merchant arrives at Cania Christy, a boarding school for the world’s wealthiest teens, the hushed truths of this strange, unfamiliar land begin calling to her—sometimes as lulling drumbeats in the night, sometimes as piercing shrieks.

One by one, unanswered questions rise. No one will tell her why a line is painted across the island or why she is forbidden to cross it. Her every move—even her performance at the school dance—is graded as part of a competition to become valedictorian, a title that brings rewards no one will talk about. And Anne discovers that the parents of her peers surrender million-dollar possessions to enroll their kids in Cania Christy, leaving her to wonder what her lowly funeral director father could have paid to get her in… and why.

As a beautiful senior struggles to help Anne make sense of this cloak-and-dagger world without breaking the rules that bind him, she must summon the courage to face the impossible truth—and change it—before she and everyone she loves is destroyed by it.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————

It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

I was excited enough for this book that, despite being approved for it in eBook form, I bought a print one anyway. Looking back on it that thought process is rather confusing, just like my thoughts toward the book after reading it. The first half of the book reads much like a contemporary. Anne is in a school setting, she has classes, a girl she fights with from the very beginning, guys she falls for, etc. Sure, there was some weird stuff going on, but it read more like a contemp with mystery elements than anything else.

Then you get to the second half and BOOM! Paranormal weirdness, secrets are revealed and they are just freaking bizarre, and to top it off Anne just takes it in stride. She tries to make herself believe it is a regular school and all, but eventually just moves past that, rationalizes that the island is all magical/supernatural/whatever and tries to figure out even MORE about the creepy stuff going on. The last 50-75 pages are a blur of action, people constantly changing sides and revealing more about themselves, and it was really jumbled and gave me a reader’s version of whiplash.

Parts of the book worked for me such as the main setting (a creepy school that I enjoyed quite a bit), the bitter rivalry of the students, and the awesomeness that was a certain dance. On the other hand; love triangles with obvious endings, repetitious dialogue, and a frantic over-the-top pace that didn’t make me excited but confused, those elements didn’t work. I’m alright with the MC, some of the side characters are interesting (I actually really enjoyed her rivals), and the dynamics of the PTs give the series a lot of possibilities going forward.

Did I enjoy it? Somewhat. It was a decent read and I’ll likely check out the second book because this one ended in an irritating cliffhanger and I want to know what’s going on. I struggled with the beginning as well as the end, but there is enough here to warrant a look. This is a debut novel so hopefully book two will be stronger. Thanks as always for reading!

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #54/365; New Author Challenge #24/50; 2014 Ebook Reading Challenge #18/75

Three Smiling Frodos w Background


Book of the Week: This Star Won’t Go Out by Esther Grace Earl

BookOfTheWeek

Book of the Week

Every Saturday I will talk about my favorite book that I read during the week, whether it be a review or a spotlight, or maybe having the author over to talk about it. Who doesn’t want more happy bookish goodness? ^.^

This week I’m gushing about: This Star Won’t Go Out by Esther Grace Earl

Released On: January 28th, 2014

Summary From Goodreads

A collection of the journals, fiction, letters, and sketches of the late Esther Grace Earl, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 16. Photographs and essays by family and friends will help to tell Esther’s story along with an introduction by award-winning author John Green who dedicated his #1 bestselling novel The Fault in Our Stars to her.

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

When I started this feature I said that it wouldn’t always be reviews. Sometimes I might go gif-crazy and have a bunch of feels, others might be bringing the author on to talk about the book, and there would likely be ideas I hadn’t and still haven’t even thought up yet. In this case I’m just going to talk to you and hope you care to listen.

This Star Won’t Go Out is a book I could never hope to do justice. It’s a story about Esther. It’s a book about love and the willingness to give it away freely no matter what the circumstances. TSWGO is a cause, one that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to give to other families that are going through rough times as well as to causes that Esther would have wanted to support.

The book is a collection of stories from Esther herself, her friends, family, acquaintances, doctors, and others, but really it is Esther’s story and how she was able to speak through all of these people because of the impact that she had on each and every one of them. Esther was a nerdfighter, many of you know what this means (for those who don’t know click here for the vlogbrother’s video on it), something I also claim to be, but I never knew her, becoming one after her passing.

I would like to say so many things, how touching this story is, how amazing a person she must have been, what wonders she still would be sharing with the world if she were alive. I would love to say I have a connection with her, that I understand her, and that this book reaches me at a level I didn’t think possible. I want to say all these things, but in reality I never knew her, and while this book is beautiful, I couldn’t review it honestly, knowing that her life is something to be celebrated, but by those who knew her, not myself.

The book is a long one, filled with amazing stories, tender moments, and beautiful pictures (drawn and photographed), and something I highly recommend you read for yourself. I can’t do this story justice, only Esther can, and if you let her I know she won’t let you down. I never knew her, but I’m still inspired by the messages that she left behind, the things she stood for, and the life she lived. Thank you as always for reading, DFTBA, and remember TSWGO.

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #42/365; New Author Challenge #18/50

Five Smiling Frodos w Background


Killing My Kindle: Finding Cinderella by Colleen Hoover

KillingMyKindle

Killing My Kindle

For 2014 I am tackling my Kindle app in an effort to make a dent in the large library of often forgotten eBooks. Every week I will talk about an eBook I read, be it good or bad, so that I can stay motivated and share some of it with you.

This week I took a stab at: Finding Cinderella by Colleen Hoover

Released On: October 14th, 2013

Summary From Goodreads

A chance encounter in the dark leads eighteen-year-old Daniel and the girl who stumbles across him to profess their love for each other. But this love comes with conditions: they agree it will only last one hour and it will only be make-believe.

When their hour is up and the girl rushes off like Cinderella, Daniel tries to convince himself that what happened between them only seemed perfect because they were pretending it was perfect. Moments like that with girls like her don’t happen outside of fairytales.

One year and one bad relationship later, his disbelief in insta-love is stripped away the day he meets Six: a girl with a strange name and an even stranger personality. Daniel soon realizes the way he pretended to feel about Cinderella and the way he really feels about Six may not be so different after all. Especially when the two loves of his life end up being one in the same.

Unfortunately for Daniel, finding Cinderella doesn’t guarantee their happily ever after…it only further threatens it.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————

It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

I haven’t actually read the full-length novels in the Hopeless series, but apparently this companion novel has been sitting on my Kindle for a while so I thought I’d give it  a shot. I’m so happy I did! Initially I was worried because of the whole insta-love thing even though it’s pretend and all, but it was done soooo well. From the first scene on I knew I was going to love this story.

The best part for me was the humor, oh my goodness was it excellent. Sarcastic, witty, snarky, just wonderful banter between all the characters, but especially between Daniel and Six is what sold this for me. The romance is so sweet and Hoover’s willingness to poke fun at romantic stereotypes and the usual tropes made it all the better and more unique.

Daniel was a great MC, though I preferred Six for obvious reasons (if you’ve read the story, no spoilers!), and the chemistry between them was perfect. Really, I have no complaints whatsoever for Finding Cinderella. If the humor and excellent writing are even close to as good in the full-length Hopeless novels then they are must reads for me. I will definitely check them out soon! Thanks as always for reading. ^.^

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #40/365; Mount TBR Challenge #30/200; 2014 TBR Pile #30/50; New Author Challenge #17/50; 2014 Ebook Reading Challenge #15/75

Five Smiling Frodos w Background


Killing My Kindle: Irregular Creatures by Chuck Wendig

KillingMyKindle

Killing My Kindle

For 2014 I am tackling my Kindle app in an effort to make a dent in the large library of often forgotten eBooks. Every week I will talk about an eBook I read, be it good or bad, so that I can stay motivated and share some of it with you.

This week I took a stab at: Irregular Creatures by Chuck Wendig

Released On: January 6th, 2011

Summary From Goodreads

Contained within are nine stories featuring bizarre beasties, mythological mutants, and overall “irregular creatures” – including flying cats, mermaids, Bigfoot, giant chickens, and mystic hobo hermaphrodites.

Horror, fantasy, science-fiction and humor.

————————————————————————————————————————————

I have been in an anthology kind of mood lately I guess, especially ones with a twisted/dark side to them. So in the same vein as last week’s Killing My Kindle we have Irregular Creatures. Unlike Lessons II with its short stories that provide just a glimpse into the mind of the author, Irregular Creatures has some longer stories, novellas in and of themselves, and ones that are deeper and connect on more levels.

It starts with Dog-Man and Cat-Bird (A Flying Cat Story), a way to ease the reader into Wendig’s twisted brain. It’s exactly what it says, a flying cat story, but it’s not just funny (though there are laughs mixed in), it is also a look at what we perceive, what our brains will accept, and what is most important to us. Which leads to A Radioactive Monkey, and while that can also be taken in the literal sense it deals with perception on a different level, showing how people aren’t we make them out to be, and why it’s truly necessary to dig deeper to really know anyone.

To me it is not the creatures that tie these stories together, but the common theme of alternate perspectives, how we see the world. Product Placement shows how much we are willing to buy into what corporations and businesses sell us, not just their products, but the way they want us to live, to behave. It does this with alternate dimensions, but still. This Guy is a shorter story, and shows how much routine can blind us into believing we are living different lives then we really are, perhaps ones that seem more fulfilling or “normal” than the harsh reality.

Fairytale Life

Mister Mhu’s is a tad more sexual than I had anticipated finding in this collection, but it actually takes the widest scope of our world and how the vices we let take hold of our lives can completely alter our life views and thus the course ours take. Lethe and Mnemosyne is a short but pointed example on what age and suffering can do to rid our minds of all the cherished (or perhaps not so) memories they contained.

Wendig continues working through the variety of ways our brain can trick itself in The Auction where mythological beasts of all sorts, tricksters, and artifacts that wreak havoc on people’s minds all mess with a young boy. The Auction distorts his reality with the fantastical things just as we are often succumbed to through wonders of technology and artistic majesty.

Beware of Owner is a short example of old-fashioned thinking taken to an extreme, slightly off the track of the other stories, but interesting all the same. Finally Do-Overs and Take-Backs examines whether getting a whole new “better” life is really worth losing the one we already have, and everyone in it.

Life is Complicated

So what is Irregular Creatures? Excellent writing, dark humor, creatures ranging from beautiful to downright disturbing, and underneath one of the better examinations of the human mind out there in this kind of format. I definitely recommend it whether you want to focus on the surface or delve deeper, Wendig rewards both equally. I hope you didn’t mind me getting a bit philosophical and thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #33/365; Mount TBR Challenge #26/200; 2014 TBR Pile #26/50; New Author Challenge #13/50; 2014 Ebook Reading Challenge #11/75

Five Smiling Frodos w Background