January Wrap-Up and Challenge Update | 2016

Hello, everyone! It’s the last day of January, so you know what that means!

wrapup
Also, it’s in the title of this post.

In the month of January, I read a total of seven books! I branched out of my comfort zone and  read a few books that I normally wouldn’t have picked up. I even liked most of them!

Here’s what I read, including the star ratings and date of which I finished each book:

Book of the Month

January Book Stats:

  • 5-Star Books:  Room by Emma Donoghue, Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
  • 4-Star BooksGo Set a Watchman by Harper Lee, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King, The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
  • 3-Star BooksShatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Other Book Facts:

  • 5 of 7 were library books
  • The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness was a Christmas gift
  • I bought Truthwitch by Susan Dennard for my Kindle, making it the only book purchase this month

Book of the Month:

  • Of the two 5-Star books I read this month, my favorite book read this month is Room by Emma Donoghue. It was appropriately creepy and transported me into the novel. I cannot wait to watch the movie for this very reason.

Book Reviews:

Six Squared Challenge Update

This year, I am working to complete the Six Squared Challenge created by bookstacksamber. To keep track of my progress, I have a word document that breaks down each category into tables.

Six of the seven books I read met one of the categories set forth by this challenge:

Start a Series


For this category, I am choosing 2016 releases by authors I haven’t yet read.

New Releases Debut


Goodreads


Book to Movie


 

Challenge Stats:

  • New Releases (Debut Authors): 1/6 – 17%
  • New Releases (Loved Authors): 0/6 – 0%
  • Books to Start a Series: 3/6 – 50%
  • Books to Complete a Series: 0/6 – 0%
  • Book to Movie Adaptations: 1/6 – 17%
  • Goodreads Choice Winners/Nominees – 1/6 – 17%
  • Total: 6/36 – 17%

I think my reading month was pretty fantastic. How was yours?

See you later!

kacie

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Book Review: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

truthwitchTitle: Truthwitch
Author: Susan Dennard
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard is the first book in a new series called The Witchlands. In The Witchlands, there are many different types of witchery that one may be born with. There are Threadwitches, Airwitches, Waterwitches, Firewitches, and many more. Safiya is a Truthwitch; her witchery informs her when people are being dishonest. Her best friend Iseult is a Threadwitch who can see the emotions of others as well as the bonds they share with people. Safiya and Iseult are Threadsisters, sharing one of these special bonds. Safi’s witchery is something that is desired by the most powerful people in each of the three empires, making it a secret known to only a few. Her witchery would allow one to have more power over the others. She and Iseult must protect her secret while keeping the truce between the three empires intact.

I read Truthwitch for The Story Squad, a bi-monthly book club on Goodreads that consists of several YouTubers. This book was one of the most hyped books at the start of 2016. For me, it mostly lived up to the hype.

Premise: 5/5

I like the idea behind this novel and new book series. It’s a complicated and intriguing world. Two women that are sisters by bond, who are usually caught up in some heist or another, find themselves in the middle of an impending war. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, but I like how they did this. It wasn’t the typical “female character must save the whole world just like she does in every other YA book ever” kind of way. The girls’ goals were much different than expected.

Plot Development: 4/5

The plot development was done fantastically. The pacing was appropriate; it was fast when it needed to be and slowed down when we needed to pay more attention to the goings on around the characters.  There is a very small, slow-burn romance plot which I think was done very well. No insta-love and no romance that overpowers the rest of the novel. Good on you, Dennard.

My only issue with the plot was that the reader is literally thrown into the action with no background knowledge. While Dennard didn’t info-dump on us, I felt that sometimes I didn’t have enough information to gain the most understanding of scenes early in the book. After a while, I was assimilated enough into the world and culture to comprehend what I was reading, but it was a struggle at first.

Characterization: 5/5

I loved each character in this novel and the growth each of them saw throughout the story. They had believable emotions and reactions when things went down. I find myself wanting to learn much more about their histories and relationships with others.

Writing Style: 4/5

The point of view changes every couple of chapters or so. This was done in a way that readers can identify the change in voice with each point of view. The point of view usually changed in the middle of some pretty intense action, but it always switched to another character that was somehow involved. Dennard flawlessly weaved so many separate stories into one.

Again, my only issue with the writing style was the lack of background information provided to the reader. It’s hard to become invested in a book confuses you for a large portion of the beginning.

Readability: 5/5

Other than the confusing beginning, this book was really easy to read. I found myself sucked in and wanted to read past my bedtime. I think it is absolutely appropriate for the YA audience. There is a slight romance plot, but it’s a slow-burn and not at all steamy. There are some conversations that are sexual in nature but not overtly graphic.

Total Score: 23/25, avg. 4.6/5

5 stars

I’m rounding up and giving this book 5 stars! I was hooked on this story and I didn’t want it to be over. Can I have book two now, please?

I read this book for the #sixsquaredchallenge hosted by bookstacksamber! – 2016 Releases (New to Me Authors)

Have you read Truthwitch yet? Let me know what you think!

kacie

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Want to purchase a copy of Truthwitch by Susan Dennard for yourself? Check it out on The Book Depository by clicking HERE.

The Alphabet Book Tag

Hello, everyone! I was recently tagged by Chloë of SSJTimeLord and Her Books to attempt to find a book on my bookshelf for every letter of the alphabet. Let’s see how I do!

The Rules: The only rule is that you need to own (or to have previously owned and read) each of the books on your list. Also, articles (a, an, the) do not count as letters. Ex: A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin would file under ‘D’ for Dragons rather than ‘A.’

MY BOOKISH ALPHABET

A: Armada by Ernest Cline

B: The Book of Bunny Suicides by Andy Riley

C: A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

D: Dreamcatcher by Stephen King

E: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

F: From a Buick 8 by Stephen King

G: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

H: Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk

I: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

J: Just After Sunset by Stephen King

K: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

L: Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz

M: The Martian by Andy Weir

N: Night by Elie Wiesel

O: October Sky by Homer Hickam

P: A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

Q: NONE

R: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

S: Slapstick by Kurt Vonnegut

T: The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien

U: Under the Dome by Stephen King

V: NONE

W: What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? by Peter Hedges

X: NONE

Y: NONE

Z: NONE

21/26 letters of the alphabet are accounted for! Not too shabby.

I am not tagging anyone in particular, but feel free to check out your bookshelves and play along!

See you soon and happy reading.

kacie

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Friday Reads! January 29th

Happy Friday everyone!

Friday Reads

This weekend, I plan to read the following:

  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
    I picked this one up from my local library and I started it the other night, but haven’t read a lot of it. I plan on devouring it this weekend.
  • Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
    This is a maybe…a big maybe. I’m still not all that excited about this book, but I find myself looking at it quite a bit. I’ve been itching to pick it up. We’ll see how I feel once the time comes.

Books on deck in case the mood doesn’t fit for the above books:

  • Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
    This one has been on my Kindle for awhile…I got it for less than two dollars in a deal, but haven’t read it yet. It’s there when I need it.
  • Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
    This is another that’s been sitting on a shelf for months. I’ve read Gone Girl and Dark Places and loved them both, so I don’t know what I’m waiting for!
  • Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
    Guys. I have no excuses. I’ve been meaning to start this book since July when I won an ARC in a giveaway…Good grief, Kacie. Read the dang book.

What are you reading this weekend?

kacie

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Book Review: The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King

23512999Title: The Bazaar of Bad Dreams
Author: Stephen King
Genre: Short Stories, Adult Fiction, Horror, Suspense, Thriller

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams is the most recent collection of Stephen King’s short stories and poems. This collection of twenty entries is quite a large, chunky book, almost reaching five-hundred pages.

The thing I like most about King’s collections of short stories and novellas are that they really showcase how diverse an author King really is. Sure, we all know he can terrify us if he wants to (check out It and The Shining if you need proof), but he is also capable of so much more. Before each entry in this collection, King includes a short narrative that provides insight to the writing or conceiving of the story or even just a peek into the life of a famous horror writer.

As one of King’s “Constant Readers,” I know that King is capable of uplifting and moving stories such as the novella on which the movie The Shawshank Redemption is based. It amazes me that people do not know that King writes more than just what we consider to be a scary story.

In The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, we get a little of everything.

Mile 81 – 3.5/5 stars

“Mile 81” is a creepy and haunting tale of a monster who preys on the goodness in people. I enjoyed this story well enough, including the process of getting the readers to Mile 81 in the first place. I wasn’t thrilled with the cheesy solution or the ending of the story, but the rest of the story made up for it.

Premium Harmony – 3/5 stars

This one was alright. It told the story of a married couple that obviously has their fair share of couple’s spats. Anything else I could say would spoil the story. It was okay.

Batman and Robin Have an Altercation – 4/5 stars

I enjoyed this one quite a bit. It tells the story of a father and son, the father losing his grip on reality and his son nostalgic for the good ol’ days.

The Dune – 4/5 stars

A man sees harrowing predictions written in a sand dune. This is one of those stories where as you’re reading, you think, “King…I know what you’re doing…”

But you don’t have a clue.

Bad Little Kid – 4/5 stars

While I expected more from this, I was ultimately pleased with this story as a whole. This is about an evil kid who is evil for the sake of being evil.

A Death – 5/5 stars

This story was an unexpected love of mine and if I hadn’t known that King wrote it, I would have guessed. It is about a man on trial to be hanged for a crime for which he claims his innocence.

The Bone Church – 1/5 stars

This is a poem. Yep, a poem. I didn’t like it. After I finished reading, I couldn’t tell you about anything that I had just read. The parts that do stick out to me a little tell me that I may have enjoyed this as a fleshed out story rather than a poem.

Morality – 3/5 stars

This story was another that was okay. A dying reverend wants to commit a sin by proxy and makes an offer that a woman cannot refuse. This one got a little twisted, but overall left me feeling, “meh.”

Afterlife – 4/5 stars

I very much enjoyed this story about a man who reaches the end of his life and finds out that he can either move on or relive his life again. Which would you choose?

Ur – 4/5 stars

I read this one first when it was released as a promotion for the Amazon Kindle. I really liked that this story was included with an note from King about how he didn’t want to advertise for this product, but after being asked, this story just flowed from him. It is about a man who receives a pink Kindle that appears to predict the future.

Herman Wouk is Still Alive – 3/5 stars

I honestly don’t remember much about this one even though I read it less than twenty-four hours ago. I was able to predict most of the story and then the story just stopped. To me, this story didn’t have a real ending.

Under the Weather – 4/5 stars

A man takes care of the house and business while his wife is sick in bed. This one is creepy in a perfectly King kind of way. This was a favorite of the collection.

Blockade Billy – 5/5 stars

This is another that I have previously read. I read this as an e-book on my mother’s e-reader ages ago. I enjoyed it both times I read it. It’s baseball with a creepy twist.

Mister Yummy – 5/5 stars

This story was…cute, which is a weird description for a Stephen King story. Set in a retirement home, the residents cope with their lives coming to an end.

Tommy – 1/5 stars

This was another poem. While it was written in a way I was able to comprehend, I don’t understand why it had to be in a poetic format. Honestly, I don’t “get” poetry. I’m sure poetry fans would have different views on King’s poetry.

The Little Green God of Agony – 3/5 stars

This story was very King-like in writing style and plot development. Paired along with his story about surviving being hit by a car, this story really puts you as much into King’s experiences with pain as you can get. Too bad I wasn’t happy with the ending.

That Bus is Another World – 5/5 stars

A man is in a taxi cab and running very late to an important meeting. When he witnesses a crime in the bus sitting next to his taxi in traffic, he must decide what is more important:  his meeting or taking action.

Obits – 5/5 stars

This story is the story I was looking forward to reading most in this collection and I was not let down. A reporter for a trashy news site discovers that he can kill people by writing them an obituary. I enjoyed this from beginning to end, leaving me wanting nothing more.

Drunken Fireworks – 5/5 stars

This story involved a Hatfields vs. McCoys type of rivalry. A family of rednecks compete with a family of mobsters in a battle of the best fireworks. I liked the style in which this story was told, from one side of the feud. I especially appreciated how this story was brought to a close.

Summer Thunder – 5/5 stars

This was the perfect ending to the collection, a story about the end of the world and a man’s final days in a nuclear fallout.

Total Score: 76.5/100, avg. 3.82/5

4 stars

I’m giving this collection four stars. I enjoyed reading it as a whole, even though there were entries that I could have done without. Stephen King has done it again and I can’t wait to read his next release. I am, as you know, one of his Constant Readers.

P.S. If anyone in the UK/Europe wants to send me this BEAUTIFUL edition, I’d much appreciate it. 😉

25228309

It’s so pretty!

kacie

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Want to purchase a copy of The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King for yourself? Check it out on The Book Depository by clicking HERE.

Top 5 Wednesday #19: An Old Topic

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

t5wfamily


As always, Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey at gingerreadslainey. For a complete list of Wednesday-ers and topics, please visit the Goodreads group!


This week’s topic is “Disappointing Eye-Candy: Books that looked beautiful, but were awful.”

I’m not usually a person that compares a pretty book cover to its contents, so I have nothing to add to this topic of conversation. Instead, I’ll be counting down a topic that appeared before I started my blog.

Top 5 Books I’ll Never Read. Ever.

#5 – The Mortal Instruments/The Infernal Devices/Shadowhunters – Cassandra Clare

Sorry, guys. I have never been interested in any books by Cassandra Clare. I’ve read so many wonderful things about them, but I can’t get over the fact that she started her writing career by plagiarizing works for her Harry Potter fanfiction stories. I just can’t get past that. If I hadn’t been around, lurking on the internet when that whole debacle went down, then maybe I could try her books anyway. However, I’ve been completely turned off to her writing and will most likely never pick up a Cassandra Clare book.

#4 – The sequels to The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Ugh. I couldn’t stand The Maze Runner. It was over dramatic and withheld too much information from the reader. I groaned through the whole book and will not pick up any of its sequels.

#3 – The Maximum Ride series by James Patterson

I was kind of excited for the original release of this YA series. I was excited because I had read the original adult fiction books by Patterson that this series was going to spin off from. I love When the Wind Blows and The Lake House, which was written about Max and the band of winged children. Once the YA spin off was released, I heard too many negative reviews for me to give it a go. I don’t want to taint my love for the original duology.

#2 – Grey by E.L. James

I’ll admit it:  I read the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. Ugh, there. I said it. I read the first one to see what all the hype was. I hated it. When I discussed my hatred of the book with others, the general response was, “You haven’t read all the books so your opinion doesn’t matter.” Of course I had to read the rest of the trilogy!

Still hate it. I will not read the latest book, told from Christian Grey’s perspective. I can’t go for that. No can do.

#1 – The Vampire Diaries/Vampire Academy/ANYTHING VAMPIRES

I think the Twilight phenomenon ruined vampires for me. Plain and simple. No interest for any book or series involving vampires.

What book or book series will you never, ever read? Which books do you have reader’s regret?

I’ll see you later, friends.

kacie

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TAG | The Truthwitch Book Tag

Hello everyone!

I just finished Truthwitch by Susan Dennard about an hour ago for a book club on Goodreads called The Story Squad. In honor of my finishing the book, I am completing the Truthwitch Book Tag, created by Danielle and Olivia over on BookTube. Check ’em out!

TruthwitchTag

#1. Ohrin Mountains (This is where our hero grew up): What is your favorite fictional land?

My favorite fictional land is still Ravka from Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, even though I haven’t read books 2 and 3 OR Six of Crows even though I own ALL of them. Yep. I’m going to get right on that. I am studying the Russian language in my free time and I love learning about the Russian culture. It’s really neat to see how this culture impacts Ravka and the little ‘Easter Eggs’ I find because I know a little bit of Russian.

#2. Safiya and Iseult’s friendship: Who is your favorite dynamic duo?

I love the relationship between Jon Snow and his direwolf Ghost from A Song of Ice and Fire (the book series on which ‘Game of Thrones’ is based). Even though they are not together at all times during the series, that obviously have a very strong bond between them.

#3. Merik (The prince of Nubrevna): Which character is the ultimate hunk?

Now that I’ve finished Truthwitch, can I say Merik? Ha!

To move away from this particular book, I will have to stay true to my love of Chaol Westfall from Throne of Glass. Chaol better watch out, though, because Merik is taking over.

#4. Kullen (Merik’s best friend and Threadbrother): Who is your favorite sidekick?

Pantalaimon is Lyra’s daemon in the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman. Pan is always there for Lyra and pushes his boundaries to help and protect her. As he is an actual part of Lyra’s being, he’s not necessarily a sidekick, but Lyra wouldn’t have been able to succeed without him.

#5. Aeduan (A mysterious blood witch): Who is your favorite mysterious of villainous character?

My favorite villain will always be Pennywise the Clown from It by Stephen King. He’s so creepy, taking the form of a clown for most of the novel, but also taking the form of whatever scares you most. He even has a sense of humor and interacts with each of the heroes in ways unheard of for a villain. He’s great.

#6. Aether (The magic of the spirit and the mind): Name a book that you can’t stop thinking about

This changes a lot, but I’m currently emotionally held up on Room by Emma Donoghue. It was one of my first reads of the year and has, so far, been the cause of the biggest emotional roller coaster of 2016. It’s creepy and twisted. It even makes me think about what I’d do in a similar situation. It’s excellent.

#7. Air (The magic of wind and storms): Name a book that you had low expectations for, but it blew you away

I didn’t expect much from Cinder by Marissa Meyer. In fact, the reason I picked it up from the library was because I saw it on everyone’s shelves when I started watching BookTube videos. I’m usually not a huge sci-fi fan, so I thought I’d be turned off to a book with a cyborg protagonist. I was wrong. I loved the book.

#8. Earth (The magic over plants, soil, metal and stone): What’s a book that you always go back to?

I always go back to Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve read this novel. In fact, I’m due for another re-read!

#9. Fire (The power over flame and lightning): A book with hype that spread quickly

This is a tie between Truthwitch by Susan Dennard and Passenger by Alexandra Bracken. The hype has been EVERYWHERE.

#10. Void (A mythical power linked to death and shadow): Recommend a scary/mysterious read 

Raise your hand if you think I’m going to recommend a Stephen King novel!

I’m going with It, The Shining, Dreamcatcher, and Under the Dome to name a few of my favorite freaky reads of Stephen King.

#11. Water (The power with rivers, rides, rain and ice): Name a book that flowed nicely

Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz has an excellent flow to it. I can pick it up and read it in one sitting, even if it takes me twelve hours to do so. It’s fast paced and time flies by as you read it, largely due to the way it flows.

#12. Threadsisters/Threadbrothers: Tag your friends!

I hereby tag anyone and everyone who wants to do this tag. If you have read Truthwitch by Susan Dennard already, please do this tag and try not to answer the questions with its characters!

If you haven’t read Truthwitch yet and you’re wondering if you’ll like it, I’ll have a review coming to you this weekend.


That’s all from me tonight. So far, my school is not closed or delayed for tomorrow, which means bed at a reasonable hour. Yay adulting.

I’ll see you soon!

kacie

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