Book Haul: (#3) New Bestsellers, Superheroes, and the End of an Era

Book Haul #3 - Event Books

Two Fridays ago, on the night before I went to the Twin Cities Book Festival, I decided to stop at Half-Price Books to see if they had any of the books I wanted, and I ended up walking out with all three! (And even better- the price of them all fit on my gift card) The books I bought were Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins and The Young Elites by Marie Lu- both of them new books I wanted to read, had pretty covers, and whose authors I meet the following day.

The third book I bought was the last book of the Heroes of Olympus series and the last book relating to the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan.

Book Haul #3 - Blood of Olympus

The Percy Jackson series was the main thing that me and my friends were obsessed with in Middle School. I actually got into them right after The Last Olympian came out (so I got to read straight through without any year long breaks) and I absolutely loved them. They inspired a love of Mythology, and after reading them I devoured any greek mythology retelling books I could get my hands on. I was thrilled when a second series was announced, and while I haven’t loved Heroes of Olympus as much as I did the original series, the release of this conclusion is just as exciting and sad as the end of any beloved series could be. (Hopefully it’ll do better than the end of the Artemis Fowl, Animorphs and Sisters Grimm series did…)

Book Haul #3 - My True Love and Illusive

Book Haul #3 - My True Love and Illusive 2

My next books came from a Wednesday afternoon trip to the Red Ballon Bookshop. The first book, My True Love Gave to Me, is what I went to the bookstore for, and is a holiday short story compilation with stories written by some of my favorite authors including Ally Carter, David Levithan and many others. The book itself is just as beautiful in person as I thought it would be, with it’s holiday themed font work and whimsical illustrations.

Book Haul #3 - My True Love Author Bios

Plus, look at these cute little author bios on the back flap!

Book Haul #3 - My True Love and Illusive 3

Book Haul #3 - My True Love and Illusive 4

The second book I bought was Illusive by Emily Lloyd Weber. It’s a superpower themed book with a thief for a main character, (easily combining two of my favorites themes in books) and I’ve been wanting to read it for a long time, so I was thrilled to find the store’s last one sitting on a 15% off table.

Also, because it was the last one, I also got the bookstore’s sweet little (handwritten) recommendation card with it. I really love that both these books look wonderful both with dust covers and without them.

Well, that’s it for this book haul! Did you buy any good- or at least very pretty books lately?

Ridiculous Catalyst Theories

In honor of the third book in the Insignia series releasing in 10 days, I thought I would share a few ridiculous won’t-ever-happen “theories” for what events might be contained within Catalyst.

  1. Tom and Medusa will meet face to face and it will be awesome. (This one’s not a ridiculous theory- it’s more one I really hope will happen.)
  2. We will see Nigel Harrison again, this time as the NSA’s walking, talking computer.
  3. Blackburn will finally get tired of everyone’s crap and quit, leaving his spot to be filled by Wyatt Enslow and a few robots she builds to be her assistants.
  4. It will be found out that all Coalition CEOs have neural processors and that they are all so evil because Vengerov wrote them a program that makes them care only about money and power, and not about what they have to do to people to obtain it.
  5. Vik will inherit Walton’s gnome minions.
  6. Heather will come back as a zombie (or ghost)  and she will be super mad.
  7. Or, better yet, Heather was somehow downloaded to the Spire systems before she was killed, and will not have a turn as the ghost in the machine.
  8. Vik is elected president.
  9. Vik and Tom buy matching Doctor Doom masks and wear them everywhere.
  10. Wyatt, Tom and Vik make an accidental discovery and win the Nobel Prize. (Alternatively, Tom takes down the coalition and wins the Nobel Peace Prize for doing so.)

Related Posts:

Twin Cities Book Festival

Since You've Been Gone Signed

Isla and the Happily Ever After Signed

The Young Elites Signed

Last saturday I went to the Twin Cities Book Festival (held at the Minnesota State Fair Grounds) specifically to attend the events in the area they called the “teen tent.” The authors I saw speak were Stephenie Perkins, Morgan Matson, Marie Lu and Andrea Cremer, but I also breifly met many others.

It was so much fun to meet all these great authors and hear them talk about their books. The teen part of the festival was organized by the Red Ballon Bookshop and I hope they manage to do it again next year!

Also, Stephanie Perkins said she liked my outfit, which was pretty awesome.

Marie LuMorgan MatsonStephanie Perkins

Some cool facts I learned:

  • Morgan Matson named all the couples in her book with descending alphabet letters at the start of their names (E,F - Emily, Frank) and only noticed it later.
  • The paperback edition of Morgan Matson’s Since You’ve Been Gone will contain ‘deleted scenes.’ Super excited to read those!
  • The character in Stephanie Perkins’ third book was originally going to be named Martha.
  • Andrea Cremer hates Peter Pan and thinks Artificial Intelligence is very scary.
  • In a rebellion, Marie Lu’s ideal place would be in the establishment as a spy for the resistance.
  • Marie Lu had a hard time picking out ‘superpowers’ for her characters in The Young Elites, and to do so she went through wikipedia lists of superpowers. (And found out about some pretty funny ones while doing so) She also tried to expand on the powers she chose.


Author Bingo

Twin Cities Book Festival Books

Review: The Journal of Curious Letters by James Dashner

The Journal of Curious Letters (The 13th Reality #1) by James Dashner

"When it comes to individual destiny, there is no power greater in the universe than the conviction of the human soul to make a choice."

Genre: Middle Grade Sci-fi Publisher: Shadow Mountain Format: eBook
Source: Library Rating:  (3/5 Stars) Synopsis: 

What if every time you made a choice that had a significant consequence, a new, alternate reality was created—the life that would’ve been had you made the other choice? What if those new realities were in danger? What if it fell to you to save all the realities? Atticus Higginbottom, a.k.a. Tick, is an average thirteen-year-old boy until the day a strange letter arrives in his mailbox. Postmarked from Alaska and cryptically signed with the initials “M.G.,” the letter informs Tick that dangerous—perhaps even deadly—events have been set in motion that could result in the destruction of reality itself.

I read this book once before many years ago, (back when I was actually included in its targeted age range) and my reaction now is much the same as the first time. This book is good but not fantastic, and it introduces an intriguing universe that is interesting enough to make me pick up the second book in the series.

The Journal of Curious Letters is written by James Dashner, and like in his other books The Maze Runner and The Eye of Minds, he sets up an interesting and unique, if strange and a bit complex, of a setting. Also like his other books, I found that for this one it was the setting and not the characters that drew me in, making this book just a bit dull. While there are many things that happen, the setting isn’t fully introduced until the last quarter of the book, and many of the scenes that are meant to be exciting fall a little bit flat.

However, as I am sure this series gets better further in, my advice is to read the book if you’re interested in the set up of this series. This book may have a minor case of “first book syndrome,” (too much set up, not enough story) but is still enjoyable enough, and I think it’s worth it to get to book two.

Review: A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook

A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook

"We all smiled because it was the truth: Living did take a lot more guts than giving up."

Genre: Contemporary Publisher: Egmont Format: Kindle eBook
Source: Library Rating:  (2/5 Stars) Synopsis: 

Justin was just having fun, but when his dad walked in on him with a girl in a very compromising position, Justin’s summer took a quick turn for the worse. His parents’ divorce put Justin on rocky mental ground, and after a handful of Tylenol lands him in the hospital, he has really hit rock bottom.

Emmy never felt like part of her family. She was adopted from China. Her parents and sister tower over her and look like they came out of a Ralph Lauren catalog— and Emmy definitely doesn’t. After a scandalous photo of Emmy leads to vicious rumors around school, she threatens the boy who started it all on Facebook.

Justin and Emmy arrive at Heartland Academy, a reform school that will force them to deal with their issues, damaged souls with little patience for authority. But along the way they will find a ragtag group of teens who are just as broken, stubborn, and full of sarcasm as themselves. In the end, they might even call each other friends.

Through the first half of this book, I didn’t like it at all. The back and forth pacing of the two narrators was odd, the topic matter was gritty in a way that made me slightly uncomfortable even though it was portrayed in an almost cheerful light, and the characters themselves were whiny and annoying. But something had me hooked, so I kept reading.

Once I reached the 60% point, it felt like the clouds had broken. I suddenly liked the characters, and the plot was working far better. But the romance? Not so much. I didn’t see it at all, and at the end of the book it went from 0 to 100 in pages. I also have to say that the pacing felt a bit to fast, and the second half felt the slightest bit preachy.

However, despite all my criticisms, it must have been an entertaining read because I finished it in a day and it did manage to hold my attention. If you really like the look of it, it might be worth the read. 

September 2014 Recap

Besides my birthday on the 1st and the occasional gathering of friends, September was mainly a month of school, school, and more school.

But, within those many hours of school I did manage to read quite a few books. (Have you guessed yet that I procrastinate homework by reading books? Because that’s kind of how it goes.)

September 2014 Books

Books I Read This Month:

#1 - Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz 

This book was beautiful. It had a much different subject matter and style than the kinds of books I normally enjoy reading, but it was one of those rare kind of introspective contemporary books that I actually liked. It’s told in a very lyrical style, the characters are interesting and have depth, and it’s a great story about friendship, love and discovering things about yourself and the world.

#2 - Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1) by Marissa Meyer 


#3 - Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1) by Leigh Bardugo 

The world building in this book was fantastic. The types of magic and the social systems and the descriptions of the castles and landscapes were all really great. I’m hoping I can get the other two books to read soon!

#4 - I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls, #1) by Ally Carter 


#5 - This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith 

This book was really cute! I went into knowing nothing. I’d seen it around but I didn’t read the summary or anything. (I’m actually really glad I did that- it made discovery in the book even more exciting) I kind of enjoy books about celebrities trying to blend around normal people and things like that, and this book had the added bonus of having a great story and an amazing cast of characters. Makes me want to read all of this author’s other books. 

#6 - The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith 

I didn’t like this book as much I liked the first Jennifer E. Smith book I read, but like the other it had great characters that really moved the story forward. It was also a really emotionally compelling read and sad/bittersweet scenes were done very, very well. The main complaint about this book is I just wanna know what happens after! Guess I’m not used to standalone books…

#7 - A World Without Princes (The School for Good and Evil, #2) by Soman Chainani 

I read and reviewed the first book in this series last month and I really, really liked it. This second book was very good as well, but it was also… kind of odd and through a lot of it I didn’t really get where the author was trying to go with it, and parts of it kind of felt like a repeat of the first book. The main thing that saved this installment was the large amount of good character development. Hopefully the next book in the series will be less confusing.

#8 - Obsidian (Lux, #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout 

This book appeared on my kindle. Literally. I turned on the wireless after having it off for months and it was just there. Naturally, I read it. (What else do you do with a book that shows up on your kindle?)

This book was way more paranormal romance-y than I would ever read. Female protagonists that spend 80% of the book pinning after a tall handsome not-so-nice boy… Not my thing. At all. The things that kept me reading this book were the writing and the alien lore. Despite the topic matter the writing flowed really well, and the aliens, well… I just really like sci-fi and the lore of these particular aliens was kind of interesting.

#9 - Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira 

This book reminded me a lot of The Perks of Being a Wallflower- it was told through letters, and it had some similar subject matter. Despite the similarities, I liked this book a bit more than Perks. Maybe it was the main character or the setting that made me feel a bit more engaged with this book. But mostly, I think it was because of Laurel’s sister and because I liked the whole concept of writing to dead people, and how Laurel compared who they had been and what they had done to her own life.

The writing in this book was also very beautiful. There was very good description and storytelling, and a lot of it read like poetry.