About


My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

Follow Me

Follow

Followers

Powered by Blogger.

Total Views

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September Reading Roundup




via GIPHY
Oh what a fast month it was!  I had high hopes to read lots of books this month but only managed to read 10!


via GIPHY


This is way down from July and August where I was able to read about 16 books each month, but with school starting, I am so busy that I cannot devote the time I need to reading.  On the plus side, I was able to get many new followers on Twitter!  Taking part in Twitter chats has been really fun.  I have so many new book recommendations and new people to talk to, that it has been well worth the time spent.

Here are the books I read this month.



 

 

 

I think my favorite read this month has been Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs.  It is the third and final book in the series and it struck just the right cord between finishing out the story and leaving the characters enough space to imagine that they will have plenty more adventures to come.

I also loved:
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, 
Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead
The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

I was not in love with The Wicked + The Divine.  Although the story was compelling, I don't seem to like the graphic novel format.

Overall, it was a good month.  I just wish I had more time to read and do even more with my blog.  How was your bookish September?  What was your favorite read this month?  Leave a comment below and let your voice be heard!
SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest



Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Book Review: Throne of Glass


Synopsis (From GoodReads):
After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

Review:

With the release of Queen of Shadows, by Sarah J. Maas, there has been a lot of hoopla this month over the Throne of Glass series.  Isn't hoopla a fun word?  Well I think it is.  I looked up the definition of hoopla and the dictionary said it was defined as, "excitement surrounding an event or situation, especially when considered to be unnecessary fuss".  Well if that is what the word means then I would say there hasn't been ENOUGH hoopla about these books!  I loved it!

Technically, Throne of Glass was written before The Assassin's Blade (the latter of which is a compilation of novellas that explore the early life of the main character Celaena Sardothien).  I'm glad I read The Assassin's Blade first as there were many references to events in that book throughout Throne of Glass.  Throne of Glass follows Celaena from the Salt Mines of Endovier to the capitol of the kingdom to participate in a competition of soldiers, thieves, and killers for the "honor" of becoming the king's official assassin.  If she can win the contest, she will serve as the king's blade for some years and be on her way to eventual freedom.

Part of the fun of the book is that Celaena is the only female in the contest so, at first, everyone discounts what she is capable of.  It is deeply satisfying to see Celaena kicking butt and outsmarting her opponents.  While she may already be a killer, time and time again she shows her humanity as she tries to balance being ruthless with having a conscience.  She must also come to terms with her growing attraction to the Crown Prince Dorian.  His father, the king, has been the heartless oppressor of countless countries (including where she came from).  With her parents killed by the king's army when he invaded her homeland, Celaena barely survived.  Can she become involved with his son without feelings of shame and guilt?

I enjoyed the action and the mystery throughout the book concerning who could be killing off the contestants.  There are several suspects and the murders become more gruesome as the book progresses.  While I figured out who was the killer fairly quickly, I liked how that plot point was resolved.  There were a few plausible suspects, and I understood why she thought one of them, in particular, might be the cause of all the deaths.  There are some fantasy elements in the story that I think will come into play in later books.  I can't wait for that!

I think this was a great start to the series.  There were complex male and female characters, action, mystery, and romance.  It was also a great setup for the books to come.  How will Celaena deal with being ordered to kill at the king's command?  Will she still want to be with the Prince or will the Captain of the Guard capture her heart?  What are the real plans of the King and the Duke?  So many questions yet to be answered.  If you enjoy royal intrigue and romance, then you will want to buy into the hoopla and run out to get these books.


Rating:  
Source: Bought by myself
Format:  Paperback
Recommendation: If you like adventure, romance, and fantasy you will enjoy this.
Will I read more from this author:  Yes!



SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest
Sunday, September 27, 2015

Review: Library of Souls: Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children 3






Synopsis (From GoodReads):
The adventures that began with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and continued with Hollow City comes to a thrilling conclusion with Library of Souls.
As the story opens, sixteen-year-old Jacob discovers a powerful new ability, and soon he’s diving through history to rescue his peculiar companions from a heavily guarded fortress. Accompanying Jacob on his journey are Emma Bloom, a girl with fire at her fingertips, and Addison MacHenry, a dog with a nose for sniffing out lost children.
They’ll travel from modern-day London to the labyrinthine alleys of Devil’s Acre, the most wretched slum in all of Victorian England. It’s a place where the fate of peculiar children everywhere will be decided once and for all. 
Like its predecessors, Library of Souls blends thrilling fantasy with never-before-published vintage photography.


Review:
From the first book in this series (Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children) I have been fascinated by author Ransom Riggs' one of a kind story-telling.  Using unusual vintage photographs, he has crafted a strange and wonderful tale of "Peculiar" children.  These are children (and adults) who have unusual abilities such as making flames shoot out from their fingertips, animating objects, flying, or having super strength.  Of course, this is meant to represent that everyone has hidden talents.  Often, these talents are seen as liabilities or as downright strange.  People can (and have) been persecuted for their "otherness", and the children in this book are outcasts who have formed their own society.  Under the guidance of a motherly person called a Ymbryne (pronounced imm-brinn), the children live in a time loop where they will be safe and will never age.


In this book, the children must race to save Miss Peregrine as she is held captive by the power-hungry Caul.  Caul has captured many of the ymbrynes and peculiars and seeks to use them to find the legendary Library of Souls.  If he succeeds, all of peculiardom will be at Cual's mercy.

Most of the story takes place in a slum in Victorian London known as Devil's Acre.  This was a real place where the poorest of the poor lived and barely survived.  Ransom Riggs vivid descriptions of this hell-hole was a highlight for me.  That may sound strange but I appreciated that he didn't sugar-coat how awful it must have been.  I have a tendency to romanticize long-ago eras and it was refreshing to be reminded that the good old days were not so good for everyone.

I also was touched by how Jacob came to have empathy for the monstrous hollowgasts.  These were invisible creatures that most thought to be soulless killing machines.  But Jacob had the ability to see and partially control the hollowgasts.  I loved how he came to understand and identify with these creatures.  It brought some humanity to other being that even the peculiars believed were strange.

And that is the beauty of this series.  In addition to action, suspense and a smattering of teen romance, you see how easily it is to categorize others into "peculiar", and "normal".  Jacob learns to see the hidden gift he possesses and develop it into a unique ability.  This is a lesson many of us need.  By recognizing our uniqueness, we can learn to value ourselves and gain the self-confidence needed to face life's ups and downs.  I thoroughly enjoyed this series for it's unconventional story-telling and it's humanity.  But start from the first book, or you won't understand what is going on!



Rating:  
Source: Bought by myself
Format:  Hardcover
Recommendation: If you like adventure and fantasy you will enjoy this.
Will I read more from this author:  Yes!

SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest
Thursday, September 24, 2015

Feature and Follow Friday September 25


I am participating in Feature & Follow Friday!  This is my fifth time participating in this.  I really like this blog tag, because I am finding so many new blogs to follow.  Getting to interact with bloggers and seeing how others have designed their blogs is one of the joys of this hobby.  I will try to follow as many of the blogs on the master list as I can and hope that some of them will follow me back!  This is hosted by Alison of Alison can read and Parajunkee Go to both of their sites and check them out!

Here is an explanation from Alison Can Read:
How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools -- keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them "hi" in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you!

What sets this Hop apart from others, is our Feature. Each week we will showcase a Featured Blogger, from all different genres and areas. Who is our Feature today? Find out below. Just remember it is required, if you participate, to follow our Features and ayou must follow the hosts (Parajunkee & Alison Can Read) as a courtesy. How do you follow someone? Well, if you have a preference, state it in your #FF post. A lot of blogs are transitioning to Wordpress in which they do not have the luxury of GFC, so an RSS subscription is appreciated or if you choose an email subscription. If you don't have GFC please state in your post how you would like to be followed.

There seems to be no feature this week, but there is a:


Question of the Week: If you could have any job, what would you do? - Suggested by

Peace Love Books

My dream job would be to be a professional travel writer.  Besides reading, I love to travel.  I am from California but have also lived (for 5 months) in England, and (for over 3 years) in Japan.  I love discovering new places and researching all the local information of the place I will be visiting. I would love to be able to travel to even more places and get paid to write about my experiences.


SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest

Three 4 Thursday: 3 fantasy series you will love.

Fantasy books are some of my favorites because they can envelope you in worlds that will never exist.  There is a certain feel of adventure (as if you were traveling) that I get when I start to read these books.  The fun for me is learning all the elements of the worlds in which the book exists.  Is there magic, creatures, superpowers?  The stranger the better, i feel.  Here are three series that helped me to love the genre.

1.  The Infernal Devices Series by Cassandra Clare:
Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince, Clockwork Princess

These books cover the backstory of the Mortal Instruments books and I think are a better series.  I know that City of Bones is popular.  There will even be a T.V. show coming in January to ABC Family called Shadow Hunters.   I think I just like the time period better.  Set in the late 1800's, the story follows Will Herondale and his Parabatai James (Jem) Carstairs, shadow hunters in London.  When they meet Tessa Gray their world becomes even more complicated.  This is a fun mystery along with a touching romance.  We see characters that will pop up again later in the Mortal Instruments series and get information that will be relevant later on.  I liked the love triangle and found it to be lovely and bittersweet.  They characters shared common interests and were not simply hot for each another.

2.  The Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy by Lani Taylor:
Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Days of Blood & Starlight, Dreams of Gods & Monsters

An orphan is taken in by demons and earns her keep as a messenger.  Most of the time Karou is a normal high school student in Prague: dating, hanging out with her friends, trying to get her homework done. But then she also has a secret life as a messenger for a demon.  She doesn't question how this came to be, as she is so grateful to not be alone.  Then, one day, her world is shattered when she is cut off from her demon friends.  And is that an angel watching her from afar?  I loved this series as it is nothing like anything I have read before.  Identities and views change quickly.  Worlds are revealed, lost loves found, fantastical creatures are created.  All of it combines to a complex universe that kept me involved up to the amazing conclusion.  There are demons and Angels, but who are actually the good guys?  You'll change your views back and forth throughout the series.

3.  The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo:
Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising

This is another series that I loved due to it's unique settings and powerful characters.  Set in the mythical world of Ravka (which looks a lot like Russia), children are tested to see if they have certain abilities.  These might include manipulating the elements such as fire, or wind.  Or they might be able to heal...or stop a heart without touching the victim.  If they are, they are taken away from home and trained by The Darkling to serve the King.  Hiding her abilities, Alina tries to blend in to stay close to her childhood friend, Mal (who she is secretly in love with).  But Alina's gift is the most sought after of them all: the ability to summon light.  Once The Darkling finds her, he won't stop until he possesses her completely.  The Darkling is at once charming and monstrous.  This leaves Alina confused as she fights her attraction to him and struggles to understand her own worth.  This dynamic has so many parables to real-life abusive relationships that I found fascinating.  There are many other wonderful characters as well such as Mal, Prince Nikolai, and Genya that round out the story and make this series a truly rich experience.


SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest
Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Book Review: The Wicked + The Divine

Synopsis (from GoodReads):

Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. The team behind critical tongue-attractors like Young Avengers and PHONOGRAM reunite to create a world where gods are the ultimate pop stars and pop stars are the ultimate gods. But remember: just because you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever. Collects THE WICKED + THE DIVINE #1-5 

Review:


I read this as part of the Adult Booklr reading group on GoodReads.  I rarely read graphic novels, but I was willing to give it a try.  First, I must say that the art work for this book is stunningly beautiful.  It is full of color, great shadowing, and action-packed imagery.  The story has a great premise:  Rockstars are Gods who will have a glorious two years and then die!  The book is a commentary on the pop culture of superstars and ordinary people who want their moment in the spotlight.  


That being said, I think graphic novels just don't appeal to me.  I really tried to like this book.  It has such a great premise, but as I read it I wanted more.  More details, more backstory, a more complicated plot.  I felt as though I was reading an outline of a really good book.  But I was never able to get too involved in the story as it was so brief.  If this graphic novel were to be expanded into a full-length novel, I think it would be a very exciting read.  But in this format, it was just a teaser.


What do you think?  Do you enjoy graphic novels?  What is their appeal?  If you have any thoughts on this, please leave a comment below.


I think if you do like this format, you will enjoy this book.  With striking art and intriguing characters, it would be well worth your time.  But it just wasn't for me.


Rating:
Source: Public Library
Format:  Paperback Graphic Novel
Recommendation: If you love graphic novels, you will enjoy the story and imagery. This format wasn't for me.
SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest
Monday, September 21, 2015

Book Review: Stolen Songbird


Synopsis (from Goodreads):

For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the mountain. When Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she realizes that the trolls are relying on her to break the curse.

Cécile has only one thing on her mind: escape. But the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time…

But the more time she spends with the trolls, the more she understands their plight. There is a rebellion brewing. And she just might be the one the trolls were looking for.


Review:


One of the joys of reading (for me) is discovering new worlds and the new creatures that inhabit it.  Stolen Songbird is set in a world with trolls, witches, and magic.  Cécile is about to begin a new life as an opera singer in the capital when she is whisked away and sold to the trolls.  Thinking she is going to be thrown in a pot and eaten, she is terrified.  But what awaits her is stranger still:  she is to be married off and bonded to the crown prince of the trolls in order to break a curse.  When one is bonded to their spouse, one can feel the other's emotions (a cool twist!).  If one is killed, the other may die, or wish they had.


Of course, the prince, Tristan, has a hatred for humans.  So Cécile feels anger, disgust, and...compassion?  Who is this prince and where do his sympathies actually lie? Will she be able to break the curse?  Will that put the humans she loves above ground in danger?  I loved how the relationship between Cécile and Tristan develops and grows over time.  There is a lot going on in the royal court of the underground city of Trollus: political maneuvering, jealousies, and conspiracies just to name a few. Cécile must quickly learn to navigate through these treacherous waters.  She must also come to terms with her growing attraction to Tristan.  Can she escape to the surface?  Will she want to if it means it will harm Tristan?


This story combines so many elements that I love: fantasy, romance, royalty, and class consciousness.  The plot is complicated but easy to follow.  I adored how Cécile came to realize that the outward deformities of the trolls were not indicative of how good or evil they were.  There is quite a parallel between that and real-life prejudice in general.  I found Cécile's acceptance of the trolls to be lovely.

This is the beginning of a book series, the next of which is called Hidden Huntress.  I am eagerly looking forward to further books in the series.  If you enjoy fantasy books with complicated relationships, you will love Stolen Songbird!

Rating:  
Source: Public Library
Format:  Paperback
Recommendation: If you like fantasy and romance you will enjoy this.
Will I read more from this author:  Yes!
SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest
Sunday, September 20, 2015

Book Review: Goodbye Stranger


Synopsis (from GoodReads):

Bridge is an accident survivor who's wondering why she's still alive. Emily has new curves and an almost-boyfriend who wants a certain kind of picture. Tabitha sees through everybody's games--or so she tells the world. The three girls are best friends with one rule: No fighting. Can it get them through seventh grade?   This year everything is different for Sherm Russo as he gets to know Bridge Barsamian. What does it mean to fall for a girl--as a friend?   On Valentine's Day, an unnamed high school girl struggles with a betrayal. How long can she hide in plain sight?

Review:

What happens when a group of friends goes from elementary to middle school?  How do they change?  Will they stick together or grow apart?  At first glance Goodbye Stranger, by Rebecca Stead, seems like a book for young readers.  But with themes of cyberbullying, school dress-codes, slut-shaming, and sexting, this book is a thought-provoking page turner for anyone 13 and up.

I found this book to be very moving.  As I look back on my own transition from Jr. High to Sr. High, I could easily relate to the fragile friendships in the story.  Some of my friendships survived while others did not.  I have painful recollections of being shut out of one group, which allowed me to find other friends.  At the time, it was devastating, but having to find another place to hang out at during lunch led to friendships that I have maintained to this day.  Much of the slut-shaming comes about so quickly in the book, I am reminded how easily reputations are made and broken.

I am so glad I am not a teen right now!  They must deal with problems (and consequences) that thrust them into adulthood far too quickly.  I really loved how this book dealt with all these topics without being preachy.  And I liked how the parents were not portrayed as idiots.  Far too often in teen books, the parents are shown to be clueless.  While the adults in the book did not have all the answers, I found them to be realistic, and not two demential stereotypes.

This is a quick read that would be a great book to facilitate a discussion between parents and young teens on some of these issues.  It is both heartbreaking and hopeful.


Rating:  
Source: Public Library
Format:  Kindle Ebook
Recommendation: If you like teen realistic fiction, you will enjoy this.
Will I read more from this author:  Yes!

SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest
Saturday, September 19, 2015

Book Review: The Martian


Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him & forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded & completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—& even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—& a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

Review:


I first learned about this book when a local radio DJ spoke about it during the morning commute.  Then I heard it was going to be a movie starring Matt Damon.  With all that buzz, I had to get a hold of this book before I saw the film.  The story is compelling: left for dead, an astronaut tries to figure out how to survive on Mars when his crew abandons the mission.  We read exactly how Mark works out all the variables needed in order to survive until he can (possibly) be rescued.  We also get a peek at the political fallout on Earth when a large-scale project falters.


I really enjoyed this book.  As a science nerd, I appreciated all the behind the scenes insights as to how NASA could deal with the emotional, political, and technical details involved in the situation.  When NASA figures out that Mark is alive, what should they do?  Do they tell the crew headed back to Earth that they left a crew member behind?  Would that jeopardize their safety?  How can they organize a rescue?  It's not like NASA has space ships ready to go that can be launched at a moments notice.  As NASA grapples with these issues, Mark must figure out daily needs such as getting enough food, oxygen, and water to stay alive.


Each situation is dealt with in a realistic manner, so it feels like it could actually happen.  This is not so much science fiction as it is foretelling what could go wrong when people do go on longer missions in outer space.  It is both frightening and exhilarating to think that we could one day explore other planets.  Given how easily things can go wrong, it brings to light the bravery and determination needed to perform these tasks.  I highly recommend this book!



Rating:  
Source: Bought by myself
Format:  Paperback
Recommendation: If you like science and adventure you will enjoy this.
Will I read more from this author:  Yes!

SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest
Thursday, September 17, 2015

Three 4 Thursday: 3 Historical Fiction novels set during WWII

Historical Fiction is one of my favorite genre.  I love reading about a different time and often imagine how I would get along during historical events.  During WWII, my grandparents were in their early 20's.  It amazes me how my grandmother managed feeding three kids while being limited by food ration tickets.  She would tell me stories about the entire neighborhood getting together to swap kids shoes and clothes, and ration tickets for sugar and oil.  Their resilience is inspiring.  Perhaps due to this, I am fascinated by novels set during WWII.  Here are three wonderful books set during that time.


1.  The Book Thief by Markus Zusak:  


The Book Thief tells the story of a German family struggling through WWII.  Liesel is taken in by a family who seem, at first, to be uncaring.  But it soon becomes apparent that there is more to the parents than meets the eye.  Throughout the book, Liesel develops a love of reading and a sympathy for her fellow neighbors.  When the family hides a Jewish man in their basement, Liesel who befriends the man and begins to understand the enormity of the events enveloping Germany.  Through hunger, cold, and bombings, Liesel finds small ways to be defiant in the face of oppression.  This is a beautiful book.  With unique narration, this is both heartbreaking and hopeful at the same time.


2.  Lisette's List by Susan Vreeland: 


Susan Vreeland shows us the effects of WWII on a small village in Provence, France through the eyes of Parisian, Lisette, who moves there with her husband.  Instead of the life she had planned on, (becoming involved in the art scene in Paris) history and fate step in to create a life she must accept and find a way to shape her own happiness.  This book shows the hardships and loss of war, but also shows how a small village bands together to fight oppression in their own way.  The characters had depth and changed over the course of the book. This is a story of one woman’s personal struggle to honor what she has lost, but also to move forward.  I think this is really a universal issue. Life NEVER turns out the way we plan it. We can either be swept away by forces beyond our control, or take charge and create what we want out of life. I found the list of goals Lisette kept inspiring, and it made me want to create my own list of goals to find a meaningful life.

3. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr:

All the Light We Cannot See tells several intertwining stories of French and Germans during WWII.  While the plot doesn’t shirk from showing us the gritty existence of those living through a war, it also puts a human face on all the characters, making us empathetic towards even the most despicable ones.  I was fascinated by the main character, Marie-Laure, a blind girl trying to understand, and survive, a world in upheaval.  Another character is German soldier Werner. The book chronicles how he starts as an orphan bound for a life in the mines to being picked to study at an elite academy for Hitler's brightest (and blondest) youth. Their paths will cross one day, but how remains a mystery for most of the book. The relentless Sergeant Major von Rumpel seeks a legendary diamond that was hidden by Marie-Laure's father. His character seems to be a homage to the character of Inspector Javert from Victor Hugo's Les Miserables in his tenacity that seems beyond reason. The author’s use of light as a metaphor for knowledge was multi-layered and a pleasure to read.
SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest
Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Book Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline




Synopsis (from Goodreads):
In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the  OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape. 

Review:

The future is bleak for Wade Watts:  His parents are dead, he must live with an aunt who treats him poorly, and the world is full of crime, poverty, and hopelessness.  The only bright spot is when Wade can hook into the OASIS.  This virtual world is where Wade can go to school, hang out with friends, and try and solve the mother of all puzzles:  Where has the inventor of the OASIS left the three keys that will open the gates and bestow upon the winner his Billion dollar fortune?  This book is part dystopian society, part Willy Wonka.  Millions of people (and a mega-corporation) are on the hunt, searching through clues based on the 80's obsession of J.D. Halliday.  One of the joys of reading this book, by Ernest Cline, is getting all the 70's and 80's pop culture references.  

I enjoyed how all the characters, while being very smart and articulate, were also painfully shy and had trouble facing the real world.  The implications that we could be creating an entire generation of introverts by relying too heavily on the internet are clear.  I wish there had been even more about this in the book, as it is an important topic.  


I listened to this book as an audiobook.  It is read by Wil Wheaton, who voiced the main character with sensitivity and humor.  I especially loved when he had to recite lines from Monty Python and the Holy Grail!   At times, there is so much going on at once that the reader (or listener) may get lost in the action.  The book often reference's the fictional J.D. Halliday's Anorak's Almanac for clues.  I wish they had included a copy in the back of the book.  But these moments are brief.  Overall, this is a fun, entertaining read, especially if you love the movies, music, and general pop culture of the 1980's.



Rating:  
Source: Public Library
Format:  Audiobook
Recommendation: If you like 80's pop culture, you will enjoy this.
Will I read more from this author:  Yes!
SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest
Sunday, September 13, 2015

Book Series Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

                            


Synopsis (From Goodreads):

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.


Review:

 Take The Bachelor, mix in a futuristic society where The United States is now a Monarchy with a rigid caste system, throw in fabulous dresses, and you've got a great, fun read!  I recently finished reading this series, devouring each book like a decadent dessert.

The series starts with the Selection, a bachelor-style competition to become engaged to the crown prince of Illéa, the predictably perfect Maxon.  But all is not what it seems.  Each girl competing has a different reason to want to be the next princess.  Some want fame, others want influence, many want to compete because, even if you lose, you get to move up the caste system and forward into a better life.

America is pressured to enter the Competition by her mother, and her boyfriend Aspen.  At the beginning of the series, it seems as though America is always trying to be a people-pleaser.  She floats around doing what others tell her to do because she can't decide what it is she wants in life.  This quickly changes as the series progresses.  America likes Maxon, but is determined to not be forced into a life-long commitment until she is sure she loves the Prince, and is over Aspen.   This proves difficult when Aspen shows up at the palace as a new guard.

Throughout the three books America, Maxon, and Aspen change and mature.  It is comforting to see this because, at first, I found America to be a doormat, and the male characters to be quite selfish.  America begins to fight to do what she thinks is right, even if it gets her in trouble.  Considering Aspen pushed America into the contest, it was selfish and dangerous for him to try and renew his relationship with her.  Especially since the penalty if they are caught it public caning.  When he and America start to mature, they can see what they had is truly over, even if there hadn't been a Selection.  Other characters (such as the Queen and the final competitors) expand and change as well.  It made for a fuller landscape of people in the story.  

The one issue I had with the premise is one that America had with Prince Maxon as well.  How can we trust Maxon when he expresses his feelings for America when he is also dating (and kissing) a dozen other girls?I suppose this is the problem with The Bachelor television shows.  How can anyone actually fall in love in these situations?  The story was so enchanting, however, that I was willing to suspend my suspicions and just go with it.  The Selection series is a lot of fun.  If you ever wanted to see behind the scenes of one of these dating shows, you will love these books!

Rating:  
Source: Public Library
Format:  Hardcover
Recommendation: If you like romance, revolution and The Bachelor then you will enjoy this.
Will I read more from this author:  Yes!
SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest
Thursday, September 10, 2015

Follow & Feature Friday


I am participating in Feature & Follow Friday!  This is my fourth time participating in this.  I really like this blog tag, because I am finding so many new blogs to follow.  Getting to interact with bloggers and seeing how others have designed their blogs is one of the joys of this hobby.  I will try to follow as many of the blogs on the master list as I can and hope that some of them will follow me back!  This is hosted by Alison of Alison can read and Parajunkee Go to both of their sites and check them out!

Here is an explanation from Alison Can Read:
How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools -- keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them "hi" in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you!

What sets this Hop apart from others, is our Feature. Each week we will showcase a Featured Blogger, from all different genres and areas. Who is our Feature today? Find out below. Just remember it is required, if you participate, to follow our Features and ayou must follow the hosts (Parajunkee & Alison Can Read) as a courtesy. How do you follow someone? Well, if you have a preference, state it in your #FF post. A lot of blogs are transitioning to Wordpress in which they do not have the luxury of GFC, so an RSS subscription is appreciated or if you choose an email subscription. If you don't have GFC please state in your post how you would like to be followed.

The Feature: My Random Book Thoughts
When did you start blogging?
1) I just got the guts to start blogging this year. March 6, 2015 to be exact. :)
What is your favorite part of book blogging?
2) My favorite part of blogging would be the perks that comes with it. Like getting ARCS. Author and publisher alike emailing me and allowing me to read their books for free in exchange for an honest review and lastly meeting fellow bookish people! <3
What type of books do you mainly blog about?
3) My blog is dominated by YA and its subgenres like paranormal, fantasy and Sci-fi. But I also blog about NA, MD and Adult.
What are your favorite books?
4) I have a lot of amazing favorite books. Shatter me series, Daughter of Smoke and bone, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and Island of the Blue Dolphins. Actually there is no way I can just list this little but I just limit it to 5… :)
What has been the best thing that has happened to you because of book blogging?
5) It’s when I get to interact with bookish people because they are genuinely interested and appreciate it when I talk (or write) about books, unlike my real life friends who tends to awkwardly laugh and rolls their eyes when I started gushing and fangirling about books and fictional characters LOL. 
1) I just got the guts to start blogging this year. March 6, 2015 to be exact. :)
2) My favorite part of blogging would be the perks that comes with it. Like getting ARCS. Author and publisher alike emailing me and allowing me to read their books for free in exchange for an honest review and lastly meeting fellow bookish people! <3
3) My blog is dominated by YA and its subgenres like paranormal, fantasy and Sci-fi. But I also blog about NA, MD and Adult.
4) I have a lot of amazing favorite books. Shatter me series, Daughter of Smoke and bone, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and Island of the Blue Dolphins. Actually there is no way I can just list this little but I just limit it to 5… :)
5) It’s when I get to interact with bookish people because they are genuinely interested and appreciate it when I talk (or write) about books, unlike my real life friends who tends to awkwardly laugh and rolls their eyes when I started gushing and fangirling about books and fictional characters LOL. 
Follow My Random Book Thought



Question of the Week:  Undiscovered talent – tell us about a book you loved but no one else seems to have heard of. It can be new or old, any genre. Let’s spread the love. – Suggested by Becky’s Barmy Book Blog.


I read a variety of books, from best-selling popular novels to young readers historical fiction (I work in an elementary school).  One book I have read that really touched me was Hattie Big Sky, by Kirby Larson.  The story is about a 16 year old girl in 1917 who inherits a homesteading claim in Iowa.  Alone, she must farm the land and make it a success in a short time or she will lose the claim.  What I loved about it is that the story doesn't sugarcoat Hattie's hardships and the ending was a complete surprise.  Written in diary format, this story is endearing and not just for young readers.  The sequel, Hattie Ever After, is equally compelling.


SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest

Follow by Email

GoodReads

2017 Reading Challenge

MsArdychan has read 2 books toward her goal of 180 books.
hide

MsArdychan's bookshelf: read

The Hummingbird's Daughter
Joseph Anton: A Memoir
The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris
The Help
The Fry Chronicles
A Clash of Kings
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
A Game of Thrones
The Hunger Games
Catching Fire
Mockingjay
The Giver
Savvy
The Red Pyramid
Anne of Green Gables
The Complete Novels
Slam!
Slam
Hatchet
Scorpions


MsArdychan's favorite books »

Badges

80% 80% 50 Book Reviews 2016 NetGalley Challenge
clean sweep 2017

Popular Posts

Grab My Button

http://ponderingtheprose.blogspot.com
<a href=“http://ponderingtheprose.blogspot.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><img src="
http://ponderingtheprose.blogspot.com

Blogs I Follow

Search This Blog