Wednesday, September 13, 2017

{DNF Review} Trust (Between the Lions #1) by Jodi Baker

26240728

Page Count: 296
Published on: October 3, 2015
Published by: BookBaby
Genre(s): Urban Fantasy, Supernatural, Mythology, Fantasy, YA, MG 
Source: Paperback - via publisher
Age Rating: YA
Where To Find It: Goodreads // Amazon
Twitter@jodibakerbooks


My Rating: 1 star - DNF









Goodreads synopsis

TRUST is a young adult, mythological, urban fantasy thrill ride about the darkly fantastical, supernatural Museion that has secretly protected humanity’s greatest treasures for millennia, and Anna, the sixteen-year-old New York girl who is the unknowing Heir to it all:

TRUST.
That’s what the voice inside my head kept repeating when I woke up between the infamous lion statues of the New York Public Library, with no idea how I got there and no memory of the last year of my life.

The only person I ever trusted was my mother, who lied about everything.

I want to trust myself, despite my missing memories. But hearing a voice inside my head obviously isn’t a good thing, especially since it know things I don’t… like how to speak Ancient Sumerian, the fact that yellow-eyed people aren’t actually people, and that my mother’s Egyptian ankh necklace was the key to unlocking the truth she was hiding:

I’m the last in a long lineage of powerful women whose secrets date back to the ancient Library of Alexandria.

I’m fighting like hell to stay alive while searching for both my missing mother and the truth, desperate to find something or someone I can trust.

~~~

Hey, guys!

    I was sent Trust quite a while ago, but because of school, book slumps, and failed attempts at even starting. I haven't had the chance, lately, to just sit down and power through it. I was sent this book after helping the author promote the release of her book through a giveaway and guest post. She and her agent sent me a book a few weeks after the giveaway. I this book really intrigued me. I love mythology and I love the mystery behind the library of Alexandria, but this book just was not for me. 

    Trust follows a sixteen-year-old girl, Anna as her life is turned upside down through paranormal and supernatural events after her mother goes missing. Anna begins to hear a mysterious voice in her head ...who can speak ancient Sumarian and knows about her ancient bloodline. As Anna continues to discover more and more about her family, she begins to doubt that she can trust anyone she comes across.

      This book has a great premise, however, I did not like it much at all. I read the first 30% of the book, but I really just could not get into the book. I usually give a book about 40-50 pages before I DNF it, but I really was hoping for Trust to pick back up. I have tried to start this book three or four times, but I didn't get into it. I thought it was just a timing issue, but I really do not think that is the case. This book just was not for me. 
      
     As I started this book and got a decent chunk read, I realized that I really did not like how the characters were established. I didn't like their personalities and I just didn't care about what was happening to them. Not to mention, I really did not care for Baker's writing style.The way she wrote the dialogue to any scene, the constant rambles, the random monologues. It just wasn't interesting to me and I just found all of the characters to be annoying. Everything was described vaguely and even moments that I figured would have more substance to them lacked everything I would hope for. 

    This book was just not for me. I think that this book could be marketed for the middle grade genre. The writing style lacked the depth of what I would expect from a young adult novel. I expected something with some Percy Jackson vibes, but...no.

Happy reading!
Olivia
~LivTheBookNerd~

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

{Review} Night Shift by Debi Gliori

32574766
Page Count: 32
Published on: January 12, 2017
Published by: Hot Key Books
Genre(s): Sequential Art, Graphic Novel, Children's, Picture Book, Mental Health
Source: Hardback - via publisher
Age Rating: YA
Where To Find It: Goodreads // Amazon
Twitter@


My Rating: 4.5 stars



Goodreads synopsis:

'Debi Gliori is amazing. Her pictures offer people an insight into depression that words often struggle to reach. She makes visible the invisible. And I for one want to thank her for that.'
- Matt Haig, bestselling author of Reasons to Stay Alive

A groundbreaking picture book on depression with stunning illustrations.

With stunning black and white illustration and deceptively simple text, author and illustrator Debi Gliori examines how depression affects one's whole outlook upon life, and shows that there can be an escape - it may not be easy to find, but it is there. Drawn from Debi's own experiences and with a moving testimony at the end of the book explaining how depression has affected her and how she continues to cope, Debi hopes that by sharing her own experience she can help others who suffer from depression, and to find that subtle shift that will show the way out.

'I have used dragons to represent depression. This is partly because of their legendary ability to turn a once fertile realm into a blackened, smoking ruin and partly because popular mythology shows them as monstrous opponents with a tendency to pick fights with smaller creatures. I'm not particularly brave or resourceful, and after so many years battling my beasts, I have to admit to a certain weariness, but I will arm-wrestle dragons for eternity if it means that I can help anyone going through a similar struggle.'
 


~~~
Hey, guys!

      I was sent this stunning picture book for an honest review from Hot Key Books and I'm so glad that they contacted me to read this. This book is so inspirational and it revolves around such an important topic that should be discussed with all age groups. 

      Night Shift is a gorgeous picture book about the author, Deb Gliori's, struggle with depression. Throughout the book, Gliori's illustrations and story personify her struggles in order to explain the impact that depression can have on a person. Through her art and her testimony at the end of the book, Gliori captures how mental illness can impact a person psychologically, physically, and emotionally. 

     I really thought this book was beautiful. Gliori's illustrations were not only beautiful, they were impactful and inspiring. As someone who does not have depression and has never experienced the full impact of what it can do, I thought this book really informed me of what others face everyday. Her journey through her hardships really spoke to me and her message of hope and healing was so beautiful.

I highly recommend this book to everyone. This revolves around such an important topic that I think children of all ages are capable of understanding. I'm so excited to share this book with everyone. 

Happy reading!
Olivia
~LivTheBookNerd~

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Thursday, September 7, 2017

{Review} The Audition (Seraphina #0.5) by Rachel Hartman

15715106
Page Count: 17
Published on: June 19th 2012
Published by: Random House Books for Young Readers 
Genre(s): Fantasy, YA, Short Stories, High Fantasy, Fiction
Source: Hardback - personally purchased --in my edition of Seraphina
Age Rating: YA
Where To Find It: Goodreads // Scribd
Twitter@_rachelhartman


My Rating: 5 stars










Goodreads synopsis:

The Audition is a free prequel to Seraphina available online. It takes place a few weeks prior to Seraphina, covering Seraphina Dombegh's audition to become Viridius's assistant and thus Glisselda's music tutor.


~~~


Hey, guys!

      This little novella was included in my copy of Seraphina, so of course, I had to review it. I absolutely adored this addition to Seraphina's story. After reading Seraphina, you get a great look into Seraphina and Orma's relationship. After reading The Audition, I really appreciated their relationship dynamic even more. I love their friendship and I love how they interact with each other. 

      I also really loved how this novella revealed Seraphina's hardworking and determined attitude even before she earned the position with the music master. I love her kindness, her snarky attitude, and her passion for music. I can't wait to read book 2, Shadow Scale. 

      I can't reveal much about this book because of spoilers, but if you loved Seraphina and you love The Inheritance Cycle, then you will love this novella. I highly recommend it. It's so much fun. 
My Review for Seraphina: {click here}

Happy reading!
Olivia
~LivTheBookNerd~

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

{DNF Review} Snowball by M.Y. Zeman

27027146
Page Count: 248
Published on: September 15, 2015
Published by: Createspace
Genre(s): Fantasy-Paranormal, Middle Grade
Source: Paperback - via author
Age Rating: Middle Grade
Where To Find It: Goodreads // Amazon // Book Depository
Twitter@myzeman1


My Rating: DNF'd









Goodreads synopsis:

Heroes don't come any furrier than this.. I wasn't born with a scar on my forehead. I'm not an heir to a distant kingdom. The destiny I was born to was simply to die in a laboratory. My ability? To become small and furry. But becoming a hero doesn't happen overnight and destiny is a funny thing. In one moment the kindness of a stranger- or in my case a vampire - can change everything. My name is Snow and I am a wererabbit. Snow Everly was born a rabbit and believed that her destiny was to die in a cold laboratory. Then one winter night, a vampire breaks in searching for his missing research. When the lab goes up in flames he goes back and rescues her. When she turns three years old, Snow gains the ability to shift into a girl. Why was she created? Who and what are the mysterious figures following her? Follow Snow on her journey as she searches for the answers. Snow's dream is to one day become a hero and above all else - she wants to be accepted for who she is - a wererabbit.

~~~

Hey, guys!

    I was sent M.Y. Zeman's three released books for an honest review. Unfortunately, I really could not get into book one, Snowball. I feel like this book would have been something I would have enjoyed when I was in middle school, but I just could not get behind the premise at this time. At first, I thought this book was interesting and I thought I would continue on, but it really put me in a slump.This book really was not for me. 

     This book follows the young wererabbit, Snow when she's rescued from a burning laboratory by a vampire. The first 70 pages that I read of this book followed Snow as she grew up. I stopped while she was a toddler, but I really could not get behind how slow her development was. I just didn't enjoy the way Zeman had written her childhood. I felt like she could have gotten to the meat of the story much more quickly. I was at first, really interested in her vampire guardian's story, but he got really boring as the book continued, too. I just really did not enjoy the characters or premise as the story continued on.

    I think that younger paranormal-loving readers would really get into this book, but it just was not for me. It was strange and I didn't like the way the story built up. 

Happy reading!
Olivia 
~LivTheBookNerd~
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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

{Review} Seraphina (Seraphina #1) by Rachel Hartman

19549841
Page Count: 499
Published on: July 10, 2012
Published by: Henry Holt & Company
Genre(s): Fantasy, High Fantasy, YA, Romance
Source: Hardback - personally purchased & audio --via library/Overdrive
Age Rating: YA
Where To Find It: Goodreads // Amazon // Book Depository
Twitter@_rachelhartman



My Rating: 4.75 stars







Goodreads synopsis:

In her New York Times bestselling and Morris Award-winning debut, Rachel Hartman introduces mathematical dragons in an alternative-medieval world to fantasy and science-fiction readers of all ages. Eragon-author Christopher Paolini calls them, "Some of the most interesting dragons I've read in fantasy."

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.



~~~



Hey, guys!

      After having Seraphina on my shelf for months and months, I've finally picked it up for the booktubeathon and TomeTopple read-a-thons. I originally picked it up via audiobook so I could read and paint at the same time, but I ended up finishing it in physical format. I really did enjoy the audiobook, but I think that because my focus was on two tasks, I didn't retain as much as I would have if I had just started and finished in physical format. Granted, the beginning was a bit slow, so I'm not sure if I would have continued the book if I had started in physical format. After a couple chapters, however, the book really picked up and I was sucked in. 

     Seraphina follows Seraphina Dombegh. Seraphina is a fantastically gifted musician as she joins the court of Goredd. As she begins her apprenticeship with the court master musician, a member of the royal family is mysteriously murdered in a draconian fashion. In Seraphina, humans and dragons live in peace -- the dragons in their human shape (saarantras). Seraphina is drawn into the investigation and under the scrutinous eye of the captain of the queen's guard, Prince Lucian Kiggs. As Seraphina attempts to keep her secrets and struggles to herself, she fears that her secrets will change her life forever. 

    My issues with the book are mainly caused by my own indecisiveness, but there was one main issue that I had that definitely was not because of my strange reading habits. I honestly think that this book is a bit slow in the beginning. It's probably because of the world building, the introduction of the characters, the world, the political standings, etc. However, I really do think it was essential for this novel. This book is so original and wonderfully done. Rachel Hartman's world is so diverse and intelligent and fascinating to learn about. I never felt like the author was trying to fit too much world building or the heavier topics into her book.The important topics that she wrote about were never dumbed down for the reader. Rachel Hartman has such a beautiful writing style. Her intelligence and wisdom just shine through.

      I really did not know if I would like this book when starting it. Lots of people raved about it back in 2012 and 2013, but I never really took the effort to get into it. I'm not sure if I would have fully appreciated this back when I was 14 or 15, but at age 19/20, I really enjoy this style of book. I adore the political intrigue, the secrets, the mystery, the fantastical magic system. I loved the dragon species and the depth behind the history of Goredd. I'm definitely going to have to pick up Shadow Scale when I'm not on a book buying ban. 

      I absolutely loved Hartman's new take on dragon-kind. I'm usually wary when reading dragon books, as they're usually really unoriginal or just bland as heck. In my opinion, Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle cannot be beaten, but Hartman's Seraphina really impressed me and comes as a close second. It definitely deserved the many awards it has won. Hartman has the ability to successfully write a novel that covers all of the important topics --politics, equality, acceptance, etc. Her method of discussing acceptance, alone, was beautiful and done so well. I adore her characters and the depth behind their personalities. 

      Seraphina is such a fantastic character. She was so snarky and grumpy in the best way. She's so different and dynamic. I loved her attitude and passion for equality and the truth. Her friendship with the princess, the prince/captain, and her fellow court musicians was so fun to read about. She's not perfect, at all, but she's so naturally good. I loved how she dealt with all of her domestic issues and her friendships, as well as managing her secrets. She never became someone she wasn't and I adored her for it. 

      I'm not too keen on the romance aspect of the book. I can't get past some dishonest aspects of it. Maybe that will be resolved in Shadow Scale. I hope it is. 

      Overall, this book was really good. I'm definitely going to check out book two and more of Rachel Hartman's future works. I love her writing style and I adore her ability to create a dynamic and interesting cast of characters. 

Happy reading!
Olivia
~LivTheBookNerd~

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Thursday, August 31, 2017

August 2017 Book Haul


Hey, guys!

      I've done so well this month and I basically haven't bought any books! I did let myself splurge right before school started, so that's where two of them came from. My boyfriend and I went on a mini-adventure to the city and went to the nearest Barnes and Noble. We spent probably two and a half hours in there and I know that I had a blast. I can't speak for him, but he came out with some goodies as well. I love Barnes and Noble! Here are the books I bought (2) and received (3). 

Bought/Received 

  • Night Shift by Deb Gliori*
    • Thank you
    • 4 stars
    • Review coming September 12
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
    • Reread/Current read/Buddy listen
    • Previous rating: 4 stars
    • Review: {click here}
  • The Gunslinger by Stephen King
    • TBR
  • I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education & Was Shot By the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb
    • Currently reading for my university's book club
  • First Came Forever by Annie Woods*
    • TBR - thank you, Annie Woods, for sending me your book!
*review copies 

Text Books:

  • Utilitarianism by John Stuart Mill
    • Already finished...I hated it. 
  • Aristotle the Nicomachean
  • It's Not News, It's FARK by Drew Curtis
  • Technopoly the Surrender of Culture to Technology by Neil postman
  • Moral Tribes: Emotion Reason and the Gap Between Us and Them by Joshua Greene
  • The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
  • Grendel by John Gardner
  • Beowulf
  • The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
  • Revolutions in the Atlantic World: A Comparative History by Wim Klooster

I can't wait to read these books. I mean....only a couple of my textbooks look good, but oh well. I can't wait to read the books I picked up/received for me. 

From Barnes & Noble: 2
From School: 1
For School: 10 (waiting for +2)
For Review: 2

Number of Books I've Read: 3
Number of Books I'm Currently Reading: 4
Number of Books Unread: 8



Happy reading!
Olivia
~LivTheBookNerd~

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

August 2017 Reading Wrap Up



Hey, guys!

      This past month was so busy! Because I've been preparing for my second year of college, I've been frantically getting all of the last minute odds and ends sorted out. I've been writing up a storm so that I can have as many blog posts posted on time as possible.  Throughout that month, I managed to read 7 books and 2 novellas. I also, unfortunately, DNF'd two books and managed to have 5+ books on my currently reading shelf by the end of the month. Here are the books I actually finished this month.




  • The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
    • Rating: 3.75 stars
  • Seraphina (Seraphina #1) by Rachel Hartman
    • Rating: 4.5 stars 
    • Review coming: September 5
  • The Audition (Seraphina #0.5) by Rachel Hartman
    • Rating: 5 stars
  • {DNF} Snowball (Chronicles of a Wererabbit #1) by M.Y. Zeman*
    • DNF Review: September 9
  • Night Shift by Debi Gliori*
    • Rating: 4 stars
    • Review coming: September 12
  • Siege & Storm (Shadow & Bone #2) by Leigh Bardugo
    • Review coming: September 14
  • The Tailor (Shadow & Bone #1.5) by Leigh Bardugo
    • Review coming: September 14
  • {DNF} Trust (Between the Lions #1) by Jodi Baker*
    • DNF Review coming: September 13
  • Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas
    • Rating: 4.75 stars
    • Review coming: September 19
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik
    • Rating: 4 stars?
    • I'm not writing a full review, check out my explanation why, {here}!
  • Utilitarianism by John Stuart Mill
    • No Rating - for school
    • I definitely did not choose to read this book. I didn't understand a lot of it...
Number of Pages Read: 2,488
Favorite Book Read: Heir of Fire
Least Favorite Book Read: the DNFs
Number of Sponsored Reads: 1 + the two DNFs
Number of Non-Sponsored Reads: 6

Number of School Texts: 1

You can check out what I'm reading over the next couple weeks here. I'm a mess of a reader, so I plan to stick to the TBR for the time being. 



Happy reading!
Olivia 
~LivTheBookNerd~
@LivTheBookNerd on Books Amino