Monday, November 23, 2015

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

OK, I must start this post by saying, I am an idiot! The first page of my notes for this review note my confusion at the change of characters, and even the change of planet from the first book.

But wait...this is the first book in the series...

So, I recently read Six of Crows, which was awesome, and I was upset that I would have to wait so long for the sequel to be released. If you look at the cover of Six of Crows, it looks similar to this cover, in that it has a black wing on it, and this one has a red wing on it. I'm not sure how my mind did this, but when I saw a giveaway for Red Rising, my brain thought, "Oh, I won't have to wait so long to read the sequel!"

So, when I started reading the book, I began my review about how excited I was that I wouldn't have to wait so long to read the sequel to Six of Crows, because I found a copy through the library.

I am ashamed how long it took me to look at the GoodReads page, which clearly says, after the title:
(Red Rising #1), especially since this book is set on a completely different planet than Six of Crows. I do not know if I even want to say how far in the book this was... I must also note, that in my first page of notes on the book, that I wrote "I was so confused by the first chapter, that I had to be sure that I was not reading the sequel to Red Queen, which I am also patiently waiting to read, and I have on hold at the library."

But I digress...

Now, on to the review of Red Rising #1, which is NOT the sequel to Six of Crows (or any other book, for that matter). Reading the Panem Companion has caused me to contemplate what I'm reading on many different levels than I had been.  The author does a lot of world building in this book, and he does it very well. Music and dance plays a large role in the main character's community, and unlike in our society, where dance is often deemed as "feminine," the main male character, Darrow, prides himself in his uncle teaching him the dances of his people.

Theirs is a society where classism (or should I say, colorism?) rules, but gender roles have progressed, and it is common for women to hold positions of power. In fact, the highest position is held by a women, Octavia au Lunes.

Here, the woman is king.
The importance of family is all Darrow knows at first, and his love for Eo is apparent from the first few pages (I looked at the quotes that I wrote down, and they seem to have mini-spoilers, so I will leave them out, for now).

I found many similarities to the Hunger Games that I would not have, before reading the Panem Companion. The character in this book and their society is perhaps even more influenced by the Roman empire than the Hunger Games trilogy. This book also reminds me in other ways of the HG but I will avoid giving any spoilers....

So I digress...again...

This book also has some huge differences from the HG. I was completely baffled by the ending and cannot wait to see what happens next, and I assure you, when I get the sequel, I will check to make sure it is, indeed, the sequel to THIS book!

Friday, November 20, 2015


Hello everyone! I've been pretty busy this past week. I have had some time to read, but no time to post the reviews. : ( I've got a long weekend ahead of me, with class all night tonight and all day tomorrow and Sunday. Check in with me after this weekend and I should have a couple of new reviews up. I just finished reading Red Rising and a couple of other books! And you're going to want to hear all about me!

In the mean time, since I have no reviews to offer you, I will offer you the opportunity to win some awesome prizes! Since this is a book blog, I had to, of course, share a couple of the book giveaways that I've come across, but also, since it's the beginning of the holiday season, I thought it might be good to share one that would make great gifts! Also, in case you didn't realize it through my review of First Division Rags, I am indeed, an animal lover. So, of course, one of the giveaways is pet themed!

Good luck everyone, and see you in a few days!

Click the image to enter for a chance to win a new release book of the winner's choice, worth up to $20 CAD. This giveaway is open internationally, as long as The Book Depository ships to you!

I haven't had a chance to check this one out yet, but it looks pretty good! I would love for one of you to win it, so you can tell me how it is! Click the image to view a description of the book, as well as an interview with the author, and of course, enter for a chance to win a hardcover copy of the book! U.S. residents only, please!

Something for Everyone 2015 Giveaway
Prize Package Includes:
  • (1) Teach My Kit (winner’s choice of Baby. Toddler or Preschooler) – $40 value

  • Baby Laundry New Baby Bundle – $96 value
  • Baby Birds/Pink Stripe Burpie: $17.99
  • Baby Birds/Pink Stripe Cuddle: $17.99
  • Baby Birds/Pink Stripe Baby Blanket: $39.99
  • Pink Swaddler: $19.99

  • I See Me! Book (winner choice of book) – $35 value
  • John Paul Pets – Holiday Gift Set (choice of Oatmeal or Tea Tree) – $19.50 value
  • (1) Crane Humidifier – (winners choice of (1) drop or adorable style) – $55 value
    Click HERE to win! One lucky USA winner will receive all of these prizes Valued at over $420!! Contest will end 12/5 and winner will be e-mailed. Please respond within 48 hours so sponsors can be contacted and ship prizes out in time for the Holidays. Legal residents only, void where prohibited.
    One person will win:
    Teach My Kit (Winner's choice of baby, toddler or preschooler) - $40 value
    Sophie the Giraffe - Sopie So'Chic - $35 Value
    Woodie Spect - Wooden Watch - $100 value
    I See Me! Book (Winner's choice of book) - $35 value
    John Paul Pets - Holiday Gift Set (Choice of Oatmeal or Teah Tree) - $19.50 value
    Crane Humidifier (Winner's choice of drop or adorable style) - $55 value
    Laline Monoi Body Scrub 500G - $40 value
    A Touch of Dazzle Christmas Necklace - $30 value
    Baby Laundry New Baby Bundle - $96 value
        Includes: Baby Birds/Pink Stripe Burple ($17.99)
                        Baby Birds/Pink Stripe Cuddle ($17.99)
                        Baby Birds/Pink Stripe Blanket ($39.99)
                        Pink Swaddler ($19.99)
    Total Value: $451                   

    One USA winner will receive their choice of a Dog or Cat kit complete with $150 arv product! 5- $20 coupons for up to 5lbs of food and samples to try right away!

    Winner will have their choice of a Dog or Cat box:

    Dog Box (approx. $150 value):
        5 lb Kibble - Red Meat Medly
        1.5 lb In the Raw - Raw Raw Beef Boom Ba
        Nice Jerky - Venison = Lamb Jerky Bites
        $100 in coupons (5 coupons with $20 value each)

    Cat Box (approx. $125 value):
        5 lb Kibble - Poultry A Plenty
        2 cans - Chicken Lickin'
        2 cans - Oh My Cod!
        2 cans - Puurky Turkey
        $100 in coupons (5 coupons with $20 value each)

    Again, GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!  Let me know what you think about the giveaways, and check back in after the weekend is over!

    Friday, November 13, 2015

    The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss by Max Wirestone

    Immediately, the author reveals her wit in this book. The first few pages where Dahlia describes her life are hilarious.

    Here are a couple of my favorites:

     He said with a sparkle in his eye. The kind of sparkle you'd find on Santa's face. Or a mental patient's.
    I don't mean that metaphorically - I fell off my chair. I didn't land on the floor because, legs - but to (be) perfectly clear: Ass left chair. 

    This is not the type of book that I would usually read, but I'm glad I did!

    Although I might not have been clued into some of the geeky humor in the book, it did not take away from the reading experience.

    Also, with these types of stories, I am usually somewhat able to predict the outcome, and in this case, I was way off. (Yeah, I admit it.)

    Also, I would like to note (mainly to the author, although I am not delusional and know that she will likely not see this) that I did, in fact, read the acknowledgements in their entirety, mainly out of pure curiousity and with no intent to plunder his fortune.

    I really liked this book and would totally read another Dahlia story.

    I received a copy of this book for free from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

    Thursday, November 12, 2015

    The Panem Companion (The Hunger Games Companions) by V. Arrow

    I must start this off by saying that I am a HUGE fan of all things Hunger Games! Yes the series and the movies (no criticism please!).

    With the newest movie release coming up, I thought it the perfect time to refresh myself on all things Panem, especially since it's been a few years since I (binge) read the series. *cough: before I watched the first movie, when it was coming out on DVD cough*

    When I first started reading this book, I was mainly picking up on all the differences between the books and the movies that I overlooked. However, this book brings up so many things that I didn't pick up on during my binge read of the series. 

    This book digs in deep! It combc through Panem's structure, from its geography, socioeconomic system, race, gender, classism... It even looks at the actual odds that Peeta and Prim would be drawn for the reaping for the 74th Hunger Games! Then, subsequently explores family makeup and values in all of the districts and the Capitol. 

    I am amazed at the depth that Susan Collins went in telling this story and the depths that the author had to dig to collect even the subtlest hints in each book. The book even examines the origin of each character's name! I had no idea of the references to Greek mythology and the Roman Empire conveyed throughout the Hunger Games trilogy. 

    Usually, I would not have enjoyed, and truthfully, probably would not have even finished a book like this. However, my love of all things Hunger Games made this an exciting read! It made me want to read the series again, and I am curious how my new-found knowledge will change the reading experience. I know I will be looking much more closely at how the next movie includes many of the things I learned in this book. 

    I received a copy of this book for free from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

    Tuesday, November 10, 2015

    Gasa Gasa Girl Goes to Camp: A Nisei Youth Behind A World War II Fence by Lily Yuriko Nakai Havey, Cherstin Lyon

    For those of us who were not born at the time of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Japanese, and the Asian people as a whole in the US, were treated like anyone that looked Arab was treated after 9/11. Gasa Gasa Girl goes to Camp is the story of one girl’s experience [n the Japanese camps after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. When her family first departed for the camp, Yuriko thought her family would go camping in the woods in a tent, just as the all-white Girl Scouts got to do every summer. The reality of the ugly, black buildings upon their arrival was a shock to the young girl. She thought the camping trip would be the beginning of a new relationship with her father, instead, he turned into an “elusive shadow” that summer, a stranger to his family.

    Contains spoilers: 

    Her family went from living in “Hollywood, a poor section, to be sure, but Hollywood,” to living “in a barrack at a racetrack.” Her father retreated into a bottle. The rest of the family “internalized the principles of gaman and shikatanagonai…teaming not to verbalize fears, frustration and conflict,” and gambano, meaning “take whatever life brings.”

    “Stoic and principled Japanese were supposed to handle unbearable situations in this matter.” Her parents both had terrible childhoods and now their daughter was experiencing, not at the hands of her parents, “but at the hands of the government that promised them freedom and a better life.” Yuriko was terrified of even using the bathroom at night for the fear of being shot by American guards.
    Yuriko did not identify with the Japanese that bombed Pearl Harbor. “The Japanese - these other war mongering Japanese – had deprived me of those things. However, I sensed that somehow OUR American government, MY American government was also responsible. It had made the decision to rip thousands of people from their homes and place them in isolated camps.

    Yuriko spent three years in the camp, growing and maturing in them. When it was time to leave, she couldn’t remember much about “real life.” She wasn’t sure if it would be better than the camp and was unsure about the unfamiliar and unknown.

    Lately, I have been reading a lot about the Holocaust and individuals’ experiences in the concentration camps. So, when I saw this book on NetGalley, it peaked my interests. I had not read any accounts of individual experiences in the Japanese camps and didn’t really know much about them or about how life was for Asians in American during the time after the Pearl Harbor bombing. This book opened my eyes to the similarities between how people reacted after 9/11 towards anyone that looked Arab or Muslim.

    I just finished a Multicultural Diversity class, and many of the themes in this book fit along with things we addressed in class. In fact, I am going to suggest this book to my teacher. It gives you great insight into the life of Asians during that time, and I think it is important for people to read things like this. When individuals do something bad, it does not mean that their entire race is bad. This is something that speaks to our society today just as much as it did during Yuriko’s story.

    I received a copy of this book for free from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

    Devil's Daughter (Lucinda's Pawnshop #1) by Hope Schenk-de Michele, Paul Marquez, Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

    Brittany Anders just made partner at DC & P, as "am associate with the firm for only two years, fresh out of law school." Just as she got promoted, she started dating a senior partner, named Aaron Price, who assured her that he "didn't work that way" and that him asking her out was not related to her new status at the firm. 

    Upon learning of an unexpected "bump in the road," as Aaron called it, in her first big case as partner, Brittany took a walk to contemplate her options and stumbled upon Lucinda's Pawn Shop, which drew her in to look for something to commemorate her new found success. However, this book is much more about the Lucinda than it is Brittany.

    Ok, so I'm actually a little conflicted as to how I feel about the way this book ended. Yes, I do want to read the sequel, and yes, I usually hate reading the first book in a series and not being able to immediately read the next one. I hate having to wait to see what happens, especially when the book ends with a nail biting cliff hanger. 

    However, I found myself a little disappointed that this book did not have the dramatic ending that would have made me super upset that I would have to wait so long to see what happens next. Sp, I'm perplexed at my feelings... on one hand, I'm not so upset at how long I have to wait for the next installment. On the other hand, I feel that this book lacked the amazing, dramatic ending that it deserved.

    Even if you haven't read this one yet, tell me what you think! Are you content reading the first book in a series and waiting a year or so for the next to come out? Or do you immediately open the next book in the series after finishing the first and get upset (and perhaps cry if the first book was that good) if it is not out yet?

    I received a copy of this book for free from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

    Monday, November 9, 2015