Friday, October 31, 2014

A Touchdown, A Homerun, and A Goal All In One

Graphic design by Book Rock Betty
So like I say in my blog I am totally ashamed that I do not have more athlete book boyfriends...because I was a total jersey chaser in high school. I love me a good football player or sexy basketball star. Rawr. Can't wait to see who your fav book boyfriends are because I need some recs!!

Book Boyfriends Mentioned

Hot Men of the Month
Warden from The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon
Rowdy from Rowdy by Jay Crownover

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Au Revoir October--Monthly Recap

It's almost November...holy crap is it really already November???....2015 is so close...weird...Anyways.

Favorite Books I've Read This Month

VIP Reviews

My Bookish Life

Books Can Take You Places--Where I talk about the books that inspired me to travel

Other Bookish Posts
And They Lived Happily Ever After...RIGHT?!--Where I talk about the books that left my chest hurting in angst and anticipation
Let Me Love You--Where I flail and obsess over my FAVORITE kind of book boyfriend of all time!!!
My Life in Books--I need to get better at these by my most recent book haul is here 

Bookish Excitement
Coming Soon...--Hannah and I are excited to announce we are doing a re-read challenge next year!! I'm so freaking excited about this and details are to come but mark your calendars and get those favorite books ready!

My Current Obsessions

Draft Day and All Things Football
My parents came to visit me recently and it was an amazing weekend that was filled with LOTS of football! Loved every second of it. We stayed in a night and rented Draft Day and it was the perfect movie for me and my parents. We are a huge football family and this movie was just epic. It actually led to a lot of discussion about the league and players and previous drafts. 

My dad's favorite team of all time since forever has been the San Diego Charges. My dad has also hasn't left the state of Wisconsin in well over a decade and hasn't taken a vacation in even longer so OBVIOUSLY I had to take him to a game. Our seats were amazing and it was one of the best days ever. What was NOT awesome was the awful Notre Dame loss the day before...le sigh...Sidenote: That pic from our seats is not zoomed, we were really that close :)

Playing Tour Guide
I LOVED having my parents visit and taking them around San Diego. They rarely treat themselves to things like vacations so it was such an great time to show them around and take them to fun places. My dad has never seen the ocean so a hike around Torrey Pines State Park dropped us off right at the beach. It was a beautiful and amazing experience to share with my dad

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Your Caste Does Not Define You

"There are no beginnings, because everything is connected.
There are no endings, because nothing ever truly ends.
There is only where you choose to start the song,
And where you choose to stop."
--Miriam Foster, Empire of Shadows

Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 496
Publication Date: November 4th, 2014
Source: eARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Previous Books in Series: City of a Thousand Dolls (companion novel)
Goodreads Description

Cast out of her family three years ago, Mara turned to the only place that would take her—a school where students train to protect others. But Mara is stunned when guarding a noble girl in the Empire’s capital turns out to be more dangerous than she could’ve imagined. More shocking still, she finds the boy she thought she had lost forever outside the gates of her new home.

Mara knew her life in the dizzying Imperial city would hold dangers. How could she have known that her heart, as well as her life, would be at stake?

Empire of Shadows will take readers on a spellbinding journey into the world Miriam Forster first introduced in City of a Thousand Dolls—a world with a divided society, deadly courtiers, heroic traitors, and deeply laid conspiracies.
The World

I loved the world building in City of a Thousand Dolls with the different castes and hierarchy of things. Because this is a companion novel and set in an entirely different part of this world, it took me a little while to connect and remember the castes. Regardless of that, the world building is beautiful. We start out meeting Mara, who is running from something terrible that has happened to her. She seeks out sanctuary at an order of trained warriors who pledge their lives to protect a single person after their training is complete. This order exists to take away shame from those who seek their training. Thus, Mara fits right in. We are then taken outside the main city, in the woods with the Kildi, people who live off the land and trade their goods. There we meet Emil and his brother Stefan. Emil is poised to take over the leadership of his people, Stefan is the hot-headed brother who acts before thinking thus and can never do anything right in the eyes of his father. Because of Stefan's actions, Emil must follow him into the main city where Mara also is (can't give away too many plot points). The visualization of the city is gorgeous. The houses, the flowers, the palace, the bridges, it is all brought to life in my head. I loved this Arabian feel to the place and kept picturing the movie the Prince of Persia (is that the right name?) in my head. I loved it.

The Heroes

I loooooved Emil and Mara. Their connection might be instant but it is real. It isn't lovey-dovey or over the top, it just is. I really liked this. They both connect to the one good feeling they've both had in such a long time and that is meeting each other, and trust me, it gets them through a lot. Their love and devotion to those they love and choose to protect was inspiring and just lovely. They are selfless, even though they don't want to be, and I really liked seeing how their actions played out in the overall plot.

The Story

In hindsight, I liked how the story was developed in the overall scheme of the entire plot (see below for details).  It all came together at the end and there the main conflict of the story was really interesting if not a bit predictable. I especially loved the ending and how everything came really makes me want to re-read City of a Thousand Dolls to be honest. At the end I was all, OH! I need to re-read!!

The Pacing

I had a hard time connecting to this story and really feeling involved in it. The premise was interesting and I liked it but it just didn't have the *oomph* that made me want to keep reading. I felt like the beginning of the story, probably the first 60% to be honest, dragged on and it wasn't until the 60% mark that things really sped up and I was invested. That's a long time to wait to pick things up and if I didn't have this for review I might have put it down. I don't know, in hindsight I liked it so I don't know if I was in a mood or what but it just didn't grab my attention like I wanted it to.

General Admission
I love this world, I wish the plot was a little more intense and grabbed my attention but if you liked City of a Thousand Dolls, you'll enjoy this. Maybe do a re-read prior because I know I missed a lot of subtle details because I read it so long ago.
If you like good world building, noble causes, and familial loyalty, this book is for you. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Terrible Twos, My Blog is Now a Toddler

Happy Blog Birthday to me!! Oh, my gosh y'all I cannot believe I have been doing this for two years!! It is incredible to me to think about when I first started and had NO IDEA what I was doing...well, I still don't know what I'm doing most of the time but hey, life is a learning curve right? Last year for my blog birthday I was in Europe and didn't do anything...oops. But this year I thought I would try something a little different. Besides talking below about all the way that blogging has changed my life, I really want to thank all you amazing readers as well as try and rejuvenate the blog and get some new buzz and excitement going on here!

First things first. Before I started blogging I thought I was a freak. No, really. I loved reading. I geeked about numerous books. It's how I spend my free time. My friends thought I was a weirdo. "But can you sit for that long and read? I can't sit that long." Well that sucks for you because reading is awesome. I had no idea about this blogging world until I was at a book signing and this girl I was talking to asked if I blogged...uh, you mean write stuff on the internet like a dork? No, I don't blog. She said I should really think about it because it's a great way to connect with authors and other readers. What now? There are other people like me?!? So I started my blog and looooong story short, it has changed my life.

Because of blogging...
I have read books that have changed my life thanks to recommendations 
Connected with authors (who are obviously my rockstars) of my favorite books that I NEVER thought was even possible
And I can say without even a shadow of a doubt that I have met some of my very best friends that I have in my life today.

At the core of what I am grateful for due to blogging are the people I have met. I am...blessed beyond words with the friends I have made. Without blogging, there would be no Betty, Hannah, Cass or Alexa in my life. 2 years ago I did not know these amazing women existed and I thank God every day I have them in my life. (Oh, dear I'm actually getting teary eyed thinking about this). I have not had the best of luck with friends in my real life and I do not know what I did before I met these women but I do not know what I would do without them today. When I was having an emotional breakdown in Europe--Betty is the one I talked to and who was there for me. Actually...any time I'm having a moment Betty is there for me. She is my best friend with no filters, boundaries, or lines of appropriateness. Hannah is the person who is always there to let me vent and offer the most sound and realistic advice. She is always and has been there for me in many moments when I needed a friend and a pick me up. And she and I have some of the deepest conversation about book meanings and themes and, duh, our love of all things Russian. Alexa is somebody I talk to almost every single day. Well I talk to each of these girls every single day but regardless, A is the friend who will randomly text you just to ask you how your day is...and actually care. She is an amazing friend and we not only talk about real life stuff but everyday flailing. If I could screenshot every ridiculous conversation we've had about books and boys we could probably pen a book. No joke. Cass is my cursing spirit animal. She is the first person to tell me I will love a book and most likely has it in the mail already for me. Her videos she sends me basically make my day. Oh, and she has fabulous hair...bitch...She is also the one to drop all pleasantries and tell me exactly how it is. I both appreciate and respect the hell out of this. I have no idea what I would do without these amazing women and I thank God every day I have them in my life. They are the truest friends I have with the exception of my sisters. We all know blogging friends are the best friends. 

Phew. Okay, well now that I'm done being sappy! I have to also tell you more about the amazing people I am so blessed to call my friends.

Jaime and Erin at Fic Fare are two of the nicest people you will ever meet. They love books so hard and I have read so many amazing books thanks to them. They are kind and thoughtful and hilarious! I love that I can text Jaime any dirty thoughts I have while really, it's a little ridiculous. Jaime hears my venting while reading The Original Sinners and Erin is there to hear my feels in all things historical. 

Rachel, at hello, chelly, also a partner in crime in all things naughty. She has AMAZING taste in books and I know if she 4 or 5 stars a book or tells me to read something, I know I will and I know I'll love it. 

Estelle at Rather Be Reading knows my dirty mind better than I do. The NA and romance recs she gives me are impeccable. I don't know if I should be concerned that she knows this intimate part of me so well but...what are friends for, hey?

Stephanie at No BS Book Reviews is a new friend and I am SO happy I became obsessed with her blog a few months ago! OMG, flailing over all things Love, in English and The Original Sinners is pure perfection.  

Seriously you guys, their blogs are my absolute favorites and if you don't know them yet check them out. They have great tastes in books and they all bring something amazing and unique to the blogging world.

Now, let's talk about a book giveaway! You want some books? Yeah, that's right I know you do.

WELL! I recently created a Facebook page (C'mon, click 'like' you know you wanna!) for the blog which I'm SUPER excited about! I had way too much fun being inspired to think of album title and post pictures in it. I am really looking forward to connecting with people on there and updating it. So to help spread the word about my new Facebook page and my blog birthday in general, I want to do a great giveaway and I need your help! 

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below and tell me how you follow and/or how you spread the Belle of the Literati love. What books am I giving away? Glad you asked! I will be giving one book away for sure and that will be a paperback copy of The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon because it was one of my FAVORITE reads of last year...and this year. The other books I'll be giving away are a few of  my favorite life-changersadn the more people that enter the more books I'll giveaway. Up for potential grabs are...

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons
Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
Love, in English by Karina Halle

If there are any more books to giveaway in addition to The Bone Season, it will be winners choice what book they want!

Like my Facebook Page here!
Follow me on Twitter here!
And check out the right hand side to follow via Bloglovin' or Email!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 27, 2014

Trust Your Heart

"We are all of us, gods and mortals, made up of many pieces, some of them broken, some of them scarred, 
but none of them the total sum of who we are."
--Robin LaFevers, Mortal Heart

Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Pages: 464
Publication Date: November 4th, 2014
Source: ARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Previous Books in Series: Grave Mercy & Dark Triumph
Goodreads Description

Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.

She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn't mean she has...

Oh my gosh, is this really the end?! No more His Fair Assassins?! Ugh! I love this series and think the idea of assassin nuns is pretty much the biggest juxtaposition ever if not for the coolest. Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph are two of my favorite books and I was SO excited to see how our story would conclude and where our fabulous and deadly ladies would end I just really wanted to see more Duval...sorry not sorry...


This story focuses on Annith, our last girl still stuck at the covenant and not all is well. Annith is frustrated with good reason for not having been sent on an assignment yet when she has been training the longest. Bunch of bullshit if you ask me. She starts to question the abbess and if things are really as devout as she was led to believe. Much questioning occurs and Annith decides to strike out on her own and from there we have our story. Obviously a lot happens up to her leaving but I can't give you all the sexy details now, can I?

So I really had no opinion at all on Annith going into this but she clearly shows how awesome she is early on. I love that everyones perception of her is that she is a pushover and will do whatever they tell her and she's all, nuh uh bitches, I got my own game plan now. I love characters who realize that they are strong, have power of their own, and go after what they want. Annith is one of those characters. She is tired of always following the rules and wants to get shit done. She is the most talented initiate they have and they are wasting her skills. Oh, and that abbess? What a bitch. I wanted to jump inside the pages multiple times and throat punch her. Ugh. The worst. Go Annith when she stands up to this self-righteous asshole. But for real, Annith kicks ass in much the same way as Ismae and Sybella but forges her own path in doing so.

The Story

Annith's journey isn't an easy one and along the way she meets the hellequin, dead men on the hunt during the night for lost souls...creepy, much? Totally. But we DO get to meet the delicious Balthazaar here and hello! Hi! How ya doin'? You can warm me by the fire anytime you want, lover. Anyways. Their relationship is tenuous and complicated, the best kind but as much as I love a good romance, and this one is good y'all, it is not the main focus of our story.

Because I can't give too much away I will tell you that plots and secrets and answers I never knew I wanted come out. A LOT of important plot point I never thought to question play a major roll and DRAMA is on the horizon. However, my favorite character interactions, hands down, goes to our ladies. Their friendships and dynamic is oh so fun and I loved the girl time we got. Ismae, Sybella, and Annith are so strong and I LOVED LOVED LOVED seeing them right in the mix of all the political drama helping the duchess keep control of Brittany. I also didn't mind seeing Duval and Beast. The glimpses into their relationship now had me swooning and I loved revisiting them to see how devoted they still are to their loves. Sorry I can't be more detailed however it is definitely worth not knowing anything going into it.

The Perception

I think my favorite part of this entire series arc is the embrace and love they have for Death. The perception they have that death is just another part of life and a pitstop on your overall journey is beautiful as it is comforting. I love that they worship an idea that most people fear and this installment more than the others explores how death can be welcome, a comfort, and not something to fear. The scenes with Isabeau were especially poignant and had tears leaking out of my eyes. It was just so beautiful and so simple seen through the eyes of that child. I love what Robin LaFevers did with this series and these women and this message in particular.

The Pacing

While I was very into this book there were times when I felt it dragged a little. In the overall picture of the book upon finishing it all makes sense in regards to character development and plot progression but there were still times I felt that things could have been wrapped up or moved along a little quicker. I really didn't feel like the book picked up until at least page 100 if not around the 150 mark.

Reserved Seating
Defintiely pick this up if you're into historical fiction, kickass women, and strong storytelling. This is an amazing series and this book is a fantastic conclusion and left me very satisfied. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Coming Soon: The 2015 Re-Read Challenge

Want to take a break from your TBR? 

Want to relive the magic of your favorite books?

Want to participate in a laid-back, no-fuss challenge in 2015?

So Hannah and I talk a lot about books (all the time!) and one of our shared favorite passions is re-reading books. I loooooove to re-read. I love re-experiencing the magic of a favorite book. And after re-reading a few favorites this year I had a small Eureka! moment and thought, 'Hey! What about doing a re-read challenge?"...I then immediately texted Hannah to ask her what she thought...*waits impatiently hoping she doesn't tell me it's stupid*...and she LOVED it! SO The 2015 Re-Read Challenge was born. 

What will it entail? Will it be difficult and time-consuming to participate? Will it take away from my TBR and my posting schedule? We have the answers to all of those burning questions...coming soon...

Save the Date for The 2015 Re-Read Challenge
Who: Hannah from So Obsessed With blog + Me

What: The 2015 Re-Read Challenge

When: Kicking Off January 1, 2015

Where: Our Blogs + Yours

Why: Re-Reading Rocks

More details coming soon. Stay tuned for details about the challenge and to find out about the fun we've got planned!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Evil Is A Choice, Not a Birthright

"Dying overrated.
Human sentimentality has twisted it into the ultimate act of love.
Biggest load of bullshit in the world.
Dying for someone isn't the hard thing.
The man that dies escapes. Plain and simple.
Game over. End of pain.
Alina was the lucky one. Try living for someone.
Through it all--good, bad, thick, thin, joy, suffering.
That's the hard thing."
--Karen Marie Moning, Shadowfever

Genre: Adult Paranormal
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 608
Publication Date: January 18th, 2011
Source: Bought
Previous Books in Series:  Darkfever & Bloodfever & Faefever & Dreamfever
Goodreads Description

“Evil is a completely different creature, Mac. Evil is bad that believes it’s good.” — MacKayla Lane was just a child when she and her sister, Alina, were given up for adoption and banished from Ireland forever. — Twenty years later, Alina is dead and Mac has returned to the country that expelled them to hunt her sister’s murderer. But after discovering that she descends from a bloodline both gifted and cursed, Mac is plunged into a secret history: an ancient conflict between humans and immortals who have lived concealed among us for thousands of years.

What follows is a shocking chain of events with devastating consequences, and now Mac struggles to cope with grief while continuing her mission to acquire and control the Sinsar Dubh -- a book of dark, forbidden magic scribed by the mythical Unseelie King, containing the power to create and destroy worlds.

In an epic battle between humans and Fae, the hunter becomes the hunted when the Sinsar Dubh turns on Mac and begins mowing a deadly path through those she loves.

Who can she turn to? Who can she trust? Who is the woman haunting her dreams? More important, who is Mac herself and what is the destiny she glimpses in the black and crimson designs of an ancient tarot card?

From the luxury of the Lord Master’s penthouse to the sordid depths of an Unseelie nightclub, from the erotic bed of her lover to the terrifying bed of the Unseelie King, Mac’s journey will force her to face the truth of her exile, and to make a choice that will either save the world . . . or destroy it

The Conclusion

So, this is gonna have to be quick and dirty because the final book of this series is everything I wanted it to be so far be it from me to ruin it for anybody that hasn't read this series. Overall, this story to me was about personal growth, self-acceptance in the purest sense of the word, and overcoming the most intense of obstacles. Mac is a character I wasn't too sure I would grow to really love but wow, does this girl bring the heat. She has grown and adapted and evolved so incredibly much from the naive Southern Belle we met her as. She is a kickass bitch who not only kicks asses, takes names, but deports your ass. She is awesome. My favorite part of her transformation is when she gives Barrons (Jericho...drool) the business in regards to what they are. No spoilers but there is one particular scene where I was grinning like an idiot and wanting to fist pump. It was just awesome.

Jericho Barrons...I mean, what do I even say about this man? Except that he is simply one of the most complex, intricately developed characters ever. His alpha-ness makes other alphas run and cower. Learning his nuances and feelings was like Christmas freaking morning. Every little tidbit of information or insight I got on this man, I was salivating over. I cannot verbalize enough how fascinated I am by him.

OMG THE BEGINNING OF THE BOOK?! How could I forget? I sobbed the first two chapters. Oh, my gosh. Obviously I won't tell you what happened but holy feels. The repercussions of the end of Dreamfever and the beginning of Shadowfever was something I never saw coming. No joke, the story from there just skyrockets into amazing. Plot twists come out of nowhere, characters are revealed to be so much more than we initially thought, questions are answered that we have been contemplating about since Darkfever. Like, I don't even know what to say! I cannot do this book justice because there are so many reveals that I am at a loss for words...damn, this review sucks doesn't it? Ok, so I'll try to give you a little insight as to what happens. We get more info on Darroc and his plan. He meet more of Barrons' men. We get SO MUCH history about the Unseelie King and his concubine. THIS was amazing! Ok, I'm done. I don't know what else to say. All I can say is read this series. This series is completely kickass and gets better as you read it. Each book builds off the last to a conclusion that you never see coming.

The Posturing

I know this was all meant to drive the plot but the stupidity of the other side-seers in regards to how tyrannic Rowena was drove me up the walls. Like, how can you not see how bat-shit crazy this old braud is? She doesn't care about you. All she cares about is herself and hoarding all the pertinent information you need. This lady was a bully in the highest degree. How could they not see this? I have no idea what this bitch's MO was besides just being the leader and everyone following blindly. I'm with Dani on this one, you're all sheep. Baaah.

If you love a good paranormal series that is equal parts sexy and mysterious, this series is definitely for you. It is a slow burn of tension and plot reveals that leaves you dying for more...I need more Mac and Barrons.