Friday, October 24, 2014

Five Friday Favorites - Favorite Cover Trends

Five Friday Favourites is a blog meme hosted by Book Badger, and you can read more about the meme here.

When I first saw the topic I was convinced that I would never be able to come up with five different cover trends, let alone five favorite cover trends. But as I started going through my Goodreads TBR, and then all the beautiful lists in the Listopia section of Goodreads, cover trends started popping out at me from all directions. And now, my list:

1. Glamorous Gowns:

2. Title/Author Takeovers:

3. Super Views of the Back:

4. Masquerade: (And now I'm singing Phantom of the Opera....)

5. View of the Top:

(Ok, so I only found three different books/series with this particular trend. But I predict there will be more!)

What are your favorite cover trends?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Throwback Thursday #2 - Song of the Lioness Quartet

Song of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce
Books: Alanna: The First Adventure; In the Hand of the Goddess
            The Woman Who Rides Like a ManLioness Rampant
Publication Dates: 1983, 1984, 1986, 1988
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis: (From Book 1)
"From now on I'm Alan of Trebond, the younger twin. I'll be a knight.

And so young Alanna of Trebond begins the journey to knighthood. Though a girl, Alanna has always craved the adventure and daring allowed only for boys; her twin brother, Thom, yearns to learn the art of magic. So one day they decide to switch places: Disguised as a girl, Thom heads for the convent to learn magic; Alanna, pretending to be a boy, is on her way to the castle of King Roald to begin her training as a page.
But the road to knighthood is not an easy one. As Alanna masters the skills necessary for battle, she must also learn to control her heart and to discern her enemies from her allies.

Filled with swords and sorcery, adventure and intrigue, good and evil, Alanna's first adventure begins - one that will lead to the fulfillment of her dreams and the magical destiny that will make her a legend in her land."
Why I love it: I started reading Tamora Pierce's books ages and ages ago. When I was 10, my mom married my step-dad, who's a teacher and therefore had summers off. He suddenly found himself with four times as many children to entertain during the day, so he would take us to the library at least once a week. The first series of hers that I remember reading is The Circle Opens, and since then I've read everything by Tamora Pierce I can get my hands on. The Alanna series is a favorite because it's an underdog story: a young girl who would never make a very good lady switches places with her brother, determined to keep up with the boys while she trains to be a knight. Throughout the first two books her gender is still under wraps (literally...hehehe) with few exceptions, but her secret is revealed at the end of book two. The third and fourth books deal with Alanna's struggle to combine her identity as Alan, the boy with whom her friends grew up, and Alanna, the surprise Lady Knight. I highly, highly recommend these books.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wishlist Wednesday #3

Wishlist Wednesday is a book blog hop hosted by Pen to Paper where we will post about one book per week that has been on our wishlist for some time, or just added (it's entirely up to you), that we can't wait to get off the wishlist and onto our wonderful shelves.

Pages: 416
PublisherSimon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: 5/7/13

Goodreads synopsis: "Orphan Meg Fellowes makes her living picking pockets—until she steals from the wrong nobleman. Instead of rotting in prison like she expected, she’s whisked away to the court of Queen Elizabeth and pressed into royal service, where she joins four other remarkable girls in the Maids of Honor, the Queen’s secret society of protectors.

Meg’s natural abilities as a spy prove useful in this time of unrest. The Spanish Court is visiting, and with them come devious plots and hidden political motives. As threats to the kingdom begin to mount, Meg can’t deny her growing attraction to one of the dashing Spanish courtiers. But it’s hard to trust her heart in a place where royal formalities and masked balls hide the truth: Not everyone is who they appear to be. With danger lurking around every corner, can she stay alive—and protect the crown?"

Why it's on my list: So this is a series that I had actually never heard of until yesterday, when it appeared on a lot of Top Ten Tuesday lists. I just find the premise so interesting, and I love historical fiction. Most of what I've been reading lately has been fantasy, so this seems like a fun series to break up that cycle.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Top Ten New (to me) Series I Want to Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
When I first saw the topic for this week's Top Ten Tuesday, I'll admit I was a little skeptical. I just didn't think there were ten distinct series that I really wanted to read, especially since I just read the first books in a couple different series (The Iron Fey and The Raven Cycle). But I went through my Kindle, and then I went through my Goodreads. And then I realized that I had waaay more than ten that I wanted to start, so here are the first ten I came across that I really want to read.

            (Confession: I technically started Grave Mercy several weeks ago, but since I didn't get very far at                 the time and I've been reading other books in the meantime, so I don't think it should count.)
10. Legend:

Any thoughts/suggestions on these? I've heard mostly good things about all of these. His Fair Assassins might be the series with the most mixed reviews (to my knowledge), but I'm still quite interested in diving in. 

EDIT: I'm a huge dummy. I completely forgot to mention that I just started two new audiobooks, both of which are the first books in their respective series: Fallen (Fallen) and Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles).

Friday, October 10, 2014

Five Friday Favorites - Finales

Five Friday Favourites is a blog meme hosted by Book Badger, and you can read more about the meme here.

This week, the topic for Five Friday Favorites is Favorite Finales. I have to confess: I can be a terrible series reader.... if I don't like the first few books of a series, I have no qualms quitting altogether. And to be honest, I haven't really LOVED many of the series finales that I've read lately (I'm looking at you, Allegient). Here are some of finales that I did love:

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling. What kind of list would this be without Harry Potter? As far as I'm concerned, HP deserves a spot on pretty much every list of favorite anything related to books. I read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as soon as it came out, and it was JUST SO GOOD. I know there were people who didn't care as much for the epilogue, but I was not one of them.

2. Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery. This last book in the Anne of Green Gables series is a departure from the rest of the series in that it focuses on Anne's youngest daughter, Bertha Marilla Blythe, or Rilla. It's set during WWI, and many people regard it as one of the best descriptions of civilian life during that time. I just love it to pieces.

3. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. The Infernal Devices series was probably the first YA series I had read (besides the Hunger Games, which I borrowed from my parents and therefore never thought of as YA) in a very long time. I'm so glad I loved it as much as I did, because it reminded me how much I do love the YA genre. And I definitely like the Infernal Devices series better than the Mortal Instrument series, although I've only read books 1-3 in that series.

4. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. I thought this whole series was so dang cute. I loved each of the three books individually, and I loved the points where they intersected. I did find myself flipping back to Anna and the French Kiss on occasion while I was reading this, but it could easily function as a standalone.

5. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. Like I mentioned before, the Hunger Games trilogy was the first YA reading I'd done in several years. I read The Hunger Games in one day, then I read Catching Fire the next day, and then I waited an ENTIRE YEAR to read Mockingjay. I had heard a lot of polarizing things about Mockingjay, and I was just plain scared that I wouldn't like it. There were certainly aspects that I didn't like as much, but I'm not really sure how Collins could have ended the series any better.

*Bonus* I know that Crown of Midnight is only the second book in the series, BUT I absolutely love the very end (finale, if you will) of this book, when Chaol finally figures out Celaena's true identity. LOVE IT.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wishlist Wednesday #2

Wishlist Wednesday is a book blog hop hosted by Pen to Paper where we will post about one book per week that has been on our wishlist for some time, or just added (it's entirely up to you), that we can't wait to get off the wishlist and onto our wonderful shelves.

Daughter of Smoke and Bones Trilogy by Laini Taylor

Here's the mini-synopsis from the Goodreads page: "The Daughter of Smoke & Bone Trilogy Gift Set includes three hardcovers: Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Days of Blood & Starlight, andDreams of Gods & Monsters.

From master storyteller and National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor comes a sweeping and gorgeously written modern fantasy series about a forbidden love, an ancient and epic battle, and hope for a world remade."

I've read the first book in this series, and it was amazing.  Five stars.  Naturally, I now MUST own all three books ASAP (and look how beautiful they are!!). We can forget for now that all of my bookcases are overflowing and that I'm slowly losing floor space to more stacks of books. Someday I'm going to have an entire room devoted to the books I love, and this set needs to included.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Top Ten Books for readers who like character-driven novels

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

My Picks: Top Ten Books for Readers Who Like Character-Driven Novels

1. Anything by L. M. Montgomery. I LOVED her books when I was younger and they definitely stand the test of time. I've laughed and cried with Anne and Emily and Sara too many times to count, and I especially love re-reading both the Anne series and the Emily series.

 2. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. So this book is obviously full of action, but I love that Card was also devoted to the development of the characters in this book. The readers watch Ender grow up in a world where the adults manipulate everything down to the smallest details; they watch Graff show bits of humanity off and on (but let's not get too carried away there); they even watch Valentine and Peter growing up in their own sort of spotlight.

3. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. While I was reading this book, I couldn't help but wonder if there was secretly a very cute guy reading my work e-mails to and from my mom (yes, we work together.... be jealous), falling in love with me a little more every day. Hey, a girl can dream. 

4. Anything by Tamora Pierce. I know, all of her books are very action packed. BUT if you have ever read any of her series as a whole, you can see how the main characters in each series grow over the years. My favorites are the Alanna and Kel series. Those girls kick butt.

5. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (who is unrelated to *S. Morgenstern as far as I can tell). A beautiful story about two people who work with each other and in opposition to each other, falling in love all the while. And it's magical and wonderful and everything else along those lines.

6. The Cuckoo's Calling and The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (AKA JK Rowling).  I'm pretty sure that crime fiction typically doesn't fall under the character-driven heading, but Rowling is a master, and you can't help but fall in love with Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacot.

7. To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han. This was actually the first book by Jenny Han I'd read, and I just couldn't put it down. At some point I should probably stop identifying so strongly with high schoolers, but I seriously don't see that coming any time soon.

8. The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley. I know, one of Susanna Kearsley's books made it onto last week's list.  But they are JUST SO AWESOME. Besides, I've always loved massive books like these - size matters, y'all. (get your mind out of the gutter! i'm just talking about books here! criminy.) And again, her covers are also beautiful.

9. Sarah Addison Allen's books. All of them. If you like sweet, lovely magical realism or books set in the South, then these are the books for you. My favorites are The Girl Who Chased the Moon and The Peach Keeper, but her most popular is Garden Spells, the sequel to which happens to be set for 2015 publication. 

10. The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis. Although Lewis is mostly known for his Chronicles of Narnia, I think The Screwtape Letters is just so dang clever. I honestly don't think any description I write can really give this book justice.

SO. Is my list random enough for you?

*S. Morgenstern is the fictitious writer of the also-fictitious unabridged version of William Goldman's The Princess Bride. Just a little attempt at humor, but it really only works if you've read the book. The movie uses a different story-within-a-story trope.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday Post #1

Sunday Post at Caffeinated Book Reviewer: "It’s a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog. This is your news post, so personalize it! Include as much as you want or as little. Be creative, it can be a vlog or just a showcase of your goodies. Link up once a week or once a month, you decide. Book haul can include library books, yard sale finds, arcs and bought books..share them!"

Recap of last week

Yay, I have a last week of blogging to recap! Since last week was my first week of blogging, I had a HUGE list of things I wanted to do and posts I wanted to post right off the bat. Of course, I got sick early on in the week, so the only posts that went up were the pre-scheduled posts... most of my down time after work was spent binge-watching Gilmore Girls and The Blacklist on Netflix (because that's such an obvious combination). HOWEVER, I still got over 400 pageviews. That may not seem like a huge number for most established bloggers, but it's roughly 350 more pageviews than I expected, so I'm really excited about that. 

My posts, in order of total pageviews:

So I'm basically pretty darn happy with how last week went!

Coming up this week

 - Top Ten Tuesday @ The Broke and the Bookish: Top Ten Books For Readers Who Like                     Character-Driven Novels
 - Wishlist Wednesday @ Pen to Paper
 - Throwback Thursday
 - Five Friday Favorites @ Book Badger: Favorite Finales

Books I'm currently reading

I think that's all for now..... I'm looking forward to another week of blogging!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Throwback Thursday #1 - OUTLANDER

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Series: Outlander #1
Pages: 850
Publisher: Bantam Dell

Publication Date: July 1992
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
Source: Purchased


Synopsis: "The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon — when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach — an "outlander" — in a Scotland torn by war and raiding Highland clans in the year of Our Lord ... 1743.
Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into intrigues and dangers that may threaten her life ... and shatter her heart. For here she meets James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, and becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire ... and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives."

Why I love it: I read Outlander for the first time during my Christmas vacation in 2007, and I honestly couldn't put it down that whole week. I'm pretty sure I even brought it to read in the car for the 15-minute drive to the mall. Not long after I finished Outlander, I borrowed a copy of the second book in the series (Dragonfly in Amber). However, that coincided with my first semester at a new college, so I wasn't able to keep up the momentum. So while I've read and re-read Outlander several times, I still haven't made it through any of the other books in the series. I'm sure I'll get to them eventually; with the Starz series out now (the first half of season one has already aired and the show will be returning on April 4th, 2015), I feel like I've been sucked back in.

Outlander (Outlander, #1)

Throwback Thursday: The world knows #tbt on Twitter and Instagram, but here at Sarah Can't Stop Reading, Throwback Thursday is the perfect time to reminisce about favorite books I've read in the distant or not-so-distant past.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wishlist Wednesday #1

Wishlist Wednesday is a book blog hop hosted by Pen to Paper

Synopsis from Lauren Oliver's website: "Lauren Oliver makes her adult debut with this mesmerizing story in a tale of family, ghosts, secrets, and mystery, in which the lives of the living and the dead intersect in shocking, surprising, and moving ways.
Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance.
But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.
The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results."

I confess, I've never actually read anything by Lauren Oliver... yet. And while I have a low tolerance for creepy things, I think this book looks good enough for me to put that aside! I just need to find a stretch of time when I know I won't be house sitting for a while, so I'll at least have the comfort of staying in my own bed while I read potentially scary things! I know a lot of people are reading it now, so I'm curious to see what everybody has to say!