Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I've Read So Far In 2015

Happy Tuesday and welcome to Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  The theme this week is Books I've Read So Far In 2015.  I've read quite a few good ones so this will be a little challenging!  Here they are in order from most recent with my reviews linked:

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie Stiefvater

The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Ms. Marvel (Volume 1 and Volume 2) by G. Willow Wilson

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

City of Savages by Lee Kelly

The Martian by Andy Weir

Shutter by Courtney Alameda

The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters


The Girl from Felony Bay by J.E. Thompson

What do you think of my favorites from this year?  Do we share any titles?  Have any recommendations for me?  By the way, I love comments and I always try to respond to each!

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie Stiefvater - Review

❋ ❋ ❋ ❋ 

For the first time, Blue has found her place and a group of friends she can trust. She's one of The Raven Boys now - their problems are hers and her problems are theirs. However, things that have been found can easily be lost. Friends can betray, mothers can disappear, visions can mislead, and certainties can unravel.

Maggie Stiefvater is one of my favorite authors. She is so fantastic - I should give everything she writes five stars on principle. Regardless, she always earns each and every star and Blue Lily, Lily Blue is no exception.

While this story is based in mythology, the characters do most of the heavy lifting. The first book in the series was Adam's, the second was Ronan's, and this one is definitely Blue's story. All of the characters in this series are well-written and defined. The characters have matured in their own way over the course of the series, which we can see most in Adam. Gansey and Ronan are my two favorite characters by far and each have moments in this installment. Understandably, I'm very nervous for Gansey (and Noah) in the upcoming final book, The Raven King.

Stiefvater's writing is brilliant and lyrical as always. I need The Raven King - March 1st, 2016 cannot arrive soon enough! If you haven't read this series yet, I can't recommend it enough.

I read this novel from June 19 - 27, 2015 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Blogger Recognition Award

I have been nominated by Escape Inside the Pages for the Blogger Recognition Award!  Thanks so much - this is such an honor! This Award was originally created by Eve @ Edge of Night - thanks to you as well for coming up with such a great idea for an award!

Here are the rules:

  • Select 15 other blogs you want to give the award to. Do some digging if you must! Find those blogs. You cannot nominate yourself or the person who has nominated you.
  • Write a post to show off your award! Give a brief story of how your blog got started, and give a piece or two of advice to new bloggers. Thank whoever nominated you, and provide a link to their blog. List who you’ve nominated in the post.
    • Make sure to also attach the award itself! (You can do this by right-clicking, saving, and uploading the image above).
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you’ve nominated them. Provide a link to the award post you created.
  • Provide a link to the original post on Edge of Night. That way, anyone can find the original guidelines and post if needed, and we can keep it from mutating and becoming confusing!
How I got started in the blogosphere:

I initially started this blog on August 12, 2014.  I had been wanting to start up a personal/ book blog for quite awhile but that was the day I finally made the jump.  I had worked on two blogs before, but neither were personal.  Those two were for school purposes.  The first was the class blog for a children's lit course back when I was a senior in college from 2010-2011 and the second acted as my practicum log as I was completing my master's degree in 2012.  I also got hooked on Goodreads around 2012 which I started by posting book reviews that I had written for various courses during my master's program.  I loved what blogging I had done and participating on Goodreads.  Eventually, I realized that I wanted to create my own blog which is where Always Me got it's start.  It has been quite a ride and I've enjoyed every second of carving out my own little piece of the internet and meeting lots of interesting people who love to read and talk about reading and their other geeky hobbies as much as I do.  

Tips for other bloggers:
  • Don't be afraid to talk about what you like and always let your own voice come through.  
  • Read widely and push your boundaries.
  • Don't pigeon hole yourself.
  • Explore and make friends with fellow bloggers.
  • Have fun!

My nominations:

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): The Quantum Thief (Jean Le Flambeur #1) by Hannu Rajaniemi

Welcome to The Friday 56, a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice.

These are the rules:
1. Grab a book, any book.
2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader.
3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you.
4. Post it.
5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda's most recent Friday 56 post.

I'm also taking part in Book Beginnings, a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader.  The rules are pretty simple - you share the first sentence or so and your initial thoughts, impressions, or whatever else it inspires.  Don't forget to link up your post's url with Rose City Reader.

This week I'm spotlighting my upcoming read, The Quantum Thief (Jean Le Flambeur #1) by Hannu Rajaniemi.  It sounds like it's going to be an awesome, mind-bending cyberunk novel.   And, I found this at my local bookstore when they had a huge sale and I was able to snag my copy for half off!  

Book Beginning:

As always, before the warmind and I shoot each other, I try to make small talk.

"Prisons are always the same, don't you think?"

I don't even know if it can hear me.  It has no visible auditory organs, just eyes, human eyes, hundreds of them in the ends of stalks that radiate from its body like some exotic fruit.  It hovers on the other side of the glowing line that separates our cells.  The huge silver Colt would look ridiculous in the grip of its twig-like manipulator limbs if it hadn't already shot me with it fourteen thousand times.


Isidore eats octopus risotto for lunch in a small restaurant on the edge of the park.  The ink leaving interesting pattern in the napkin when he dabs his lips.  He sits and watches people in the park for half an hour, scribbling in his notebook, making observations.  Then he gets up and goes back to the chocolate factory to spring his trap.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Night Song (World War II Liberator #2) by Tricia Goyer - Review

❋ ❋ ❋ ❋ 

Surrounded by evil and weakened by starvation, Jakub finds himself playing his beloved violin in the prisoner-led orchestra of Mauthausen death camp. Evie, the daughter of an Austrian diplomat, realizes she can't just stand and joins the resistance while Nick, her American fiance, risks everything to be by her side.

I really lucked out when I stumbled upon Night Song at a thrift shop. A friend of mine read it just before I started in and she was hooked on it right from the beginning and gave it a glowing review. I agree with her - this is one of the best inspirational WWII-set books I've read in a long time. It's a compelling character-driven novel of bravery and sacrifice amidst the horrors of the Nazi regime. This haunting and beautifully written work of historical-fiction comes highly recommended!

I sped through this novel from June 23 - 24, 2015 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Top Ten Topics

This week in honor of The Broke and the Bookish's five year Top Ten Tuesday anniversary, the theme this week is Favorite Top Ten Topics.  I'll be drawing from the 43 that I have taken part in since last year. If you'd like to comment on any of these previous lists, feel free - I love comments and I always try to respond!  What do you think of my favorites?  What were some of yours?

Book Characters That Would Be Sitting At My Lunch Table - September 2, 2014

Underrated Books - September 9, 2014

Movies I Want To Watch To Get In The Halloween Spirit - October 28, 2014

Characters You Wish Would Get Their Own Book - November 11, 2014

Favorite Music Groups and Solo Acts - January 20, 2015

Dislikes When It Comes To Romance In Books - February 10, 2015

Favorite Heroines From Books, Movies, and TV - February 23, 2015

Unpopular Opinions Tag

I've tagged myself from Alicia @ A Kernel of Nonsense to complete the Unpopular Opinions Tag.  Since I don't know who else has done it, anyone can take part.

A book or series that everyone seemed to hate but you:

The book with the lowest average rating on Goodreads that I awarded five stars is The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters with a 3.49 average.  I read this for a class a few years ago and it was one my favorites from that semester.

A love triangle that didn't end the way you wanted it to:

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Personally, I think it should have ended something like this:

Or, this:

A book genre you hardly ever reach for

Contemporary - I would usually prefer to reach for fantasy, sci-fi, or horror than the romance that is normally associated with contemporary.  One example of a contemporary that made my brain dribble out of my ears was Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar.  I just don't get the appeal.

However, I loved Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.

A popular or beloved character you did not like:

Juliette from Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

I used the GIF below for last week's edition of Top Ten Tuesday to describe my dislike of the her.

A popular author(s) you just can't enjoy:

Lauren Kate and Becca Fitzpatrick - I just can't do it.

A popular trope you're tired of

Instalove - see above.

A popular series you have no interest in reading

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - I've heard so many great things about this series, but it's just not my style.  I may eventually read it, but not any time soon.

A tv show/ movie that was better than the book

TV Show - The Vampire Diaries by L. J. Smith - I've only read the first book and didn't like it.  I found myself pleasantly surprised by the tv show, especially the first few seasons.  In this case, the changes from book to screen were for the better.

Movie - The Prestige by Christopher Priest - I loved the book, but I loved the movie even more.  This is probably one of my favorite book adaptations!

The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz - Review

❋ ❋ 

Princess Marie-Victoria of the British-Franco Empire must marry and produce an heir or the empire may be vulnerable to their Prussian enemies. Her marriage to Prince Leopold VII of Prussia will create a alliance between the two empires. However, Marie has always loved her guard and childhood friend, Gill. Together with the help of Emrys's daughter Alewyn, recently returned from Avalon and a great mage in her own right, the two girls plan to get their own happy endings - Marie's life away from Court with Gill and Alewyn's chance to rule an empire. However, the intrigue and hunger for power run far deeper than either suspected as they realize they can trust no one.

I enjoyed the alternate historical fantasy - if Merlin was a real person how would he have affected history. It was interesting to see familiar names and a few events skewed by magical influence. Romance, in terms of royal obligation, is a huge part of this book and, honestly, the story dragged quite a while in the middle. It didn't really pick up again until the last hour or two of the audiobook, while there were a few surprises it was still quite predictable throughout. Basically, I would have like to have seen more of the magical aspect - Avalon, Emrys, and Aelwyn - and more world-building in general.

I listened to and enjoyed the audiobook production, which reminded me a good deal of Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge.

I listened to the audiobook from June 14 - 22, 2015 and my review is also on Goodreads.

The Girl at Midnight (The Girl at Midnight #1) by Melissa Grey - Review

❋ ❋ ❋ ❋ 

An ancient race of magical bird-like people called the Avicen live hidden from humans beneath the streets of New York. The only human who walks among them is a young thief called Echo and the Avicen are the only family she has ever known. When the cold war between her adopted people and the Drakharin begins to heat up, she decides it's time to act. According to legend the conflict can be stopped by the mythical Firebird and if life as a thief has taught Echo anything it's that she will have to hunt down and take what she wants.

Melissa Grey's atmospheric debut novel The Girl at Midnight has, so far, been one of my favorite reads of the year. It features some great characters with unique voices in a well developed fantasy world right beneath our feet. Echo is a fantastic character - I like her sense of snark and her loyalty. I only wish Ivy and Rowan could have had more page time. There is a touch of romance in the novel which did border relatively close to instalove, but all things considered it didn't bother me. Even though the story wasn't entirely unique, it's still an incredible ride. If you like Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor and City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, you will enjoy The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey. I'm looking forward to the sequel, The Shadow Hour!

By the way, did anyone else think of Doctor Who when it came to Caius's Rose and pears flashback? Or, was that just me?

I also had to finish the "One does not simply walk into Mordor" quote with "Its Black Gates are guarded by more than just Orcs. There is evil there that does not sleep, and the Great Eye is ever watchful. It is a barren wasteland, riddled with fire and ash and dust, the very air you breathe is a poisonous fume. Not with ten thousand men could you do this. It is folly." I just couldn't help myself!

I read this novel from June 15 - 19, 2015 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Half Wild (Half Bad #2) by Sally Green - Review

❋ ❋ ❋ ❋ 

In this sequel to Half Bad, Nathan is on the run and the Hunters are closing in - no where is safe and no one can be trusted. The Hunters will stop at nothing to kill him and his father. Is there any way he can save Annalise from Mercury, or learn how to control his newly discovered Gift?

While this installment is relatively slow-paced and builds up quite a bit for the last book in the trilogy, I loved every second of it. I particularly enjoyed Green's world-building and writing style both of which kept me absolutely hooked. Like I've mentioned before, Nathan's not the most likable character, but he is incredibly intriguing to follow his journey. I liked the dark sense of humor and the chance to meet more Black Witches, especially Van. The ending of this novel absolutely blew me away - I didn't see that coming.

Sally Green's Half Wild is a brilliant follow-up to one of my favorite reads last year, Half Bad. I cannot wait to continue (and finish) the trilogy with Half Lost - I wish March 2016 wasn't so far away! I cannot recommend this series enough.

I read this novel from June 10 - 16, 2015 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie Stiefvater

Welcome to The Friday 56, a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice.

These are the rules:
1. Grab a book, any book.
2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader.
3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you.
4. Post it.
5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda's most recent Friday 56 post.

I'm also taking part in Book Beginnings, a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader.
  The rules are pretty simple - you share the first sentence or so and your initial thoughts, impressions, or whatever else it inspires.  Don't forget to link up your post's url with Rose City Reader.

Today, I'm spotlighting the book I'm just about to start, Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie Stiefvater.  I can't express how excited I am to begin this book - and how nervous (in all the best ways, of course)!  I'm actually a little ashamed I haven't read it yet with how much I loved the previous installments - maybe it was the nerves.  :)

Book Beginnings:


Persephone stood on the bare mountaintop, her ruffled ivory dress whipping around her legs, her masses of white-blond curls streaming behind her.  She was gauzy, immaterial, something blown between these boulders and caught upon one of them.  The wind was fierce up here with no trees to block it.  The world below was gloriously autumnal.


Noah shrugged, apologetic and smudgy.  His proximity chilled Blue as he pulled energy from her to stay visible.  He blinked at two girls who walked by pushing a cart.  They didn't seem to notice him, but it was difficult to tell if it was because he was invisible to them or just because he was Noah.  

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Dislikable Characters

Happy Tuesday everyone!  This week's theme for Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is Books On My Summer TBR which, for me, is essentially the post I made for May 27th's Books I Plan To Have In My Beach Bag This Summer.  Since that is the case, I'm going to choose an older topic from their list that I haven't done.  I'm going to go with Dislikable Characters as my theme this week, which was originally posted on August 10, 2010.  I'm including characters from books I've both disliked and liked along with my reactions to them in gif format.

From books I dislike: 

Brit from Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick

Juliette from Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Luce from Fallen by Lauren Kate

Nora from Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Quentin Coldwater from The Magicians by Lev Grossman

From books I like:

Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

Dorian Gray from The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Joffrey Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin

Nick and Amy Dunne from Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

What do you think of my change of topic?  Do we find the same characters unlikable?  Thanks for visiting and please comment.  I love a good comment!