Weekly Releases: November 13-19

bba18-bookreleases

Here are this week’s releases:

November 15

28954137Simon Lewis has been a human and a vampire, and now he is becoming a Shadowhunter. The events of City of Heavenly Fire left him stripped of his memories, and Simon isn’t sure who he is anymore. So when the Shadowhunter Academy reopens, Simon throws himself into this new world of demon-hunting, determined to find himself again. Whomever this new Simon might be.

But the Academy is a Shadowhunter institution, which means it has some problems. Like the fact that non-Shadowhunter students have to live in the basement. At least Simon’s trained in weaponry—even if it’s only from hours of playing D&D.

Join Simon on his journey to become a Shadowhunter, and learn about the Academy’s illustrious history along the way, through guest lecturers such as Jace Herondale, Tessa Gray, and Magnus Bane. Written by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Robin Wasserman, these moving and hilarious short stories are perfect for the fan who just can’t get enough of the Shadowhunters. (Source)

Continue reading

Bad Girls Don’t Die

3678651Title: Bad Girls Don’t Die
Author: Katie Alender
Series: Bad Girls Don’t Die #1
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: April 21, 2009
Genres:  Young Adult, Paranormal, Horror
Rating: C

Summary

Alexis thought she led a typically dysfunctional high school existence. Dysfunctional like her parents’ marriage; her doll-crazy twelve-year-old sister, Kasey; and even her own anti-social, anti-cheerleader attitude. When a family fight results in some tearful sisterly bonding, Alexis realizes that her life is creeping from dysfunction into danger. Kasey is acting stranger than ever: her blue eyes go green sometimes; she uses old-fashioned language; and she even loses track of chunks of time, claiming to know nothing about her strange behavior. Their old house is changing, too. Doors open and close by themselves; water boils on the unlit stove; and an unplugged air conditioner turns the house cold enough to see their breath in.

Alexis wants to think that it’s all in her head, but soon, what she liked to think of as silly parlor tricks are becoming life-threatening–to her, her family, and to her budding relationship with the class president. Alexis knows she’s the only person who can stop Kasey — but what if that green-eyed girl isn’t even Kasey anymore? (Source)


Review

Plot: This plot is a fairly simple one. It is about a girl whose little sister starts acting weird and not like herself. What could it be? Possession. Just like Alender’s previous books I’ve reviewed, this is a thriller/horror kind of book with ghosts as the bad guys. Her family is an unhappy, dysfunctional family and Alexis is often stuck taking care of her sister. But suddenly, her sister starts acting like a completely different person and no one else notices. Then there’s the dolls. Kasey is obsessed with all those creepy, porcelain dolls. Alexis has to try and figure out if Kasey is really possessed or if it is just her normal creepy self.

Characters: Alexis- To me Alexis is just another angsty teenager. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, but it seems like Alender like to write her main characters as whiny, annoying teenage girls. Alexis wasn’t awful, but she didn’t really appeal to me. I couldn’t relate to her! She wasn’t the worst, but there really wasn’t anything I liked about her.

Cover: This is probably my favorite thing about this book. I really liked all of the covers in this series. They were creepy and dark and I really thought they were cool. The first cover was definitely my favorite. I’m not sure why, but I really liked the lace with the window.

Closing Thoughts: The thing is I did enjoy reading this book. It is just one of those books you read, but then afterwords realize it wasn’t anything special. I did read it all fairly quickly, but when I realized it was a series, I stopped. There was nothing propelling me forward to read the next one. She wrapped up the store nicely, and the second one just seemed unnecessary. I think if you like Alender (like I do) or you like creepy, thriller-type books, then you might as well read it. But there just wasn’t anything special. If you’ve ever read a book or watched a movie about possession, you already know how this goes. I think I was mostly surprised because this is one of Alender’s most popular books (as far as I’ve seen). And I enjoyed Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall much more than I enjoyed this one.

Where to find Katie Alender:

Sweet Daydreams,

Brooke

Weekly Releases: November 6-12

bba18-bookreleases

Here are this week’s releases:

November 8

18584855Long before she was the terror of Wonderland, she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love. Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.

Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans. (Source)

*So excited for this book! I’ve already pre-ordered it and everything. Can’t wait to read more from Marissa Meyer!

Continue reading

Obedience to Authority

school-reading

676723
Title: Obedience to Authority
Author: Stanley Milgram
Series: N/A
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: August 8, 1983
Genres: Non-Fiction, Psychology, Science

Summary

In the 1960s Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram famously carried out a series of experiments that forever changed our perceptions of morality and free will. The subjects—or “teachers”—were instructed to administer electroshocks to a human “learner,” with the shocks becoming progressively more powerful and painful. Controversial but now strongly vindicated by the scientific community, these experiments attempted to determine to what extent people will obey orders from authority figures regardless of consequences. “Milgram’s experiments on obedience have made us more aware of the dangers of uncritically accepting authority,” wrote Peter Singer in the New York Times Book Review. Featuring a new introduction from Dr. Philip Zimbardo, who conducted the famous Stanford Prison Experiment, Obedience to Authority is Milgram’s fascinating and troubling chronicle of his classic study and a vivid and persuasive explanation of his conclusions. (Source)


Review

Closing Thoughts: This books review is (again) a little bit different from my normal book reviews. There aren’t really characters or a plot to evaluate. Similar to when I reviewed “the Law of Attraction,” it is more of something I found interesting and wanted to share. There isn’t a whole lot to “review” and it has been a little difficult to write this post. But I really wanted to show that I read all kinds of books, and there may be people out there who really enjoy books like this.

For those who don’t know, I am studying psychology in hopes of becoming a clinical psychologist. In one of my classes, this book was recommended to me by my professor. Stanley Milgram is a fairly known individual in the world of psychology. His controversial experiments are talked about in different ways: either to show how important research can be, or to show how to not conduct a study. This book is almost like one big research paper, only put into book form. This can be really boring for some people! I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t looking forward to reading it. But if you are at all interested in psychology- or even just human behaviors- this book is really interesting. I think Milgram does a very good job at taking something so scientific and confusing, and putting it into understandable and even enjoyable words.
This is a pretty small book review, but I just wanted to put this out there. If you enjoy non-fiction, psychology, science, or really just learning knew things, I think this is a very good book to read. You get to look at interviews, see how real scientific studies were done, and of course see his analyzing results about why we obey people (sometimes blindly). If you’re a psychology student, or really just find it interesting, I highly recommend this to you!
Where to find Obedience to Authority:

Sweet Daydreams,

Brooke

Weekly Releases: Oct. 30-Nov. 5

Here are this week’s releases:

November 1

28960100

Firebird #3

A million universes. A million dangers. One destiny.

The fate of the multiverse rests in Marguerite Caine’s hands. Marguerite has been at the center of a cross-dimensional feud since she first traveled to another universe using her parents’ invention, the Firebird. Only now has she learned the true plans of the evil Triad Corporation—and that those plans could spell doom for dozens or hundreds of universes, each facing total annihilation.

Paul Markov has always been at Marguerite’s side, but Triad’s last attack has left him a changed man—angry and shadowed by tragedy. He struggles to overcome the damage done to him, but despite Marguerite’s efforts to help, Paul may never be the same again.

So it’s up to Marguerite alone to stop the destruction of the multiverse. Billions of lives are at stake. The risks have never been higher. And Triad has unleashed its ultimate weapon: another dimension’s Marguerite—wicked, psychologically twisted, and always one step ahead.

In the epic conclusion to Claudia Gray’s Firebird trilogy, fate and family will be questioned, loves will be won and lost, and the multiverse will be forever changed. It’s a battle of the Marguerites . . . and only one can win. (Source)

Continue reading

Illuminae

23395680Title: Illuminae
Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files
Format: Audiobook
Release Date: October 20, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Rating: A+++

Summary

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.


Review
I would like to start out by saying that I read (or listened) to this book as an audiobook, which was a very unique experience for me. I’ve never been a fan of audiobooks, but this one was an amazing audiobook. I know that this book has very unique styles of writing with pictures and visual treats, so I did miss out on those and cannot talk about that.
Plot: This book has such a wild and crazy plot line, it is really hard to simply put it. Jay Kristoff described it as this: “Illuminae is the classic tale of girl meets boy… girl loses boy… and parents… and planet… and ends up on a crippled space ship… with a mad computer… and a deadly virus outbreak… in the middle of an interstellar war.” This has always been my favorite description of this book. It is a book that is constantly changing, moving, and growing. There are times you have no idea where it could possibly go. I will say that listening to this as an audiobook was a challenge at times. I had no idea what the format of the book was like beforehand and that would have definitely been helpful. There is a lot of technical jargon that makes it a little complicated at the start. But once you get some ways through, it is impossible to stop listening to. Not to mention, this book has one of the biggest twists of my life. Not going to spoil it, but I almost started crying in the car on my way home. It was crazy.
Characters: I think one of my favorite things about this book is the fact that because I listened to it, I got really connected to the characters. Each character had their own voice actor and I found myself falling deeply in love with the characters.
Kady– She is just a badass, zombie killing, computer savvy girl. She doesn’t let anyone bring her down or tell her what to do. In all honesty, she pretty much saves the day throughout the whole book. One thing I do like is that while she is the coolest girl ever, you get to see a little bit of her soft side as well. You get to see her heartbreak over being apart from Ezra and the distress over being alone in general. She’s headstrong, but also weak and scared at times. Kady is so real and awesome and just… cool.
Ezra- God. I love Ezra. He is probably my favorite character in almost any book ever. He is just such a sweet a strong character. What I found interesting was that Ezra was kind of a cautious person. Usually the boys in books are stupid, overly confident characters trying to single-handedly save the world. But he didn’t really want that. He wanted to go with the flow and just be with Kady and survive. He didn’t want the glory and the heroism. He barely even wanted to leave home in the first place. But he loves Kady with everything he has and overcomes a lot of his fears to be with her. Ezra is just… the best.
Cover: Because I never bought the actual book, I didn’t really get the full effect of the cover. I definitely do like the look of it.This book is written as though you’re looking through files. So you aren’t ever in a first-person perspective. The cover of this book kind of shows a preview of how that looks and feels.
Closing Thoughts: This is probably my favorite book of the year. A lot of people have complained that the book is too difficult to read, so my advice is to listen to the audiobook. It is a little different because it is written in a very strange way. I would say to at least take a peak in the book to see what I’m talking about. There are interviews, chat rooms, and different documents. It’s never told in the point of view of Kady or Ezra or anyone specifically. But once I got used to the unique format, I had no problem understanding it. This book is long, heavy, and crazy unique. But I think all those things are what make it so good. I could really go on about this book for hours and hours, so I just want to end by saying you all need to read this book. Even if this genre isn’t your thing (it isn’t mine either) I think you’ll enjoy it nonetheless. Plus, getting to the end is worth it… trust me.
Where to find Amie Kaufman:
Where to find Jay Kristoff:

Sweet Daydreams,

Brooke

Weekly Releases: October 23-29

Here are this week’s releases:

October 25

24033058Outside the palace of Versailles, it’s modern day. Inside, the people dress, eat, and act like it’s the eighteenth century—with the added bonus of technology to make court life lavish, privileged, and frivolous. The palace has every indulgence, but for one pretty young thing, it’s about to become a very beautiful prison.
When Danica witnesses an act of murder by the young king, her mother makes a cruel power play . . . blackmailing the king into making Dani his queen. When she turns eighteen, Dani will marry the most ruthless and dangerous man of the court. She has six months to escape her terrifying destiny. Six months to raise enough money to disappear into the real world beyond the palace gates.
Her ticket out? Glitter. A drug so powerful that a tiny pinch mixed into a pot of rouge or lip gloss can make the wearer hopelessly addicted. Addicted to a drug Dani can sell for more money than she ever dreamed.
But in Versailles, secrets are impossible to keep. And the most dangerous secret—falling for a drug dealer outside the palace walls—is one risk she has to take.
(Source)

Continue reading

Mechanica

22749698Title: Mechanica
Author: Betsy Cornwell
Series:  N/A
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: August 25, 2015
Genres:  Fantasy, Steampunk, Young Adult
Rating: D+

Summary

Nicolette’s awful stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have turned her into a servant in her own home.

But on her sixteenth birthday, Nicolette discovers a secret workshop in the cellar and begins to dare to imagine a new life for herself. Could the mysterious books and tools hidden there—and the mechanical menagerie, led by a tiny metal horse named Jules—be the key to escaping her dreary existence? With a technological exposition and royal ball on the horizon, the timing might just be perfect for Nicolette to earn her freedom at last.

Gorgeous prose and themes of social justice and family shine in this richly imagined Cinderella retelling about an indomitable inventor who finds her prince . . . but realizes she doesn’t want a fairy tale happy ending after all. (Source)


Review
Plot: Yet another retelling of Cinderella. There was a lot of controversy surrounding this book when I looked it up. Apparently, many people keep making comments about how this book is a wannabe Cinder and others are arguing it’s completely different. In my opinion, it is very similar to Cinder. Rather than aliens, the supernatural element is fae. Scratch that, there weren’t even really fae, just a lot of magic. I don’t really need to explain the plot because it is one you all know very well. It is basically the retelling of Cinderella. While not all stories need to be original, it was very tedious reading this book right after reading the Lunar Chronicles.
Characters: Nicolette- As much as fans of this book try to argue, Nicolette is very much like Cinder. Strong, independent, and good with her hands. Cinder was a space mechanic and Nicolette worked more with magic, but still a mechanic. I did admire Nicolette’s determination to make something of herself. She had a link to her mother (who also used magic) and kept up with it, even though it wasn’t allowed. She followed her passions and let them guide her.
Cover: The cover of this book is really what drew me in. I had no idea when I got this that it was another Cinderella story. I just loved the melding of the fantasy-nature setting with the machines and steampunk. It really gave a good feel for this book. I like how you can see the little mechanical bugs, but you probably wouldn’t realize they weren’t real until reading the book. Looking at this cover now is one of my favorite takeaways from this book.
Closing Thoughts: I feel like D+ is a really low score, but I can’t really give it much more. Yes, I may be biased because I just finished the Lunar Chronicles and loved them. But to me, this plot line is overplayed. And I know it is very hard to be original when so much has already been done, but it just was hard to enjoy this book when every single moment was predictable. I usually love fairy tale adaptations, regardless of how true they are to the original story. But if you don’t have something in there that mixes things up, it just becomes boring and predictable. While they alluded to there being fae, there weren’t any actual fae much in the story. And the magic was interesting, but it seemed more of a tool to just use to make cool machines. Maybe in the following book she writes, she’ll go more into the fae side of things and really mix it up. But as far as this first book goes, there wasn’t much in there that really grabbed me and made a lasting impression. To be honest, I keep forgetting I read this book. To end on a good note, I will say I did enjoy Betsy Cornwell’s writing style. It’s safe to say I probably would enjoy other books from her, but we’ll have to find out.
Where to find Betsy Cornwell:

Sweet Daydreams,

Brooke

Weekly Releases: October 16-22

Here are this week’s releases! There are less this week, but they all look pretty good. (Especially Gemina!)

October 17

29519517

The Royals #3

These Royals will ruin you…

From mortal enemies to unexpected allies, two teenagers try to protect everything that matters most.

Ella Harper has met every challenge that life has thrown her way. She’s tough, resilient, and willing to do whatever it takes to defend the people she loves, but the challenge of a long-lost father and a boyfriend whose life is on the line might be too much for even Ella to overcome.

Reed Royal has a quick temper and even faster fists. But his tendency to meet every obstacle with violence has finally caught up with him. If he wants to save himself and the girl he loves, he’ll need to rise above his tortured past and tarnished reputation.

No one believes Ella can survive the Royals. Everyone is sure Reed will destroy them all.
They may be right.

With everything and everyone conspiring to keep them apart, Ella and Reed must find a way to beat the law, save their families, and unravel all the secrets in their Twisted Palace. (Source)

Continue reading

The Darkest Part of the Forest

20958632Title: The Darkest Part of the Forest
Author: Holly Black
Series: N/A
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: December 9, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, YA, Romance
Rating: C

Summary

Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?


Review
Plot: This book has a fairly predictable fantasy plot line. It’s the kind of book (at least for me) that takes a really long time to get into. I did get into the plot near the end, but it took a while. One thing that is interesting (possibly my favorite part) about this book is that it takes place in a town that know about fae and magic. This book isn’t about the main character stumbling into the world of magic, she is already in it. And not only that, but the fae are clearly evil. Some people do romanticize them, but not Hazel. She knows how dark and scary they can really be. But the plot line itself isn’t entirely original. There’s a mysterious fae prince that they can trust and an evil fae king that is trying to kill the prince. The story pretty much revolves around trying to save the prince and defeat the king- or at least stop him from hurting more people.
Characters: Hazel- I did really like Hazel! She seemed pretty strong and sure of herself. She’s the kind of girl that bounces from guy to guy and even though many view that as a slutty or bad behavior, I think it’s a interesting quality about her. She doesn’t mean to hurt anyone, she just likes to kiss and have fun. I think Hazel is an interesting sway from the usual innocent girl heroine. She’s strong, independent, and tries to figure things out on her own. She’s not afraid to go up against her parents, her friends, and even the fae themselves. There’s something about her to admire.
Cover: I don’t love the cover, but I don’t hate it either. I think it’s just a very basic cover that they could’ve done more with.
Closing Thoughts: Honestly, I think this book was only okay. I have heard many good things about Holly Black and I am still hoping to try more of her books. (I have The Coldest Girl in Coldtown in my bookshelf waiting for me to read it!) But unfortunately, this book didn’t really make me fall in love with Holly Black. It was good enough that I enjoyed it and I did read it fairly quickly, but there was just something missing. There wasn’t that element that changes a book from alright to amazing. I do think she is a good writer, so I’m hoping her other books will be much better. I give this book a C because to me, it’s just average. Not good, not bad, just like the cover.
Where to find Holly Black:

Sweet Daydreams,

Brooke