Down The TBR Hole #5

Top Ten Tuesday(92)

Sorry for the double up this week guys but last week I forgot to do this post on Friday so here we are, getting back on track! I’m finding these posts so helpful in cleaning up my TBR, it feels good!

If you missed my other posts of Down the TBR Hole here they are:

This was “created” by Lost in a Story!

The Rules:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
  • Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next week!

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Current TBR Count: 781


Book #41

The Alchemyst by Michael Scott

Date Added: June 23rd, 2015

I remember when this series was actually pretty popular and so I bought this before I started blogging because before I started blogging I didn’t know what to read! So after having it sit on my shelf for a while now I just don’t think I’m going to read it, maybe I will eventually but not any time soon.

The Judgement: Go


Book #42

The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2) by Richelle Mead

Date Added: June 23rd, 2015

I was a huge fan of the Vampire Academy series so when I found out there was a spin off I read the first book right away. Then I bought the second book here and I still haven’t finished it……however, I do want to read it and maybe finish the series eventually.

The Judgement: Keep


Book #43

The Diviners by Libba Bray

Date Added: June 23rd, 2015

I’ve been meaning to read this one for such a long time and I love creepy books full of ghosties. I’ve also heard nothing but good things about it so I’m definitely keeping it!

The Judgement: Keep


Book #44

Flesh & Bone (Rot & Ruin #3) by Jonathan Maberry

Date Added: June 23rd, 2015

I read the first two books in this series and absolutley loved them, the characters are fantastic plus if you like zombies it’s pretty awesome from that aspect too. So I really want to continue with the series.

The Judgement: Keep


Book #45

Zomb-B by Darren Shan

Date Added: June 23rd, 2015

I bought this because it was bargain priced when I was in a bookstore and there’s zombies. That’s pretty much it…that’s my reasoning. Now of course I kind of regret it since I don’t have much interest in reading it at all anymore.

The Judgement: Go


Book #46

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Date Added: June 23rd, 2015

“Eragon” seems to be a classic YA/MG fantasy book and I STILL haven’t read it but I’ll get there eventually.

The Judgement: Keep


Book #47

Archetype by M.D. Waters

Date Added: June 23rd, 2015

I picked this up randomly in a bookstore because it looked neat but I really shouldn’t have because I just don’t want to read it anymore really.

The Judgement: Go


Book #48

The Dark City by Catherine Fisher

Date Added: June 23rd, 2015

Yet another random bookstore buy and yet another book I probably won’t ever read. Why do I do this to myself!?

The Judgement: Go


Book #49

Horns by Joe Hill

Date Added: June 23rd, 2015

I actually enjoy Joe Hill’s writing style and I love horror so I’m definitely keeping this one.

The Judgement: Keep


Book #50

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

Date Added: June 23rd, 2015

I read a good chunk of this book and it was pretty good and definitely creepy so I plan on finishing it at some point. I don’t know why I put it down!

The Judgement: Keep

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Have you read any of these? What did you think?

Do you think I should have kept any of these books?

Do you agree with any of my keeps or discards?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

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Fantastic Book Settings & Where To Find Them: Part 1

Top Ten Tuesday(3)

I know that the post title is a really cheesy pun but I love it and for some reason I thought it fit well for the theme I’m doing! Let me know what you think, I just wanted to spice it up a bit instead of just titling it “Favorite Book Settings” which is kind of boring.

Anywho! These are just a couple of my favorite book settings that I enjoyed reading about and also thought were unique and not a run of the mill type of setting.

**** P.S. NONE of these are fantasy books or settings, I may save that for another post but these are all contemporary, historical fiction, or realistic sci-fi settings! ****

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Bad Blood by Demitria Lunetta

I’m sure there are plenty of other books set in Scotland but there don’t seem to be a ton in YA. I loved how Lunetta described a lot of the buildings, architecture, and scenery in Scotland when the character arrives and explores. It was just so much fun and I have always wanted to visit Scotland so that probably helped me love it more! The added witchery also made the book more interesting, if you’re looking for a decent YA book set in Scotland and has some witchy happenings I’d check this out! Trigger warning for self harm though.

(You can read my full review here.)


The Hollow Girl by Hillary Monahan

Why are there never any YA books set in Wales? Why aren’t there any YA books set in the United Kingdom that aren’t just in England? This book takes place in an older time period (it’s never specified) and is set in Wales with a Romani main character. This is an #OwnVoices book so the culture represented is accurate and was very fun to learn about especially with the witchcraft and revenge story mixed in. This story is a bit gory and there is an off-page rape scene so it really isn’t for the faint of heart but if you can handle horror then I recommend checking this one out!

(You can read my full review here.)


The Gentleman’s Guide To Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

This book actually has multiple settings which was super fun, I haven’t read any other “Tour of Europe” style books and especially not in historical fiction. We start in England a bit then move onto France, Spain, and Italy! We don’t get to see much “scenery” when the characters are in these pages which was a little disappointing but as I said it was still a lot of fun. My favorite part was definitely Venice, Italy though.

(You can read my full review here.)


Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

This is a very unique setting seeing as how it all takes place during a convention, Supacon (basically Comic Con)! I personally am a huge geek about everything in pop culture so I thought the setting was so entertaining and I could geek out about it all! Also the characters are highly diverse and the anxiety rep is spot on, I recommend reading it.

(You can read my full review here.)


Want by Cindy Pon

While I didn’t love this book as much as I wanted to I really loved the setting of a futuristic Taipei, Taiwan. This is definitely a setting you don’t see very often and I really enjoyed it! We didn’t get too much description or cultural aspects though which was a bit of a bummer.

(You can read my full review here.)


Dreamfall by Amy Plum

Dreams, that’s a pretty unique setting am I right? This book takes place in the different nightmares of each dreamer’s mind, so of course it’s terrifying on top of being really neat. I haven’t read anything close to this but let me know if there are any other books with dream settings!

(You can read my full review here.)


The Martian by Andy Weir

Mars! I don’t think a setting gets much more unique than that outside of fantasy….well and other science fiction but this is science fiction that’s a little more realistic. So. Pretty cool! I personally thought it was very exciting reading about someone being trapped on Mars and it kept me on the edge of my seat.

(You can read my full review here.)

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Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

Do you think any of these settings are unique or interesting?

Have you read other books with these settings?

What are some of your favorite book settings?

The Sassy

Discussion Post Collab: Handling Blog Comments

Top Ten Tuesday(74)

Hello my fellow book lovers!

Today’s post is a sort of Q&A/Discussion Post in collaboration with Ashley @ Inside My Minds! So be sure to head over and check out her wonderful blog!

We are going to be discussing ALL different kinds of comments we, as bloggers, may receive on our blogs! Of course being a part of the book blogging community I find that generally nice, genuine comments are the norm but there are all kinds which is why we are here to discuss them!

So come and join our discussion but please remember to, of course, be polite and respectful of other’s opinions! Now let’s discuss!

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How do comments on your blog generally make you feel?

Ashley- I would rather have comments than likes.  I could really care less about “likes.”  Comments make me feel that all the time and effort I put into a post was really worth it.

Heather- I would also much rather have comments than likes! I feel that comments are a little more genuine and mean a lot to me, it’s such a wonderful feeling knowing that someone wanted to take the time to drop by and comment on a post! Plus the reason I started book blogging was to be able to chat books with other book lovers.


How do you respond to “nicer” comments to your blog? (Long replies or shorter replies)

Ashley- It usually depends on the comment.  If it’s a nice comment that I can really build off of and generate more discussion, I’ll try to leave a longer reply.  But if it’s a short reply like “good luck” or “good job” I’ll just leave a short “thank you.”

Heather- Once again I’m mostly agreeing with you Ashley! I find that pretty much all comments I get on my blog are very, very polite and genuinely nice! If someone leaves me a paragraph sized comment that’s fantastic, I actually like long comments more, and I will try and leave an equally long reply and generally this can bring about an awesome discussion about books or other things. If I get a shorter comment that’s just “hey I loved this post!” or “ I really loved this book too!” I’ll usually just leave some sort of “thank you” comment in reply since there isn’t much more to go off of with shorter comments!


How do you handle any trolls commenting on your blog?

Ashley- I moderate every comment I receive on my blog, so I’ve been fortunate enough that I haven’t really dealt with trolls.

Heather- I haven’t had any experience with trolls really but WordPress does a great job of blocking spam (which are kind of like trolls a little bit…) and I also moderate most comments on my blog as well. So if someone leaves a comment just to be rude they’re going to go straight to the trash more than likely.


How do you respond to self promotional blog comments aka people who leave only their links with a “hey check out my blog!”?

Ashley- The majority of time I don’t even bother checking out the blog.  I also always send those comments to the trash, I don’t want them on my blog.  The only time that I will read a linked post is if I asked for in my original post.

Heather- If a link to the blog is left on a post such as “Top Ten Tuesday” or “Top 5 Wednesday” then I think it’s perfectly fine, I’ll definitely go check out the post and answers! Or if we are discussing a book etc. in comments you they leave a link to something they posted that is relevant I have no problem checking that out either. However, if someone drops by and says “hey you should really check out my blog!” or just a link I’m probably not going to go take a look since I feel that they didn’t take the time to even look at the post they dropped a link on.


How do you handle negative comments on your blog?

Ashley- I don’t want any negativity on my blog so negative comments just get deleted.  I don’t have time or patience for negativity on my blog.

Heather- For the most part I find that the book blogging community is very easy going and laid back so there really aren’t that many people who are negative or would leave negative comments. However, if I were to receive one I would probably either delete it or try and handle it in the most respectful way I can manage. I’ve always been told to “kill ‘em with kindness” so that’s how I would more than likely treat negative comments as well!


Is there any blog comment advice you’d like to give to any newbie book bloggers out there?

Ashley- If you need something clarified ask for clarification.  Also, don’t leave links to anything unless the blogger asks you to leave them, especially self-promo links.  I feel like self-promo links look desperate.  If you want to leave a comment, make sure that the comment is actually relevant to the post and not something random.

Heather- Mostly I’d say if you’re new to try and keep away from purely self promotional comments such as the “hey check out my blog” type, if you want people to take a look at your posts then try and leave polite and genuine comments and they’ll maybe come take a look! I’d also say try and be as respectful as possible with other bloggers even if you disagree with what they’re saying!

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Come join the discussion!

How do you generally handle comments on your blog? Positive, negative, self-promotional, trolls?

Do you like getting comments more than likes?

The Sassy

Books I Just HAD To Have…..& Still Haven’t Read

Top Ten Tuesday(70)

The other day I was looking at my bookshelves and noticing all of the books I’ve bought under the delusion that I could NOT wait and HAD to have them right away……and then still haven’t read them.

This makes me wonder sometimes if I’m actually nuts or not because why do I torture myself like this? Plus everyone always tells me “hey remember when you bought all those books and still haven’t read them? You don’t need more until you read those.” which they’re sort of right….

So I thought that it would be a great idea to share what a horrible reader/book hoarder I am with you all!

Basically this is me:

And then after not reading any of them:

I’ll be putting these in order of how long I’ve actually had these sitting around my house starting with the newest additions!

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When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Of course with all of the hype that was surrounding this book before and after it’s May release date I had to get my hands on it! Most of the time I don’t give into the hype, or at least I like to think so, I just thought everything about this book sounded wonderful: diverse characters and culture, a cute cover, and non-stop glowing reviews!

Then obviously I couldn’t wait to get a copy and then it arrived and now it’s just sitting all lonely on my shelf because I’m a terrible person…….


Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios

I actually ordered this with “When Dimple Met Rishi” because once again I could not wait and just haaaad to have a copy right away! The cover is absolutely gorgeous and I’ve seen great reviews for it, plus I think it will be interesting to read about a dysfunctional relationship in a YA setting. I know that makes me sound weird but it’s nice to see unique books and books bringing attention to abuse like this (because it happens).


Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

If I was going to rate all of these books by which book I was literally dying to have “Strange the Dreamer” would be #1 because I seriously acted like I was going to die without this book in my life. I even went to the trouble of ordering a UK edition as well because I HAD TO HAVE THIS BOOK AND LAINI TAYLOR IS LIFE!

And guess where the book is sitting? On my shelf. Unread.


The Valiant by Lesley Livingston

I was super pumped for this book before it came out and then with all of the great reviews afterwards I was even more excited for it. Female gladiator! That’s all I want in my books so when I was in the bookstore and saw it I decided to splurge and buy it right then and there because I NEEDED IT. Now it’s been sitting on my shelf for a few months……


Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

I bought this book along with my spontanous purchase of “The Valiant” as well. You can see where this got me.


Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

When I saw this book come out at first I was like: Norse Mythology?! Told by Neil Gaiman?! I MUST HAVE THIS BOOK IMMEDIATELY! So I kind of started it and then slowly it worked its way back onto my shelf where it is still sitting waiting to be finished.


The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson

Everyone, everyone, everyone recommends reading this series and I saw the box set on sale on Book Outlet for about $12.00 so of course I was all “Hell yeah!” and bought it right away. Soooooooooo it’s all sitting on my shelf still unread where it will probably remain for a while.


Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter

This was a spontaneous buy I got with birthday money last year and I decided to use that money for this book because once again…..I couldn’t resist. It’s even a shorter book and I STILL haven’t gotten to it!


Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

I asked for this one for my birthday last year because I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY wanted it and so then I actually received it for my birthday…….and haven’t read it yet.


The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

After reading the first book “The Winner’s Curse” I was blown away by how much I enjoyed it after how much I was expecting not to enjoy it. So then after devouring the sequel as well I NEEDED to read the last book that was just released last year! And guess who still hasn’t finished that trilogy even after buying the last book? Me.


The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

This book was super, duper hyped last year and because of that plus the pretty cover and promise of unique mythology I was 100% sold. I saw it when I happened to visit a Barnes & Noble and instantly bought it and now it’s been sitting on my shelf for over a year still unread.


Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

This one hasn’t been a new release for a while but I found while reading a bunch of glowing reviews for it and having it recommended a ton. So I found it on Book Outlet and bought it straight away because I love twisted thrillers! I started reading it…..and then set it aside for some reason…..and it’s been sitting there waiting for me to return to it eventually.


The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

This book is the one I’ve had the longest on this list because back many, many years ago when I was binge reading the Percy Jackson series and finished it and was DYING for more! So I found the Heroes of Olympus series and bought the first book straight away…….it has been sitting on my old Nook Color for ages and honestly it probably won’t get read because I want physical copies now….awkward.

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Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

Do you have any of these on your TBR as well?

Did you buy any of these right away and haven’t read them yet either?

Do you buy books and let them sit for a long time?

What are some books you HAD to have and haven’t read yet?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

Discussion Post: Self-Promoting Blog Comments

Top Ten Tuesday(59)

I actually had this come up this week and tweeted my slight irritation about it on Twitter and I was actually surprised that a lot of you had problems with it before! Thank you so much to all of you who replied to that tweet and inspiring this post: Michelle @ Book Adventures, Swetlana @ Reading Through The Nights, & Joce @ Write Through The Night!

So of course that gave me the idea to bring the discussion over to my blog and hear from the rest of you as well!

Of course everything I’ve written in this post is just my own opinion, I’m not trying to offend anyone by any means. Please keep that in mind while reading or commenting back! Thank you!

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What Exactly Do I Mean By “Self-Promoting Blog Comments”?

Just to clarify what this whole discussion is I’m talking about other bloggers who leave comments on our blogs that are only self-promoting their own blogs. For example those comments that are: “Hey check out my blog!” or “Hey, nice blog check out mine!” or even “I have a blog, bookstagram, booktube channel please follow them!” or literally just a link to their blogs and it goes on and on and on.

Strictly any comments that don’t discuss the content of your blog or post at all and only discuss their own blogs and material.


So What’s So Bad About It?

To be blunt it can get pretty annoying and down right rude at times. We all put a lot of effort and time into our blogs and posts and to have someone just comment on it to self promote themselves and not acknowledge YOUR content at all  is a little impolite. I mean I’m sure they wouldn’t like it if we went over and commented “Hey check out my blog!” on THEIR posts would they?

When it all comes down to it we are all here, blogging, to chat with other people with similar interests ( in this case mostly books!) and it’s hard to do that when some bloggers only care about getting views by leaving comments all over the place self-promoting themselves. I think the phrase “what goes around comes around” really applies to this because if you don’t LEAVE genuine comments then you probably aren’t going to GET genuine comments either.


When Is It OK To Leave “Self-Promoting” Comments?

There’s a very fine line between ONLY self promoting yourself like in the examples I’ve used and leaving a link to your blog or post while also leaving an appropriate comment on the other blogger’s post. I personally am 100% fine with you dropping a link to one of your posts if it’s relevant to mine or what we were discussing! I will be much, much more likely to check out your blog if you leave a more meaningful comment!

So if you wanna drop a link to your blog or post, do it! As long as you are also leaving a genuine comment on our posts as well and not JUST trying to get views and visitors to your blog.

Tip To New Bloggers: If you want to converse with other bloggers and maybe have us check out your new blog then all you have to do is like what I said above! Leave a more meaningful comment and maybe explain that you’re new and looking for other bloggers to talk to and we will be much more inclined to go over and check it out!

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What are some of your experiences with this?

How do you deal with self-promotional comments on your blog?

What are your thoughts on bloggers leaving self-promotional comments?

Join the discussion and let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

Book Review: The Crown’s Game (The Crown’s Game #1) by Evelyn Skye

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Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip-smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love…or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear—the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

review

This book was one of my most anticipated releases of 2016 and I was very, very excited to read it but then the negative reviews started trickling out among the positive ones and I began to question whether I should read “The Crown’s Game” or not. I definitely should not have wasted  my time. This has got to be one of the most disappointing books this year because of how high my expectations were and how badly this book failed.

PLOT

Let me start out by saying this book wasn’t completely awful hence the two star rating instead of one star but it is incredibly unoriginal. If you’ve ever read even one YA fantasy book then don’t even bother with this because it’s nothing new.

I would say the biggest let down of this entire book was the fact that this is supposed to be a magical battle to the DEATH and all we got were parlor tricks that were so unbelievably underwhelming. You’re supposed to be trying to kill each other not painting buildings with your magic for crying out loud! So freaking boring! The magic might as well not have even been included because it was essentially pointless. These two enchanters are supposed to be the most powerful people in Russia and they can’t even summon something spectacular to kill their opponent? What wasted potential.

There was no world-building, no mythology for this version of Fantasy Russia, and no explanations for ANYTHING. We basically are just set adrift in this world and are supposed to be content with no background and no fantasy elements in a FANTASY BOOK! You want to know what supposedly made this book fantasy? The magic. That’s it and even that was disappointing.

There’s next to no action at all and what action there was were the displays of magical “power” which as I’ve said were incredibly dull. The entirety of this plot is romance, which I’ll get to in a bit and so there’s hardly any story to speak of. The pacing was slow and I was generally uninterested throughout my entire reading and it’s really a miracle I didn’t DNF this book.

What I did like was the setting, even though I would have liked a lot more depth to it, I did like this Fantasy version of Russia. I also liked a few (very few) points in the story that I found to be interesting such as a couple of the twists even if they were pretty predictable. I didn’t think the story was completely awful since I did manage to finish this book but it was not what I was lead to believe it was about.

Then there’s the ending…..which I found to be anti-climatic and left me completely disinterested in reading the sequel. I already know where the next book is headed and honestly there’s no point in torturing myself with this series anymore.

characters

Flat, uninteresting, and absolutely no depth to these characters. I could have cared less about any of them which is pretty bad considering I’m supposed to fear for their lives since they have to try and kill each other off. We didn’t really get any insight into Vika or Nikolai and they didn’t have any flaws, they were essentially perfect little special snowflakes. Which in my opinion made them very boring and unrelatable because let’s face it we all know perfect people don’t exist and I don’t want characters to be THAT unrealistic.

That’s really all the words I’ll waste on the characters.

romance

Where do I even start with this? First of all the romance is the sole focus of the story, it definitely takes center stage over the “magical death battle”.  Which annoys the living crap out of me when I was promised said magical death battle and all I got was a book littered with your typical YA romance tropes.

First of all we have gag-inducing insta-love and eye-roll worthy love triangles. Both of which are represented in the usual, annoying, run of the mill ways. Nothing original or unique about the romance at all! Overall I felt like it was way too over the top and used to provide more drama and suspense to the plot and it just did not work at all.

in conclusion

“The Crown’s Game” is one huge disappointment to me and while it had a few minor things to save it from a one star rating I still think it was a waste of my reading time.

What I Liked:

  • The Fantasy Russian setting
  • A few plot points that maintained my interest

What I Disliked:

  • Slow pacing
  • No action
  • Misleading premise
  • No world building
  • Flat, boring characters
  • An extremely trope-riddled romance

RECOMMEND

No I can’t say I would recommend this book to anyone and even if you’re a fan of YA fantasy (which I am as well) I would skip this one because it’s nothing new. For you YA romance fans I can’t honestly say for sure (I am not a romance fan) but I think this romance was far too dramatic and unoriginal.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy