August Wrap Up 2016

August Wrap Up

August has come to an end. This was a very productive month for me, both in my blogging and personal life. My goal was to post on the Pore Over the Pages blog at least once every day for the whole month of August. … And I was successful! Hopefully, you weren’t too annoyed with my daily presence in your email and on WordPress. However, college has started. I moved in August 22, started my job August 25, and started classes August 29.

From now on, due to my job, homework, social life, and extracurricular activities, I will only post a few times per week.

I read so many amazing books this month that I would recommend:

I also purchased more books that I can count. Seriously, I didn’t keep track; there were so many, I can’t remember which ones I recently bought. Oops.

Aentee’s (Read at Midnight and @readatmidnight) book reading challenge, #ReadThemAllThon, started this month on August 14. As of this post, I have read 7 books for this challenge. I still have 1 to go. Wish me luck!

I hope you all have a successful and productive September.

 

Image in Graphic: Junik Studio

Advertisements

Top Ten Tuesday

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 11.13.50 AM

TTT: Top Ten Tuesday. Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish blog. They give weekly prompts for a bookish list of 10 items (more or less). This weeks topic:

Back To School Freebie

=

Required Reading in High School

  1. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
  2. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  4. 1984 by George Orwell
  5. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  6. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  7. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
  8. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  9. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  10. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

I read all of these books in high school. I also read Romeo and Juliet and The Outsiders in my advanced (aka. high school level) middle school English class. I enjoyed most of these books, despite the fact that they were “forced” reads.

 

{From: The Broke and Bookish}

Tiger’s Curse Review

tiger's curseTiger’s Curse (The Tiger Saga, Book 1) by Colleen Houck

Synopsis: Passion. Fate. Loyalty.

Would you risk it all to change your destiny?

The last thing Kelsey Hayes thought she’d be doing this summer was trying to break a 300-year-old Indian curse. With a mysterious white tiger named Ren. Halfway around the world. But that’s exactly what happened. Face-to-face with dark forces, spellbinding magic, and mystical worlds where nothing is what it seems, Kelsey risks everything to piece together an ancient prophecy that could break the curse forever.

Tiger’s Curse is the exciting first volume in an epic fantasy-romance that will leave you breathless and yearning for more.

About the Author: Colleen Houck’s New York Times bestselling Tiger’s Curse series has received national praise with the fourth book, Tiger’s Destiny, debuting September 2012. Colleen is a lifelong reader whose literary interests include action, adventure, science fiction, and romance. Formerly a student at the University of Arizona, she has worked as a nationally certified American Sign Language interpreter for seventeen years. Colleen lives in Salem, Oregon, with her husband and a huge assortment of plush tigers.

Genre: young adult, fantasy, romance, mythology

More Info: hardcopy, 403 pages, published by Splinter (reprint) on May 1, 2012

4

 

I read Tiger’s Curse for Aentee’s (Read at Midnight and @readatmidnight) #ReadThemAllThonHere is my TBR pile for this reading challenge. I was reading this to achieve the Pewter City: Boulder Badge – read the first book in a series. I have read this series before, a long time ago. The mythology in this book is amazing and I wish the Indian princes were real. Here is my current trainer’s card, updated to the point that this review is published (8/29/16 at 10:00):

6thbadge.png

{Trainer’s Card graphic: http://www.deviantart.com/art/Pokemon-Trainer-Card-Templates-54644955

Pixel Charizard graphic: http://piq.codeus.net/picture/45661/charizard}

 

I have rediscovered my love for this series. I have read this book before, but that was quite a few years ago. Since it has been so long, it feels like I am reading this book anew because I have forgotten a lot about the books.

Kelsey, an average teenage girl who just graduated high school, ends up working a 2 week period at a circus in her town of Oregon. She works many different positions and bonds with the eccentric cast. Between selling tickets and sweeping up after the show, she also has to help take care of a tiger.

She is intrigued by the fierce white animal with eccentric blue eyes. She comes to feel comfortable around the tiger, coming to his cage after shows, reading and talking to him. He is strangely docile and seemingly intelligent. Kelsey forms a bond with the white tiger and will be sad to see him go when the circus moves on.

Until, the mysterious but friendly Anik Kadam arrives and offers a deal. He wants to purchase the tiger and have Kelsey accompany him to the animal reserve. Kelsey agrees to this once in a lifetime opportunity. Her journey, however, turns into so much more. Her white tiger ends up being a 300 year old, cursed, handsome, Indian prince named Dhiren. Kelsey has been chosen to help him and his brother break the curse hanging over them. In between scary adventures, Kelsey has to deal with a powerful enemy and her feelings for the two amazing men at her side: Prince Alagan Dhiren Rajaram (Ren) and Prince Sohan Kishan Rajaram (Kishan).

 

There are so many interesting facts and myths about multiple cultures. For example, a myth that I recently found in The Star-Touched Queen about Ugra Narasimha was also present in this book. Some of Houck’s writing can come off as textbook. It can be dull in sections, but the cool information makes up for the slow in pace. There are delays in this book, filling the gaps in between the action.

This story is told in first person, from Kelsey’s perspective. While I did feel connected with her, I didn’t think there was a consistent look into her mind. The feelings and thoughts from Kelsey come in bouts. It doesn’t seem integrated enough. She is an oxymoron: confident and insecure. She is too trusting, but that is influenced by her compassion. There are so many extraneous details told throughout this book. The characters actually sleep, go to the bathroom, eat, etc. Houck includes the mundane and slow, which fills space and make her characters believable and human.

I want my own Ren and Kishan. They are good-looking, flirty, kind, well-rounded, royal…for simplicity, they are perfect. They are also tigers. They know so much for being trapped in an animal’s skin for so many years. Sometimes, they seem too adapted. The brothers form a problematic love-triangle, cliché but special due to circumstance.

The setting is so unique. There is much representation of food, music, clothing, etc of multiple cultures. The mythology is outstanding, but while it is the base of the plot, it isn’t overwhelming. You should buy this book.

Buy it here:

amazon

 

 

Barnes-and-Noble

 

8/27/16

In his twenties, Conrad resolved to kill himself with a gun – but miraculously he survived. Joseph Conrad – born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski in Russian-occupied Poland in 1857 – was a bit of a gambler in his youth. In 1878, up to his ears in gambling debts, the young Conrad attempted suicide by shooting himself in the chest. The bullet missed his heart, and he lived for the next 46 years, long enough to become one of the most important writers of his generation, with novels such as Heart of DarknessLord JimNostromoVictory, and The Secret Agent earning him the respect of critics and fellow writers.”

Source

Disclaimer

The King Slayer Review

king slayer.jpg

The King Slayer (Witch Hunter, Book 2) by Virginia Boecker

Synopsis: “I think, in time, you’ll either be my greatest mistake or my greatest victory.”

Former witch hunter Elizabeth Grey is hiding within the magically protected village of Harrow, evading the price put on her head by Lord Blackwell, the usurper king of Anglia. Their last encounter left Blackwell ruined, but his thirst for power grows stronger every day. He’s readying for a war against those who would resist his rule—namely Elizabeth and the witches and wizards she now calls her allies.

Having lost her stigma, a magical source of protection and healing, Elizabeth’s strength is tested both physically and emotionally. War always means sacrifice, and as the lines between good and evil blur once more, Elizabeth must decide just how far she’ll go to save those she loves.

About the Author: Virginia Boecker recently spent four years in London obsessing over English medieval history, which formed the basis of her debut novel, The Witch Hunter. She now lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and spends her days writing, reading, running, and chasing around her two children and a dog named George.

In addition to English kings, nine-day queens, and Protestant princesses, her other obsessions include The Smiths, art museums, champagne, and Chapstick. You can visit Virginia online at virginiaboecker.com or on Twitter @virgboecker.

Genre: young adult, fantasy, romance, paranormal

More Info: Kindle edition, 380 pages, published on June 14, 2016 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

3.5

I enjoyed random stretches of this book. For me, it came in waves of enjoyment. For example, I liked the beginning and end, when the two new characters are introduced and the scene when Elizabeth see Blackwell again for the first time to name a few. Some portions, like Elizabeth in the cell, I felt were lacking.

Elizabeth was the same, but also different. She was the best witch hunter there was. She was trained as a human and succeeded through all of Blackwell’s test. It was then that she received her stigma. It is in my opinion that she let the stigma do some of the work for her, because without it, while she is still kickass, she lost her touch.

I became rather pissed at John. Now, I know that he was being influenced by the stigma. I also understand that when one had such blatant, raw emotion aimed at a character, that the author is doing a good job. John is a healer; he is tender. However, he was also raised by a pirate father and knows how to handle a sword. This precarious balance is tipped by the magic he chooses to accept. In the beginning, he isn’t as strong as I believed him to be.

You don’t see too much of Fifer, but you do get to be around Schuyler. I liked him in the first book (mostly), but I liked him even more in the second book. After certain people become revenants, you learn more about what it means to be part of the dead (or is it undead?). I have a large and new respect for Schuyler after everything he did and the time it took to become more human again.

I was very interested to see the interaction between Elizabeth and King Malcolm. I was happy to discover that he is not the jerk king I thought he was, just young, spoiled, and naive.

I particularly enjoyed the ending. I think the book left off in a great place that adequately finishes the series.

In total, it was a great book. I finished in pretty fast. There were some parts that I was more inclined to skim over, but Boecker did a good job of keeping my attention. I will read this series again. It’s short, sweet and to the point.

There are some questions unanswered that I hope will be revealed in the short stories: The Healer and The Chase.

Buy it here:

amazon

 

 

Barnes-and-Noble

The Star-Touched Queen Review

star-touched

The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen, Book 1) by Roshani Chokshi

Synopsis: Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.

About the Author: Roshani Chokshi comes from a small town in Georgia where she collected a Southern accent, but does not use it unless under duress. She grew up in a blue house with a perpetually napping bear-dog. At Emory University, she dabbled with journalism, attended some classes in pajamas, forgot to buy winter boots and majored in 14th century British literature. She spent a year after graduation working and traveling and writing. After that, she started law school at the University of Georgia where she’s learning a new kind of storytelling. The Star-Touched Queen is her first novel.

Genre: young adult, fantasy, romance, mythology

More Info: hardcopy edition, 342 pages, published by St. Martin’s Griffin on April 26, 2016

3.5

 

I read The Star-Touched Queen for Aentee’s (Read at Midnight and @readatmidnight) #ReadThemAllThonHere is my TBR pile for this reading challenge. I was reading this to achieve the Saffron City: Marsh Badge – read a book with fantasy or supernatural elements. I first bought this book as an impulse buy because I loved the cover. There is so much fantasy and mythology in this book, it is perfect for this specific reading challenge. Here is my current trainer’s card, updated to the point that this review is published (8/24/16 at 10:00):

card4.png

{Trainer’s Card graphic: http://www.deviantart.com/art/Pokemon-Trainer-Card-Templates-54644955

Pixel Charizard graphic: http://piq.codeus.net/picture/45661/charizard}

 

Emoji Recap

tstqemojirecap.png

Mini Review

The fantasy and mythology in The Star-Touched Queen is drastic. If you don’t have the mind for the imagined, this book is not for you. There is mention of astronomical horoscopes, the Otherworld, talking creatures, etc. There are many Hindu myths that influence this book; Chokshi incorporates 1) Savitri and Satyavan, 2) Shiva and Parvati, 3) The Ramayana, 4) Shakuntula, 5) Narasimha.

Due to the stars, Princess Mayavati isn’t taken kindly to. She stays strong through the oppression and ignores the harsh rumors. Maya’s father, the Raja, will do anything to save his kingdom from war, including marry her off or even kill her.

She meets Amar as he rushes to save her life. Soon, she becomes his wife and his kingdom’s queen. She is taken through the otherworld, to the land of Akaran. This is a place with many names, minimal life, thousands of doors, glass gardens, memory trees, and fateful tapestries. She must bear the mystery alone, until the new moon, or come up with answers herself. The question we, as readers must ask: will she figure out the puzzle and make the right decision, before it is too late?

I felt thrown around quite a lot in this book. To me, the writing was hazy, I felt like I was missing key actions/understandings/etc because there was so much happening (metaphors, descriptions, thoughts). I liked Maya’s development and Gauri’s growth. Amar left me guessing, he is so mysterious, dark, and handsome. I liked the dynamic of Amar and Maya’s love. They seem great together. I thought Maya’s acceptance of the strange world she is thrown into unrealistic. Maybe, her previous bedtime stories are so convincing, she believes in them before she even realizes they are true.

Overall, The Star-Touched Queen takes a new and individual spin on Indian legends. There are confusing and unexplainable elements that pull you into this deftly spun world filled with stars. This book is technically a standalone novel. However, Chokshi is writing a companion book, A Crown of Wishes, set in the same world with some minor characters.

Do I recommend this book?   yeah

Buy it here:

amazon

 

 

Barnes-and-Noble

 

Top Ten Tuesday

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 11.13.50 AM

TTT: Top Ten Tuesday. Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish blog. They give weekly prompts for a bookish list of 10 items (more or less). On this week’s blog post:

Ten Books That Have Been on my Shelf (or TBR) from Before I Started Blogging That I STILL Haven’t Read Yet

  1. Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
  2. Allies and Assassins by Justin Somper
  3. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
  4. Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
  5. A Book of Spirits and Thieves by Morgan Rhodes
  6. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
  7. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  8. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  9. The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long
  10. Reawakened by Colleen Houck

I have been blogging for about 3-4 months. That isn’t too long, but I have seriously slacked on my TBR. All of these are popular books/book series that I very much want to read, but haven’t gotten around to.

 

{From: The Broke and Bookish}

Proxy Review

proxybook.jpg

Proxy by Alex London

Synopsis: Knox was born into one of the City’s wealthiest families. A Patron, he has everything a boy could possibly want—the latest tech, the coolest clothes, and a Proxy to take all his punishments. When Knox breaks a vase, Syd is beaten. When Knox plays a practical joke, Syd is forced to haul rocks. And when Knox crashes a car, killing one of his friends, Syd is branded and sentenced to death.

Syd is a Proxy. His life is not his own.

Then again, neither is Knox’s. Knox and Syd have more in common than either would guess. So when Knox and Syd realize that the only way to beat the system is to save each other, they flee. Yet Knox’s father is no ordinary Patron, and Syd is no ordinary Proxy. The ensuing cross-country chase will uncover a secret society of rebels, test both boys’ resolve, and shine a blinding light onto a world of those who owe and those who pay. Some debts, it turns out, cannot be repaid.

About the Author: Alex London writes books for adults, children and teens. At one time a journalist who traveled the world reporting from conflict zones and refugee camps, he now is a full time novelist living in Brooklyn. You can visit Alex London at http://www.calexanderlondon.com

Genre: young adult, science fiction, dystopia, LGBTQIA+

More Info: Kindle edition, 384 pages, published by Philomel Books on June 18, 2013

2.5

 

I read Proxy for Aentee’s (Read at Midnight and @readatmidnight#ReadThemAllThon. Here is my TBR pile for this reading challenge. I was reading this to achieve the Celadon City: Rainbow Badge – read a book featuring diversity. After seeing this challenge, I realized I have not read that many diverse books. One of the main characters in Proxy is a black, gay, male. Here is my current trainer’s card, updated to the point that this review is published (8/22/16 at 10:00):

card4.png

{Trainer’s Card graphic: http://www.deviantart.com/art/Pokemon-Trainer-Card-Templates-54644955

Pixel Charmeleon graphic: http://fandomgirl2014.deviantart.com/art/Charmander-Pixel-505951411}

 

Proxy by Alex London is a terrifying futuristic world in which nobody belongs to themselves. Technology and debt come together to make a system that controls humanity. Only the rich survive. Even then, there is betrayal amongst the powerful.

The beginning was slow. The action was there: car accident, torture (of sorts), and death. For me, however, it didn’t really catch my interest.

Until chapter 13. As soon as I hit this chapter, I knew what was going to happen and I was excited. After that, I had no idea where the book was headed. Then, a big secret was revealed in chapter 27, stunning me. The rest of the book is the group attempting to escape and reach the rebel revolutionaries with other twists and turns along the way.

The end wasn’t dramatic, despite the severity of the situation. I felt like there should have been more tension, less acceptance. It went by too fast, though it was explosive. I kind of knew where it was going, which ruined the surprise for me. The semi-peaceful end was fitting in some ways.

“Patrons owned the debt and proxies took their punishments. A simple contract, a free market. Debts had to be paid.”

This dystopian world is messed up. The government technology is like Big Brother in 1984 by George Orwell. Always watching. Through advertisements (advos), purchases, texts, and more, the system can tell everything about you. It can determine your patterns, what food you like, what your sexual orientation is, how you will behave, etc. Creepy in my opinion.

Knox is the patron, the son of a wealthy, rude man who controls the system. He is reckless and a complete flirt. He can hack almost anything, including the system’s technology. Considering current technological advancement, I found the fact that a 16 year old boy can hack into the government’s equipment, unrealistic. All Knox cares about is himself. He is bold, greedy, and inconsiderate. His motivations are selfish. He considers women to be beauty, curves, and a good time. I found his thoughts about females to be sexist and degrading. I don’t know how a guy’s brain works, but hopefully there is more on their minds than just sex on a regular basis. Reminder: WOMEN ARE NOT OBJECTS. By the conclusion, I was glad to see Knox underwent character development without losing his old charms.

Syd, on the other hand, plays for the other team. I was wondering if Knox’s constant obsession with girls was exaggerated in order to underplay Syd’s sexual orientation? Anyways, Syd is the proxy. His life was contracted to Knox since he was a baby, and couldn’t refuse. He doesn’t know who his patron is, but he knows all of his crimes since he is punished for all of them, while his patron lives without fear. Then, he just so happens across his patron, he can tell by the fear in his eyes. He kidnaps and makes his patron help him escape, and they end up on a wild ride of vengeance and revolution.

The jargon was disorienting. In Proxy, the world no longer exists as it does today, the US has changed. With the new names and terms I wasn’t always quite sure what was going on.

Overall, this was an ok book. I loved the ideas and characters. The dystopian world was flawed along with its inhabitants and that made it all the more realistic.

I wish I would have bought this book as a paperback for $6.60, instead of the $10.00 on Amazon Kindle.

Buy it here:

amazon

 

 

Barnes-and-Noble