Monday, October 20, 2014

Reading Review - Ashes to Ashes by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian

First off, this is the third book in a series and it's definitely the sort of trilogy you don't want to be spoiled about if you want to read it! So, my review for Ashes to Ashes, as well as the synopsis and Goodreads links, will be posted after the jump break. If you want to see my thoughts on the first book in this trilogy, check out my review of Burn for Burn on Goodreads. And here's a quick look at what the series is all about with the synopsis of the first book.
Postcard-perfect Jar Island is the kind of place where nobody locks their doors at night, where parents can sleep easy, knowing their daughters are tucked away safe and sound in their beds. 

But bad things can happen, even to good girls . . . and sometimes, the only way to make things right is to do something wrong. 

Lillia used to trust boys, but not anymore. Not after what happened this summer. And she’ll do whatever it takes to protect her little sister from the same fate. 

Kat is over the rumors, the insults, the cruel jokes made at her expense. It all goes back to one person--her ex-best friend. Someone needs to teach her a lesson, and, with Lillia and Mary behind her, Kat feels up to the task.

Four years ago, Mary left Jar Island because of a boy. But she’s not the same girl anymore. Now that she’s got friends who have her back, he's going to be in big trouble.

Three very different girls who come together to make things right. Will they go too far?

Friday, October 17, 2014

I Want to be a Disney Princess

I honestly have no idea where this post came from, but here we are! Today I'm going to share some random facts about myself, in light of it being October and Halloween is coming, in light of October being one of my favorite months, and... Paper Worlds and Swirls of Ink is turning 1 soon! 1 year of blogging! I'm grinning like a fool and happy dancing in my chair as I type that. I can't even believe it. We're going to save the sappy emotional one year celebration post for Halloween/early November time, since that's when I actually created the blog. But anyways, let's talk about Violet, and a few things about myself that you may not yet know!

I want to be a Disney Princess. It was my childhood dream, it was many a Halloween costume, and I would still be totally fine with an Alan Menken musical score narrating my adventures with my friends and perhaps a Disney Prince. Curious to know my favorite? It is absolutely, without a doubt Belle of Beauty and the Beast. Belle is my favorite because she's a reader and personality wise we are very similar. 'I want adventure in the great wide somewhere' is a quote I painted on to a canvas and have hanging, actually. Also, I love how she is patient and kind but not a pushover- Belle challenges people to be the best they can be. Yes, I am a Disney fan and sing along to all the songs and everything. If you ever want to know more about my love for Disney, I will definitely be able to do a post on it. 

My reading hasn't been the best it's usually been. Or good at all. I know I've done several posts on this, one from a few weeks ago and one from September, but I'm pretty disappointed about how far behind I've gotten on reading. I've just been so busy it feels like everything else fell to the side, including my reading. I haven't finished more than a book a month since August. So, if you have any tips about how to approach this, I'd love to hear them. My blogging has been affected as well, but sitting down and figuring out a few posts and coming up with something as random and spontaneous and fun as this post has helped a lot!

I love to travel and experience other cultures and languages. 'I want adventure in the great wide somewhere' is an apt quote to describe how I view travel. Some of my favorite stories come from random journeys with friends and family, and there's something about seeing a new place and being a visitor in another place that gives you more perspective on life, yourself, and the world. 

I love to bake cupcakes, pies, cookies, and try new recipes. I really love cooking as well. I find that trying new recipes is fun and a learning experience, and cooking really relaxes me. Whenever I get together with my mother and we cook, we play music as well (Michael Buble and Lorde have been two that we replay the CDs of) and so I like to do that when I cook on my own as well.

Art museums are wonderful places to explore and wander about in, and I love taking the time to appreciate something that can be moving and mean different things to everyone who walks by it. I think the beauty of seeing art and how the artist wanted to express their view of the world is an interesting way to spend the afternoon.

So, there are five random facts about myself, all starting with the idea to write a post about Disney princesses. So, who's your favorite Disney princess? Do you like cooking or exploring art museums or visiting other places as well? I'll see you all next time!

From the paper world,

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

'Clearing Out My Books' and Other Thoughts on Donating Books

Recently, I became annoyed with my bookshelf. Not neccessarily because it's way overcrowded (although that's definitely the case), but because there were books on there that I either disliked and never want to read again, or felt completely indifferent about and won't pick up, or that I've yet to read and have below zero interest in. So, it becomes time to clear out the shelves. This is something I haven't done in a very long while- maybe that's why the build up is getting so extreme. However, doing this is something that can allow me to organize my shelves (seriously some are jumbled piles and some are double stacked with books it's a mess) and make room for other books.

I just want to say that, despite these not being my favorites, these are books that interested me. As time goes on, and I either read them or don't and lose interest, I've changed as a reader. So, hopefully, these books will be appreciated and beloved by someone else, and I'm happy to provide that opportunity for them. Goodbye, dear books, and may your adventures dazzle another.

Here are the books I got rid of, organized by read and unread.

Read -
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins, 3 Stars

Wither by Lauren DeStefano, 3.5 Stars

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson, 3 Stars

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer, 3 Stars

A Royal Match by Tyne O'Connell

Started  but Didn't Finish -
Asylum by Madeline Roux

Unread -
Control by Lydia Kang

In the After by Demetria Lunetta

So, there's the beginning of my wanting to go through my TBR, clean it out, and pass some books along to other people who might enjoy them more than I did. Currently, I still have a few of these lying around but want to pass along to others who might be interested, since a few of my book loving friends have yet to read one or two that I think they could enjoy.

How do you clean out your reading piles? Is there a certain criteria for managing your books and what stays and what gets passed along? Let me know if you have any suggestions for going through my books!

From the paper world,

Friday, October 10, 2014

What Do You Look For?

Hello everyone! Today's post is a little bit different from others here on the blog. It's definitely still bookish, but it's more of a discussion post and sharing my thoughts on something in particular than it is a part of a series like my Let's Talk and Other Thoughts discussions, but just the random musings of a book blogger. So, what do you look for in a protagonist who tells the story? A narrator for your story is essential to the reading in general. They are your lens, your perspective, your guide into a foreign world, and as such a narrating protagonist can make or break your novel. So, I thought about what makes some books amazing and what makes a protagonist really stand out, and I thought I would list three of these qualities to you all.

A Unique Voice
So, here's the thing. A narrator or protagonist can be unreliable (I mean, the story is coming from their point of view and you're only seeing their side of events) and in other cases they can be reliable. Sometimes they are good people and sometimes they're villains. But in any case, a narrator has to have a unique voice for me. What sets this character from all the others we've read in books? As a reader, can I see their mannerisms and quirks come out from the writing? That's part of what makes a narrator memorable for me.

I do not want to read a perfect character. I want to read a character who grows, struggles, and makes mistakes. I want a character that has qualities about himself or herself that they dislike, and has moments where they think back and realize they're in the wrong. If I'm reading about people, then let's have the flawed, imperfect individual who changes and grows.

Introspection is important in a narrator. They have to be able to see the events going on around them, recognize their place in the happenings, and have the capability to bring more to the story than a record of what happened and who said what. The novel needs to have movement and emotion, and a lot of that comes from the perspective of the narrator. The story reaches a new level when a narrator is able to bring together the events, the characters, and the meaning that is seen through the course of the novel. How do these events impact the narrator, and how do the relationships with the other characters relate? There's something universal about books, and the depth a narrator provides can make a book truly memorable for me.

So, there is a random sort of post about my thoughts on first person narrators and protagonists. I wanted to share this with you all because it'd been on my mind, and I want to hear what you all think of it. I'll see you next time!

From the paper world,

Monday, October 6, 2014

Currently Reading - Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last? 

Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart. 

Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, √Čtienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.

Since I haven't been reading nearly as much as I did previously, I thought that I would share another currently reading post so that you all could see what I'm currently in the midst of, even if they are infrequent. Today's book I am so happy about- Isla and the Happily Ever After is a delightful read thus far. I haven't been one of the individuals who was waiting years for this final installment (I picked the series up a few months ago shortly before Isla was released) but I read and loved Anna and then picked up Lola and enjoyed that one as well. Currently, Isla is fantastic- I'm 99 pages into the story and I cannot wait to see where it goes. I know this is a book many have already read and fallen in love with, so if you've read this series and if you're like me and hadn't picked it up until this year, let me know in the comments! I hope your reading is going wonderfully, and I will see you all next time on the blog!

From the paper world,

Friday, October 3, 2014

Reading Review - Mortal Danger by Ann Aguirre

Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Edie Kramer has a score to settle with the beautiful people at Blackbriar Academy. Their cruelty drove her to the brink of despair, and four months ago, she couldn't imagine being strong enough to face her senior year. But thanks to a Faustian compact with the enigmatic Kian, she has the power to make the bullies pay. She's not supposed to think about Kian once the deal is done, but devastating pain burns behind his unearthly beauty, and he's impossible to forget.

In one short summer, her entire life changes, and she sweeps through Blackbriar, prepped to take the beautiful people down from the inside. A whisper here, a look there, and suddenly... bad things are happening. It's a heady rush, seeing her tormentors get what they deserve, but things that seem too good to be true usually are, and soon, the pranks and payback turns from delicious to deadly. Edie is alone in a world teeming with secrets and fiends lurking in the shadows. In this murky morass of devil's bargains, she isn't sure who—or what--she can trust. Not even her own mind...
Rating - 4 Stars
Major Pros - Unique Narration and Protagonist, Tone
Major Cons - Some Character Development, Melodramatic
Continuing on with the series? yes
How I Read It - Purchased

Today's review is on a book that was the first I'd finished in two months... Yes, it's sad but the book itself is really interesting and unique! Mortal Danger is a story that combines intrigue and suspense in an expertly written narration of a protagonist who isn't entirely reliable or good. I really appreciated the depth that went into the characters and the story, especially as things continued on.

In terms of characters, the narrator is one who tells the story well, and usually remained interesting. There were definitely times when she acted melodramatic about certain aspects that weren't as pressing as other issues in the story, but overall Edie was a unique narrator that told the story well. Kian was a character who generally avoided the mysterious bad boy trope, and his story is one that develops over the course of the story alongside Edie's. Edie's family was another aspect that was really well written and developed throughout the story. In addition, the supporting characters gained some development as well, and throughout the story there were many good and bad characteristics to each individual.

The story was intense and interesting, even if it lacked cohesion at parts. Sometimes, while reading, I would feel as if we were diverging from the story and plot line, although these moments were brief and very rare. The story itself was dramatic, suspenseful, and tragic at times. In general, the story itself avoided the first book tendency to rely too much on exposition, and instead brought action, intrigue, and danger into the story.

I think this is a YA different from others I've read. If you're looking for an intense and mysterious story with secrets and tragedy throughout, then this would be a book you might want to read more about!

From the paper world,

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Talon by Julie Kagawa - Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine, and throughout September I've been highlighting new releases I'm excited about for October. Today is the grand finale of September's 'looking forward to October' take on Waiting on Wednesday. While I won't be doing these weekly, I enjoyed having this going on the blog for the month, and I hope you've found some new books to enjoy! I have to say that looking at the books I've highlighted and the one I'm sharing today, a lot of awesome authors are releasing new books and starting another series. Today we're talking about Talon by Julie Kagawa. Dragons. and Julie Kagawa. Look for this exciting new book October 28, 2014.

Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they're positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon's newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember's bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

From the paper world,