BOOK BEGINNINGS FRIDAY #15 | Morning Star

It’s been a year, BBF. Almost. My last post for this meme was posted on 27 February 2015. Yep. I missed you.

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Look, I even made you a nifty banner thingy!

Book Beginnings @ Rose City Reader. Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

I have a love/hate relationship with the Red Rising trilogy by Pierce Brown. The first one, I was meh about but was interested enough to anticipate the 2nd book. Golden Son, I liked. A LOT. It’s not “love” status but definitely loved it more than the first one. That made sure that I’ll definitely read the 3rd one.

I saw a copy at Target when it came out. I wanted to get it. I had it in my hand as I walked around. But I put it back. My previous copies were digital. If I end up loving this final book, I’ll thrift the series. Yes, I’m one of those readers who don’t mind ebooks but buy physical copies of books/series that they love or like a lot. I even collect Jane Eyre covers. So yeah, I put the book back and instead, got the digital copy.

Here’s the first paragraph of the prologue:

I rise into darkness, away from the garden they watered with the blood of my friends. The Golden man who filled my wife lies dead beside me on the cold metal deck, life snuffed out by his own son’s hand.

What I like the most with this trilogy is that it doesn’t shy away from the gore, death, and despair. It is considered a YA novel but unlike a lot of YA dystopian that I’ve come across, this doesn’t sugarcoat the reality of war and conflict. Sort of like in The Hunger Games. They don’t come at you and say it to your face but the fact is, they kill children. It doesn’t go into much detail but the idea is there. Here, both the idea and the image are on the page.

I said this in my Golden Son review, I kind of wanted to re-read the previous book before delving into this. All I clearly remember from it was that I liked it a lot. Yeah, a few plot points here and there but I do have the urge to re-read it. Maybe I will once I get physical copies of the book. Next project after the Harry Potter re-read maybe?

Anyway, I know I’ve said in previous posts that I’m reading other books. But I have to put them all on hold in favor of this one. Frankly, I can’t think of anything else until I read this book. Yes, the thirst is real. I feel that I’ll never make progress with the other books unless I get this out of the way. Well, I do have a long weekend. Bring it on!

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Friday Finds #1 – Retail Therapy

I could’ve easily made this a stand alone post but with so many weekly memes floating around, I might as well make it one. It’s more fun that way. And I love it when posts follow a certain theme.

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

Can you blame a girl if she wants some retail therapy? This Monday was pretty awful for me. We were supposed to go to Hollywood, taking my niece around LA. We were so close to our destination already when something came up and I had to swing by work. Sigh. Half the day, wasted. I won’t go and air dirty laundry here or anywhere else on the Internet but that’s the gist of it. I had to do something to release my stress and retail therapy was it.

But I just blew out my “disposable” monies on concert tickets. Heh. But that’s okay. Goodwill was nearby and I scratched off two books from my wishlist for under $5.

I’m still looking for a copy of The 120 Days of Sodom that agrees with my price range. I’ve read parts of it on my e-reader but I prefer reading BIG bricks in book form rather than digital. Juliette has more than 1500 pages. I wonder if and when I’ll go through this.

Under the Banner of Heaven had been on my wishlist for years. I have a couple of Jon Krakauer‘s work and I am a fan of them. I’ve read some about the topic of this book and it made me so interested, I just had to get this book.

Now, if only I can find the time to read them.

BOOK BEGINNINGS FRIDAY #14 | Insurgent

It’s still Friday here in a rather gloomy Southern California. Better late than never, ei?

I originally planned to put The Last American Vampire by Seth Grahame-Smith as today’s BBF but I ended up finishing it just a couple of minutes ago. If I don’t get too lazy, that’ll be my next review on this site. So I jumped right into the next book in my queue, Insurgent by Veronica Roth. Because, movie.

Book Beginnings @ Rose City Reader. Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

It’s been a while since I read Divergent. I remember loving the world-building and the POV presentation. I saw the movie twice in two countries. I wasn’t the biggest fan of it but I did like it enough to watch it twice. After that, I heard not so good things about the last book which deterred me from continuing the series right away. But with the movie coming out in a couple of weeks, I decided that there is no better time than now to read the second book. Let’s deal with the 3rd one later.

I wake with his name in my mouth.

Will.

Before I open my eyes, I watch him crumple to the pavement again. Dead.

My doing.

Is it so bad that I had to look up who Will (and Peter) was when I read this? –___–

To be fair, I’m always like that with series that I don’t read in one go. It’s been almost a year since I read the first one and it’s not like it’s a fandom that I emotionally invested myself in (Lord of the Rings, hello) or something that I grew up with (Harry Potter, hi).  I’m about 30 pages in and so far, I’m liking it. I figured this book starts about a few hours after the final scenes of Divergent. I like that it’s a fast-paced start and hopefully, it stays that way. It feels like it’s been a while since my last dystopian YA and I think I can handle it again.

BOOK BEGINNINGS FRIDAY #13 | Dark Triumph

How fitting is it that my 13th entry for this meme is dark, gothic-themed? I mean, assassin nuns!

Book Beginnings @ Rose City Reader. Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

I read the first book in this trilogy some time last year. I picked up the next two books at the author signing. So I have all 3 books signed and now I’m reading book 2. Yes, my signed copy. This series is written and researched so well, so believable, and man, how can you resist assassin nuns?! Do me a favor and include this trilogy to your TBR. His Fair Assassin trilogy, jsyk.

I did not arrive at the convent of Saint Mortain some green stripling. By the time I was sent there, my death could be numbered three, and I had had two lovers besides. Even so, there were some things they were able to teach me: Sister Serafina, the art of poison; Sister Thomine, how to wield a blade; and Sister Annette, where best to strike with it, laying out all the vulnerable points on a man’s body like an astronomer charting the stars.

It’s been some months since I read the previous book and I admit, I was a bit lost the first few pages of this one. It jumps right into it. As I understand, it is a trilogy but each book can sort of stand alone. I mean, it’s still better if you’ve read Ismae’s story because it introduces most of the backstory of the convent and what they teach, as well as meeting the heroines of the next two books.

I’m a fan of this series of books. Already, I’m enjoying Dark Triumph more than Grave Mercy. I do have the final book, Mortal Heart, waiting in the wings. I think this is that kind of series where you need the previous one to be fresh in your mind before reading the next one. We’ll see. It’s a new year and there are new books to add to the TBR!

BOOK BEGINNINGS FRIDAY #12 | To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Reminds you of that oldies song, right? I remember the Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson version. How about you?

Anyway, I just finished The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd and I was looking at the contents of my Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook for my next read. I have some good selections but I needed to take a break from my usual genres. Hence, this choice

Book Beginnings @ Rose City Reader. Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

The book I chose is To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. Can anyone tell me what I’m getting myself into? This is not my usual genre and frankly, I shy away from covers and titles like this. But the Goodreads blurb looks charming and who knows… Maybe all I need is a good novel to introduce me to another genre.

I like to save things. Not important things like whales or people or the environment. Silly things. Porcelain bells, the kind you get at souvenir shops. Cookie cutters you’ll never use, because who needs a cookie in the shape of a foot? Ribbons for my hair. Love letters. Of all the things I save, I guess you could say my love letters are my most prized possessions.

Y’know, I can relate. I’m somewhat of a hoarder as well. I save all the receipts of my DVDs. I keep the tags of my bags in the inner pocket of said bag. I collect museum pamphlets as souvenir. Hey, you’ll never know.

As for the book, I haven’t gone past the prologue, intro page. I’ll let you know what I think after I finish it.

BOOK BEGINNINGS FRIDAY #11 | The Madman’s Daughter

My last BBF post was on a first book in a trilogy. I’m sensing a pattern here…

Book Beginnings @ Rose City Reader. Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

Halloween is… today! Are you dressing up? I’m saving that for tomorrow when my brother and I head to Comikaze Expo 2014!  I’ll be a Gryffindor student.

I’m a huge fan of the horror genre. I’ve watched so many horror shows and movies in my years as a living being. I’ve fantasized about being one of the undead, specifically the blood-sucking non-sparkly kind. I would make it a point to watch horror movies around October-November. But with books? Not so much.

I’ve read horror books but in random. It just so happens that the current book that I’m reading somewhat falls into that hole: The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd.

The basement hallways in King’s College of Medical Research were dark, even in the daytime.

At night they were like a grave.

Rats crawled through corridors that dripped with cold perspiration. The chill in the sunken rooms kept the specimens from rotting and numbed my own flesh, too, through the worn layers of my dress. When I cleaned those rooms, late at night after the medical students had gone home to their warm beds, the sound of my hard-bristle brush echoed in the operating theater, down the twisting halls, into the storage spaces where they kept the things of nightmares. Other people’s nightmares, that is. Dead flesh and sharpened scalpels didn’t bother me. I was my father’s daughter, after all. My nightmares were made of darker things.

I latched on to this book so quickly. Usually, it takes me a while to warm up to a book but with this, I hit the ground running. Immediately, it’s very dark and intriguing. I’m loving it so far. 🙂

FIVE FRIDAY FAVORITES| Authors of 2014 so far

Every year, I set very modest reading goals for myself.  Twenty-five books instead of a hundred.  I’ve since passed that 25-book mark and I’m still going.  Almost all of the authors that I’ve read so far this year are “new to me”.  I may have encountered their titles in the past but it’s only now that I’ve actually picked up their work and read it.  I have a fairly small roster so picking 5 shouldn’t be too hard, right?

Five Friday Favourites is a weekly event hosted by me, Book Badger, where once a week, a five favourites subject will be posted by me and everyone is welcome to join in.

Favourite Authors of 2014 So Far

1. DIANA GABALDON.  I cannot get enough of the Outlander series.  And I can’t believe that it took me this long to finally give in and read it.  Actually, it took a TV show but ever since loving the hell out of the first book, I’ve plowed through the next ones.  I’m already on the 4th!  When you look at her bio, she is a woman of science but her writing is so beautiful, her settings are well-researched, and her characters are very rich and complex.  I was immediately sucked into her Scotland and absolutely fell completely in love with Jamie Fraser as well as Claire, Fergus, Young Ian, and Roger.  I figured if I survived the A Song of Ice and Fire series, I can do this one.  Turns out, this is a much easier read and it really tickles my romantic side with all of Jamie’s priceless quotes of love.

2. MAX BARRY.  You guys need to read Lexicon.  I’ve been trying to write a review on that for months but I keep postponing it.  Anything for an excuse to re-read it.  It’s one of the most complex yet engaging and intelligent thrillers that I’ve read ever.  It’s not for a newbie reader for sure.  But a hardcore bookworm will see the absolute beauty in that book and in Max Barry’s work.  I am looking into his other books and as soon as I finish with the Outlander novels, they’re next in line.

3. ERIN MORGENSTERN.  Her imagination is so awesome.  Her writing style is enchanting and it’s like she really brings you into the world that she’s built.  The Night Circus is one of those books that I picked because of the cover.  It ended up being one of my favorites.  And everyone I recommend it to get back to me with praises about the book.  So far, The Night Circus is her only book but I’m patiently waiting for her next one, her next world.

4. GILLIAN FLYNN.  I haven’t read Gone Girl yet.  But if it is anything like the writing style and build up in Dark Places, I’m in!  A lot of the mystery/thrillers that I’ve read are written by male authors; it’s refreshing to have a woman’s touch.

And that’s where my list ends.  I have a couple more names in my pool but no one else jumps up at me as a “favorite” apart from these authors.  I like their books but I don’t really remember them as the author of that particular work, you know what I mean?  (LOL, that sounds awful.)

I know for some that it seems that I like the book more than the author.  That does happen but for these authors, I will really actively seek out their other books.  I’ve since gotten multiple copies – and signed ones as well – for Diana Gabaldon’s books, and have met her in person.  All of them are on my radar; that if they come out with new material, I will definitely be interested.  Another author that should be on this list is James Rollins but I haven’t read anything of his so far this year.  However, in the case of John Green… I will religiously watch his Youtube vlogs and videos but I might not pick up his other books.  I wasn’t a fan of The Fault in Our Stars and the hype over that book spoiled everything for me.  While I do like John (and his brother, Hank) Green, the Youtuber, I’m not a fan of him as an author.

There are a lot of authors out there.  I understand that it’s a challenge to get your name out there.  I have so much respect for anyone who publishes their work, being proud of it, and ready to take anything that is thrown at them by the public.  Personally, I don’t think I can do that – both publish and take the heat from readers.  I’m lucky to have mostly positive reactions to my fan fiction but putting up original work is a whole different level.