Tuesday, January 28, 2014
This post was first seen on Lauren from Lose Time Readings' blog! Then I saw Jessi do her own discussion on part of it, and I thought, "Hey! I'm totally gonna be a copycat because I want to talk about this!".  And so I'm doing one. But all the credit to Lauren for the idea!

In thinking about this a few things come to mind, I’ve had to really think outside of the box a little bit. I tend to consider myself a very open reader. I’ll read a variety of things. I’ll read books I know will be sad touching stories.I like cry books/movies. I’ll read anything from paranormal to steampunk to thriller. I adore historical fiction. As far as genres go I’m pretty lax about it all. It’s when you dive into subcategories that you find me a-cringing.Just roll with it.

Deal Breakers

Mermaids – I’ve read a few books with mermaids in them, and while none of them were HORRID, none of them blew my mind. They were just nothing special. I’m just not interested in them, enough to care to pick them up. If it has good reviews and an interesting premise I might give it a shot, but honestly? Not
something I lean towards.

Sexy Covers – This is prominent mostly in New Adult and Erotic Adult Romance. And I don’t read that anyway, but if there was a YA cover that did have a cover that resembled them I’d stay away. I love a good and swoony romance but I’m not in the book for the sexy times. I’m in it for the story. So don’t try to get me to be interested in a book by the abs on the cover. Eew.

Cliché Sounding Synopsis – Chances are if you give me no details other than the most basic and generic plot of that genre, I’m gonna turn it down. I don’t mind similar stories in the same genre, that’s why there ARE genres. But you need to have an original fact in your synopsis or I probably won’t care enough to pick you up.

Boarding Schools – These books are okay. They can be interesting; they can be full of mystery, uniqueness and fun! (ie. Hex Hall, Anna and the French Kiss) or they can be generic wannabes that are either too sugar coated or too depressing for words. But honestly, I’ve pretty much given up on them, because I’ve had some BAD experiences with them. (Down below) and only phenomenal ravings by people I trust, or a Super amazing synopsis that blows my mind would ever entice me to reenter the doors of a Boarding School book again.

Boarding Schools  + A Paranormal Creature = No. This is where it all went wrong and Boarding Schools went wrong for me. I used to enjoy boarding school books. Until the paranormal came. (ie. Fallen, Haven) I can enjoy reading about  angels, vampires, and sometimes psychics if they are done right. But smash them together and place them in a big mansion? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH NO. I just cannot do it. Like I physically cannot. It’s just not for me.

Fey – This is literally my number one deal breaker of them all. I will cringe if I learn about books with Fey/Faeries in them. So many past experiences have ruined my taste and interest in faeries. (ie. Destined, Wondrous StrangeInnocent Darkness, The Faerie Path, Fairy Bad Day, How toDitch Your Fairy…thanks 2012)I literally cringe when I learn about fey books. Too many cheesy or not fully developed worlds/characters/settings have kept me uninterested and bored I just cannot do it anymore. You’ll have to look up or ask me about these books, because seriously, I’m scarred.

Now there are some fey books I feel that the entire population freaking raves about. (ie. The Iron Fey). I’ve been bugged about these books for SO LONG and I’ve promised many times back that I will read them (and I will!), but the fact that FEY is in that series name is also the reason I haven’t started it yet. All the past experiences that have scarred my reading of faeries doesn’t exactly make me want to read anymore Fey, despite the glorious things I’ve heard. So I’m sorry Merp Squad….keep waiting.

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Speaking of deal breakers, here's a fun song done by my favorite comedy group about Deal Breakers.


Let me know what turns you away from books! Talk to me, XOXO


Tuesday, January 21, 2014
The biggest issue that I've had with my blogging lately is figuring out how to balance it with my off-the-internet life. I LOVE blogging and not having enough time for it is just...not fun.

Recently life has just been shoved in my face as I'm growing up and entering those years where EVERYTHING happens. School, which has always been a struggle for me is now a necessary priority and I have so many questions and things to think about. I've had to spend a lot of time trying to get myself on track with that, and I think it's finally working. I’ve been working harder and finding it so much more enjoyable than it was before.

However, on the side of that all my extra-curricular events take up a lot of time, and who doesn't love to socialize? NOT THIS GIRL! It's all just been a blur of experiences and school to me. What little time I have left to write posts I want to use to relax by jamming to music or reading. [And quite possibly wasting on social media. ]

So watching my subscriptions every morning and reading content from my favorite bloggers nearly ever yday has left me wondering how the heck they have time for it? How are you amazing people so on the ball and able to schedule weeks or even months(**Nikki**) in advance? Some of you are students some are not! I just feel so blown over with it all. And you guys blow me away with your continued ability to stay on track.  

I'm not giving up on blogging at all just because life is crazy. I'm not giving up because I have a ton of reviews to write and it's not getting lighter. I love blogging, I can't give that up! I just wish I had more ideas and things to push me to get on some sort of schedule instead of cramming posts in occasionally. Even if it’s not every single day! 

So all you frabjous people, tell me honestly, what is your trick? What works best for you! I want to know!

XOXO,


Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Welcome to my WOW, or HOW as I like to call it where I feature an upcoming release that I'm hyperventilating for! It's totally fun to geek out about upcoming releases! This event is hosted by Jill @ Breaking The Spine. Today's awesome-sauce pick is....

Tsarina
by J. Nelle Patrick & Jackson Pearce
Publishing: 2.27.14

Natalya knows a secret. A magical Faberge egg glows within the walls of Russia's Winter Palace. It holds a power rooted in the land and stolen from the mystics. A power that promises a life of love for her and Alexei Romanov. Power, that, in the right hands, can save her way of life. But it's not in the right hands.

What. The. Heck. Russia? Magic? Romanovs? This book is like historical-fantasy nerd WIN!! To the max! I can't wait for this book. The permise is short and sweet, eluding to so many things, yet keeping lots of things hidden which makes it all the more exciting. And I actually really like the cover! It's unique and I can totally see it looking beautiful in hardcover. Can't wait to get my hands on it. With a 4.83 Goodreads rating...my hopes are HIGH.

What are YOU waiting/hyperventilating on?
Link me up!
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Hello everyone! Welcome to the Landry Park blog tour! I'm so excited to share my thoughts on this fantastic book! Stick around to learn about the book and maybe win it yourself!  

Landry Park
by Bethany Hagen
Publishing: 2.4.14
Pages: 384

Downton Abbey meets The Selection in this dystopian tale of love and betrayal. In a fragmented future United States ruled by the lavish gentry, seventeen-year-old Madeline Landry dreams of going to the university. Unfortunately, gentry decorum and her domineering father won't allow that. Madeline must marry, like a good Landry woman, and run the family estate. But her world is turned upside down when she discovers the devastating consequences her lifestyle is having on those less fortunate. As Madeline begins to question everything she has ever learned, she finds herself increasingly drawn to handsome, beguiling David Dana. Soon, rumors of war and rebellion start to spread, and Madeline finds herself and David at the center of it all. Ultimately, she must make a choice between duty - her family and the estate she loves dearly - and desire.
Disclaimer: I was given an Advance copy in exchange for review. I did not receive any compensation for my thoughts, and all quotes are taken from the book are subject to change. 

Ever since I first saw the beautiful cover I knew I wanted to read this. When I saw it blurbed as Downton Abbey meets The Selection I wanted to even more. Dystopia meets Historical Society? Heck yes! And this book did not disappoint! It was a read that kept me riveted the whole day long.

Being a Dystopian it’s natural to see corrupted governments and twisted futuristic settings. But what I found to be super unique about this one was the fact that the politics of this world played a very big part of this book. This isn’t something you often in young adult literature, but I loved it! The tensions and problems that arise from the issues in this world and society are the struggles and the plot of this book. I was riveted! There is drama and romance aplenty, but the way the politics wasn’t shoved aside was what I really loved.  It was intricate and interesting. And I appreciated that our main character Madeline had a brain to keep up with it all.

And then – on this sprawling estate in this large house, on the brink of a revolution – I was reminded of the power of the small. Small ideas, small acts, small people.  After all it was the furious industry of those tiny atoms that fueled the stars, stares that then nourished planets, and planets that the nourished life. Not matter how small I felt, how infinitesimal my feeble gestures seemed, I was part of a larger chain, a large system, and so help me I would bring order to this chaos.

Because the book does focus on a very political system of injustice and cruelty to the poor, Landry Park raises san discusses quite a fe thought provoking topics. That it was able to be pulled off with suck skill was astounding. I was questioning myself and justifying right along with these characters.

So it was okay if lots of innocent people got hurt as long as it was not the one you cared about?

As far as our characters go we see quite the spread. This book is very much of a Victorian society filled with parties and gossip just as much as it is a thought-provoking dystopian. Despite seeing it through the eyes of a learned girl more interested in books, doesn’t mean it’s right there. It was a fun aspect, this society. Nothing I haven’t seen before, but still very fun. The description of the balls was lovely and it was very vivid an event.
While I found this book fantastically fun there were a few things I found slightly lacking. As far as our dramatics of the society go, there were few side plots that I feel weren’t given all the attention necessary to make it interesting and not so predicting. I saw the results coming a little before we found out the revelation and took a slight chunk away from the anticipation of it all.

As for the romance, we have a dashing set up. I love the way our romantic male lead is set up. It’s all very fun and exciting…..until it gets redundant in it’s methods. There were moments of brilliant swoons and then it’s left to sit. It’s a ride of a romance that’s for sure. I just wished for a little more from it! I guess I shall have to wait for book too.

“You’re brave.”
He shrugged. “Bullets are just lumps of metal. A flash of pain or a quick death. But being a coward – that’s something that eats away at you slowly from the inside. That’s what really scares me.”

What I did love about the romance? The arguements. Not petty arguments, but the debates between them.  It goes back to Madeline and her brains! They conversations they could have! It was beautiful! It made the romance so much more real, because it wasn’t just a pretty face and attraction.

My only other complaint would be the lack of some world-building. It is the future and there were plenty of technology introduced that I would have liked to get to know a little more. It’s not difficult to figure out but if there had been just a tad more explanations I would have been so much more comfortable with the world.

But on the whole, those complaints are drowned out in the interesting story! It builds up to a fantastic end with heartbreak and happiness and so many questions! Rich in intelligence and fascinating political themes, Hagen's dystopian romance will intrigue you and make you yearn for more. If you are looking for a fascinating read, this is the one for you!

About Bethany Hagen
Website - Twitter - Goodreads
Bethany Hagen Librarian by day, Bethany Hagen is the author of the forthcoming LANDRY PARK, set to be released from Dial February 4th. She lives in Kansas City with her husband and two children.

Bethany is so awesome! I got the chance to interview her for another special promotion to come back next month for that!
Excited for the book? Here's your chance to show Bethany some love and win your own copy and some swag!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks for stopping by! Make sure to leave Bethany some love in the comments below! For more Merp Squad tours check out our website! XOXO,


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Welcome to my WOW, or HOW as I like to call it where I feature an upcoming release that I'm hyperventilating for! It's totally fun to geek out about upcoming releases! This event is hosted by Jill @ Breaking The Spine. Today's awesome-sauce pick is....

Minders 
by Michele Jaffe
Publishing: 1. 30. 14

Q: If the boy you love commits a crime, would you turn him in?
Sadie Ames is a type-A teenager from the wealthy suburbs. She's been accepted to the prestigious Mind Corps Fellowship program, where she'll spend six weeks as an observer inside the head of Ford, a troubled boy with a passion for the crumbling architecture of the inner city. There's just one problem: Sadie's fallen in love with him.
Q: What if the crime is murder?
Ford Winters is haunted by the murder of his older brother, James. As Sadie falls deeper into his world, dazzled by the shimmering pinpricks of color that form images in his mind, she begins to think she knows him. Then Ford does something unthinkable.
Q: What if you saw it happen from inside his mind?
Back in her own body, Sadie is faced with the ultimate dilemma. With Ford's life in her hands, she must decide what is right and what is wrong. And how well she can really ever know someone, even someone she loves.
I've been kind-of-just-a-little-teensy-weensy-bit excited for this book ever since I laid my eyes on it. Hello gorgeous! Hello awesome sound premise! Hello my new best friends! This book comes out at the later end of this month and I am super excited! It just SOUNDS SO GOOD! How do I talk about this? I can't really. Meep. Hopefully I can get a hold of this book soon!!

What are you waiting/hyperventilatin on this week?
Link me up!
Monday, January 6, 2014

This year I have decided to take an step back on something pretty common in the blogging community, Reading Challenges. Don't get me wrong, I think these are seriously AWESOME!!! They are fun to participate in! They bring you out of your reading comfort zone and get you into new and exciting books. I am all for that. But I have a very specific reason for deciding not to sign up for any challenges this time around.

Exhibit A: My Goodreads Challenges from the past two years

Completed
Congrats! You have completed your goal of reading 125 books for the 2012 Reading Challenge!
 
view books »
Completed
Congrats! You have completed your goal of reading 64 books for the 2013 Reading Challenge!
 




Upon examination we see that 2012 was a fantastic reading year for me! 131 books! Holy CRAP! It still boggles my mind. But then if we look at the 2013 reading challenge there is a significant difference there. 64 books. SIXTY-FOUR. That's a 67 book difference, and not in the best way.

I know why that happened too. I spent a few months barely reading anything. I had slumps that made me not want to read. The first half of the year was just not very strong as far as reading goes. But my reading world took off that last half of the year, sure there were still mini-slumps but I was still READING and loving a lot of the things I read. And most importantly I was reading what I WANTED to read.

But half a year can mess things up quite a bit. The most important thing I learned from my 2013 reading year was not to stress about the books to read! Yes there are ARCs and tours to get ready for, but plan ahead and do it when you feel like it so it's not horrible. Read what you WANT!! It's so awesome to come away from a book feeling empowered and happy because you just loved it!

Now, how does this work in regard to reading challenges? Well, what's a reading challenge? Usually a goal centered around a certain topic/theme in the book world. Yes? It could be a sequels challenge, or a debut author challenge, or a paranormal creature challenge. ANYTHING. And while these are fine...they can be hard. Say you're reading what you want and December comes and what you want hasn't met any of those challenges?! (Okay that's a long shot but roll with it) Well sucks for you! Now to accomplish them you have to push yourself to read books you may or may not want to read with a time limit.

That's kind of a worst-case scenario, but for me, after my rough reading year in 2013 it all comes down to the fact that I really want to just step back and read. I want to read books that have been sitting on my shelves FOREVER. I want to read new books that I am super psyched for! I DO want to branch out into more genres of fiction! But I don't want to commit to anything that might come back to haunt me later. For 2014 at least I want to enjoy reading and blow myself out of the water by reading so many awesome books.

For that reason, I AM participating in the Goodreads challenge. I hope to read 100 books this year. But the difference with this challenge? I can read whatever I want, and still push myself to a challenge. And then throughout the year if I want, I can set mini-challenges for myself based on circumstance and whatnot. It's a personal win-win!

So I hope you all have your own fantastic reading year! If you're doing challenges YOU ROCK! Have fun with them. XOXO,

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