Monday, September 22, 2014

Spontaneous Giveaway Time!

It's GIVEAWAY time! :party

Lately, I've been sort of glum regarding the blog. Seems like I just got in the groove again, whipping out tons of ARC Reviews (on or before the release date!) and having a blast. This ended all too soon though.  This past year I was barely working and looking for a job for 6+ months. I finally scored a new job *squee* but the hours are loooong. I barely have the energy to read and am falling a bit behind on review books read. I had to cancel some buddy reads too. :c 

But I'm happy. :e I mean, I love this new job, it's awesome! And I still have time to blog, which is a plus. I think I just have to lower my expectations for the amount of books I can pound out. Even though I'm a fast reader, some nights I don't even pick up a book or my iPad to read. :o

The point to all this? I think, since the last giveaway went so well, I wanna do another one! I didn't forsee this, so no hop this time. Just spontaneity. I have several books still on my shelves (ARCs and finished copies) that I don't plan on ever reading. 
Hint: some of them are on my trade list on YA Book Exchange

*I want to make this INT too, so I'm doing a small one for an INTL winner - 5$ Amazon GC if the winner is INTL. You can buy an ebook of your choice!*

So what's up for grabs?!
2 surprise books! (US)

5$ Amazon GC (INTL)

*By entering you're agreeing to my Giveaway Rules*
*If you win, I'll ask you for your top fav genres (within YA) and will choose based on what you dig*
*Books are ARCs / finished copies*

Enter the Rafflecopter below:


Audiobook Review: Doll Bones by Holly Black

Doll Bones by Holly Black
Source: Audiobook mp3 via LAPL library
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars :star :star :star :star

Zach, Poppy, and Alice have been friends forever. And for almost as long, they’ve been playing one continuous, ever-changing game of pirates and thieves, mermaids and warriors. Ruling over all is the Great Queen, a bone-china doll cursing those who displease her. But they are in middle school now. Zach’s father pushes him to give up make-believe, and Zach quits the game. Their friendship might be over, until Poppy declares she’s been having dreams about the Queen—and the ghost of a girl who will not rest until the bone-china doll is buried in her empty grave. 

I don't listen to audiobooks very often. I prefer to read, as it's much faster. However, I recently got a new job and I work a lot of hours and drive a lot now. So my reading time has been slashed. I put the audiobook on my phone and plugged it in so I can listen while I drive to the mp3. Man, I love technology! 

This was a great listen. The narrator was superb, and each character sounded different. I put it on 1.25 so I could listen without going crazy with how slow it was haha. Before I knew it I was done! The story was a lot of fun. I loved Zachary and his POV. The fact that three 12 year olds played dolls, and dealt with growing up...all while having a creepy atmospheric vibe?! It was great! I am definitely a huge fan of Holly Black after this. I've read some of her short stories, and I heard this was a good one. I happen to love a good creepy middle grade novel, and this definitely fit the bill. 

I can't recommend it enough. Especially the audiobook. I can't really say exactly why it's not 5 stars, except it maybe didn't have as much of a WOW factor that is necessary for me to give 5. But it was pretty damn good, nonetheless. ^_^


Sunday, September 21, 2014

#TackleTBR Wrap-Up!

Hosted by Tressa @ Wishful Endings.

This marks the second year of my participation in this read a thon. This year seems kind of anticlimactic since I didn't read more than usual..but I did read as much as I could with my new schedule. It was the first week at my new job, and things were bumpy. I wish I could've read more, but c'est la vie! I had already signed up by the time I realized I probably wouldn't have like any reading time. And I didn't make my goal, and it makes me kinda sad I am entering a phase where I'm not going to have time to read much. But hey, I did finish an audiobook with all that time in the car! :tup

I had fun doing the challenges too! I even visited some of the blogs participating :P

Go to my twitter @DiamondCronen to see my Cover and Color Challenge answers! (Sorry I don't have time to link them in this post). 

End of Read-a-Thon Update

Total Books Read: 3 (1 audiobook, 2 ebooks)


BIG thanks to Tressa for hosting! :k

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The TBR Tag - I was tagged!

Jess @ My Reading Dress tagged me for the TBR tag. As you may know, I sometimes like to do these tags, just to mix things up and have fun :e This TBR tag was created by Rachel and Dana @ Dana Square

1. How do you keep track of your TBR? 

Goodreads is my best friend. I use it to keep track, because there's no better way for me to keep it straight. I also keep a short list in my head of the next 5 review and fun books to read. That way I kinda know what is coming up soon so I can anticipate accurately lol ;) 

2. Is your TBR mostly print or Ebook?

I'd have to say print. Although I do have most of my ebooks shelves as well, the majority is print as I read print books more often. Ebooks are usually review copies, unless I get something on sale on iBooks or kindle :O (which happens periodically). 

3. How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next? 

Well, if it's a review book I pretty much have that planned out via chronological order, or pub date. I try to read close to pub date, but if I don't feel like reading it I just pick one that's been published already but I haven't gotten to yet. Seems to be the best way to do it so there's less pressure on me. As for the books I read for leisure, I choose based on my mood. There's nothing I like better than having no idea what to read next, nothing planned, 
and just sitting and sifting through my bookshelves and choosing based on whatever strikes my fancy :O

4. A book that has been on your TBR the longest?

Pride & Prejudice has been on my GR TBR the longest. I really need to get to that one, I love Austen, just haven't gotten to that one yet :$ 

5. A book you've recently added to your TBR? 

Hmm, there's a lot recently added (ok, I'm always adding, like, daily..but still).. I recently added Phantom Evil by Heather Graham because it was book of the week on iBooks! Also, it came highly recommended by Kim @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer

6. A book in your TBR because of it's beautiful cover? 

Oh, there are so many! But one that comes to mind is Let the Sky Fall. I added it because of the cover alone, even bought it paperback bc it was pink :$ I just love it, but I have no idea if the book is any good lol. Heard some mixed 
things about it.

7. A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading? 

Well I like to think I plan on reading all of them but after glancing at my TBR, I did find a weird random one I don't think I'll ever get to. It's 10th in a series I've never read, I have the hardcover somewhere I need to put in my giveaway/donate pile. The Witch in the Well.

8. An unpublished book from your TBR that you're excited for?

Oh this is an easy one. Definitely Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan. Dying for that one! :e IS IT OCTOBER YET?!?!

9. A book in your TBR that everyone recommends to you? 

Oh, there are a ton of books I'm late on the bandwagon for. In fact, that's even a shelf on my GR lol. Alice in Zombieland is the one I recently got because it's been recommended to me SO many times! 

10. Number of books in my TBR? 

No judgement. Right?! I have a total of 603 books on my to-read shelf. This is after I went through and deleted a bunch, even. Guess I better keep reading, eh? ;)

And now I tag:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Let's Discuss: Books with Age-Defying Genres: Good or Bad?

Let's Discuss is a feature I created to discuss different bookish musings.

So there's something I've been thinking about lately. You know I'm one of those people who definitely pays attention to what genre a book is labeled as being. I can gloss over the subjects, but for the age (middle grade, adult, young adult) I do pay attention. 

Here's the thing. I'm currently reading a book by an author I have loved for many years. He normally writes adult fiction (hint: author of Wicked), but has an upcoming release that is labelled as being middle-grade. As I'm an avid middle grade enthusiast, I was ecstatic when I saw the eARC and got approved! So I've been reading it...and it's going very slowly. The pacing is slow. The language is flowery. The prose is very.. adult. There are numerous vocab words I had to look up. Yes, me. A 27 year old college graduate.. (Granted, that doesn't mean I'm smart, but still). ;) I can't help but wonder what a middle school kid would think about this. Would they feel duped? Or simply give up? Or would they like it? I just don't know.

It has me thinking: am I upset because of my disappointment in the book? Or, is it because I was expecting a middle grade novel, and got an adult novel smashed within middle grade parameters. I'm not quite sure, to be honest. I think it's a combination of both. I'm disappointed, I haven't even got halfway through it and it's been almost two weeks. :c If it wasn't an arc I had requested, I would have left it DNF by now. 

 I doubt highly that middle grade readers will like this book. Will adults like it? I don't know, so far I'm not liking it too much (and I'm an adult). Even the reviews on Goodreads are polarized on. People saying it's brilliant, many others saying it's a DNF, or not their cup o' tea. :||

So I gotta ask: 

Do you pay attention to the age range of a book? 

Does it bother you when a book doesn't fit its labelled age-range?

Monday, September 15, 2014

ARC Review: Balance Keepers: Fires of Calderon by Lindsay Cummings

The Fires of Calderon by Lindsay Cummings
Source: eARC via Edelweiss | Katherine Tegen Books
My rating: 2 of 5 stars :star :star
Publication Date: September 23rd, 2014.

After following a mysterious map into the woods and then under the woods, eleven-year-old Albert Flynn learns he’s a Balance Keeper—someone with special magical skills for fixing problems in three underground Realms at the Core of the earth. His new job is important; if the realms fall out of balance, the world above could be in great danger. Albert and his Balance Keeper teammates Birdie and Leroy arrive in the Core not a moment too soon. There’s an Imbalance in the Calderon Realm and it’s threatening to bury Albert’s hometown of New York City in a mountain of ash. The three must train hard completing mental and physical challenges, but above all, they must harness the power of their Tiles—unique superpowers given to each Balance Keeper. So far, Albert’s mastered the art of not mastering his Tile....With the situation in Calderon growing worse every day, can Albert, Leroy, and Birdie restore balance before New York is destroyed forever? Will Albert master his Tile before it’s too late?

I can't quite decide what to rate The Fires of Calderon. I'm hovering between a two and three star rating for this one. It was a good story, but a lot of it was predictable. The Balance Keepers are the people who keep balance in the Realms. Here's a quote that describes it pretty well:

“The Realms shift places. They could be in any place under the earth at any time. However, when a Realm becomes Imbalanced, it freezes in one place. Right now, the Calderon Realm is stopped under New York, yes, and it will stay there, wreaking havoc on the city, until Balance is restored."
(Loc 840 of eARC)

I did like the characters. I found Birdie (no, she's not an 89 year old woman) ;) to be the most interesting. The two boys, one girl routine is one that's been played an awful lot. Especially when the ring leader of the group is the one with the special-ist powers. It's just a storyline I can only read so many times, I think my expectations get a little more unrealistic each time because it takes more to impress me with these types of books.

There was enough creativity in this for me to enjoy speculating about the world and what it looks like in my head. The bully, Hoyt, got on my nerves a lot. Other than that I liked all the characters.
I think my favorite part came at the ending because it was very action-packed. I did find it a bit strange that the very last paragraph contained the introduction of a villian previously not alluded to in any way.

I would still recommend this to those adventure lovers who don't mind a somewhat familiar story. :)


*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon Updates!

Hosted by Tressa @ Wishful Endings.

I will be updating this everyday, but only adding the books that I finish. See my GOALS here. :party 

I'll also be updating what I'm currently reading & listening 

Update: [ 9/18 ]

Update: [ 9/16 ]

I finished the audiobook of Doll Bones! It was great :tup

Date finished: 9/16
Total # of books read: 2

Update: [ 9 / 12 ] 

I finished my first book! :O *finally*

Date finished: September 12
Total # of Books read: 1 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Dust Off Your Classics: my first foray into Sherlock Holmes

Dust off Your Classics is a challenge created by myself and Trish @ Between the Lines
see the sign-up page


Ok, so I've been really bad about updating which classics I've read. I even realized just now, I never completed my post after I read Persuasion by Jane Austen. Oops. Luckily, I have an awesome co-challenge creator, Trish, who has reminded me I need to hop to it! ;)

I haven't mentioned this on the blog before, but my friend recently got me hooked on Sherlock. Played by the gorgeously charming Benedict Cumberbatch *insert appropriate gif here* I fell in love after one episode (they're an hour long each). It didn't take me long to watch all 3 seasons and the wait for season 4 has been excruciating :| seriously.

So what was a girl to do? Well it so happens I'm a book lover (duh), so I decided to hunt and search my bookshelves until I came upon what I was seeking: the complete Sherlock Homes in two volumes. I also had it on my iPad on iBooks from awhile ago. Satisfied, I proceeded to leaf through the stories and try to pick a good starting point. But I couldn't decide. So I just started at the beginning and read A Scandal in Bohemia. Here's what I thought:

A Scandal in Bohemia
My Rating: Four Stars :star :star :star :star

I really enjoyed reading this! I have to say, it was infinitely better because I could picture Irene Adler and Sherlock Holmes vividly (from watching the show). In both story and show, Ms. Adler is known to Sherlock as simply “the woman” and she's spectacular. Their interactions were so funny and witty. 
I found the story to be fast moving and interesting. It wasn't a tedious read, which can happen all too often with classics. It also helped that the entire story was only 100 pages. It's more of a novella, which is very appealing to me. The mystery was really well paced and written, and I felt like I was reading a new story. It was very different from the portrayal on the show but the personalities of the characters were so similar it was awesome!

If you haven't already read Sherlock Holmes, I can't recommend it enough. The stories are short, and if you are a fan of the show, you feel like you have a secret window into understanding the stories. If you don't or haven't watched Sherlock yet, let me urge you to do so! You won't regret it. And then come back and tell me so we can fangirl over it together :h 


Oh and I've been reading a page here and there (about halfway done) with The Red-Headed League. It's really good! I'm also currently reading Pride & Prejudice, which I have never read before. It's one of the first TBR books I added to my Goodresds shelf back in 2012. So excited to finally be reading it, even though I feel like I know the story since I saw the movie :L (which I loved).

So the next post will be my thoughts on Pride & Prejudice, and probably also about The Red-Headed League (the current Homes story I'm reading now).



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