Monday, February 22, 2016

Pocket Book Reviews {February 2016} + Giveaway

NetGalley is a big source of reading material for me now. I have to say it's fun requesting books and then being able to read them a few weeks or even a few months before the official book birthday (AKA release date). I read four NetGalley books this month; one I didn't like and three I loved. Do you get books from NetGalley?

I'm currently listening to the audiobook of Me Before You and it's quirky and wonderful and I have a feeling this book is going to break my heart! Have you read it? 

The Reader's of Broken Wheel Recommend
 (2 out of 5)

Written by Katarina BivaldIt’s about whether or not books are better than real life. It’s also a book about a Swedish girl called Sara, her elderly American penfriend Amy and what happens when you land a very different kind of bookshop in the middle of a town so broken it’s almost beyond repair. 

DNF at 16%. I couldn't finish this. I found the story lackluster, the characters boring, and I didn't care to continue the story. I'm awkward and I like reading books and so does the main character, Sara (and we also have the same name), but I didn't like her. She has no personality. There are so many side characters that I found it hard to keep track of who was who. I liked the idea of the story, so I might try reading this again, but we'll see. (*Received from NetGalley.)

Percy Jackson: The Battle of the Labyrinth (#4)
 (4 out of 5)

Written by Rick Riordan; Time is running out as war between the Olympians and the evil Titan lord Kronos draws near. Even the safe haven of Camp Half-Blood grows more vulnerable as Kronos's army prepares to invade. To stop the invasion, Percy and his demigod friends must set out on a quest through the Labyrinth.

Percy Jackson is definitely a series of middle-grade books, but this fourth book felt more mature than the others. Maybe it's because Percy hit fifteen years old or because I could finally see some romantic tension between Percy and Annabeth. I really enjoyed the plot and how we followed the crew as they ventured into the Labyrinth. 

Percy Jackson: The Last Olympian (#5)
 (4 out of 5)

Written by Rick Riordan; All year the half-bloods have been preparing for battle against the Titans, knowing the odds of a victory are grim. Kronos’s army is stronger than ever, and with every god and half-blood he recruits, the evil Titan’s power only grows. Now it’s up to Percy Jackson and an army of young demigods to stop the Lord of Time.

This was a great ending to the series! This book was full of non-stop action and it was fun reading about my favorite city, New York City, get smashed to pieces by Titans and see how the different plots (Percy vs. Kronos, Rachel and her visions, the Greek Gods fighting the Titans) all come together. It was fun and emotional and a satisfying conclusion.

Undressing Mr. Darcy
 (3 out of 5)

Written by Karen Doornebos; When Vanessa Roberts' elderly Jane Austen–centric aunt needs her to take on the public relations for Julian Chancellor, a man from England who’s written a book called My Year as Mr. Darcy, Vanessa agrees. But she’s not “excessively diverted,” as Jane Austen would say. Until she sees Julian take his tight breeches off for his Undressing Mr. Darcy show.

I really, really wanted to love this. It's about Jane Austen! There's a man that undresses as Mr. Darcy! There's tea and Austen conventions and a man that dresses as a pirate! But the main character, Vanessa, was boring and not very likable. I could totally understand her love for Jane Austen, but she was like a light switch, one second all against it and then completely in love. She became a different person. Her talking about how "quaint" everything was in Egland was so annoying. 

The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl
 (5 out of 5)

Written by Melissa Keil; Alba loves her life just as it is. She loves living behind the bakery and waking up in a cloud of sugar and cinnamon. She loves drawing comics and watching bad TV with her friends. As doomsday enthusiasts flock to idyllic Eden Valley, Albas life is thrown into chaos. Whatever happens next, it's the end of the world as she knows it. 

The first thing I need to say is WOW! This novel is like looking through a window into a real small town and getting a glimpse into a real teenage girl's head. Everything about this book felt so real, so authentic, so human. Alba is one of the best character's I've ever had the pleasure to read about. She's spunky and witty and cool and likes drawing an awesome comic book character called Cinnamon Girl. Every character, even the background ones, have personality. Grady is too cute for words and I just love Alba and Grady's dynamic and awesome friendship. It's interesting that this book is kind of about the end of the world, but not really about that at all -- it's about friendship and living in the moment and how delicious apple strudel is. (*Received from NetGalley.)

Batgirl, Vol. 2: Family Business
 (4 out of 5)

Written by Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, and Babs Tarr; There’s a new Batman in town—and that’s bad news for Barbara Gordon! She’s already got enough upheaval in her life, with her roommate Frankie now in on her biggest secret. And what happens when Livewire joins the fight with the intention of taking out both Batgirl and the mysterious new Batman?

Batgirl AKA Barbara Gordon and all of her friends are so fun to follow on their adventures! All of the stories in this volume was action-packed, intriguing, and just plain awesome! I absolutely loved the crossover to Gotham Academy! There's nothing better than seeing characters you adore working with another character you love. And the twist about the new Batman and that a known character is back from the dead?! Freaking awesome! Absolutely loved read this! I took a point away because some of the fighting panels were hard to understand what was going on. But other than that I loved it! (*Received from NetGalley.)

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 4: Last Days
 (5 out of 5)

Written by G. Willow Wilson; From the moment Kamala put on her costume, she's been challenged. But nothing has prepared her for this: the last days of the Marvel Universe. Between teaming up with her personal hero to rescue her brother and trying to keep her city from falling into an all-out frenzy, Kamala has barely had time to come to terms with the fact that the world is literally collapsing around her. 

I can't get enough of Kamala! She's now one of my favorite superheroes. This volume was funny and action-packed and so far the most emotional. The most touching moment was between Kamala and her mom as the world is falling apart around them. I need the next volume to know what's going to happen to the Marvel Universe!

The Girl From Everywhere
 (5 out of 5)

Written by Heidi Heilig; Sixteen-year-old Nix Song is a time-traveller. She and her father travel the world aboard a glorious pirate ship. Old maps allow Nix to navigate not just to distant lands, but distant times. Nix's father is only interested in one time, and one place: Honolulu 1868. A time before Nix was born, and her mother was alive. Something that puts Nix's existence in danger.

If ever a book is going to be a fun adventure ride it's a book about a time traveling pirate ship! I sped through this book so quickly because of the diverse cast of likable characters, the cool concept of Navigating, and the intriguing what-will-happen-to-Nix-if-her-father-goes-back-in-time-to-before-she-was-born plot. Nix and Kashmir's friendship is wonderful and their witty remarks had me smiling the whole time. I like that they have a very strong almost-romance friendship that carries the book. Kashmir is just a super suave and very likable guy. I liked Nix a lot because she's intelligent, quick-thinking, hot-tempered, and believable for a teen who's only ever lived aboard a ship. I had some issues with Slate, Nix's father, at first, but he grew to become an interesting person. And I liked that here was a tiny dragon, but he wasn't even useful! What's the point of having a tiny dragon if he isn't even useful?! But most importantly I LOVED that the ship could travel to real and imaginary places! If there's map of a place, it can go there (mostly), which I thought was the coolest thing! (*Received from NetGalley.)

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
 (3 out of 5)

Written by Elizabeth Gilbert; She digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. 

Reading about creativity and how to be creative is an interesting thing. It's immensely helpful if what the author is saying speaks to you, but if it doesn't then you're just reading about stuff you know about or don't care about. I liked parts of this book; some stories about her books, stories about meeting well-known authors, the part about ideas being alive, like fairies; but the encouraging parts where she tells you to be creative fell flat for me. This book didn't speak to me like I was hoping it would. Most of it was about stuff I've heard a million times already. 

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Have a lovely day!
~Sara ♥

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