Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a meme hosted on Should Be Reading every week. To participate, you have to share a teaser from a current read. 

I recently caved in and read "Cinder", the first installment in Marissa Meyer's "Lunar Chronicles", so this week's teaser is from that book.
“The queen's eyes smouldered. "I know my own kind when I see them, and right now there is one in these city walls." She pointed a finger toward the balcony."I want her found and brought to me."
"Right," said Kai,"that'll be no problem in a city of two and a half million people. Let me just go dig out my special Lunar detector, and I'll get right on that.”
So, what do you think is happening? What's your teaser for this week? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Five Friday Favorites: Favorite Contemporaries

"Five Friday Favorites" is a meme hosted by Amanda at Book Badger. Each week on Friday, five favorites on different subjects are posted. This week's theme were contemporary books.
I'm not much for contemporaries, I usually prefer speculative fiction, but I have been known to pick up the odd contemporary novel. These are my favorites: 

5. "The Summer I Became a Nerd" by Leah Rae Miller 
This novel is pure light-hearted fluff, and it's a lot of fun, and it also managed to send a pretty good message. 

4. "The Reece Malcolm List" by Amy Spalding 
I read this novel last year and I liked it a lot. The romance wasn't all that great, but the musical aspect and the MC's relationship with her mother were really interesting. 

3. "All American Girl" by Meg Cabot
I have read and reread this a hundred times, and it's alway a lot of fun. And Sam and David are such a cute couple!

2. "Eleanor and Park" by Rainbow Rowell
I thought this was a really well-written, captivating book. It left me a bit heart-broken, but I'm glad I read it. 

1. "Fangirl" by Rainbow Rowell
Yes, another Rainbow Rowell novel. I've got to say I enjoy her books a lot and I thought this one was great, it was one of my favorite reads of 2013. 

So, what are your favorite contemporary novels? Let me know in the comments!  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Spring 2014 TBR list

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by the Brooke and the Bookish. This week's top ten is of books that will be a priority on my Spring 2014 TBR list.

1. "City of Heavenly Fire" by Cassandra Clare. 
I have been waiting for this book for two years. Will Magnus and Alec get back together? Will Jace and Clary finally get to do the do? Who will die? Will Sebastian get cured?
I realize that this series has steadily been getting worse and worse since book three, as it went from slightly-soap-opera-like (we still had the fake incest) to ridiculously stupid at times (Jace and Clary can't have sex because then he'd catch fire? For heaven's sake!), but I'm hooked and I'll stick with this books until the bitter end. 

2. "The Gospel of Loki" by Joanne Harris 
This book recently came out and it has been on my TBR list since I found out about it. I definitely want to read it soon. 

3. "The Luminaries" by Eleanor Catton 
This novel looks really intriguing, and I've been putting off reading it for too long. 

4. "Runemarks" by Joanne Harris 
Another Joanne Harris norse-mythology novel, though it's YA this time around. I'll probably read them one after the other. 

5. "The Deep End of the Sea" by Hearher Lyons 
I read the blurb, a couple of reviews and I was sold. I'm really looking forward to this new take on the Medusa legend. 

6.  "Half Bad" by Sally Green
This book was amongst my most anticipated debuts for this year, and I definitely want to read it soon.  

7. "The Blade Itself" by Joe Abercrombie 
I have read some very favorable reviews of the "First Law" trilogy, and I've been meaning to start reading it for a long time. 

8. "Attachments" by Rainbow Rowell

I loved Rowell's YA books, so I want to give her adult novel a try. 

9. "Cinder" by Merissa Meyer
This is one of those books that I keep meaning to read, but for some reason never get around to. 

10. "The Maze Runner" by James Dashner
I have read some very favorable reviews of this book, but was never quite sure it was my cup of tea. Since the movie is being released in a few months, this Spring might be the right moment to read it. 

What are your top ten books on your Spring 2014 TBR list?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Tales from the Inn: part two

The second post of my writing project, "Tales from the Inn" is up! You can find it here: http://samstalesfromtheinn.blogspot.it/2014/03/a-day-trip-to-asgard.html! 
For those of you that missed it, "Tales from the Inn" is a blog that details the experiences of a fictional character I created, a young woman called Samantha "Sam" Barrow, who runs "The Inn", home to ghosts, deities and various folklore figures. 
It would be awesome if you checked it out! 

Liebster Awards

I am honored and humbled to say that I have been nominated for the Liebster Award! Many thanks to the lovely Amanda over at Book Badger for nominating me!
The Liebster Award's purpose is to get recognition to blogs with less than 200 followers. There are some rules:
1) Thank and link back the person who nominated you
2) List eleven facts about yourself
3) Answer the eleven questions asked by the blogger who nominated you
4) Nominate 9 bloggers, who have less than 200 followers (you can't nominate the blog that nominated you)
5) Ask them eleven questions
6) Let them know of their nomination!
Eleven facts about me:

1 I've always loved stories, and as a toddler I used to wake my mother up at six o'clock in the morning, wailing "A'other chapter of Winnie Pooh!" 

2. I used to hate pink when I was a child, but now I love it.

3. When I'm procrastinating something but don't want to feel bad about it, I bake. 

4. I decided I wanted to be a writer when I was seven.

5. Before choosing I was going to be a writer, I wanted to be an ice-cream seller (so that I could have lots of free ice cream, of course). 

6. "Harry Potter" was the first fantasy book I ever read. I read the first four books in the series several times, and the one I read the most was the third one. 

7. Since we're talking about Harry Potter, Sirius Black was my first ever literary crush.

8. I treat physical copies of books roughly: I break the spines, lose the dust-jackets, bend and rip the corners, fall asleep with my face in the novel...

9.  I love fashion, especially accessories: bags, shoes... It takes a lot of willpower not to spend all my money on them.

10. When I was a child, I had all the songs and poems in "The Hobbit" memorized and sometimes, I would wander around the house reciting them to my family. My mom had nicknamed be "the bard".  

11. I went three days without a name when I was born, because my parents changed their minds on the name they wanted to give me at the last minute. 

Amanda's Questions

1) What was the first book you ever reviewed? 
My first review was of "Sebastian Falls" by Celeste Holloway. You can find it here.  

2) What do you do when you're not blogging?
As far as fun stuff goes, I bake, sing, hang out with my friends and family. I try to write and sometimes I even succeed.

3) What is your favourite meal? Homemade or Restaurant? 
This is going to sound so stereotypically italian, but it's pizza, both homemade and ordered from a restaurant.  

4) Who are your 3 recommended authors?
J.K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman and J.R.R. Tolkien.

5) Would you say you're book buying was acceptable, a little too much or shocking?
A little too much

6) What is/are some of your favourite songs to listen to?
I love broadway musicals and some of my favorite songs are "Defying Gravity", "No Good Deed" and "What is this feeling" from "Wicked", "Red and Black", "One Day More" and "I Dreamed a Dream" from "Les Miserables".  

7) Name your lowest rated book you've reviewed; why didn't you enjoy it?
The lowest rating I have ever given is of one star, and I have given it to several books, the most recent one being "The Chaos of Stars". I didn't like it because the main character was unlikable and the plot was slow and filled with plot holes. You can find my review here

8) If you had £10,000 or $10,000, what would you do first?
Take an holiday, probably. Or spend them all on books. 

9) What kind of holiday would you prefer? Relaxing Beach or Sight-Seeing City?
Sight-Seeing, definitely. 

10) What are your interests besides reading?
Baking, singing, photography, and, of course, writing! 

11) If you could have or create any job in the world, what would you like to do?
I'd love to be an author. 

My questions: 
1) What's better: ebook or physical copy?
2) What book made you fall in love with reading?
3) What's your favorite book couple?
4) Do you have any authors whose books you'll read no matter what the premise is?
5) What's your favorite genre?
6) On what basis do you choose which books to read (do you just read the blurb or do you also read the first chapter? Do you read reviews of it before buying, etc.)?
7) What's your favorite season and what do you like about it?
8) Do you have any bookish guilty pleasures (books you know are bad but can't help but love, clichéd tropes that you still like, etc.)?
9) If you could travel back in time to any historical period, which would it be?
10) If you could have any superpower, which would you choose?
11) Is there a book that you keep meaning to read but that you never get around to?

My nominations:
Erin @ That One Geek Girl
Valerie @ Innocent Smiley's Reviews 
Elle @ Elle's 411 on YA books  

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Liebster Award

I am honored and humbled to say that I have been nominated for the Liebster Award! Many thanks to the lovely Amanda over at the Book Badger for nominating me!
Tomorrow or, if I have the time, later today, I'll write a post answering her questions and listing eleven random facts about myself, as well as nominating eleven bloggers and asking them eleven questions. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Fantasy Novels

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by the Brooke and the Bookish. This week's top ten was of my favorite fantasy novels.

"The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman

"Stardust" by Neil Gaiman 

"The Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien

"The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien

"The Harry Potter Series" by J.K. Rowling

"The Neverending Story" by Michael Ende

"The Percy Jackson Series" by Rick Riordan

"The Inkworld series" by Cornelia Funke

"Conrad's Fate" by Diana Wynne Jones 

"Power of Three" by Diana Wynne Jones 

What are your favorite fantasy novels? Let me know in the comments! 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Popular Authors (That I Have Never Read)

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by the Brooke and the Bookish. This week's top ten is of popular authors I have never read. 

Marie Lu

Leigh Bardugo 

Sarah Rees Brennan 

Sarah Dessen

Laini Taylor 

Marissa Meyer 

Robin Hobb

Libba Bray

Richelle Mead

James Dashner 

Who are the ten popular authors you haven't read yet? Let me know in the comments! 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Quote-Tastic 03/03/2014

"Quote-Tastic" is a meme hosted every Monday on Herding Cats & Burning Soup . To participate you have to post a favorite quote from a current or past read.
This week's quotes are from a past read, "The Summer I Became a Nerd" by Leah Rea Miller. 

But you can make you happy, my father's voice repeats over and over as I stare at my ceiling.Have I been trying to do that all this time? Has that other part of me been trying to break through because deep down I know I'll never be happy until... Until what? Until I'm able to freely discuss who I think would win in a battle between Darth Vader and Lord Voldemort? (The answear obviously being Lord Voldemort. He'd Avada Kadavra Vader way before Vader could even think about the force choke move.)

I can't swallow another drop of soda by this point because the carbonation is burning my throat."Oh really? Well..." I trail off as I feel bubbling at the base of my throat. This is not good.Before I can stop myself, I let out the biggest burp I've ever, ever, ever had. I slap a hand over my mouth and stare at Logan whose eyebrows have reached astronomical heights.
"Dude! So not smooth, man! Girls cannot stand rudeness," Dan yells from the back room.
What are your favorite quotes this week? Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Review: Nicola and the Viscount by Meg Cabot

Meg Cabot is my go-to writer when I want something light-hearted and fun. Yeah, I know that her books are cheesy, not particularly well-written and her heroines are all the same: the names and looks may change, but it's always the same pretty-but-not-gorgeous, slightly dorky chick, who doesn't let people walk all over her and has a special talent. I don't care. I like her formula. In fact, all the times she has tried to break it and write something different, I have ended up being bored by the novel. 
So, when a talk with a friend had left me craving for an historical romance book, and the one my friend was reading was so boring I almost wanted to tear my own hair out in frustration (it was "Almost Heaven" in case you're wondering, and from the reviews I read on Goodreads, I am one of the very few people who hated it), the solution seemed obvious. 
Did I get what I wanted? Hell, yeah!
The main character, Nicola, is an orphan. Seeing how she has never met her parents, though, she doesn't particularly miss them and feels really lucky. She's sixteen and will spend her debut season at a friends' house in London. The reason she accepted that particular friend's invitation is not because she likes her all that much, but because she is in love on her friend's older brother, Lord Sebastian Bartholomew. 
Why is she in love with him? Because he's hot, and after a few minutes of conversation, she has come to the conclusion that he must love poetry as much as she does.
Now, where this premise starts to differ from countless badly written YA (and non) novels, is that the fact that Nicola is in love with an idea is something that is acknowledge throughout the story, and that the real lord Sebastian is very different from the character Nicky has created in her head. 
In fact, he's not the guy Nicola ends up with at the end of the novel (it's not a spoiler, if you've read at least one nondescript chick-lit book in your life you'd predict this by the first page), but rather with a guy a lot better suited to her, whom she actually knows and with whom she is friends first.
Nicola is immature. She's immature and she does stupid, self-centered stuff throughout the novel and though she does grow up by the end, she's not a terribly mature person when the story is over. 
For example, (slightly spoilery, I warn you) at one point she's told her life might be in danger. So she should be extra careful, right? 
Then she gets a note from a friend's fiancĂ©, asking her to meet him at a shop near the house where she's staying, because he wants to buy a present for his and her friend's one-month anniversary. The present in question is something that would be considered to forward in their society, and asking a girl to meet him alone, even in a public place, is the height of impropriety. He also asks her not to tell anyone where she is going. Sounds suspicious, right? Especially in the light of what she has just found out.
But nope! Her reaction is something along the lines of "Oh, how romantic! I must go at once and lie to the people I know and trust about my whereabouts!" Of course she gets kidnapped. 
I mean, she does suffer consequences from the things she does, but still! What the hell is wrong with you! 
Thankfully, there were other aspects of her character which I liked a lot: she's brave, she's optimistic, she's ready to face a scandal to get out of a situation she finds insufferable, but which her peers would have endured, she won't let fear rule her life.
Her best friend and the love interest are also very likable characters, though don't really have a hidden depth or anything. I actually liked Nicola's cousin, a guy she treats badly and makes fun of for the whole novel, much more interesting than the two of them, and who grew a lot during the novel, much more than Nicola did. 
The humor is at times pretty funny, though the plot felt a bit contrived and was needlessly complicated. I mean, I was in it for the light-hearted romance and the balls and the pretty dresses much more than I was in it for the plot itself. Thankfully, Cabot seems to know what parts of her novel people are going to be interested in, so we do get a lot of balls and dresses and flirtations. 
This novel is cute, fluffy and utterly forgettable. I read it in a couple of hours, about a couple of weeks ago, and I had already forgotten all the characters' names and the title.
I do recommend it if you want to read a clean, fluffy historical romance novel.