Sunday, December 29, 2013

Rewind & Review: December 16th - 29th, 2013

Image taken from Shae Has Left the Room
Rewind & Review is a weekly book blog hop hosted by Shae Has Left the Room where we review the previous week, but I'll only be participating every two weeks.

In the past two weeks, I've gotten more books than usual because of Christmas! So this haul will be fairly exciting.

Books for Review: 

Books as Gifts: 

Books That I Won:
  • Ashes to Ashes by Melissa Walker (Thanks to the lovely Epic Reads ladies)

Books I'm Reading: 
  • Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
  • Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor
  • I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Yes, I'm starting to multi-read, but it's kinda controlled.

Previous Blog Posts:

Bookish Happenings:
  • I gave a lengthy list of book suggestions 5 pages long to a friend and another blogger that didn't even include contemporary reads. Giving book suggestions makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.
  • I finished my first read-a-thon
  • A really nice blogger commented on my first ever blog post, which is not only cool and sweet, but cringe-worthy because that writing is so old.
  • I'm thinking about some exciting bloggish things in 2014!
  • Rachel from one of my favorite blogs, The Reader's Den, is super sweet and sending me ARCs just because. I feel loved. 

Upcoming Blog Posts: 
  • Top Ten Tuesdays
  • Review: United We Spy by Ally Carter
  • 2013 End of Year Book Survey 
  • Mini reviews

So these past two weeks seem to have slowed down in the blogosphere with the holidays. I've read a lot of great books lately and hopefully will tackle all my reviews soon. Hope you had a great Christmas!

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Friday, December 27, 2013

Review: SCARLET by A.C. Gaughen

Title: Scarlet
Author: A.C. Gaughen
Publication date: February 14, 2012
Publisher: Walker Childrens (Bloomsbury)

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance. 

Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in.

It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.

First line: No one really knows 'bout me.

Robin Hood was starting to feel like the fairytale that was retold too much to me. Robin is the hero, Robin is the villain, Robin is a secondary character in a contemporary novel, the protagonist is pulling a Robin Hood, there are Hood aspects to a story. I thought that with all the different Robin Hood variations in the world that surely, I wouldn't be too impressed with Gaughen's version.

Boy, was I wrong.

Instead of having Robin as the main character, he's a secondary character. Instead of having the main character be about crushing on Robin, she's one of his team members, a fellow thief. Right there, it's different. We've all heard about Robin and his merry men. The one I really remembered was John and he's there, but instead of having Will Scarlet be a boy, he is now a she under disguise as a he. Sounds trippy, but it's not. While Robin Hood is the hero among the people, Scarlet is the best thief and the one the girls like to swoon after, ironically enough.

What I liked: 

  • Scarlet kicking butt. I'm all about girl power, whether it's from inner strength or physical strength, and she definitely had the outer kind. Wielding knives, rescuing people from prisons, thieving, and undermining powerful people. I wanted to cheer her on like the obnoxious guys in football stands. 
  • Much, one of Robin's Merry Men. We have John, Robin, Much, and Scarlet. Two of the three guys are crushing on Scarlet and Much is not one of them. I pictured him as a lovable, quiet guy with his disability and he gives you the feeling that you want to hug and protect him, but you know that he wouldn't appreciate it. Can we have more opposite sex platonic relationships, please? 
  • I might have been in turmoil for most of the ending and I really, really liked that feeling. I already have enough stress in my life and usually don't go seeking for it in my reading. However, sometimes it's great to feel that angst because you know you're invested. You care. You're enthralled. The author has officially captured your attention and your emotions and she's doing a fantastic job of weaving her story. 
What I disliked:
  • John aka The Pusher. I call him The Pusher because I felt overwhelmed and claustrophobic just reading about him. At first, I was torn because I thought, "I love underdogs!" and I wanted to root for him despite Robin being the other side of the love triangle. My feelings for John quickly evaporated though because he pushed. And pushed. He invaded my personal space, which is so not good. Back off, John. 
  • Scarlet's speaking, which consisted of were instead of was, added character in the beginning, but then slowly became annoying. I think she was the only one who did that and honestly, I think she would have spoken correctly by then. SPOILER I so knew from the beginning that she was proper. I didn't necessarily figured her real name, but should've if I thought about it. END OF SPOILER.
  • Robin was right, Scarlet played with everyone's emotions way too much. John would flirt with her, she would tell him to back off. He would kiss her, she would reciprocate. Scarlet ran back to Robin, he kept his distance, she went back to John. It was a frustrating cycle. At times, I was able to just enjoy this love triangle and holler for Robin to make his move. Other times, I wanted to slap some sense into Scarlet for being confusing and inconsiderate. Of course John wasn't going to back off if she kept giving mixed signals! 
Really, I don't know why I waited so long to read this. I love retellings and Gaughen wrote this one very well. I immediately longed to have the sequel in my hands so maybe it was a good thing I waited to read this first book. 

Verdict: A fresh way of retelling Robin Hood by adding a kick butt protagonist and tense moments. Also, romance. 

Have you read Scarlet? What's your favorite retelling?

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Are You an Elf or a Grinch?

When I go to bed, I tend to think about hard life questions. What will the world be like in five years? Will books become extinct? But during this time of year, I wondered, am I an Elf or a Grinch?

I love Christmas, but I think I actually relate to the Grinch throughout the whole year more and my Elf tendencies come out during November to December. To help your decision, here are a few personality tendencies for both types in certain situations.

You're an Elf...if you seek people out

You're a Grinch...if you like to keep your deliciousness to yourself.

You're an Elf...if you like to sing.

 You're a Grinch...if you don't.

You're an Elf...if you like to be happy.

You're a Grinch...if you can't handle feels like the ones in The Hunger Games

You're an Elf...if you like personal contact

You're a Grinch...if you have to seriously consider being around people after being alone for a long time.

You're an Elf...if you just can't contain your love.

You're a Grinch...if you have fun making a mental hate list and going over it when you're forced to be in certain public places.

You're an Elf...if you have tendencies to schedule like a extrovert.

You're a Grinch...if your schedule is more subdued.

You're an Elf...if sugar is as necessary as breathing.

You're a Grinch...if you're like me in the eating department

You're an Elf...if you feel bad after you do something.

You're a Grinch...if eye-rolling is a better response.

Are you an Elf or a Grinch?

Merry Christmas Eve and have a great Christmas tomorrow! 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Finish line: #ReadingCram

Today marks the last day of my first read-a-thon! What an experience. I never fully got the point of a read-a-thon before except that it made you rush, but now I understand that it also provides a goal (I'm a goal-oriented person) and a community (I love communities) making it even more fun to read. Also, it's pretty nice to say how many books you read at the end of it all. In case you forgot what I aimed to read during the two week period, here is the link

What I ended up reading: 
Total pages: 2,804

Favorite book: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
Runner-ups: Graceling by Kristin Cashore and Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

What next: 
There's no more #ReadingCram, but I still want to read as many books as possible before school starts back up. I plan on finishing Throne of Glass and then working on Edelweiss galleys (i.e. Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anna Blankman, Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor, basically all the Harper titles). Problem? I need to finish my library books (i.e. Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis and I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan), and reread Girl of Fire and Thorns (since I don't remember any of it and need to get to Hector). Maybe I should start a poll someday. Until then, comment below what you think I should read next! 

What have you been reading? What should I read next?

And happy belated birthday to one of the best blogger friends out there, Emily!