Big Changes are Coming!!!

I know I’ve already been gone for a awhile, but I’m about to extend my absence for the rest of this week. I’ve got some updates to put into place on the blog, the biggest one being a name change.

I’ve been debating a name and URL change for a few months now and I’ve finally decided to do it. Books and Quills is just too popular of a name for literary related things and I really want my blog to be unique. My content won’t change and of course hedgehogs will still be involved. I can’t wait to tell you the new name of Books and Quills but I will have to wait until Saturday.

The website will still be up and I will still be responding to comments, I just won’t be publishing new posts for the rest of this week.

Until Saturday, have a great week and happy Halloween!

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Important note: I really want to talk about to Rhysand and Tamlin, but I wanted to be able to do so with spoilers. I figured the best way to do this was by making a password protected post so that only the people who really wanted the spoilers would see it and those that didn’t wouldn’t have to worry about accidentally seeing a spoiler.  This is the link and the password is ACOTAR (all caps). I would love to read your thoughts and discuss this (or any other spoiler type topics) with you on that post. 

I don’t normally read fantasy  books. I don’t really know why, they just don’t usually appeal to me. I decided that I needed to give one a try this past summer and see if my taste has changed. Since no one can seem to stop talking about A Court of Thorns and Roses, and the sequel I decided that it might be a good one to try.

I was not disappointed.  Maybe I am just overly impressed since I haven’t read fantasy in a long time. This book was really good. It had me literally on the edge of my couch. I didn’t know what was coming next or how it would end. I liked it so much that I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel. However, there are some things that I didn’t like about it, things that might be deal breakers to some readers.

Summary:

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it… or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever. – Goodreads

This book is a mashup of Fairelore and fairy tale retelling.

Favorite things:

The writing. The writing was so good. It was beautiful and had a different feel to it than I am used to. The writing just pulled me into the world and made me never want to leave. Note: I’m not sure if this is a Sarah J. Maas thing or if this is a fantasy thing.

The plot. The plot was fast paced, and pretty intense. As previously stated, it kept me on the edge of my couch.

The characters. All of the characters were pretty well developed and I never had a hard time knowing who was who. I loved the humor they had and they were easy to connect to.  There really wasn’t one character that I liked more than the others. That being said, I was always getting slightly irritated with Feyre. She was constantly making stupid decisions and doing the exact opposite of what she was told to do even though she was told it was for her safety.

The fairy tale elements. I love Beauty and the Beast and I loved seeing the elements throughout the story. However, I do feel like one of the biggest challenges in the story is missing here but I won’t explain because, spoilers.  However, this review on Goodreads sums it up really well.

Some favorite quotes:

“I love you,’ he whispered, and kissed my brow. ‘Thorns and all.”

“Because,” he went on his eyes locked with mine, “I didn’t want you to fight alone. Or die alone.

The quills:

Cursing?

The cursing wasn’t bad in this book for the most part.

Physical romance?

The physical romance in this book is pretty heavy and descriptive. I would not recommend this to younger teens. It is also not just one scene you can skip. The topic comes up in thoughts and events several times. You’ve been warned, it is graphic and it comes up quite frequently.

Gore?

This book has a fair amount of gore in it.

Will you cry?

Probably not.

Overall rating?

Five out of five hedgehogs

The Author:

Sarah J. Maas, I haven’t read any of her other books, but I plan to. I love that she had Pinterest boards with story inspiration that you can follow here. You can also check out her website here.

 

 

 

 

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

I read this book over a couple of days. I tried to read it last month but I couldn’t get past the first chapter, I’m glad I gave it a second chance. It was a pretty quick read, but It didn’t seem like anything special, to me it felt almost generic. I feel like there were a few simple things that would’ve elevated the book a bit and added to the story. Nonetheless it was a sweet, simple, and clean love story.

Summary:

Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they’re rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen’s relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and—finally—a reunion in the city where they first met.

A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith’s new novel shows that the center of the world isn’t necessarily a place. It can be a person, too.

Goodreads

A few favorite things:

The Travel. I really liked the travel aspect of it. It made the book move quickly, and I loved getting to read about all of the different places.

Postcards. I thought the postcard thing was cute and different. It was a refreshing to see something other than just emails, Facebook messages, and texts.

The character growth. I feel like most of the time we see characters grow it’s not very noticeable growth. That wasn’t the case with this book. There was so much growth from both the characters and their families. I loved watching Lucy and her mom grow closer together towards the end.

Owen’s mom. Even though she passed away before the book started her presence was there throughout this book. Reading all of Owen’s memories of her and the things she did were just so bittersweet.

Not so favorite things:

I was pretty disappointed that we didn’t get to see the actual postcards. They played such a big part in the book I had expected to at least see the back with the characters handwriting on it. It would have made the book stand out more and made it a bit more fun.

The ending was also one of those kinds of endings that frustrates me. There was no epilogue, and I had my heart set on an epilogue. However, it was a cute ending, and I think if I had gone into the chapter thinking that it was the end I wouldn’t have felt cheated.

A few favorite quotes:

“…It stuck her as the truest form of kindness, the most basic sort of love: to be worried about the one who was worrying about you.”

How long could a single night really be expected to last? How far could you stretch such a small collection of minutes? He was just a boy on the roof. She was just a girl in an elevator.

The Quills:

Cursing?

No, in fact I can’t remember a single curse word.

Physical Romance?

A few kisses, but it was really clean.

Gore?

Nope.

Will you cry?

Nope.

Overall rating?

I give it three out of five hedgehogs

The Author:

Jennifer E. Smith, I haven’t read any of her other novels but I plan to. Several people I have talked to say that this is their least favorite book of hers and that her others ones are better so I think I will give them a chance.

Website

Facebook

 

Did you have mixed feelings about this book? Have you read any of her other books like More Happy Than Not?

Photo source

Quill-less Reads (A New Page!)

I’m so excited to announce the addition of a new page to blog. I have now added a “Quill-less Reads” page where I will keep a list of books that are clean/quill-less.

I have had a few requests that I make a list of books that are appropriate for anyone who prefers to read things that are bit more clean. I decided that the best way to do this would be to make a page that could be updated, and that would keep all of the list in one place.I will add books to that page that I have reviewed  and that are for the most part quill-less. This means that there is minimal cursing and little physical romance (or non graphic romance). I hope to be able to update the page fairly frequently, but it will all depend on what books I read.

Discussion time!

What do you think about the new page? Do you prefer to read books that are more on the “Cleaner” side of things, or is that something that you just don’t care about?  Also, if you know of any “Quill-less” books that I should read and add to the list please comment with them so I can check them out.

July Recap

Hello, so July was another rough month for me. I had very few posts and I lost Camp NaNo. I ended up having to be at school a lot getting my classroom ready and when I was home I was working on school stuff. School started back so hopefully now that school is back I will get into the routine of blogging again. I know this post is late but I don’t care, I’m posting it anyway.

Books I read:

I read 3 books.

Paper Towns

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

A Court of Throns and Roses

Posts:

I didn’t post nearly as much as I should have. Other than the Hedgeathon posts, I only posted one other post.

The Last Star (review)

Favorite book of the month:

A Court of Thorns and roses.

Things I did this month:

Not a whole lot. I lost Camp Nano and I didn’t read a whole lot. However, I did get ready for back to school.

 

Hedgathon Award update!

I ordered the prizes but they were out of stock so they should be shipped to me this week. They are coming just not as quickly as I would like.

 

May Recap

Summer is here and I am so happy! I had two exciting blog things happen this month that I can’t wait to talk about. As far as reading goes it was kind of a slow month. The first two weeks were hard because I had some family stuff going on along with school ending. I’m so thankful that things seemed to calm down and I can’t wait to get a lot of reading done in June.

Books I read:

I only read 3 books this month.  I would have taken a picture of them but I’ve been reorganizing my bookshelves and can’t find them in any of the stacks. When I find them I will update this post.

  1. Exit, Pursued by a Bear
  2. The Last Star
  3. This one was an ebook that I can’t remember the name of.

 

Posts:

Everything, Everything (review)

Exit, Pursued by a Bear (review)

The Books are Coming May 2016

The Hedgeathon Summer Reading Challenge

 

Favorite book of the month:

The Last Star by Rick Yancey I have been waiting for this book for so long and even though I am not happy with all of it I still really enjoyed it. I hope to have my review up this week.

Things I did this month:

I got a new header on the site. I am so excited to have the new header up on the blog. I think the hedgehogs are adorable and I just feel like perfectly represents my blog.

I announced the Hedgeathon. If you missed that post click on the link above and check it out. The Hedgeathon is a summer reading challenge that I am so, so excited about.

 

 

Exit, Pursued by A Bear by E.K. Johnston

I bought this book because of the cover. I have cheered most of my life and I was so excited to see a book that at least involved cheerleading at some level. So I was a little surprised to find that this book was about a girl who was raped. I was kind of afraid to read it because I was worried that it was going to be really heavy  and dark but this book dealt with a very heavy topic in a good way. I was also afraid that it would be really graphic and it wasn’t in the least bit. It’s raw and honest, but not graphic. This book was a really good emotional read that has a lot to say about not just over coming rape but over coming any tough situation.

Summary: 

Hermione is the captain of her cheerleading team with her best friend Polly, it’s their senior year and sadly their last year to cheer. Hermione goes into her last cheer camp excited and ready to make the most of every last second. Camp is a blast and on the last Friday everyone dresses up and goes to a dance, unfortunately for Hermione someone slips a drug into her drink and rapes her.

Hermione fights to keep control and refuses to be a cautionary tale. With the support of her family and friends we get to watch Hermione as she takes back the control, heals, and wins.

 

Favorite things:

The cover. Can we stop and just take a moment to gaze at this cover, seriously just look at it.  It’s just SO beautiful and it relates to the story perfectly.

Descriptions. The descriptions in this book were excellent.  There were times that I felt like I was  actually in cheer camp. The day she wakes up in the hospital after being raped is full of emotions and I was surprised when I actually started feeling the panic and emotion.

Hermione. The way that Hermione deals with her rape is empowering. She refuses to let it define her and she doesn’t want to become known as the girl that helped make someone’s career. While she wants justice and to know who did it, it isn’t her main goal and there is something to be said for that. Because she doesn’t remember the rape she feels distant from it which makes her recovery a little more interesting. She is a strong, smart, ambitious women and she doesn’t let the fact that she was raped change what she is going to do. She deals with it and moves on with her life.

Polly. Polly is Hermione’s best friend and she is wonderful. She is just one of those friends you wish you had or wish that you could be for someone. She is always there for Hermione and  is just great. If I start talking about her I might not stop.

Community. So most of the reviews I read talked about how the community rallied around Hermione and supported her, which they did (a lot more than most do). However, that doesn’t mean that things are easy for her. Rumors run like wild fire through the school and she is bullied online. I felt so bad for Hermione when she first comes back to cheer practice because the boys aren’t sure how to act around her and she calls them on it (which I liked). And I my heart broke for her parents because they aren’t sure what to do either. Also, I really liked her therapist.

Cheer. When I started reading this book I almost put it down before finishing the first chapter because I thought it was going to make cheerleading out to be like all of the terrible stereotypes but I kept on reading and was relived that it didn’t. Intentional or not I don’t know, but having Hermione be a cheerleader led to the most natural conflict. Hermione is a flyer which means that she has to be picked up and that she has to trust the boys on the team to keep her up in the air and catch her even when she isn’t sure how to trust guys in general at first. Especially since she doesn’t know that it wasn’t one of the guys on her team that attacked her.

Not so favorite things:

I could not stand her boyfriend Leo. He was a real jerk. He had a jealously problem and he didn’t even bother to text and check on her after she was attacked. In fact he would hardly even look at her. He treated her like it was her fault and that made me mad. He does get a little better towards the end though, so there is that.

On a more serious note I have kind of mixed feelings about how almost simple this book was. There’s conflict and things aren’t great for the characters but I just feel like every little problem is resolved quickly and without a whole lot of problems or difficulty. SPOILER ALERT skip the next paragraph if you are really worried about it, but it’s not a huge surprise.

Even her pregnancy is quickly resolved with no problems and little after thought.

END SPOILER

The book just felt so perfect, everyone supported every choice she made and while I know this would be the ideal situation it just doesn’t happen that often. That being said I don’t hate the fact that everything worked out for her and that she had all of that support.

Another thing is that I just feel like I missed something with this book. All of these people are talking about the impact this book had and how it made them feel, and at the end I didn’t really feel anything. In fact I had a hard time gathering my thoughts for this book, I had to rewrite this review three times. I’m not sure why I am having such a hard time processing it. I cared about the characters and I was of course mad and upset for Hermione but… I don’t know. Maybe I need to reread it, I read it all in one sitting and I did enjoy the story I just feel like I missed something.

Some favorite quotes:

“Maybe this would be easier if I acted like I am broken. Then they’ll be able to fix me. You can’t fix something that doesn’t know it’s broken.”

“I forget that I am damaged and remember that I love to fly.”

“Polly will make sure you look perfect when you land, and I’m the one that will make sure someone is in the right place to catch you.”

The quills:

Cursing?

There isn’t a whole lot of cursing, but the f word is used one or twice and there is some other minor language sprinkled though out.

Physical romance?

Not really.

Gore?

Nope.

Will you cry?

I didn’t cry, but I think most people that read this book do at some point. Especially if you or a loved one have had to deal with a similar situation.

Overall rating?

Three out of five hedgehogs

I don’t know, I may change this later if I reread it but for now three is where I’m at.

The Author:

E. K. Johnston who you can follow from the links below.

Website

Twitter

 

Do you think the cover is as perfect as I do? Do you feel like this book was too perfect as well?

Photo source

April Recap

April went by so quickly, it was just here and gone for me. I did not get much reading done, and I missed two review posts which I hate. However, I am giving myself grace since I have been sick for the past two weeks and when I did feel like writing I was working on my book for Camp NaNo.

Books I read:

I only read three books this month, and two of them were books that I read with or to my middle grade class. I also ran out of my cute hedgehog sticky flags so I had to use boring blue ones.

Posts:

Eleanor and Park (review)

Since You’ve Been Gone (review)

Camp NaNo Update One (update)

Camp NaNo Update Two (update)

Camp NaNo update Three (update)

Camp NaNo update Four (update)

Camp NaNo update Five (update)

Prepping for North Texas Teen Book Festival (book events)

Favorite book of the month:

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. It was the only YA book I read in April, but nonetheless it still would have won. This book was great, you can check out my review here.

Things I did this month:

Went to the North Texas Teen Book Festival. I had a blast and I will be doing a post about it soon.

Won Came NaNo. I wrote 50K in 30 days. This was a huge thing for me personally and it took me a lot of time and hard work.

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

This book swept me off my feet. It was sweet, funny, and the perfect summer or spring break read. I loved the characters, and could relate so much to Emily. There is not one thing I would change about this book, I absolutely loved it. 18189606

Summary:

Emily and Sloane are best friends and they have the perfect summer planned. Emily goes away for the weekend and comes back only to find that Sloane has disappeared. Her house is empty, she doesn’t answer calls or texts, and the only thing she left behind was a list. The list ranges from tasks like picking apples at night to kissing a stranger and going skinny dipping. Emily decides that the list will lead her to Sloane, so she spends her summer working through the list with some unexpected help from Frank Porter and some others along the way. She has no clue what she will discover at the end or who she will meet along the way.

 

Favorite things:

There’s a bunch of them, so I’m going to keep the comments short and sweet (or try to anyway).

The characters. Every character in this book, no matter how minor they are, are all very well developed. Each one was so unique, different, and very quirky.

The humor. This book was actually pretty funny. Emily isn’t a perfect character and there’s one scene at a drive-in theater that had me cracking up.

Emily. I could relate to Emily on so many levels. I could picture myself acting and feeling exactly like she did and that just made me love this book even more.

Her parents. They were the cutest. They are both play writers and have this passion and great hobby that they share. Can anyone say #relationshipgoals?

Friendship.  I went kind of back and forth on my feelings about Sloane. I went from wishing I had a friend like Sloane to feeling like she wasn’t the best friend ever. She leaves then doesn’t answer phone calls or texts (won’t go into the explanation for this because of spoilers). Not only that but I feel like in some ways she didn’t accept Emily for who she was. The whole list was full of things that Emily had either previously refused to do, or things she wouldn’t have done.  (So this next part may go against the popular opinion, but these are my thoughts.)While Emily’s and Sloane’s friendship sounded amazing, it really wasn’t healthy. I felt like Emily was codependent on Sloane, it was almost as if she couldn’t breath without being with her or telling her every little thing that happened. I was so happy to watch her grow apart from Sloane and become more independent. It was a really nice character arc that you (or at least I), haven’t seen done that often lately.

The playlists. Even though I didn’t know most of the songs on the playlists through out the book, I liked them and felt like it showed a lot about the characters.

The flashbacks. I really enjoyed the flashbacks that were in most chapters. They were really relevant to what was going on in the present, and they were the main way we learned about Sloane and Emily’s friendship.

The one conversation. There’s this one part when Emily spends all night talking to someone (won’t say who), and I loved how it was written. It perfectly depicted a night when you stay up talking to someone forever about everything.

Living Room Theater. Who wouldn’t want to get a bunch of friends together and do a play in your living room with no prep or anything? It would be awesome.

Some favorite quotes:

There  were so many parts and quotes throughout this book that I used up the last of my little sticky flags. I just bonded with this book so much, I loved it. Here is photo evidence of how many little flags I used. Nats iphone 506

“It was Sloane-you usually didn’t need more than that to have the best Wednesday of your life.”

“Maybe she didn’t do something big. Maybe she just told someone something.”

“You can’t just leave people behind because you think it’s going to be too hard to commit to a friendship. You can’t live your life that way.”

The quills:

Cursing?

Nope, like it’s pretty PG. I was so impressed by this.

Physical romance?

This was almost PG too. A few kisses, and there is one scene where a group of the characters go skinny dipping but it’s never graphic or anything. I appreciated this a lot.

Gore?

Nope.

Will you cry?

Nope.

Overall rating?

Five out of five hedgehogs.

I would give this book six if I could.

The author:

Morgan Matson, who I got to meet, but before I read the book so it didn’t count. She just happened to be on a panel I saw.

Website

Twitter

 

Have you read this book? Do you love it as much as I do?

Are you more like Sloane or Emily? Personally, I’m more like Emily.

Photo source

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Honestly, I was disappointed by this book. I went into it with high expectations and they crumbled. I didn’t feel as connected to the characters as I would have liked, and while I liked Eleanor and Park as a couple, I didn’t feel the relationship as much as I wanted. It was an alright read, but it didn’t sweep me off my feet or anything. I really wanted to like this book, and I feel like maybe I need to reread it because I must have missed something since I seem to be the only one who didn’t get it.

Summary:

This story takes place over the course of one school year during 1986. Eleanor is the new girl at school and she meets another misfit named Park. They both know that first loves very rarely make it, but are brave enough to try.

Favorites:

Page 59. So I have to be honest, I started this book off disappointed. Everyone talked about how good this book was and said that the writing was amazing. I went in with these high expectations and I just didn’t see any of it. Until page 59. I’m not sure why page 59 but that was when I realized this book was alright and I started enjoying it.

Eleanor. She was such a unique main character. I feel like lately the trend has been to have these beautifully dressed, out-spoken, main characters, and Eleanor wasn’t. She was just herself. She’s broken, she has this awful life at home, and life is just rough for her. I just wanted to hug her and fix everything.

 Eleanor and Park. I felt like their relationship was really natural, and I like that they didn’t immediately like each other. I also found it so sweet how they knew that if they could just see each other all of the problems in life would fade away and for a moment they could be happy.

Park’s mom. I loved Park’s mom. At first I didn’t, but once she started kind of taking Eleanor in under her wing, it was just so sweet. And I just loved her overall personality, and that fact that you could tell who really ran the house.

The ending. I have a love/hate relationship with this ending. I won’t say what happens, but if you have read it you know what I’m talking about. It needed to happen, even though you didn’t want it to. However, I feel like the very last paragraph of the book brings hope for Eleanor and Park. I liked it.

Some favorite quotes:

“Holding Eleanor’s hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something complete, and completely alive.”

“I don’t like you. I need you.”

“He looked like himself but bolder. Like Park with the volume turned all the way up.”

 

The Quills:

Cursing?

Personally, I had an issue with the language in the book. The f word is used, which I can kind of look past, it’s hard to avoid these days. There is also some vulgar phrases, I understand they were put in there to prove a point, and I get that, I do. However, the characters were always misusing the names of God, and not just in a OMG kind of way. That bothered me, but I’m not letting it change how I rate the book.

Physical romance?

Yes, I would say it’s PG-13, and when there is physical romance, it’s not what I would call graphic. I’m having a hard time explaining how it’s done really.

Gore?

Nope.

Will you cry?

Maybe, I didn’t but  I know a bunch of people who did.

Overall rating?

Three out of five hedgehogs.

Just don’t go into it with crazy high expectations like I did. Most people liked it, I just didn’t.

The Author:

Rainbow Rowell you can check out her website here.

Click the links below to some of her social media sites.

Facebook

Twitter

Extras:

Get some really cute Eleanor and Park merch here.

Were you let down by this book, or is it just me?

Photo source.