Book Haul [6.30] – The Vacation Edition!

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You’d think that with all the books I took with me on vacation I wouldn’t need to buy more, but I am weak and I definitely did…you can’t take me anywhere. I could probably go camping out in the middle of nowhere and still manage to find a book that I just needed to have. I picked up a few at Blue Phoenix Books (gotta love those indie bookstores!), and got great deals on a couple more at Walmart of all places.

♥ The Summer Trilogy by Jenny Han [x, x, x] – This bind-up was one of my Walmart finds and it was such a good deal I just couldn’t pass it up, I’m hoping for some nice (not too humid) days soon so I’ll be able to read it while laying out on my deck in the sun.

♥ Pretties by Scott Westerfeld [x] – I am so late to the party with this series, so late, but I’m loving it so I just had to pick up the next one as soon as I finished Uglies.

♥ LA Candy [x] & Sugar and Spice [x] by Lauren Conrad – I’ve had my eye LC’s books since they came out since I absolutely love her (I was a huge Laguna Beach fan back in high school) and when I saw them for a seriously good price when I was on vacation I figured it was time to finally pick them up.

I also picked up the hardcover box set of the Divergent trilogy because I’m a terribly impulsive book buyer and I wanted my copies of the whole set to be pretty and matching (my paperback copy of Divergent is looking a little rough).  It’s probably time to reign in my book-buying urges for a while so I can catch up on reading the ones I already own, so we’ll see how that goes – there are just too many good books out there that I need to have in my collection!

Vacation Update!

I hope everyone has been having a wonderful week!  I can’t believe my vacation is almost over, I’m not ready to go home (or back to work – work definitely cuts in to my reading time).  I’ve spent most of the time out on our dock reading, which is one of my absolute favorite things to do, there is nothing better than this view accompanied by a good book.  I read most of Fangirl in this spot before it got too dark and I had to go inside to finish it – there will definitely be a review coming up once I’m able to type it without sighing over the cuteness every 30 seconds (you guys, I loved this book)!

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Today I’m out exploring with Ashley (of Falling Down the Book Hole, and my real life BFF), we’re planning on doing some blog-related things for a bit and then spending the rest of the week reading away.  We wandered through a cute little indie bookstore called Blue Phoenix Books in downtown Alpena, Michigan – I stopped in there earlier this week too and picked up a few things, I’m all for supporting local businesses (especially bookstores!).

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Shops like this one always remind me of how I spent most of my childhood wanting to work in the bookstore that used to be in the little town close to where I live (it was called Read Between the Lines, isn’t that clever?).  I would love to spend my day surrounded by books and have that be my job, that just sounds perfect, but unfortunately indie bookstores seem to be a dying breed.  Keep an eye out for a future post on my thoughts on this and the apparent decline of interest in reading physical books.

2014-06-26 12.15.52We found ourselves a cozy little coffee shop to hang out in for a little bit so we can do a quick catch up on blog things and skim some of the recent posts on the blogs we follow.  This place makes a drink called the Northern Lights Latte, it’s coconut and toasted marshmallow and it is to die for.  Coffee, books, and my best friend – can’t think of a better way to spend the last few days of my vacation.

I’ve been doing quite a bit of planning and brainstorming for the blog this week and I’ve got lots of fun things planned for it once I’m back home (with access to consistent WiFi), I’ve even got a little collaboration with Ashley @ Falling Down the Book Hole in the works that I’m really excited about.  I hope you’re all having a beautiful Thursday, and we’ll be back to our (relatively) regular schedule this weekend!


Just a little blog housekeeping: Follow my blog with Bloglovin!

Going On Vacation!

Starting today (tonight?) I am officially on vacation for an entire week! Since my current job rarely allows me to have multiple days off in a row (and weekends are a completely foreign concept – what is a Saturday?) this is basically the Greatest Thing Ever™. This week is my family’s annual vacation to a place called Fireside Inn that I lovingly like to think of as a rustic version of Kellerman’s from Dirty Dancing. Not nearly as fancy, and far less dancing – no Patrick Swayze to sweep me off my feet, that’s for sure.

Having a week off of work means I will have all kinds of time for reading by the lake (my favorite place to read) so I thought I’d share the books I plan on taking with me!

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I’ll be taking along my current book, Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies [x]. I’d hoped to have it finished by tonight but that just isn’t going to happen with the packing I still need to do (which is all the packing…oops).

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The rest:

♥ The World House by Guy Adams [x]
♥ Moxyland by Lauren Beukes [x]
♥ Faerie Wars by Herbie Brennan [x]
♥ The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton [x]
♥ Frostbite by Richelle Mead [x]
♥ Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell [x]
♥ The Magician King by Lev Grossman [x]

I highly doubt that I’ll manage to read all of them but every time I tried to put one back on the shelf I convinced myself that I would need options.  Fangirl is number one on my to-read list for the week but after that it’s all up in the air, I’m taking a pretty diverse little collection with me so things could get interesting – I’ve even got A Clash of Kings all ready to go on my iPad just in case I decide to get really crazy.  It’s also very possible that another book or two will sneak in to my bag as I’m headed out the door, like I said, I need options.

I’ve got a couple things queued up for while I’m away but since I’ll be without internet most of the time it may be a little quiet around here, I’ll do my best to respond to comments via my phone if I can get the WordPress app to cooperate with me out in the middle of nowhere.  If you’d like to keep up with my vacation reading adventures this week come visit me on Twitter (@KittyCatReads)!

Have a wonderful week and Happy Summer Solstice!

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

 

 

Waiting On Wednesday [6.18]

Waiting On WednesdayWaiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating!


Title: Four: A Divergent Collection
Author: Veronica Roth
Release Date: July 8th, 2014
Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Amazon

Synopsis: Two years before Beatrice Prior made her choice, the sixteen-year-old son of Abnegation’s faction leader did the same. Tobias’s transfer to Dauntless is a chance to begin again. Here, he will not be called the name his parents gave him. Here, he will not let fear turn him into a cowering child.

Newly christened “Four,” he discovers during initiation that he will succeed in Dauntless. Initiation is only the beginning, though; Four must claim his place in the Dauntless hierarchy. His decisions will affect future initiates as well as uncover secrets that could threaten his own future—and the future of the entire faction system.

Two years later, Four is poised to take action, but the course is still unclear. The first new initiate who jumps into the net might change all that. With her, the way to righting their world might become clear. With her, it might become possible to be Tobias once again.


I’m super excited for this one because Four/Tobias is easily my favorite character from the Divergent series and I’m definitely interested in reading from his perspective – I’m also really happy that they decided to bundle all of the short stories together in to a hardcover instead of releasing them separately. Veronica Roth is actually doing a Q&A at a local bookstore in mid-July (along with Phoebe North of Starglass [x]) and while I don’t think I’ll be able to attend the event I’m hoping I’ll still be able to pre-order a signed copy of the book!

What books are you waiting on this week?

Top Ten Tuesday [6.17]

TTT BannerHosted by the lovely ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish!

Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR List

A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin [x] – I’ve had this one sitting in my iBooks (which syncs to both my phone and my iPad so I’ve literally been carrying it around with me) forever, I think it’s time to start it so I can stop feeling guilty about continuing to watch the show before having read the books.

Under the Dome by Stephen King [x] – Another one I’ve had for a while, it’s pretty thick so it definitely won’t be one of my vacation reads but I do plan on getting to it in the near future.

Dangerous Women ed. by George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois [x] – I honestly can’t believe I haven’t started this one yet, I pre-ordered it as soon as I saw how many of my favorite authors were contributors and then waited months for it to be delivered.

Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce [x] – Tammy’s books are my absolute favorite, specifically the Tortall series, and the Beka Cooper books are the only ones I haven’t finished/read many times over yet.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell [x] – Pretty sure this one’s going to be at the top of the pile of books I’ll be packing for my vacation next week, if I manage to stop myself from picking it up before then that is.

Frostbite by Richelle Mead [x] – Second in the Vampire Academy series and another one that’s definitely going on vacation with me (along with my digital copy of the Vampire Academy movie, I will never get enough of Danila Kozlovsky as Dimitri).

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart [x] – I’ve heard good things, so many good things, and somehow I have still managed to refrain from being spoiled so I think I’ll need to pick this one up soon.

Rebel Heart by Moira Young [x] – I am always up for some good YA dystopian fiction, especially when it involves a badass female protagonist, so I’m definitely looking forward to continuing this series.

Dark Lover by J. R. Ward [x] – This one’s technically a re-read but I’ve been missing the Black Dagger Brotherhood series so I think I’m going to start it all over again from the beginning.

The Merciless by Danielle Vega [x] – This one’s definitely going to be read before the summer is over, probably within the next couple of weeks even – or the next couple of days, you never know.

These are in no particular order, and I know for a fact that some of them will probably end up getting moved down my to-read list – it’ll probably be those heavy hitters at the top – in favor of things I stumble across at the bookstore (or on my own shelves), but at this moment these are definitely the books that I want to be reading in the near future.  Making this list made me realize that I’m right in the middle of reading a whole lot of different series, I’m going to need to reorganize my book shelves once I start catching up on them all!

Review | Fire & Flood [Victoria Scott]

Title: Fire & Flood
Author: Victoria Scott
Publisher: Scholastic Press, 2014
Format: Hardcover, 305 pages
Source: Gift (from Ashley @ Falling Down the Book Hole)
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Survival
Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Amazon

Synopsis: Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can’t determine what’s wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She’s lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she’s helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It’s an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother’s illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there’s no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can’t trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?


I got this book as a surprise present from my best friend and finally got around to reading it last week, in her little note that she sent with it (seriously, she sends me books in the mail so they show up as super awesome surprises on my doorstep, is she not the best?) she mentioned that it had been described as a mix of Pokémon and The Hunger Games so she thought it would be something I’d like.  Now, that would definitely be something I’d be in to, and it would be awesome, but that’s not quite what this book is.  Sure, there are some superficial similarities, but don’t dive in to this read expecting the same kind of depth and backstory that we got in THG.

Instead, Fire & Flood focuses on Tella’s growing determination to save her brother, and by growing I mean starting from the ground up – when the book opens she is the last person you can see winning a race like the Brimstone Bleed, and at first even she knows this, her own stubbornness being the only thing keeping her going.  As a reader you may need to do a bit of the same if you’re the type who thrives on backstory, seeing as the history behind the Brimstone Bleed and the Pandoras is hardly touched on throughout most of the book and when it is finally addressed it’s pretty anti-climactic considering the stakes and circumstances of the competition itself.  Once the story reaches the point where you think you’re just about to be let in on the details the book wraps up, and seeing as this is the first in a series it’s less of the expected cliffhanger and more of a three-chapters-short-of-finished fizzle.   Despite the limited backstory I still found myself caught up in the action, and while I found Tella to be a bit underwhelming the ensemble of secondary characters (humans and Pandoras alike) made up for it in spades.

Things I Loved♥ The Pandoras – As someone who played a lot of Pokémon as a child (who still occasionally plays a lot of Pokémon) I love, love, loved the Pandoras.  Is there anything cooler than having your very own animal sidekick that basically has superpowers?  I don’t think so.

♥ There is a wicked little twist right around page 240 that comes out of nowhere, I don’t want to spoil but it adds a delicious touch of horror to the story and will make you see one of the secondary characters in a whole new light.
Things I Liked♥ Guy – He’s the epitome of “tall, dark, and handsome,” he’s definitely the “strong and silent” type, and he’s got scars that suggest some kind of “tortured past” and yet I still can’t help but like him, clichés and all.  I think a lot of his characterization in this book is filtered through Tella’s attraction to him so I’m hoping that once the cloud of lust settles we’ll get to know him better.

♥ Interesting Secondary Characters – From Harper turning the blonde beauty queen stereotype on its head to Jaxon’s protectiveness when it comes to Olivia, they’ve all got things about them that make you want to know more about their lives before they became Contenders.

♥ The occasional reminders throughout the book that Tella is in fact a teenage girl who really does not belong in the middle of the jungle, or the desert for that matter.  Her teenage vanity is somewhat overwhelming in the early chapters but it diffuses nicely throughout the rest of the book, surfacing every once in a while as a reminder that the Brimstone Bleed is very much not normal and none of these people should really be in this situation at all.
Things I Didn't Like♥ There are several instances where the actions of characters towards the Pandoras can definitely be categorized as abuse which is something I have very strong feelings about and am very much not okay with. So, if this is something that you would be extremely uncomfortable reading this may not be the book for you.

♥ Weak Backstory – As I mentioned above, the history behind the Brimstone Bleed just isn’t there for the majority of the book so the reader is left with a whole lot of questions: Why is this race happening?  Who is organizing it? How is this entire operation being hidden from the general public?  I’m a world-building girl, I don’t just want to know backstory I want to know everything, so this was a pretty heavy flaw for me in particular.  I will say that since the significant details are revealed to the reader at the same time that they are revealed to Tella the frustration she feels about not really knowing what’s going on is very much shared, and perhaps that was the intent.
Give Me More♥ Braun – He seems like one of the good ones who fell in with the wrong crowd, so I’d like to see him becoming a part of Tella’s little band of survivors.

♥AK-7 – I want to see this particular Pandora stick around because it’d be interesting to see how it behaves around Tella and the other Contenders, considering it originally belonged to Titus.

3.5 Rating

If you’re interested in hearing what comes next after Fire & Flood check out Victoria Scott on Twitter (@VictoriaScottYA), she’s been posting some pretty perfect descriptions of Guy from the next book, Salt & Stone.


My first review here on the blog is complete!  I fully intended to have it posted much earlier than this but as you can see I tend to get a little wordy, and I’m also not so great with planning (what is a schedule?).  I know for a fact that I’ll never be able to get all of my thoughts out in my reviews so if you’ve ever got a question or just want to fangirl about a character drop me a comment and we’ll continue the conversation!

Book Haul [6.13]

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Took a (sort of) quick trip to Barnes & Noble this afternoon with the intentions of picking up one specific book.  Unsurprisingly, I ended up walking out with four.

♥ Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs [x] – I think I’ve been eyeing this one since it came out back in 2011 but it just hadn’t quite made the cut until today.  I’ve read some very mixed reviews, so we shall see.

♥ Untamed by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast [x] – I’ve been reading the House of Night series off and on for a while now, they’re my go-to books when I’m looking for a fun, super quick read.  I always seem to forget how far I am in to the series though, so thank goodness for the Goodreads app and bookstores with free WiFi.

♥ The Merciless by Danielle Vega [x] – I am SO EXCITED to read this (picking up this book was the reason for today’s shopping trip)!  From the amount of praise (and flat out fangirling) I’ve seen for it online I can only assume it’s going to be amazing.  It easily takes the cake for favorite cover of 2014 too, I almost want two copies so I can have one on my shelf and incorporate another in to my bedroom decor.

♥ Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell [x] – I’ve heard nothing but absolutely wonderful things about this one so when I saw a whole shelf full of copies today I just had to pick one up.  Even the girl who was ringing up my books for me paused to mention how good it is (she read it with her book club – I want to be in a book club!).

 I think I made out pretty well.  I was just a little disappointed that their display of recommended books based on the factions from the Divergent series was missing all of the books for my faction – pretty sure the Erudites are the last ones you should be keeping books from Barnes & Noble.  I’m definitely curious about what the recommendations were, so maybe next time!

The Book Blogger Test

I was tagged to do this by Ashley @ Falling Down the Book Hole (she’s been pointing me in the direction of all sorts of neat things to help me get my blog started) and I thought it would be a great way to introduce myself!


What are your top three book pet hates?

  1. Excessive internal dialogue – every once in a while I stumble across a book where the main character/narrator just has so much to say, to themselves.  Most books find a nice balance between showing and telling in regards to characters’ reactions, but when they go overboard on the telling I eventually start to imagine that the characters are muttering all of their thoughts out loud to themselves and that’s probably not what the authors were going for.
  2. Cover changes in a series – I just want all of my book shelves to look pretty okay!  For example, I have the First Edition Hardcover of Jonathan Stroud’s The Amulet of Samarkand (the first book in the Bartimaeus Trilogy), it’s a nice cover, nothing too exceptional, but when the the second two books came out they changed the covers.  Now the first book sits next to the other two all sad and un-matching.  Super frustrating.
  3. Long periods of time between book releases – this is definitely just a product of me being an extremely impatient person.  I don’t like to wait for things, and I especially don’t like to wait for things I know I’m going to love, but wait I will (totally side-eyeing George R.R. Martin right now).

Describe your perfect reading spot:
My absolute favorite place to read is outside or outside-adjacent.  I’ve done a lot of reading laying out on my deck in the sun, curled up in a chair in the front room of the cabin with all the windows wide open, even out on the dock in the early morning with a cup of coffee.  There’s just something about nature and reading, they’re both wonderful, but they’re even better when enjoyed together.

Tell us three book confessions:

  1. I went to a midnight release party for Breaking Dawn with my best friend from high school at our local Borders, which is a whole lot less embarrassing now than I thought it was back then (but clearly I wasn’t embarrassed enough to not go).
  2.  I own multiple versions/editions of most of Tolkien’s works, I have a problem.
  3. I have a whole lot of love for coffee table books.  My future home won’t need an actual coffee table, I’ll just build one out of my coffee table book collection.

When was the last time you cried during a book?
Probably during my re-read of a couple of Tamora Pierce’s Tortall series earlier this year.  I am extremely attached to her characters so I tend to get a little caught up in their lives no matter how many times I read the books.  I’m not usually one to cry during books, but I will say that the one time I was surprised in to tears was when I read Alexandra Fuller’s The Legend of Colton H. Bryant, not my typical read but an excellent one all the same.

How many books are on your bedside table?
Fifteen.  Holy crap, that’s kind of a lot.  There are also two more on/in my bed, I tend to stash my current reads under my pillows.

What is your favorite snack to eat while reading?
I’m not much for snacking and reading, but I am definitely a fan of curling up with a good book and a cup of coffee (preferably iced now that summer has finally arrived).

Name three books you would recommend to everyone:

  1. Into the Wild by John Krakauer [x] – I felt an extremely strong connection to this book the first time I read it, I can’t say exactly why but it is definitely an enlightening read.
  2. Squire by Tamora Pierce [x] – I’m really recommending the entire Protector of the Small series here, but this is the third book and my absolute favorite.
  3. The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle [x] – I’ve considered this to be one of my favorite books for a very long time, it’s just a solid good read.  I also spent a lot of time watching the TV show that was inspired by it when I was younger (I’m probably the only person on the planet who owns every season of that show on DVD).

Write how much books mean to you in just three words:
Best Friends Forever – is that cheesy?  That’s totally cheesy.

What is your biggest reading secret?
Hmm, I think I’ll just keep on keeping that one to myself.

I’m tagging:
Oh no!  I’m too shiny new to the book blogging world to know who to tag – help a girl out and recommend your favorite book blogs? That way I’ll have plenty of people to tag next time around!

Hello!

Why a book blog you ask? Well, there are few things I love more than getting lost in a really good book. I fall madly in love with characters, I day dream about amazing fictional places, I lose sleep over the words of my favorite authors – so what better way to express my love of the written word than by sharing it!

When I say that I love books it’s nothing compared to how much I love talking about books – and listening to others talk about books!  I love to talk about my favorite characters, and I love to hear why other people love them too (or even better, why they hate them – I’m interested in it all!).  Unabashed enthusiasm about books is just so much fun!  You want to talk about how the Battle of the Pelennor Fields was the coolest thing ever even before the movie?  Sign me up!  Got issues with the Three Laws?  Let’s hear ’em!  Just want to talk about how awesome dragons are in fantasy literature (or in general – come on, dragons!)?  I am so in.  If I could spend the rest of my life doing just one thing it would be reading and discussing books, and also eating bagels, but books would definitely come first (I’m pretty sure).

You’ll probably see a whole lot of fantasy and YA fiction around here since those are my favorite genres to talk about, but science fiction will get its fair share of attention as well.  I may even venture out into the realm of biographies and memoirs – I do love to read about the lives my favorite famous people.  There will be some reviews, probably some rants, a lot of general book-related chatter, possibly a little (a lot of) fangirling, and hopefully good times will be had by all!

So, welcome to Kitty Cat Reads!  I’ll be in a bit of an “under construction” phase in regards to the aesthetics of the blog and how everything works since I just plan on jumping straight in to the deep end and figuring things out as I go but I hope you’ll stick around to see what I have planned, I think it’s going to be pretty great!  Don’t let my overuse of italics and exclamation points scare you away (you’ll totally get used to it, promise!).

I’ll leave you with a quote from one of the kings of epic fantasy, Mr. George R.R. Martin himself, that perfectly describes just why I love to read:

The best fantasy is written in the language of dreams. It is alive as dreams are alive, more real than real … for a moment at least … that long magic moment before we wake.

Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli. Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab. Fantasy tastes of habaneros and honey, cinnamon and cloves, rare red meat and wines as sweet as summer. Reality is beans and tofu, and ashes at the end. Reality is the strip malls of Burbank, the smokestacks of Cleveland, a parking garage in Newark. Fantasy is the towers of Minas Tirith, the ancient stones of Gormenghast, the halls of Camelot. Fantasy flies on the wings of Icarus, reality on Southwest Airlines. Why do our dreams become so much smaller when they finally come true?

We read fantasy to find the colors again, I think. To taste strong spices and hear the songs the sirens sang. There is something old and true in fantasy that speaks to something deep within us, to the child who dreamt that one day he would hunt the forests of the night, and feast beneath the hollow hills, and find a love to last forever somewhere south of Oz and north of Shangri-La.

They can keep their heaven. When I die, I’d sooner go to middle Earth.