Stacking the Shelves: January 2016

Stacking the shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews! You can share books you bought from the bookstore, ebooks/kindle, borrowed from the library or a friend, and books you’ve received for review purposes. The links provided below are all from Goodreads.

Library:

22929578

13645069

The Fixer by: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Find Me by: Romily Bernard

Ebook/Kindle:

28530036

28052500

28263880

28677233

Crown of Crimson by: Rose Reid

Coasting by: Ben Karwan

The Case Study of Vanitas, Chapter 1 by: Jun Mochizuki

The Case Study of Vanitas, Chapter 2 by: Jun Mochizuki

Netgalley: 

21525995

In Real Life by: Jessica Love

Bookstore:

16068910

24928294

25489504

23495112

7279365

11736997

The Art of Lainey  by: Paula Stokes

The Lies About Truth by: Courtney C. Stevens

The Dark Day’s Club by: Alison Goodman

The Impostor Queen by: Sarah Fine

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by: Alison Goodman

Eona: The Last Dragoneye by: Alison Goodman

What have you bought or received this month? Are any of these books on your TBR? Let me know in the comments!

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Review: The Case Study of Vanitas, Chapter 2

The Case Study of Vanitas, Chapter 2 by Jun Mochizuki

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jun Mochizuki, acclaimed creator of PandoraHearts, continues her epic adventure tale, The Case Study of Vanitas!

Following the incident on the ship, Noe manages to arrive in Paris–but in jail?! To make matters worse, the eccentric Vanitas is still at his side, and it doesn’t seem like getting rid of him will be easy. What is Vanitas up to, exactly?!

Read the second installment of Jun Mochizuki’s latest epic adventure tale, The Case Study of Vanitas!

Beware spoilers ahead!

After I finished the first chapter I was pretty excited to read the second one! I like how because it’s just began I can theorize and try to solve some of the mysteries in this series. I found that this chapter was better than the first!

This manga begins with a flashback featuring Noe and some kid whose also a vampire. Said kid is explaining Noe about the vampires who bear curses. Out of the blue they turn violent and start attacking people. When Noe asks what kind of a curse it is the kid explains that its the Vanitas curse.

Back to the present day Noe asks Vanitas why they are in jail. You are then taken a few days back. Vanitas is still trying to convince Noe to help him in his quest. While Noe decides to pick up his cat and belonging’s that was left behind in all the chaos. When he reaches the police arrives and he collapses.

Back to the jail cell Noe says that Vanitas should’ve been arrested because he was the intruder. Vanitas says that it is true. Noe then asks why he is in jail when he did nothing wrong. Vanitas says that it is because he said that Noe is his accomplice. Vanitas also explains that it is possible that Noe was not in his right mind when retrieving his belongings because he has poison in his system. Noe’s body has spent the last three days fighting the poison.

Vanitas yet again tries to convince Noe to join him. When a guard approaches and releases them. The guard gives them a card and says that they have been summoned. Vanitas then tells Noe that humans tend to erase all vampire related stuff. And that a count with the Queen is the one in charge of handling vampire matters. Said count has summoned them.

I enjoyed this chapter more than I did the first! It seems as each chapter is released the readers find out more about the vampire world. At the end you are also introduced to new characters. This chapter was really funny! Vanitas actually cracked me up a couple of times! Even though he’s insane he’s quite humorous. You do get to delve into Noe’s past a little more. And his personal history with vampires bearing curses. Noe also takes some action in this chapter and I’m excited to see where it leads Vanitas and him to!

Overall this was enjoyable! I recommend it to fans of the author, anyone whose finished the first chapter, and fantasy fans.

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Review: The Case Study of Vanitas, Chapter 1

The Case Study of Vanitas, Chapter 1 by Jun Mochizuki

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Fans rejoice! Jun Mochizuki, acclaimed creator of PandoraHearts, returns with the first installment of her latest epic adventure tale, The Case Study of Vanitas!

In a late 19th century Paris plagued by vampires…who is Vanitas, and what secrets does he hold?

Read the first chapter while the ink is still wet!

Beware spoilers ahead!

I had heard about this new manga series through my sister. I was very excited to here that it would be about Steampunk and Vampires! This author is also well known for her former manga series Pandorahearts. Which was brilliant (my sister read it and told me everything)! I am happy to say that the first chapter was pretty good!

Several years before the manga series takes place vampires fought with humans. Surprisingly humans won and ever since then vampires and humans coexist. Vampires are not allowed to attack humans nor have human blood. So far they have existed peacefully.

A man is aboard a high tech looking blimp to Paris. He seems rather excited and explores his surroundings with awe. Just then a woman passes by him and trips. Before she can fall he catches her. They sit together and the woman thanks him. She introduces herself as Amelia. She asks his name and he brilliantly replies his cat’s name.

Amelia does not ask for the mans name again and instead asks whether this is his first time travelling to Paris. He says that it is and that he was raised in a forest. He claims that he has come to Paris for a specific reason. When Amelia inquires about it he says that he is looking for The Book of Vanitas. Legend has it that those who use the book will doom the vampire race. It is essentially cursed.

Amelia is surprised by this and he explains that he doesn’t wish to use it but to see that it exists. It is then shown that two men are on top of a high tech looking blimp (which the man and Amelia are on) and they mention that they are looking for a target. The two men then break into the blimp and it is discovered that Amelia is there target.

This was a good introduction to this series! The legend and vampires are interesting as are the characters. There is a lot of mystery surrounding The Book of Vanitas and I am excited to find out more! The ending was very cliffhanger like. It is written the same way Pandorahearts was. Our main character is recalling all of the events that lead up to the future. The art is really pretty!

I did have some trouble reading this. It’s been a very long time since I read manga’s (Avalon High was my first one) and I kept on paying attention to the words rather than the pictures. Every now and then I would miss the fight scene and have to go back to look at what happened.

Overall this was a good start to a new series! I recommend it to fans of the author and people looking for a new fantasy.

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Review: Puddle Jumping

Puddle Jumping by Amber L. Johnson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When it comes to love there’s no such thing as conventional. 

Everyone thinks Colton Neely is special. 

Lilly Evans just thinks he’s fascinating. 

Once friends when they were younger, their bond is cut short due to her accident prone nature and they go their separate ways. Years later, they meet again and Lilly learns that there is something special about the boy she once knew, but she has no idea what it all means. And she’s not sure if she’s ready to find out. 

When he walks through the corridor of her school the first day of her senior year, she knows that it’s time to get to know the real Colton Neely. The more she learns, the deeper she falls. 

Their friendship grows into love, even as Colton does not express it in words. But one decision threatens to break down the world that Lilly has tried so hard to integrate into and she must figure out if the relationship can survive if they are apart.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I had heard about this book last year. Almost all of my friends were reading it and praising it. This book is only available in Kindle so I was hesitant at first. I gave in and decided to buy thinking I would like it. I am happy to say that I did in fact enjoy it!

The book begins with flashbacks to Lilly and Colton’s life. At age 10 Lilly was paid to take care of Colton. While she didn’t exactly want to do it she was happy to be getting paid. Colton at 9 years old was amazing at art. Although Lily never liked the way he colored his pictures. Lily is a bit of a klutz and very adventurous. One day Lily decides to climb the swing. Colton tries to warn her against it because there was a storm and there might be lightening. Lily climbs anyways. Soon Lily and Colton see lightening and Colton runs home screaming. Leaving Lily on the swing. The lightening hits the swing.

She wakes up in the hospital. Apparently when Colton ran home he called his mother and told her what happened to Lily. Colton visits Lily and gives her a picture he drew. She is surprised that the kid she told how to color was an artist. Over the next few weeks Lily continues to babysit Colton and gets herself hurt every time. Colton’s mother then calls of the babysitting. Probably in fear for her Colton and Lily’s safety.

The next time Lily sees Colton is at a fair with her best friend Harper. She’s 15 years old. While at the fair she sees an art booth that features some of Colton’s work. She walks over and observes the paintings and sees him. They talk quickly then Colton leaves. At the end of the conversation Lily is left wondering whether Colton likes her.

She goes to find Harper, whose flirting with a guy. The guy informs Lily that Colton is ‘special’. Lily says that of course because he’s amazing at art. Frustrated he brings over a pamphlet that says Colton has Autism. Lily goes into shock. For the next few years Lily refuses to acknowledge that Colton has Autism. She thinks that if she researches Autism that she’ll view him differently. She is still in shock because she never imagined that Colton was different from her.

When her senior year begins (she’s 17) she’s gone through a lot of changes and is willing to acknowledge Colton’s diagnosis. Much to her surprise she sees that Colton is now attending her high school. He was home schooled for years. She befriends him again and makes is her mission to help him in any way she can.

This was a really sweet book! I liked how that while this is a romance there was some education to it. Specifically with Colton and his diagnosis. It was sweet how understanding Lily was as well as patient. I liked how Colton’s parents were involved in the story.

The romance was sweet. I liked how Colton and Lily have loved each other since they were children. In a sense this was a very different love story. It was inspiring and lovely. You’ll just have take my word for it.

Two things that I loved that was pointed out was that while Colton had a diagnosis he was still a teenage boy with goals in life. Another was how Lily explained that when people met Colton (the one’s who don’t know about his diagnosis) they thought that he was rude. Versus the people who knew and they said that he was nice and wonderful. This is so realistic! I have always found it weird that once people find out that someone has a diagnosis they’re really nice to you versus if they don’t know they really dislike you.

I also thought that it was realistic how Lily reacted to Colton’s diagnosis. It was like her world was upside down. And she didn’t know how to handle it. When she came to terms with it she was patient and very understanding. Which Colton also acknowledged.

Lily was a good character! There aren’t a lot of people in the world how would be patient the way she was with Colton. Even when she was a bit insecure with their relationship. And would sometimes find it exhausting to be patient with him. She still was. I loved Colton! I never doubted for a minute that he had feelings for her.

My only criticism for this is the writing style. It was written in way that Lily talked to you throughout the whole book. I also felt that the author tried to hard to write in a teenagers perspective. This is a really short book (127 pages) so I think that played a part as well. I think I would’ve loved it had it been longer. Not that I didn’t enjoy it.

Overall this was a good book! I recommend this to everyone because this is an important read and anyone can find something they like about it.

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Review: I’ll Meet You There

I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

If seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.

Beware spoilers ahead!

DNF

I had heard of this book from a few friends. Deciding to add some more books I added this book. Before putting it on hold through my local library I downloaded the sample from iBooks. I did not enjoy what I read.

The book begins with a party for Skylar and her friends graduation party. As well as the welcome home party for Josh. Most of the kids at the party are drunk. Their taking the welcome home party as an excuse to drink even more.

Skylar and her friends talk for a bit. She suggest looking for Josh but her friend Chris who doesn’t like Josh says no. Eventually they run into Josh and are shocked to see that he is missing a leg.

That is about all I can remember from the sample. I decided not to get it from my local library because I really didn’t like the characters. It was extremely offending how the kids at the party saw Josh’s return as a reason to have more beer. They didn’t go and greet him, they just drank. Mind you these were not the main characters but it still annoyed me. And on top of that they swore way too much for my liking. These are personal reasons of why I didn’t enjoy it.

Overall I did not enjoy this. I cannot bring myself to recommend this to others.

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Review: The Winner’s Curse

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love… 

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. 

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. 

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. 

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

Beware spoilers ahead!

DNF

I’d been hearing about this book for months. At the time I saw all the good reviews from so many of my friends. I gave in and decided to request from the library. Then back in early January I’d started hearing about the bad reviews. Hesitant I went on iBooks to read a sample. I didn’t like what I read.

The book begins with Kestrel doing some shopping with her best friend Jess. Her and Jess have separated. She finds Jess at a jewelry booth. Jess holds up a pair of earring and asks for Kestrel’s opinion. Kestrel says that the earrings are fake. The woman selling them is a slave. Kestrel realizing that this woman would get in trouble for lying to them fake inspects them and claims that she was mistaken. Jess buys the earrings and leaves.

The two get lost and find themselves at an auction booth. Selling slaves. Having no way to turn back they have no choice but to remain. During the auction the man brings out a slave that reminds Kestrel of herself. Something about the way he defies the man whose selling him. Out of nowhere she decides to buy him. She wins because she offered to pay the most money.

I’m going to stop right there. The reason I did not read further is because this is not a book for me. I prefer my fantasies with some supernatural aspects to it. This book seems to be more of a dystopian then a fantasy. There is a lot of focus on the politics. Giving you the idea that it is a political and romance book. And personally speaking I do not enjoy political books. This book is also based off of some history. I believe it’s Roman history. When the Romans invaded Greece and took over they took some of the Greek as slaves.

I also felt that Kestrel was selective about her sympathy for the slaves. She did care about the slaves outside of her house like the woman from the beginning and Arin. But she didn’t really think about the slaves in her house. Maybe she does much later on in the book.

I did like some things. There is no insta-love. Which I was happy about. I thought she bought Arin because he was good looking. The writing style was nice. And I liked the friendship between Jess and Kestrel. And the complicated relationship between Kestrel and her father. I didn’t read enough about Arin so I have nothing to say about him. Kestrel while selective of her sympathy was smart and made some good points. I liked how the author wrote her as a piano player. It’s nice to read about characters who love music.

Overall this book is not for me. But I still recommend it to others. It does develop into a better series with good plot and character development and I don’t think it should be missed. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it more than I did!

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Review: Queen of Shadows

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The queen has returned.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series continues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

Beware spoilers ahead!

Back when this came out in September I was so excited to read it! But because I wanted to read other books first so I put this off. This is normal for me where as this series goes. I always end up reading it a year after the release date. I was honestly scared getting into this book. I thought that it would take me forever to finish it with the page number (648 pages). I was pretty impressed that I finished it within a week. I am also happy to report that this was much better than Heir of Fire!

The book begins a week after the ending of Heir of Fire. In Celeana (in the book she’s called Aelin) point of view. She’s gotten word that Arobynn is meeting with someone very important. While sitting there she spots Arobynn but is unable to see his client. Whoever the client is has a pretty cold looking female guard. She then spots Chaol and comes to the realization that Chaol is Arobynn’s client.

The female guard and Chaol leave meanwhile Celeana stalks after Arobynn. The two talk and he explains her that Aedion has gotten captured and is to be executed in three days on Dorian’s birthday party. He also tells her that he would like to make it up to her and offers to help her free Aedion in return for a Valg soldier. She says that she’ll have think about it. On her way out she kills a bunch of soldiers. Once she’s done she stalks off the go and find Chaol.

She runs into the female guard who leads her to Chaol. Celeana and Chaol talk about what has happened to them in the past few months. And both are shocked in each others revelations. In the end they get into an argument and blame each other for everything that has happened. They stalk off to their destinations.

Before I go into my likes and dislikes I have a personal suggestion for all of you. If you have not read The Assassins Blade then do so before you read this book. There are a lot of references from The Assassins Blade that you will not understand until you read it. Also there are some characters that come in for example Arobynn and Lysandra.

This book was much better than I expected it to be! I didn’t even mind the page number. It seemed reasonable considering the amount that happens in this book and the some of the twists that were explored.

There are also some new characters and old that come in this book. Kaltian, Perrington, and Roland make an appearance. Nesryn (the female guard), Vernon, and Elide are our new characters. At first I didn’t really like Nesryn but she started to grow on me. Elide was very interesting and her uncle Vernon was a creep.

I really liked this book and all the twists as well as the characters! I was happy to read about Celeana and Lysandra becoming friends. And Lysandra’s backstory was heart breaking. It was actually nice to read about female friendship. Asterin and Manon also start becoming closer which was also sweet. Asterin had a secret to share with Manon and it was really sad. I also liked the slow burn friendship that Manon and Elide formed.

I loved how Chaol was putting all of his focus to save people and find a way to help Dorian! Dorian and Chaol have always been close and it really shows in this book. If anything Chaol is a goal orientated person.

I didn’t mind the fight between Celeana and Chaol. I understood where they were both coming from. It did start to getting annoying at some point. But then they decided to put their differences aside and work on the task at hand. I was very happy when they made up and started to understand where the other person was coming from!

I finally understood Rowan and Celeana’s relationship. They work really well together and it was nice to read about their teamwork and how they wanted a romantic relationship. Rowan, Celeana, and Aedion start exploring their options when it comes to ruling. Rowan having a vast amount of knowledge had some pretty solid advice. It was lovely to read about them working together for their future!

Aedion and Celeana’s interactions were sweet! It was like reading about a brother and a sister. I also enjoyed reading about Rowan and Aedion’s friendship. They were practically brothers by the end of the book!

You do get to read Dorian’s point of views. They’re pretty short but they show you his constant struggle with the Valg Prince and the collar. He does try to not give in and listen to his father. In a sense it’s quite depressing to read about Dorian’s point of views.

There are several revelations with the King’s and Perrington’s plan, as well as some more information on the Valg’s. You do get introduced into another villain in this book. That is even more terrifying than the King.

I only had a few problems with this book. While I have learned to appreciate the authors planning skills and how intricate the plot is, it’s really hard to remember some of the names that were mentioned in Heir of Fire. Some of the new characters come out of nowhere. And I had a pretty hard time searching my memory for some of the names that looked familiar.

For awhile I was annoyed by Celeana’s attitude. I didn’t like it when she would start teasing someone rather than focusing on the task at hand. And while I understood that she was new to working with other people it was annoying to read about her trust issues and the fact that she kept so many secrets. By the end of the book this is resolved and it looks like she’ll actually start letting others in on her plans.

Overall this was a really good book! The reason it’s 4 stars and not 5 is because I love the plot of the series but I did not love this book. Still it was highly enjoyable! I actually missed reading this series. I would recommend this to fans of the series. You can easily finish this book because it’s really easy to read. For fans of complex fantasy.

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