Throne of Glass Read Along

Discuss Chapters 1-28 for 2015 TBR Pile Challenge

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski (Review)

"unlike any book I've read before"

The Bodies We Wear by Jeyn Roberts (Review)

"as things normally go, it is in the darkest moments where we see some sort of light."

Accordance by Shelly Crane (Review)

"Accordance was a great second installment to one of my all-time favorite series!"

From Ashes by Molly McAdams (Review)

"The romance was amazing, I became so invested in the characters, and the story held me in its grasp from beginning to end."

The Queen of Zombie Hearts by Gena Showalter (Review)

"white-hot romance, amazing characters"

Of Monsters and Madness by Jessica Verday (Review)

"The world was spectacularly built ..."

Blood-Drenched Beard by Daniel Galera (Review)

"a bit too confusing and foreign for me to fully enjoy"

Review + #Giveaway: Polaroid Cube + Accessories

"a chance to win not only the Cube Cam itself, but 5 custom designed accessories that will make using the Cube 10000x more fun"

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Bookish Digest: February 2015

Hello lovelies! Welcome to Bookish Digest - something we'll be putting together at the end of every month to highlight our recent favorite reads and recap any posts you may have missed. We also include an About My Life and Things I'm Looking Forward To section in an effort for you to get to know us better. Don't forget to tell us in the comments some things that happened to you over the past month so we can get to know you guys better too!

Updates for 2015 TBR Pile Challenge:

Stand Alone
Young Adult, Contemporary
Website:Jennifer Mathieu 

To be posted May 27th
Rachel Walker is devoted to God. She prays every day, attends Calvary Christian Church with her family, helps care for her five younger siblings, dresses modestly, and prepares herself to be a wife and mother who serves the Lord with joy. But Rachel is curious about the world her family has turned away from, and increasingly finds that neither the church nor her homeschool education has the answers she craves. Rachel has always found solace in her beliefs, but now she can’t shake the feeling that her devotion might destroy her soul.


Author/Book Promotion
The Emma of Nomandy Trilogy by Patricia Bracewell {Author Interview}
Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear {Author Interview}
Rules of Seduction by Jenna Mullins {Cover Reveal}
In The Company of Educated Men by Leonce Gaiter {Author Guest Post}
The Sparks by Kyle Prue {Author Interview}
The Queen of Arèthane by Kelly Riad {Author Guest Post}

All About Blogging
How to Request Free Books for Review
Interview with Kelsey Dickson from Simon and Schuster Children's
Interview with Elizabeth Mason from Bloomsbury Children's
Interview with Rachel Lodi from Penguin Young Readers

About My Life in February

I got completely overwhelmed by things in February. We got back from our visit in Poland on February 10th, and after spending 3 blissful months there, everything - once again - is on my head now. Aside from having to run after my now 1-year-old baby (who JUST discovered she can run around and get in trouble), I have to do all the housework by myself, walk the dog, do the shopping AND try to read something before I pass out in the evening. I know I sound whiny, but hey, you don't get to judge me until you're an ocean away from your family, have no one to help you with, have a child AND a dog to take care of and your sanity is one of the endangered species.

We moved. Long story short we had asshole neighbors (I am gonna say it again, ASSHOLE neighbors) who played music, games and freaking yelled on top of their lungs in the middle of the night (2,3,4 am). Our management - who told us before that if our dog will be loud, we'll get kicked out - didn't do anything about it. We had to pack up and move in -7F. Yeah, happy times!

We celebrated Tori's first year :) The only positive and happy thing that happened to me this month!

Things I'm Looking Forward to in March
Some calm and peace, now that we're mostly settled and adjusted.

Warmer weather. Hopefully. Really, enough with the waist-high snow and cold that freezes the boogers in your nose the moment you step out.

Finishing my All About Book Blogging Project that I had to put on hold because of all the things listed above.

Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance, Realistic Fiction
Website:Allison Pataki

New York Times bestselling author Allison Pataki follows up on her critically acclaimed debut novel, The Traitor’s Wife, with the little-known and tumultuous love story of “Sisi” the Austro-Hungarian Empress and captivating wife of Emperor Franz Joseph.

The year is 1853, and the Habsburgs are Europe’s most powerful ruling family. With his empire stretching from Austria to Russia, from Germany to Italy, Emperor Franz Joseph is young, rich, and ready to marry.

Fifteen-year-old Elisabeth, “Sisi,” Duchess of Bavaria, travels to the Habsburg Court with her older sister, who is betrothed to the young emperor. But shortly after her arrival at court, Sisi finds herself in an unexpected dilemma: she has inadvertently fallen for and won the heart of her sister’s groom. Franz Joseph reneges on his earlier proposal and declares his intention to marry Sisi instead.

Thrust onto the throne of Europe’s most treacherous imperial court, Sisi upsets political and familial loyalties in her quest to win, and keep, the love of her emperor, her people, and of the world.

With Pataki’s rich period detail and cast of complex, bewitching characters, The Accidental Empress offers a captivating glimpse into one of history’s most intriguing royal families, shedding new light on the glittering Hapsburg Empire and its most mesmerizing, most beloved “Fairy Queen.”

Reading Multiple Books {Feature & Follow}
Fantasy vs. Realistic {Feature & Follow}

Romance {Top Ten Tuesday}
I Got 99 Problems {Top Ten Tuesday}
Bad Ass Chicks {Top Ten Tuesday}

Branching Out {Socratic Seminar}

Author/Book Promotion
The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons {Author Interview}
 When My Heart Was Wicked by Tricia Stirling {Author Interview}
The Crimson Gate by Whitney A. Miller {Blast}
The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace {Author Interview}

About My Life in February
I got to hang my clothes. We've been in our house for about two years and have teeny-tiny closets. So my clothes have been in these storage units in the basement. The problem was that they were all folded on shelves and not hanging as they should have been. I finally got around to going to Home Depot to buy some metal rods, screws, and other necessary items and now . . . ta da! The basic storage units are now full functional closets and it's so pretty I want to cry.

I've been stuck in a reading/reviewing/blogging rut. I've been very blah when it comes to all things books recently. (For further detail, check out my discussion on Branching Out.) Basically it's taking me forever to read books and I'm feeling very meh about most of them, which the opposite of how I usually am. I've only read 11 books this year, which may seem like a lot, but more me that's pitiful. And I don't like feeling poppy about a hobby I love so much! rawr.

I got a preview of my wedding pictures! Our photographer sent us about 30 or so pictures from our wedding and I absolutely love them! I keep scrolling through and each time I love them just a bit more than last.

Things I'm Looking Forward to in March
Pulling myself out of said rut. I've gotten somewhat better by following non-book blogs, but it's still a pretty deep hole I've found myself in. Hopefully I found some simply amazing books this much that suck be back in.

An end to the snow and extreme cold? Now I don't know where you live, but if you're like me and live in the North Eastern/Eastern part of the States, you are so done with the snow/extreme cold. I haven't gotten it here as bad as those on the East Coast or New England, but still. Enough!

Getting back the rest of our wedding pictures. Our photographer said we would get the remaining pictures from our wedding by the end of March. I'm hoping that an "at the latest" estimate and I really get them within in the week. While I love the preview - it's also such a tease!

The Falconer #1
Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Website:Elizabeth May 

To be Posted March 6, 2015
Edinburgh, Scotland, 1844

Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, was destined for a life carefully planned around Edinburgh’s social events – right up until a faery killed her mother.

Now it’s the 1844 winter season and Aileana slaughters faeries in secret, in between the endless round of parties, tea and balls. Armed with modified percussion pistols and explosives, she sheds her aristocratic facade every night to go hunting. She’s determined to track down the faery who murdered her mother, and to destroy any who prey on humans in the city’s many dark alleyways.

But the balance between high society and her private war is a delicate one, and as the fae infiltrate the ballroom and Aileana’s father returns home, she has decisions to make. How much is she willing to lose – and just how far will Aileana go for revenge?

About My Life in February
I am behind on my Goodreads reading challenge.  I have been in a horrible reading slump... I am reading but not at my normal rate of a book every 2-3 days.  I mean I am enjoying the books that I am reading, but nothing seemed to be blowing me away.  However, The Falconer by Elizabeth May changed that and I hope that my 2015 reading habit is now changed.

Winter is kicking my butt.  Yes, I am Canadian but I am done with winter.  I am done with days being so cold that I shiver the second that I leave my house and am scared to look at my hydro bill and see the cost of keeping warm.  Whiner... Yes!  However, I am so ready for warmer days...  Heck at this point I would even take -10, because these -30 or lower days are just too much and I want to be able to read in the sun!!!

Things I'm Looking Forward to in March
Redecorating.  A recent visit with my Mom has prompted a redecorating of my apartment. Admittedly I have wanted this for awhile but it just wasn't possible.  Now I am looking forward to nicer furniture and a more permanent set up.

Reading all my Indie novels.  April we are going to celebrate all of the wonderful Indie Girls we can and I am beyond excited.  I am a huge supporter of Indie authors, and have always been lucky to work with so many wonderful authors.  So with excitement I will be starting to read my little heart out and preparing for a month of awesome!

Fire & Flood #2
Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance
Website:Victoria Scott 

What would you do to save someone you love?

In Fire & Flood, Tella Holloway faced a dangerous trek through the jungle and across the desert, all to remain a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed for a chance at obtaining the Cure for her brother. She can't quit--she has to win the race, save Cody, and then fight to make sure the race stops before it can claim any more lives. In the next legs of the race, across the ocean and over mountains, Tella will face frostbite, sharks, avalanche, and twisted new rules in the race.

But what if the danger is deeper than that? How do you know who to trust when everyone's keeping secrets? What do you do when the person you'd relied on most suddenly isn't there for support? How do you weigh one life against another?

The race is coming to an end, and Tella is running out of time, resources, and strength. At the start of the race there were one hundred twenty-two Contenders. As Tella and her remaining friends start the final part of the race, just forty-one are left--and only one can win.

In His Keeping by Maya Banks {4/5}

Indie Author Spotlight

Saruuh Kelsey {Guest Post}

About My Life in February
My birthday! I turned 19 on the 12th, and it was seriously a great day. Not huge and exciting--nor did I get any huge and exciting gifts--but the day was happy and it was the best. So many people wished me a happy birthday (including Jennifer L. Armentrout AKA MY FAVORITE AUTHOR EVER) and that's what I wanted more than anything. I wanted people to wish me a happy birthday and then let me tell them how much I heart them and how lucky I am to have them. (I am so incredibly lucky, there aren't really words.) MISSION ACCOMLISHED.

Montgomery County Book Fest! This is a book festival in Houston and it was the greatest time. Victoria Scott was there, Rachel Harris was there, some friends and authors I've been wanting to meet (or been wanting to see because it's been so long!) were there. I got to pet a finished copy of Salt & Stone for the first time. And goodness gracious, it was just so fun to SEE and MEET everybody!

I met Richelle Mead! I have a picture of this somewhere, but I went with my friend Mary and she took the pic on her phone and I keep forgetting to ask her for it back. (Guess this is a huge reminder to me, eh? Heh.) But Richelle was in Austin and I finally got to meet her! I have story upon story about my experience reading her books, and it was amazing to get to meet the woman behind them. Richelle was so nice, and I hope I get to meet her again someday. (Maybe/possible at RT this year???) That was also a good time because I got to hang out with my friend Mary (you know, the one holding my picture with Richelle hostage?) and that is always so fun! I heart her.

Things I'm Looking Forward to in March
Austin Book Fest! On March 7th, I'm going to be at Austin Book Fest with so many super cool authors. Jennifer L. Armentrout will be there, Molly McAdams will be there, and Shelly Crane, and Colleen Hoover, and so many more it'd take some serious time to list them all right now. On top of that, I'm going to be Rachel Harris' assistant that day, which means I get to hang out at her table (and help her with stuff, of course, but it'll be FUN) all day long! Rachel Harris is one of the sweetest people I know, and I am so looking forward to hanging with her!

The Orphan Queen signing! On the Thursday after Austin Book Fest, Jodi Meadows is going to be doing an Orphan Queen signing at a small bookstore not far from where I live. I am so excited to meet Jodi Meadows, get The Orphan Queen, and see my friend Mary who's coming back down my way to attend the signing, too. YAY!

Spring. Break. I have no great plans for this, but I am so, so, SO ready for a week off from school. I'm trying not to set my goal too high for things I want to get done during that week, but I'm already looking forward to having some free time to do ALL OF THE THINGS. (But most specifically read. You know, if I live through the time in March before break where I have a million and one things to do. Ha. Cross your fingers for me, y'all!)


Most Popular Review
Andrea is a proclaimed "historical fiction nut" and she absolutely loved this story about Sisi” the Austro-Hungarian Empress. She had never come across this woman before and is shocked it's taken so long to learn about this incredible woman. Allison is an amazing talented writer, and her research shows in her novels, and this is not a historical fiction novel you're going to want to pass up!

Most Popular Non-Review
Evie gives out some ticks and tips when it comes to requesting free books from publishers. Evie reminds us that "there's no one perfect way of going about it. No golden rule-book for blogging and getting review copies for free (or rather in exchange for honest reviews)." We're not experts here at Bookish, we just have personal experiences to pull from.

Tell us - what went on in your month?! What were some of your favorite books this month? Favorite posts from either your blog or others? What are some new (or old) and noteworthy things we should know about? Be sure to leave a link! 

Claimed by Evangeline Anderson (Review)

Claimed (Brides of the Kindred, #1)
Adult, Romance, Sci-fi
Publication.Date  February 9th, 2011
Published By:  E.A. Publishing
WebsiteEvangeline Anderson

Claimed on Goodreads
My review copy:Bought

Where to get:

Brides of the Kindred Book One—Claimed

Olivia Waterhouse has just graduated from nursing school and has her whole life ahead of her—until she gets drafted. Problem is, she isn’t being forced into the Army, she’s been chosen as a Kindred bride.

The Kindred are huge alien warriors—a race of genetic traders whose population is ninety-five percent male. After saving Earth from the threat of invasion they demand a reward—the right to find brides among the population. The chances of being chosen are about the same as those of winning the lottery—guess it’s just Liv’s lucky day.

Baird is a Beast Kindred who recently escaped imprisonment and torture at the hands of the malevolent Scourge. Through the torment and pain only one thing kept him sane—the thought of finding and claiming his bride—Olivia. His need to possess her is a burning intensity that threatens to consume them both.

Angry at having her future and her family taken away from her, Liv vows to fight back the only way she can—by resisting. She has one month on the Kindred Mothership with Baird—their claiming period. If she can keep from having bonding sex with him during that time, she can go home and get on with her life on Earth.

But Baird isn’t going to make it easy for her. Every week he is allowed to touch Liv more and more intimately and according to the contract she signed, she has to let him. She’s determined to resist him but his touch sets her on fire. And just as she thinks she knows what she wants, a twist of fate and an attack by the faceless Scourge AllFather changes everything…

He's happy because he loves me whispered a thought in her head. For some reason it made Liv smile dreamily. It was true, he loved her. Out of all the women on Earth--and all the women in the universe--his mind had aligned itself with hers and hers alone.
Because in her new dreams the huge man with black hair and golden eyes was looking for someone--searching tirelessly. And somehow she knew that the person he was searching for was her.
"Easy, Lilenta." The deep voice from her dreams filled her ears and Liv told herself she had to be dreaming again. But was she dreaming the warm, spicy scent of his skin? Was she dreaming the long fingers that stroked strands of hair away from her cheek so tenderly?
"I pledge to you with my body and soul," he said, looking intently into her eyes. "I will live every day for you and sleep every night by your side. If need be, I will die to protect you. You are my heart."

The premise of this book is right up my alley. It's a fun, fresh take on soulmates--and goodness knows how I love soulmates. And not only are there soulmates, but the male MC looks like one I'd like, too. A warrior, but also a pretty big softy when it comes to his bride. All signs pointed to me LOVING this book. But...I didn't. I did, however, like this book. I did enjoy it. 

Liv is the female MC, and she's human. She's been "chosen" (not really chosen, because neither she or he have any control over this) by Baird to be his Kindred bride. Their minds aligned (through this thing called dream sharing that sounded like it could be fun...I think? More on this later) and then Baird claimed her. Liv, understandably, is incredibly opposed to this. She has a life, she has a sister and friends, and she does not want to just throw that all away to live with some random alien dude in space. Honestly, I found a lot of Liv's arguments valid (though a few of them were too much). She has a right to not be okay with the situation. I didn't have much problem with her arguments. Her personality, on the other hand, didn't always mix well with me. Sometimes she was fine. But other times, her jokes fell flat or I just...wasn't into her. She didn't get on my nerves and I didn't hate her, but I wasn't quite fond of Liv, either.

Baird, however, gets so much love from me. He's on the other side of everything. She's resisting, and he's wishing he wouldn't. She's doing her best to end the whole thing, and he's doing the best he can to make it work. I understand Liv's side, but I hurt for Baird's side. He wasn't arrogant and demanding--he was sweet and kind. He made it clear what he wanted, but he never took more than Liv wanted to give. Even though he could have bonded with Liv so many times, he waited until she was honestly ready. Because he does love her and respect her. And THAT makes me love and respect him beyond measure.

This story was written in third person POV, and it switches between Baird, Liv, Sylvan (Baird's half-brother), and Sophia (Liv's twin sister). I was totally on board for switching between Baird and Liv. Getting both their perspectives on things really helped me get a grand view of how they both felt throughout the story. But I wasn't a huge fan of Sylvan and Sophie's POVs being added in. They weren't too important--though some of the world info was given this way--and it was obvious set up for book 2. I don't mind one book getting ready for another, but I dislike when it's OBVIOUS. Because then I get taken out of the story I'm in. It's kind of distracting.

The writing in general was good. I was incredibly into the story. I got to know the characters well. And the parts that were supposed to be tense or hot or sad or...any other emotion were definitely portrayed in the way they were intended. What I didn't like, though, was some of the world building. We got lots of information on some things, a sufficient amount of information on other things, and then sometimes we'd get minimal information. Sometimes that was okay. I didn't really want to know more. But other times, I DID want to know. Dream sharing, for instance. I found that concept intriguing. I'd love to have actually seen a dream share. I would have loved to have gotten more information on the topic. But there wasn't too much in this book. For some concepts it was like that. There's so much cool stuff in the world and we don't have time to describe everything in detail, I know. But when it's something as integral as dream sharing... I really wanted to know!

The romance had its sweet moments and it had its...low moments. As a couple, I loved Baird and Liv. But they could play some serious hot and cold. When they weren't arguing, these two were great. Fantastic. Cute, sweet, smexy. I ship it all day every day. But when they WERE arguing, I just wanted them to stop. I don't feel like we got enough time with them actually together, Baird being charming and Liv NOT resisting. (Baird was charming most of the novel, Liv resisting is what I wished there was more without.) There were definitive moments where their relationship made my heart flutter. When Baird tried to make her pizza, for one. They had some cute moments that I loved. And the romance honestly wasn't bad. As I said, I ship it hard.

The ending... I'm not going to give anything away. I'm just going to say that it felt forced. Which it probably was, because it was trying to summarize things while setting up for the next book. But still, I noticed. I love how things turned out for the couple, and I so look forward to seeing them more as the series continues.

Overall, while Claimed wasn't as amazing as I'd hoped it would be, I still liked it. The book was enjoyable, the premise something I am definitely on board for, and I without a doubt plan to continue the series. If you like the soulmate idea and alpha males, I DO recommend this one. It truly is a fun take on soulmates, and the story is enjoyable even with its flaws. Definitely a series to pursue, in my opinion (and I plan to pursue it myself, so yay!).

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Signed Sealed Delivered #61 (Andrea)

Signed, Sealed, Delivered shows off the books I recently received (whether they're physical copies or e-copies, bought, borrowed, or gifted). This post will be linked up over at Tynga's Reviews, where Tynga is hosting her awesome Stacking The Shelves, be sure to check it out!

I want to thank Margaret K. McElderryTor Teen, Feiwel & FriendsHogarth, First Second,  my local library, and Katie @ Katie's Book Blog for enabling me during the month of February.


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