Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday- Red, White, and Blue Covers

top ten tuesday picture

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week we’re given a new prompt for a top ten list of all things bookish. This week is top ten books with Red, White and Blue book covers (in honor of the 4th of July). I was a little surprised how many books I have with these colors though not many have all three. Here are my choices for this week:

Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn

School’s Out – Forever by James Patterson

The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

Eragon and Eldest Omnibus by Christopher Paolini

 

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

 

Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead

Iron Gold by Pierce Brown

Year One by Nora Roberts

 

Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Shadowcaster by Cinda Williams Chima

 

 

I’d loved to see all the pretty covers everyone else came up with. Thanks for visiting!

-Antonia

Reader Ravings: Reading Books Twice

I know I haven’t been writing reviews lately, and that’s partly because up until about a week ago, I’ve barely read anything the past two months. In an effort to spice things up a bit and encourage ourselves to post more in the future, we’re going to add in the occasional discussion-type post, called Reader Ravings (because who ever actually talks rationally about books), where we randomly post about reading related topics that come up in our lives. Feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments or even write your own post using the topic. (We’d love if you linked any of those posts in the comments so we can read them too!)

I have many favorite aspects of reading; the way books smell, getting to know new characters, feeling like the world dropped out from under you at a sudden plot twist… pick pretty much anything that involves books and I probably love it. But one of the things I love the most is reading a book for the second time.
This topic popped into my head because the last two books I’ve read have been books I’ve read (and reviewed) before; Crown of Vengeance by Mercedes Lackey and James Malloryand Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead. And what I noticed while reading them is that I enjoyed the experience much more than I did the first time. For Crown of Vengeance, it’s a 600-page fantasy novel with some serious world-building and history thrown in and I think so much information was being thrown at me that there was no way I could possibly remember it all the first time. When I read it again, I was able to pick up all the details I’d missed and I understood everything much better. For Gameboard of the Gods, while there was a lot of information, the pace and suspense is what threw me the first time. Everything happens so fast. I just wanted to know more and more and couldn’t breathe until I finished the book. Knowing how it ends, let me relax and I could appreciate the characters stories more.
Now I’ve found it can be difficult to figure out what the general opinion is on this topic because people don’t generally talk about reading a book for the second time. We talk the first to the point of redundancy because it’s new and exciting and we want to share it with the world but the second time doesn’t rate as much attention. Because of this, I might be wrong in my assumptions but it’s always seemed to me that the majority of people don’t like reading the same book twice, and the readers who do reserve it for their select few favorites.
I can’t, for the life of me, understand it. For most books, I even like reading it better the second time than the first. The first time I read a book I try to go slow and absorb everything so I don’t miss any details but I always end up getting sucked in and blowing through it before I know what’s happened. I’m so invested in the characters’ lives and so worried about what’s going to happen to them that sometimes finishing a book can just leave me emotionally exhausted and I’m sure all of you know what that feels like.
Amanda and I’ve had discussions about this and we both agree that while we always retain the key points and basics of the plot, after awhile it’s hard to remember any of the smaller details. I understand it’s unreasonable to think I could possibly remember every single line of every book I’ve ever read but when I think about a book years, or even months, after I’ve read it I can only remember that a character got from point A to point B but not how. Except that’s the entire point of a book. It’s like the phrase “It’s the journey not the destination”. How a character overcomes the odds to reach their goal is more important than the fact they got there.
That’s when a book gets added to my mental TBRT (To Be Read Twice) list. When I think of a book and can’t remember all those important little details. And no, not every book I read gets added. If that were the case I would never read anything new, and books I want to read a second time tend to get pushed back in order to read new books first. Usually, it’s when I just want to relax and enjoy a book that I pick up one of my TBRTs and because I’ve already read it, sometimes I’ll just stick a bookmark in and read new books that come up before picking it back up again. I almost always have a partly-read TBRT sitting around my room.
What bothers me most is when I tell someone I’ve read a book more than once. Occasionally I get someone who doesn’t think it’s a big deal but more often than not, they don’t understand why and a lot of the time it’s someone who generally doesn’t read at all. I don’t try to tell you that you can’t watch movies twice, do I? It’s the same principle. I enjoyed reading it the first time, so I’m going to enjoy reading it the second time.
And for the people who somehow think reading books twice is inferior to reading books once? It’s asinine opinions like yours that make me prefer reading over social interactions. (I’m not kidding. I’ve received a condescending head shake and a “How old did you say you are?” on numerous occasions when this topic’s been brought up.) I mean, at least I’m reading! There are hundreds of thousands of people who don’t read and I don’t mean the ones who are illiterate. Do you really care more about the fact I reread books than that there are people who refuse to learn everything books can teach us? That’s absurd.
What’s your opinion on reading books more than once? Do you like it less or more than the first time?
-Antonia

Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead (Antonia’s review)

Goodreads Summary: In a futuristic world nearly destroyed by religious extremists, Justin March lives in exile after failing in his job as an investigator of religious groups and supernatural claims. But Justin is given a second chance when Mae Koskinen comes to bring him back to the Republic of United North America (RUNA). Raised in an aristocratic caste, Mae is now a member of the military’s most elite and terrifying tier, a soldier with enhanced reflexes and skills.

When Justin and Mae are assigned to work together to solve a string of ritualistic murders, they soon realize that their discoveries have exposed them to terrible danger. As their investigation races forward, unknown enemies and powers greater than they can imagine are gathering in the shadows, ready to reclaim the world in which humans are merely game pieces on their board.

I don’t even know where to start. Every single part of this book intrigued me. Every time I got used to a new concept, another was thrown at me. Every time a question was answered it gave me five more. The first couple chapters were a little slow, but as soon as I got past that (around where Justin and Mae met) I could not put it down.
The main reason I read this book was because of Richelle Mead. I adore her books and was so happy when I learned she started a new series. However I think I might have picked this book up regardless. I love books about mythology. I love books about magic. And although they’re not autobuy subjects of mine, I really enjoy futuristic and dystopian books too. This book has all of it. Mead managed to throw so many different subjects and concepts into this book; and managed to make them work really well together. Quite often so many topics are overwhelming and confusing. This book was overwhelming in a “I wish I could read this faster I just want to know what happens!” kind of way. And the only confusion I had was when Mead deliberately made me want to know more and more and more.
As for the characters, I loved all of them. Mae is my favorite. She’s so strong and independent which I completely respect. But she still has vulnerabilities that she hides because she’s too proud to show anyone that side of her. I think that’s what annoyed Amanda a little bit, but that side of Mae was what made it easy for me to relate to her.
Now I’ll talk about Justin. Oh, Justin… I could never keep track of how I felt about him. Half the time I was just so aggravated with him and the other half I was violently in love with him. He was an asshole; he was arrogant; he was caring; he had a strong sense of self preservation; he was funny. He was such a well-rounded character that I couldn’t help but be invested in his story even when I didn’t like him all that much.
There were quite a few secondary characters. Tessa was the young girl that Justin brought back to the RUNA with him on a student visa. She was cute and sweet for most of the book. Then before I noticed it happening, she became confident and grew into herself. I can’t wait to see her grow more. Mae’s friends Val and Dag were a great addition to add humor into different sections. Every time I read about them I was laughing. I also really enjoyed what Justin’s friend Leo added to the story as a technical genius, though his boyfriend Dominic was rather annoying.
There were only one or two things I wish had been different. I think I would have liked it better if there was slightly less religion. I’m not one of those people that hate to see religion in books. I actually like it because you don’t see it too often. And it worked as such an amazing contrast to the mythology and magic. However, there were some parts where it was a bit too much for me and I would have rather had more of the myth or magic.
The other is that I really wish I had more answers to my questions. It’s just so goddamn hard to wait. I need to know everything right now!
Overall, I would recommend this book to pretty much everyone. Since it has a little bit of everything in it, I think anyone who likes dystopian or paranormal or romance or scifi would enjoy this book.
As always, let me know what you think and if you’ve read it I’d love to hear your opinion.
-Antonia

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Sequels

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where every week we give our top ten on a specific topic. This weeks topic is Top Ten Sequels I Can’t Wait To Get My Hands On. I’m a little excited for this one because there’s so many series that I read that I just can’t wait for the next book.

1)Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout– This is the final book of the Lux Series. I fell in love with this series within the first couple of pages of Obsidian. This is a series I think anyone and everyone should read. Opposition is expected to come out August 5, 2014

2)The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead– Ah! I just want this book to come out already! Number four of the Bloodlines series is expected to come out November 19th, 2013 which is very soon. I just don’t want to wait anymore!

3)Age of X Series by Richelle Mead– The second book in the Age of X seems like it doesn’t exist. There’s been no title released, or date of expected publication. The first, Gameboard of the Gods, came out this year. So, there’s probably a while to wait for the second.

4)City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare– What I believe is the final book of The Mortal Instrument Series is expected to come out in May of 2014. I can’t wait for this book. Mostly to see how the series will close and where everyone is going to end up. If you haven’t read any of The Mortal Instruments Series you should give it a try.

5)Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare– This is the first book in a series of three. It’s expected to be published in 2015, but there isn’t anything more specific than that. The trilogy is supposed to be kind of a companion to The Mortal Instruments. The series is called The Dark Artifices. I’m excited to read them and see how things turn out.

6)Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich– I’m obsessed with the Stephanie Plum series. I’ve read every single one of them. Most more than once. I’m excited for the twentieth book to come out because I know it’ll be good. It’s release date is posted as November 19th, 2013.

7)Unsouled by Neil Shusterman– Unsouled is the third and final book of the Unwind Trilogy. This book is actually currently out, I just can’t afford it yet. I’m excited to read it though, when that does eventually happen.

8)Vampire Most Wanted by Lynsay Sands– Expected to come out February 18, 2014 the twentieth book in the Argeneau Series will be just as good as the nineteen before it. This series doesn’t need to be read in order. Just pick one up and let it take you on the ride that is the Argeneau’s.

9)Revealed by Kristin and P.C. Cast– This is another book that’s already out that I’m too poor to afford. I’m happy for this series to finally be over. I think it was dragged on a little too long. But I’m excited to see where it’s left off.

10)The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey– The sequel to The 5th Wave is expected to come out in May of 2014. I’m especially pumped about this book coming out because I was really attached to The 5th Wave. It was an amazing book, and I’m hoping the second will be just as amazing.

These are my top ten, what are yours?

Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead

Summary:
The truth is, when you banish the gods from the world, they eventually come back-with a vengeance.
In a futuristic world nearly destroyed by religious extremists, Justin March is a former investigator of religious groups who was sent into exile after a failed job, a fate that has left the brilliant servitor bitter and free to indulge his addictive personality. Suddenly, Justin is sent home to the Republic of United North America (RUNA) with a peculiar assignment-to solve a string of ritualistic murders steeped in seemingly unexplainable phenomena.
Justin’s unexpected return comes with an even bigger shock: His new partner and bodyguard, Mae, is a praetorian, one of the elite and deadly supersoldiers of the RUNA. Her inexplicably perfect beauty and aristocratic upbringing pique Justin’s avid curiosity-and his desire-though her true nature holds more danger than anyone realizes.
As their investigation unfolds, Justin and Mae find themselves in the path of terrible danger. Mysterious enemies and powers greater than they can imagine have begun to assemble in the shadows, preparing to reclaim a world where humans are merely gamepieces on their board.
Gameboard of the Gods, the first novel of Richelle Mead’s Age of X series, delivers all the elements that have made her bestselling Vampire Academy series a breakout success: sexy, irresistible characters; romantic and mythological intrigue; and breathless action and suspense.
Review:
Richelle Mead became an auto-buy author for me the minute I fell in love with Dimitri from Vampire Academy. When I heard she was coming out with the Age of X series I was intrigued. I looked into it and became unsure. They didn’t really seem like my kind of books. After reading Gameboard of the Gods, I completely a thousand percent take it back. This series may end up becoming one of my favorites.
Gameboard of the Gods was a fantastic book, for many reasons. It had an amazing storyline, one I’d never read before. It was a seriously unique book. It was a mix of mythological, futuristic, romantic, adventurous. Gameboard of the Gods had a little bit of everything. Which is, I think, why I liked it so much. It took me a little longer than usual to finish this book. Partially because it’s a long book, and partially because I just moved and that took up a chunk of my reading time. When I wasn’t reading, all I wanted to do was finish this book. There were a couple slow parts that were interesting but dragged at points. The suspense was probably the worst for me, it almost killed me. I just wanted to know where the story was headed. It didn’t really have a huge cliffhanger, but it definitely ended leaving me wanting more. I don’t think the title for the second book in the series has even been released, let alone a date that it will be coming out. Which is infuriating because I just want to know what’s going to happen next. Isn’t that every reader’s worst nightmare?
Now, onto the characters, which is always my favorite part. Gameboard of the Gods mainly follows Justin March and his life, but it also jumps around a few other important characters. Justin March was a very interesting main character. He has so many secrets that all eventually come to light. I think Justin tries to have his head on straight and his heart in the right place, but he’s only human. In the beginning, we see him indulging in everything that’s bad for him. Gambling, drinking, doing anything and everything he can to deal with being in exile. We get to see more of who he really is when we meet our next important character. He shows who he really is when he’s around Tessa and her family. Justin has a lot of quirks, one of them being the voices in his head. I’m going to try to explain the best I can without giving anything away. The voices are a pest to him mostly, but end up helping him significantly at times. His voices are probably some of the most fun parts of the book, but they also give us quite a bit of information without giving too much away. As a whole, I liked Justin. He does the best he can to do what he thinks is right and I think that’s very admirable.
Mae, the praetorian, is loyal to her government. She does what she’s supposed to when she’s supposed to do it. When we first meet Mae she’s just lost the love of her life. She tries to keep herself collected and together but snaps at one point. The consequences of her brief breakdown are what leads her to be Justin’s bodyguard. The relationship that forms between the two of them is very complicated and describing it without giving any of the story away is pretty hard. Mae tends to bring out the asshole in Justin because it’s what he thinks is the easiest way to handle the situation. Mae tries her hardest to be emotionless and in control of everything, but usually ends up in over her head. I like Mae for the most part, there definitely are some points in the story where she isn’t my favorite. She is sometimes indecisive and never asks for any help with whats going on with her, which is always something that irks me. If she just asked for help everything would be so much easier on her! Overall, I really liked Mae, she stands up for what she believes in, and she does everything she can for those she cares about, even if she won’t admit she cares about them.
Next is Tessa. Tessa is the daughter of someone who helped Justin when he needed it. So when he is asked to come back to the RUNA one of his conditions is that he is allowed to bring Tessa so she can have a better life. Tessa doesn’t really have any options at home, other than marrying. In the RUNA she can go to school, live in a whole different society with a whole different lifestyle. When Tessa moves to the RUNA she’s kind of awkward at first, which is understandable. I think Tessa handles this life-changing event relatively well. She’s considered an outsider at school and is talked about and treated differently by almost everyone. She makes a couple of friends that really end up helping her adapt to her new life. I liked Tessa, she has all these changes thrown at her and she just keeps moving forward, going with the flow, making the best out of whats given to her.
There are a few other characters that play a part in this story, but the three I mentioned are the most important. I liked most of the other characters, except the obvious antagonists because they’re meant to be portrayed as assholes. I loved Gameboard of the Gods so much. I can’t wait for the second to come out and see where Richelle Mead is going to take these characters. I suggest this book to anyone that loves romance, or action, or futuristic settings, or anything mythological because Gameboard of the Gods has all this and more. Something that should be kept in mind is that this is, in fact, an adult series, not young adult. There are some parts that are a little inappropriate for the younger readers.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!