Thursday, January 29, 2015

Saga Volume 3

PopSugar Reading Challenge 2015

A Book You Can Read In a Day

Saga Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

These just keep getting better and better don't they After the first volume I said that I didn't actually like these graphic novels enough to keep purchasing them but I can definitely say that as long as the library keeps supplying these to me, I will keep reading them. I am not as fascinated with the story as I am with the graphics. The graphics are absolute perfection. I don't read a whole lot of graphic novels simply because I usually hate the artistic style but this graphic novel gets that just right. I feel like a lot more happened in this one than in the other two volumes and I was really happy to get to know the inner workings of many of the characters. 

This graphic novel series is certainly entertaining and a great way to spend an hour. I still have to give this volume a 3 star rating however because I reserve my 4 and 5 star ratings specifically for reads that leave a lasting impact on me and for books that I will remember for years to come. While this book is very pleasant, I can't say that I will remember it for very long.

Yes, lying cat is my favorite character :-)

Peter Shaffer's Amadeus

PopSugar Reading Challenge 2015

Read a Play

Peter Shaffer's Amadeus

Years ago in high school I watched the film adaptation of this play. It was wonderful. I remember absolutely loving Mozart and his character. He was so lively and funny, if not extremely vulgar. His character is so great because in my opinion, there is nothing as interesting as reading about a real life person who had a life as interesting as any fiction. Mozart truly had a personality and life that a writer only dreams of coming up with himself. People rarely see a man of his age that acts so much like a child. Perhaps Mozart was suffering with the same types of things as our current child celebrities suffer with. It seems like when a essential part of ones childhood is missing, that person goes on to be  perpetual child. 

I will have to say that I enjoyed the movie much better than the book. I think this was only because I don't necessarily care for the style of written plays. It is a little tedious to read all of the set and character names. It is also hard to get a feel for emotion. This play however was able to make me feel emotion more than any other I've ever read. The movie was triumphant also in the fact that it had brilliant casting and I will never be able to get the image of Mozart acting inappropriately with his wife out of my head even though it has been years since I've seen it. 

Peter Shaffer's exploration of God in this play really intrigues me. One of the main characters, Salieri, believes that because he is a good and virtuous man, that he deserves to be a great composer. He is shocked when he finds out that God has bestowed the gift he desires on a infantile man like Mozart. From then on, Salieri will stop at nothing to ruin the instrument of God (Mozart), and thus beat God at his own game. I love the themes that this problem presents as many people now-days struggle with the question of why God isn't providing for them even though they seem to be a good person. Why would God give all the gifts to the terrible men of the world? In the conclusion to the play, Salieri discovers that by damning Mozart to a life of poverty he has created his own worst nightmare. Salieri proved that he was in fact not a virtuous man at all and was therefore not worthy of God's gifts.

If you enjoy plays, Mozart, or the movie I would certainly recommend reading this play. It is short and easy and definitely worth the time spent.

“What use, after all, is man, if not to teach God His lessons?” 
― Peter ShafferAmadeus

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

PopSugar Challenge: Once Upon a Time: Shadow of the Queen

PopSugar Challenge

Book Based on a TV Show

Once Upon a Time: Shadow of the Queen by Daniel Thomsen

I am a huge fan of the show Once Upon a Time so I was pretty excited when I heard about this graphic novel tie-in. The reality though is that this comic isn't nearly as good as the show. The show has amazing sets, actors, and costumes and a graphic novel could never compete with that. Beyond that though, the comic didn't even have a very interesting plot. I was bored almost the entire time and the artwork was just okay. My main question is why the heck are the Huntsman and Red lovers in this story? That just does not seem right to me. Overall the book was a waste of about 20 minutes. 

PopSugar Challenge: The Selection

PopSugar Reading Challenge

An Author You've Never Read Before

The Selection by Kiera Cass

HOLY CRAP!! I'm so excited, jumping around, fangirling right now. This is my first 5 star book of the year and after reading some meh books lately, it was the perfect book to break me out of my slump. I honestly cannot say enough good things about this book. I'm a huge fan of dystopian so I love that this book is set in a future America. I also love that it has political depth and presents the reader with some tough situations. Overall though, I am a romance book lover and this book certainly has it's fair share. I'm really happy that there is no insta-love in this book. Both relationships took time to nurture and I love that America takes them both seriously. She knows that because her feelings are real for both of these men that she will need time to sort herself out. I know how this book ends (come on, it's totally obvious) but I don't care. I love when books ends exactly how I want them to. :-)

I checked out this book from the library with very low expectations. Even though this title has a decent Goodreads rating, I couldn't help but see a ton of hate surrounding this book. I picked it up thinking that the premise sounded extremely interesting but if I didn't like it within 50 pages I would put it down. Not only did I not hate it, I absolutely LOVED it! I just got my library card about 2 weeks ago due to a silly book buying ban that I've been on. I have to say though that this book just destroyed that ban. If I tried to get the sequel "The Elite" from the library it would likely take weeks for me to get my hands on it. I absolutely cannot wait that long which means I will be hauling my silly butt to Barnes and Nobles in just a few hours when they open (I am writing this at 3AM). Yes, I am pathetic. 

For me, the moral of this story is to never judge of book by it's reviewers. Which is funny of me to say since I am a book blogger. If you think the premise and synopsis of a book sounds interesting, you should read it. No matter what anybody says (booktuber and bloggers included). If I would have listened to hype I would have missed out on a great book and honestly I've been super disappointed recently with all of the super hyped books anyway!

Happy reading book lovers!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

#WintersRespite Readathon and TBR

#WintersRespite Readathon

Heck yeahh! I feel like I just finished #Boutofbooks 12.0 and we're already on to another readathon. This is the best news ever! Who doesn't love a good readathon? This week is already looking like a pretty boring and cold week so what better than to curl up with a good book (or 4)! So for #boutofbooks I admit I did pretty terrible with meeting my reading goals. For this readathon though I really need to try to stick to my TBR list. I currently have a ton of books (16) books checked out from the library that I MUST get through. So the books I plan to read this week are...

1. The Selection by Kiera Cass: I'm not quite sure if I'll make it through this one yet because I've heard some pretty horrible things about it but who knows. I think it sounds interesting. 

2. Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson: This one had the most hype of any book I heard of last year so I'm excited to give it a go.

3. Once Upon a Time: Shadow of the Queen by Daniel Thomsen (graphic novel): I am a huge OUAT fan and I'm really expecting goof things from this graphic novel.

4. Peter Shaffer's Amadeus (play): I'm reading this as part of the PopSugar reading challenge to read a play.

If I do somehow finish those books (unlikely) I will want to read Death Cloud by Andrew Lane and Ayn Rand answers: the best of her Q&A. 

If you are interested in signing up here is the link:

The more people participate the more people there will be to talk books to on twitter!
Follow me @Murbybooks

Friday, January 23, 2015

PopSugar Challenge: Tricks

PopSugar Reading Challenge
A Book That Takes Place In Your Hometown
Tricks by Ellen Hopkins

I chose this book to fulfill the 'book that takes place in your hometown' piece of the PopSugar reading challenge. In this book there is a LGBT character named Seth that spends a bit of his time in Louisville Kentucky which is where I was born and raised. The book mostly takes place though in Las Vegas Nevada. 

It took me a long, long time to finally jump on the Ellen Hopkins bandwagon and Tricks was my first book by her. I once tried to read Impulse and couldn't get past the verse style. I still wish Hopkins would just write her story in the "regular" way. Her writing could hardly be called poetry so I'm not sure why she decided to use the style that she does. I seem to be one of the few people out there that doesn't love Hopkins writing. This isn't the first time that I've noticed a difference between my tastes and pretty much everyone else's.

 In terms of the books content, I will say that it was fairly hard to read. Not a lot bothers me and this didn't exactly bother me, but there are certainly parts that are very graphic. If prostitution, drug use, abuse, or any kind of sexual activity at all bother you, then I would recommend you don't read this book. 

The character I most enjoyed was Eden. I come from a fairly normal and tame family so I could relate to in the fact that she was a naive, goody-good. I felt most concerned with what happened to her and was super upset when the book ended on a cliffhanger. I just want to know what happened to her! A quick Goodreads search revealed that Hopkins is currently working on a sequel called "Traffick" that is set to release Fall 2015. I'm fairly sure I will pick up the sequel since now I'm already over 600 pages invested into the storyline.

Happy reading everyone!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Popsugar Challenge: Confessions of a Shopaholic

PopSugar Reading Challenge

Read a book with bad reviews

Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

There is honestly so much to say about this book that my brain feels like a giant twisted ball of yarn. Ughhh.. First of all, I picked this book because it has a rating of 3.57 on Goodreads which is my opinion is a bad rating. Some people might not agree with me on this but I try my hardest to only read books that have a 4 star rating or above.  So for me, this book is rated quite poorly. I just feel like there are so many great books out there that there is no reason to waste valuable reading time on anything less than a 4. Alas, I picked this book up because I bought it from the Half Price Bookstore well before my decision to read only 4 star books. 

Okay so now that we've got that out of the way we can move on to the actual review! :-). I would give this book a 1 out of 5 star rating. I really didn't like it. I honestly just couldn't stand the main character, Rebecca. She is a air headed little twit that has no understanding of responsibility or consequences. She lies to all of her friends and family and treats them like crap. All she cares about is material possessions and status. It's really hard to appreciate a book when you absolutely loath the main character. Near the end of the book it truly looked like Becky would redeem herself, but of course she falls back into the same stupid patterns. This books is just very unbelievable and aggravating as you see the main protagonist do everything wrong yet still get her happy ending. The only character I did like was Luke but even that was ruined by the unbelievable relationship between Becky and himself. I just have a hard time believing that a serious, responsible man would see anything in such a silly character. Needless to say, I will not be continuing on with this series.

** Disclaimer: Sorry for the rant and I don't mean to offend anyone who loves this book. I think it's great if someone can see more in Becky or get more out of this book. I just couldn't. No one is silly for liking or disliking anything. This is just by personal opinion on the book.

Top 5 Wednesday: Authors I'd most like to me


Top 5 Wednesday

Authors You Would Most Like to Meet

The topic for my second top 5 Wednesday post is authors that I would most like to meet. That is a pretty hard question for me to answer because I don't care a lot about meeting authors in real life. I feel the same way about actors/actresses and singers as well, with a few notable exceptions (JOSH HUTCHERSON!). I certainly love and idolize an authors work but I'd much rather be able to meet the characters in the books than the authors themselves. 

I guess if I had to choose a few authors to meet then I would want to meet Ayn Rand, Jane Austen, and Dorothy Parker. I picked these ladies solely because of their philosophies on life and their ideals, not based on their writing. These women had extraordinary things to say during their lifetimes and I'm sure I would have a lot to learn from them.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Movie Review: Coraline

Book Review
Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Coraline is my first Neil Gaiman book and as such I was very excited. I have several of his adult novels and graphic novels on my "to-be-read" list. For me though this book was slightly disappointing. Im not sure if it was because it was a children's book or if it was because I saw the movie before reading the book. 

Seeing a movie before reading it's book is like a cardinal sin in my book. However, I did it anyway. The movie quickly became a favorite of mine as I loved the style, graphics, and story. I think I just had a hard time imagining the story in the book any differently from how it is set up in the movie. As such, I really wasn't able to get anything new out of the book. I'm sure this book is absolutely beautiful though to a reader who has never seen the movie. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Book Review: A Beautiful Wedding

Book Review

A Beautiful Wedding by Jaime McGuire

Ahhh...This novella is pretty much perfection. I can truly never get enough of Travis and Abby Maddox. This novella wrapped everything up into a nice pretty package and made me oh so happy. I do love a happy ending. This book does make me sad though since this is the last Travis and Abby story :-(. 

Now I can't wait to get my hands on "Beautiful Oblivion". Of course Mrs. McGuire had to give us a teaser at the end of "Walking Disaster" and it is killing me having to wait to know what happens. I cant keep from wondering why Travis is working for the FBI, why he killed Benny, and why the hell didn't he tell Abby?? So. Many. Feels.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Book Review: Saga Vol 2

Book Review

Saga Vol 2 by Brian K Vaughan

I know I said I wasn't going to continue reading this graphic novel series...I lied. ;-). I found the second volume of the "Saga" series at the library and figured that if I didn't have to pay for it, then I wanted to read it after all. I'm glad I did.

This volume was in my opinion slightly better than the first. I had more time with the characters to become invested. Even though I'm still not entirely there. I really liked the ending of this volume because it ends in a cliff hanger that makes me excited to get my hands on the third volume. Can I just say though that the seal that makes an appearance in this about 7 frames of this volume is freakin' awesome! I have a thing for seals...obviously. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Popsugar Challenge: Walking Disaster by Jaime McGuire

Popsugar Reading Challenge 2015

A Book from an Author you Love but haven't read

Walking Disaster by Jaime McGuire

Ohhhhh... I was so excited to get a second installment about Travis Maddox and Abby Abernathy! It was also amazing to be able to hear their story told from Travis's perspective. "Beautiful Disaster" made Travis look a bit like a psycho in some places and there was also bad Goodread's reviews based on this fact. I love that this book is able to clear up why he acted the way he did (not that his behavior bothered me at all). 

Travis Maddox is the boyfriend/husband almost every girl would love to have. Sexy, built, smart, and incredibly sweet. I think I might have just found a new book boyfriend today! :-) 

I gave this book a 4 star rating because it was freaking good! Since it was a re-telling of "Beautiful Disaster" from Travis's perspective, it wasn't as exciting as the first installment. I mean I already knew what was coming. However, I loved the epilogue because it was all new information! I'm guessing Mrs. McGuire was setting us up for her new novel, "Beautiful Oblivion". I honestly wasn't going to continue with the series because I've heard some not great things about it. I ended up deciding to continue though when I found out that Travis was possibly in danger of going to jail due to the incident with the fire in the next book. I also just got the novella "Beautiful Wedding" in the mail yesterday and that is definitely going to be my next read.

Have a great day bookworms!

Top 5 Wednesday: Series I want to Start This Year

Top 5 Wednesday: Series I want to Start This Year

This is my first top 5 Wednesday for my blog and I'm pretty excited to do it! I have quite a few series I want to start this year and even more than I know I wont be able to get to. Anyhoo...let's get started.

1. The Dark Duet- This is the series I am most excited to pick up. This series is pretty controversial due to the fact that it's about a hostage/sex slave/lover situation. I don't think the subject matter will bother me a whole lot though so I'm excited to get started!

2. The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare- Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know I'm probably the last person on earth to read this series. It's going to sound dumb, but after I heard so many comparisons about this series and the Twilight series, I can say I was less than excited. 

3. The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare- I am pretty excited to get started with this series. I have heard so many wonderful things!

4. Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor- I'll admit that I don't really know what this book is about but I was given the beautiful hardcover box set from my friend and they are beautiful.

5. The Lunar Chronicles- This series has been ridiculously hyped and everyone seems to love it. I got this for Christmas from my husband and now I've just gotta find the time to read them.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Popsugar Challenge: Saga Vol 1

Popsugar Reading Challenge 2015
Read a Graphic Novel
Saga Volume 1 by Brain K Vaughan

Okay...so this book could definitely be described as a "book that booktube made me read". Everyone's channels have been raving that "Saga" is the best graphic novel of the year. I will have to admit that I don't read a whole lot of graphic novels. I do however, really enjoy them. I have to give this graphic novel 3 out of 5 stars though because I just cannot agree or understand all of the hype. The world is interesting and the graphics are amazing! However, I just didn't get attached to the characters and at the end of the book I found myself not caring what happens in the next installments. Needless to say I probably will not be reading the sequels to Saga Volume 1 unless I can get them from the library (do they even have graphic novels at the library?). 

Monday, January 12, 2015

#BoutofBooks 12.0 Wrap-up

#Boutofbooks 12.0 Wrap-up

So to start of this blog post, I have to say that I didn't meet my goals in my previous post about Bout of Books. I still read a ton (for me) but I was kind of bored with the books I chose so I just picked new ones! I kind of wish I was able to finish Insomia because that book has been taking me so long to read and I just want to finish it so that I can count it for the mystery/thriller book for the Popsugar book challenge. Maybe next time ;-) Anyhoo....the book I read are down below.

1. I was able to finish the last approximately 300 pages of the Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. I am really happy with this one because that means I at least hit one of my goals this week! I have a review for this also on this site.

2. Vicious by V.E Schwab. I have a review for this book also on this site.

3. I made it through the first 150 pages of City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. I'm liking it so far but it's moving kind of slow. I can't wait for it to pick up (hopefully)!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Book Review: Vicious by V.E Schwab

Book Review

Vicious by V.E Schwab

Even with the huge goal of completing the Popsugar reading challenge this year, I decided to pick up this book. Vicious does not complete any of the goals on this challenge for me but I couldn't help reading it after all of the great things I'd heard about it. Looking back, I actually wish I would have heard a little less about it. 
I guess when you are set up from the very beginning to absolutely love something, your expectations get a little out of hand. I think that is what happened when I read this book. Don't get me wrong, this is an extremely good book. It was so incredibly different from anything I've ever read before and I have to admit that I've always had a thing for superheros. However, I feel like my expectations for it were so high that it couldn't possibly live up to them.

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars and I would recommend pretty much anyone read it. I feel like it would appeal obviously to guys but also to girls as well (as long as you are okay with the obvious lack of romance). This book in my opinion appeals to such a large audience due to the fact that it almost has every element you could want in a book. It has action, suspense, cunning, excitement, good characters, intrigue, etc. I'm a big romance book kind of gal, and while this is definitely lacking in that department, I still think this book is wonderful. It is healthy to step out of your comfort zones every once in-a-while. 

"Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.” - V.E Schwab

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Popsugar Challenge: Book More than 500 Pages

Popsugar Reading Challenge

Read a book that is more than 500 pages long

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

Wow. What can I even say about this book? I can say with certainty that this book was the most confusing literary challenge I have ever faced. It is hard to figure out where I stand on this book and I'm not sure that I'll ever come to a solid conclusion. On one hand the plot was pretty dry and boring. At 720 pages, it was also pretty bloated. However, this book contains such overwhelming ideals and quotes that it cannot be dismissed as simply "boring". 

This isn't my first rodeo, as one would say, with Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism. In recent years I have also read 'We the Living' as well as 'Anthem'. I highly enjoyed both of these titles in terms of plot but I have to say that 'The Fountainhead' takes the cake when it comes to explaining Objectivism. 

I'm ashamed to admit that until recently I had never bothered to look up Ayn Rand's ideas on Objectivism. If you are to listen to all of the twaddle about her philosophy you would think that she is simply the worlds worst egotist. In reality, her opinions are such that all of us should listen and take note. For example, Ayn Rand does not advocated for the type of selfishness that is usually thought of. Quite the contrary. She is not saying that people should be selfish in the way that they step on others and harm whoever is necessary to get to where their going. Instead, Objectivism simply states that a person should be concerned with his own self and how to make his own self happy, without stepping on the toes of others. This is an admirable idea. It seems that many people (myself included) want so badly to live up to the expectations of a specific person or society that we forget what we want out of life. It would certainly be nice to be free of the impositions of parents, friends, teachers, etc and simply do what we want for a change. The book also has a comedic way of teaching lessons about society. For example, the book makes a huge point about how unsavory it is when people like a book, movie, play, or really anything in life just because someone else likes it or tells them they should like it. I don't know why this concept reminds me of todays concept of being what some people call a 'basic bitch' but it does. The same principles are at work either way. The moral seems to be that one should always think for oneself and not be to heavily influenced by society. 

Well that was fun! haha. I don't like getting to overly serious in my blog and most books I read don't require me to do so. Obviously though I got a little wrapped up in the themes of this book and just had to share my opinions! :-) I'm pretty excited to learn more about the philosophy of Objectivism and I am going to want to get my hands on some of Ayn Rand's nonfiction works pretty soon. 

After all that talking, I'm going to give the book a 4 star rating. Yes, it was semi-boring at times and yes it was LONG! However, I feel like the ideas presented in this book, the characters, and just the way this book makes me feel will stay with me for a long time to come.

**Update: I have since read more about Ayn Rand's philosophy and I cannot say that I don't agree with her on much at all. I love her thoughts in this book about individualism but that is about all we can agree upon. It seems that Ayn Rand is a huge supporter of a small government, so small in fact that it is almost non-existent. I will not go into particulars on why I think that is notion is an unrealistic one. 

 "That's the sort of thing I want you to understand. To sell your soul is the easiest thing in the world. That's what everybody does every hour of his life. If I asked you to keep your soul--would you understand why that's much harder?” 

“Have you noticed that the imbecile always smiles? Man's first frown is the first touch of God on his forehead. The touch of thought.” 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Bout of Books Readathon 12

Bout of Books Readathon 12

Hey guys! So today starts the Bout of Books 12 readathon! I am so excited to participate in this chill weeklong readathon. This will be my first readathon ever so I don't really know what to expect. I'm hoping that it will prompt me to read more than I usually would have read but who knows!

Okay, so here are my goals for this week of reading.

1. Finish "The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

2. Finish Insomnia by Stephen King

3. Finish Walking Disaster by Jaime McGuire

I've started each one of these books and am really hoping to finish the approximately 600 pages of reading this week to get them all done. I've been struggling with finishing "The Fountainhead" and "Insomnia" for awhile so hopefully this will give me the push I need to finish.

If you want to join me in the readathon (and you should!) you can head over to http://boutofbooks.blogspot.com/2014/12/bout-of-books-12-sign-up.html to sign up. I also pasted the official readathon blurb from their site below if you're interested. Happy reading!

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 5th and runs through Sunday, January 11th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 12 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

Friday, January 2, 2015

Popsugar Challenge: Book from your Childhood

Popsugar Challenge

A Book From Your Childhood

The Last Basselope by Berkeley Breathed

So today's post will be very short. I re-read this book today for the Popsugar 2015 reading challenge as my book from my childhood. This book was a favorite of mine since I learned to read. My family has always been a big fan of the character Opus and I personally love this book because Basset Hounds are extremely lovable and the artwork in this book is fantastic. I have probably read this book 20 or so times and I will surely read it many more. I would recommend it to children and adults alike.