Friday, July 31, 2015

Free For All Friday | Cancun Vacation

So over the past week my family and I were on vacation to CancĂșn, Mexico (which is why I missed a Tuesday Talks post) and I wanted to share my trip with you guys.

Day 1: Flying 

The original plan was to leave at about 4 am and reach Mexico at about 2 pm, but of course things rarely go to plan.

We had a connecting flight from our hometown to North Carolina where we met up with some of our friends. From there we were supposed to have a flight to Mexico. Our original flight got delayed an hour but finally we were able to board. Coincidentally, as soon as we had finished boarding lightning and thunder started and a combination of weather of "air maintenance" problems cancelled the flight and evacuated the passengers.

Almost instantly complete chaos broke loose. There is nothing scarier than watching at least one hundred Americans be detained from their hard earned vacations. There was yelling and cursing and general mayhem. Finally after arguing and negotiating, the airlines booked us on a flight the next day and gave us a hotel for the night.

Day 2: More flying 

So finally we got on the plane and fly to Mexico with, thankfully, no detours. Once we finally make it to our resort I ditch my parents and run to the all-inclusive restaurant, do I really need to explain myself. After waiting the required thirty minutes we changed into our bathing suits, went into the pool and played a bit of beach volleyball (which is a sport I'm fairly bad at). The night ended after another all-inclusive dinner buffet and we went to bed tired but excited.

Day 3: Tulum Ruins 

On the next hot, humid, Mexican day we went to the Tulum ruins. Tulum is a Mayan site, where the Mayan people lived for a while. We toured the area which consisted of lots of stone structures and very little shade.

Day 4: Adrenaline Rush 

This day was probably the best one of the whole trip. After eating breakfast, we left fairly early in the morning to travel to a camp site full of adrenaline filled activities. The first thing we did was ziplining, which consists of being harnessed to a wire line and sliding from one station to another. We were at least five hundred feet or more off the ground. Next we went snorkling in a cave. I am extremely scared of water and putting my head under the water, so there was more fear than excitement for this activity. But thankfully I used that fear to fuel me and was able to swim in a dark cave with my head underwater (though it did help that we had life jackets). Finally we drove ATVs to another location where we ziplined over a sinkhole of water and jumped in. This was by far the scariest activity but I think I did it at least four or five times. While being shoved underwater was not a pleasant experience, the adrenaline of falling was too much to resist. Once we finished our day of exhilaration, we went to an Italian restaurant for dinner and retired to our beds, exhausted and content.

Day 5: Relax

After an exciting day, we decided to spend our last day at the resort unwinding and making use of the resort's facilities. We spent the day drinking virgin drinks from the open bar and swimming around in the pool. Unfortunately we didn't get to go on the beach as much as we wanted because of the massive amounts of seaweed on the beach. The end of the day signaled the end of the trip.

Day 6: Flying home 

Thankfully on the way home, we had no unexpected delays and we reached home and two am and fell asleep, looking back on the fantastic memories we made.

Have you guys done anything fun this summer? Comment below! I want to hear all about it! 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Darkest Minds | Alexandra Bracken

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

Over the past year, I've seen mentions of this book and this author everywhere: on BookTube, on other blogs, at BEA, from my friends. When I hear about a book more than three times, I have to pick it up and give it a read, even if it is just to see what all the hype is about. 

I have to say, I'm still conflicted on this book. While the plot is intriguing and fascinating, I'm not sure it had the "I LOVE IT" feel that a lot of other books have for me, however that may have been due to the reading slump I was in while I read this book. 

If I'm being completely honest, this book was just like your typical dystopian. You have the badass female protagonist who's stronger than she look, the hot male love-interest who would be the perfect real-life boyfriend, the organization who's original intentions have been compromised and the opposing organization who's goal is to fight everything that has gone wrong in society. The concept and actual plot was interesting and innovative, however the template was very generic. That's not to say I didn't enjoy the book, it just wasn't what I was looking for when I read it. 

It definitely has a Hunger Games-esque feel to it, so while it wasn't something I loved, I don't want to discourage anyone else from reading it. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson | Discussion Post #2

As I hope you already know, Courtney from CourtneyReads and I have been buddy reading the Mistborn Trilogy this summer and honestly it's one of the best decisions I've ever made. At various points in the book we've been making discussion posts of questions and answers that encompass our thoughts at that point. So far we've finished The Final Empire and I'll link the discussion posts down below:

We've almost halfway through the second book: the Well of Ascension and I'll link those discussion posts down below.

There will be minor spoilers ahead so pick up the series and join us! 

1. Now that we know a bit more about the Watcher (Zane), what are some thoughts you have?

Courtney: I don’t like love triangles, and this is verging on a love triangle, so I am not thrilled about that. However, I do think that Zane adds to the story. His presence itself is a challenge to Vin because she so badly wants another Mistborn around. At the same time she doesn’t know if she can or should trust him (I’m leaning toward definitely not). Since he’s Straff’s son and thus Elend’s brother, he also adds tension in the political side of the story. I’m also wondering where his insanity is leading, that has to be hinting at some bigger plot element.

Saloni: While I didn’t expect Zane to be Elend’s brother, I’m not all that surprised. It makes for an interesting plot twist both politically and personally. I sense an interesting love triangle begin to emerge between Elend, Vin and Zane but I also see interesting complications in the political alliance between Zane, Straff and Elend. I’m excited for these relationships to be fleshed out a bit more and involve more interactions. 

2. What are your thoughts on Tindwyl?

Courtney: Tindwyl is a rather interesting character and it will be interesting to see more of her interactions with Elend, Vin, and the rest of the crew. We don’t know much of her background yet, so I’m hoping that we might get some more insight into what makes her the way she is. Having her around is definitely an interesting comparison to Sazed, since he’s the only other Terrisman we’ve really been exposed to. I would really like to see more interactions between those two.

Saloni: I really hope that Tindwyl is who she says she is. As of now I really like her character and the personality she brings to the characters. She has taken up the role of mother to both Elend and Vin and is already having such an impact on their lives. I’m excited to see how her character moves forward with the rest of the crew and I do hope we see more of her. 

3. Do you think Elend will continue to fight for his throne? If not, who do you think will try to take the power?

Courtney: I don’t think that Elend will completely give up his fight for the throne, but it does throw them into an interesting position. With the siege of Luthadel taking place it’s not an ideal time for political conflict. I’m not sure who would take the throne in Elend’s place, but I’m guessing one of the men on the Assembly is hoping to claim the power for himself.  

Saloni: After all the work that everyone did getting Elend into the throne and maintaining it, I don’t think it should be that easy for the Assembly to remove him. There’s no way Elend and the crew would accept defeat that quickly. But adding a fight for power to the already taxing war wouldn’t be smart for the city of Luthadel. 

4. How do you think the daytime Mist and the Lord Ruler’s death are connected?

Courtney: The Lord Ruler was connected to the mist somehow, I don’t know how. I think when he told Vin that she had no idea what he did for the world before she killed him was related to this. The power he gained at the Well of Ascension must have given him some connection with the mist that was broken upon his death.   

Saloni: My only guess was that the Lord Ruler connected himself to some type of force at the Well of Ascension, a force that restrained the movement of the Mists. His death freed the Mists which subsequently freed the shadowy creatures inside the Mist. 

5. Do you think that there’s any connection between the Hero of Ages and Vin?

Courtney: There seems to be some connection purely based on the fact that Vin can see the same shadow creature in the mist that the Hero of Ages saw, but I don’t know what it is. Perhaps it’s linked through her Allomancy somehow and the fact that she’s Mistborn. Perhaps this odd connection is somehow caused by the Lord Ruler, since he was the one who killed the Hero of Ages and then Vin killed him. How that would work I have no idea, but there could be something there.  

Saloni: Considering only the two of them can see the strange shadowy creatures of the Mist there is definitely some type of connection though I’m not sure whether it’s genetic. It’s very possible that the Hero of Ages left behind a heir before he was killed and Vin is a distant descendant of him, which would explain her inherent excellence in allomancy. 

6. Which character do you feel has had the most development in this novel and do you like the direction the character is headed?

Courtney: Elend has without a doubt had the most development in my opinion. Vin seems stuck in one mindset, but I’m hoping to get more growth from her as the novel progresses. Elend, on the other hand, has grown in leaps and bounds. Personally, I like where he’s headed. I’ve always adored his character, but with Tindwyl forcing him to become more confident and kingly I’ve grown to appreciate him more. I also like that he’s so supportive of Vin, no he doesn’t always understand her, and yes he makes mistakes, but he’s trying to be the best he can and is developing with each chapter.

Saloni: I have to agree with Courtney. While Vin has made a lot of progress from the beginning of the first book, she seems to slowly be going back to a state of confusion and indecision. Elend has taken a position of responsibility, going from a disheveled heir to a confident leader. While his appearance and demeanor has changed, we slowly begin to see that seep into his personality and his true self. I can’t wait to see more of this and more of Elend. 

7. Vin and OreSeur have put aside many of their differences and even seem to be headed toward friendship, what do you think about this relationship?

Courtney: I feel like this is going to have a significant impact at some point in the future. We still don’t know much about kandra, although we know much more than we did in the previous novel. Their budding friendship didn’t seem likely, but it does seem important. I don’t know how this will affect things in the future, but I’m enjoying the development now. They can be quite entertaining together.

Saloni: I really really love this relationship. For me, the best types of relationship brew from hatred. They’re slowly beginning to understand each other and maybe even like each other. Their personalities complement each other in a complex way and while I’m sure it will help the plot somehow, it really is just entertaining to read about.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tuesday Talks | Tall Mass Market Books

It's Tuesday, which means it's time for another Tuesday Talks, a GoodReads group started by Janie and Janelle where we discuss book related topics every week.

Today we discuss the topic of tall mass market books. Typically I don't really run into these types of book. If I purchase a paperback, it's usually the regular version so the tall mass market ones don't really bother me.

However I'm not a huge fan of them. The larger book is harder to carry and it's bulkier to carry around. And it especially bothers me when, in a particular series, the heights of the books don't match up.

There's not much I have to say about this topic simply because the tall mass market books haven't really been an issue for me.

What about you guys? Which ones do you prefer? Let me know in the comments below! 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Pandemic | Yvonne Ventresca

Even under the most normal circumstances, high school can be a painful and confusing time. Unfortunately, Lilianna's circumstances are anything but normal. Only a few people know what caused her sudden change from model student to the withdrawn pessimist she has become, but her situation isn't about to get any better. When people begin coming down with a quick-spreading illness that doctors are unable to treat, Lil's worst fears are realized. With her parents called away on business before the contagious outbreak-her father in Delaware covering the early stages of the disease and her mother in Hong Kong and unable to get a flight back to New Jersey-Lil's town is hit by what soon becomes a widespread illness and fatal disaster. Now, she's more alone than she's been since the "incident" at her school months ago.

With friends and neighbors dying all around her, Lil does everything she can just to survive. But as the disease rages on, so does an unexpected tension as Lil is torn between an old ex and a new romantic interest. Just when it all seems too much, the cause of her original trauma shows up at her door. In this thrilling debut from author Yvonne Ventresca, Lil must find a way to survive not only the outbreak and its real-life consequences, but also her own personal demons.

I had the wonderful opportunity of meeting Yvonne Ventresca in December during the YABookFest in Princeton. I got her book personally signed, and I finally got the chance to pick it up and read it. I will say that this book picked me up out of my reading slump. It was the first book I read in a long time that reminded me why I enjoy reading.

Personally I really enjoyed Lilianna's and Jay's character and how they developed throughout the novel, Lilianna in particular. While Lilanna's past incidents may seem irrelevant, I think it was crucial in changing her character and developing it further. It's what made her so paranoid and probably what saved her life in this crisis. But we also got the chance to see Lilianna finally open up to the people around her.

While this book wasn't action-packed, I think more of the action is in the character development and the relationships between them. I love dystopians and this is yet another book to add to the list.

The premise of this book closely resembled that of Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer, so if you enjoyed that, I definitely recommend this book. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Snapshot Saturday | Vacation

This week, as you can probably tell from my lack of posts, I was away on vacation. We recently just got back from CancĂșn, Mexico which I'll write about in my next Free For All Friday. This was the first photo I took there, minutes before we landed. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson | Discussion Post #1

It's been a while but Courtney from CourtneyReads and I are back with our buddy read of the Mistborn Trilogy. We're onto book number two: The Well of Ascension. If you haven't read these books before, definitely pick them up! Here are the rest of our discussions below:

What are your expectations going into this novel after finishing The Final Empire?

Courtney: Going into the second book of a series is always difficult. The Final Empire is an excellent read, but Second Book Syndrome has a tendency of dragging down a good thing. I’m hoping for more building of the characters and magic system. Expectations are definitely set very high.  

Saloni: I honestly loved The Final Empire and Brandon Sanderson has already set the bar so high with every aspect of the book. I hope the rest of the series continues this beautiful trend that Sanderson has started, but of course I am a little wary. Sequels are known for being worse than their original counterparts but I’m hoping that is not the case for this series.

Any thoughts on OreSeur, Vin’s kandra?

Courtney: OreSeur is an interesting addition. He was present in The Final Empire, but we never really saw him. The contract is constantly being mentioned, so I think that will play some role. I don’t know if he will break the contract in some way, but there has to be something going on here. The obvious dislike he and Vin have for each other is also an interesting touch to the story. It will be interesting to see how this partnership works out.

Saloni: He has an interesting complexity to him. There’s constantly this reminder of the Contract, which essentially binds the kandra to Vin. I feel like the strength of the contract will come into play somehow within the plot. It might save Vin or it might end up killing her. I know Kelsier essentially bought the Contract, but is there a way for the Contract to switch hands or perhaps run out? It’s possible that if that happens the kandra could turn on Vin?

Do you think that Elend will be able to defend his kingdom against Straff and Cett?

Courtney: This will likely be the major plot of the novel. Elend obviously can’t defend himself with force, but he’s a genius in many ways and has been reading on politics his entire life. I don’t know if Elend’s kingdom will fall, but I think he will come up with a plan to defeat at least one of his opponents. If he can get his kingdom to listen to him.

Saloni: We know that Elend’s army is way too small to physically defeat Straff and Cett’s armies and I don’t think they’re going to be defeated right away (mostly because there has to be some type of story). I think Elend is going to try to use negotiations and intelligence in order to defeat at least one of the other armies.

What are your thoughts about the Watcher, the other Mistborn that haunts the city?  

Courtney: He’s definitely an intriguing character. Is he bad or good? A little of both, perhaps? He obviously doesn’t want Vin dead...yet at least. He has to have some bigger plan at work, but until we learn more about him it’s hard to say what he might be planning and how that will affect Vin, Elend, and the rest of the crew.

Saloni: Honestly, I’m not completely sure. He’s obviously crucial to the plot somehow, but I do think it’s important that he’s not a bloodthirsty assassin like we’ve already seen. He’s planning something, but I don’t think he wants Vin dead. I think he needs her for some plan he’s concocting.

Who do you think is the imposter in Kelsier’s crew?

Courtney: There are so many different ways this element could play out. I feel like it being one of the Crew is actually a stretch. It just doesn’t feel right. I also don’t think it’s Elend. Perhaps it’s not someone in the inner circle, but someone on Elend’s staff or in his army. Someone with just enough power to get to Elend and the crew, but not enough to sway things too drastically.

Saloni: The one thing I’ve learned from mysteries is that the truth is something completely unexpected. Now that Vin has already suspected so many people, I don’t think it’s Spook, Dockson, or Clubs. I have one of two theories: one is that it’s Elend, which is very unlikely but the first thing I thought nonetheless, and the other is that the imposter isn’t even in Kelsier’s crew but rather someone else. Maybe the kandra digested the Lord Ruler’s body? There’s so much that could happen, I have no idea.

What are your thoughts on Vin and Elend’s relationship so far?

Courtney: While I really love the Vin and Elend pairing, I’m not sure it’s presented in the best way. Part of this might be how frustrating Vin can sometimes be to me. There’s an imbalance in their relationship: she’s a Mistborn, but he’s the king. I want more development here. I’m still for their relationship, I just don’t know how I feel about some of it so far.

Saloni: It’s a very interesting relationship and I’m not completely sure I love it as much as I used to. I’ve noticed that the crew tends to talk around Vin as though she’s not even there, treating her very much like a child. While Vin is extremely strong and independent, Elend’s superior position seems to cast Vin to the side and as soon as she’s in his presence she becomes a young teenager in my mind.

How do you think the lack of atium will play into the main plot?

Courtney: It will definitely affect the Mistborn, since some of them have it and others don’t, but it could also be a hinderance to the kingdom as a whole. Since the Lord Ruler’s atium supply was nonexistent there could be problems for Elend and trying to maintain the kingdom. The use of atium by Mistborn seems to be where most of the issues would come in.  

Saloni: So far it’s been affecting the Mistborns, specifically Vin. But I think it will become a method of negotiation somehow. Perhaps the logbook will make a reappearance and lead Elend and the crew to the stockpile of atium that the Lord Ruler had. I think it would make as a good negotiating resource.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Falls the Shadow | Stefanie Gaither

When Cate Benson was a kid, her sister, Violet, died. Two hours after the funeral, Cate’s family picked up Violet’s replacement. Like nothing had happened. Because Cate’s parents are among those who decided to give their children a sort of immortality—by cloning them at birth—which means this new Violet has the same smile. The same perfect face. Thanks to advancements in mind-uploading technology, she even has all of the same memories as the girl she replaced.

She also might have murdered the most popular girl in school.

At least, that’s what the paparazzi and the anti-cloning protestors want everyone to think: that clones are violent, unpredictable monsters. Cate is used to hearing all that. She’s used to defending her sister, too. But Violet has vanished, and when Cate sets out to find her, she ends up in the line of fire instead. Because Cate is getting dangerously close to secrets that will rock the foundation of everything she thought was true.

In a thrilling debut, Stefanie Gaither takes readers on a nail-biting ride through a future that looks frighteningly similar to our own time and asks: how far are you willing to go to keep your family together?

I had received this book as a Christmas gift after my friend was enticed by the summary. Excited, I picked it up and brought it one of my fencing meets. My friend and I, both without headphones, decided to read the book out loud which may have been either the worst decision of the best decision we've made.

It took us little over a month to finish the book, and by the end we both agreed that we kind of really hated it. I don't know how much of it had to do with the fact that we were reading it out loud, highlighting the flaws, but there were several aspects of this book that irritated us endlessly. 

1. Characters 
These characters were boring and dull. This may seem a bit harsh but my friend and I had to give the characters different accents in order to prevent them from becoming completely two-dimensional. Jaxon magically became an immigrant from India looking for marriage while Cate took up an Australian accent. But not only were the characters dull, but they were also fairly stupid. They could have easily gotten out of the mess they were in, but continued to dive into a dangerous situation without any thought. On top of that, every interaction between the characters seemed unnecessary. Two characters would have a conversation for pages and pages that would essentially result to nothing. It was very very obvious what role each character played in the plot. For example, Seth was meant for comic relief, while Jaxon presented the "complicated" romance. 

There was even a point in the novel when the author simply forgot about certain characters. In one particular scene the authors forgets the presence of a small, yet dangerous side character and then proceeds to write several pages of pointless conversation between two completely different characters.

2. Plot
The plot had an interesting concept, but a poor execution. As a stand alone book I don't think it did a good job of introducing and resolving the issues it brings up. I'm not saying I want a sequel, but I just don't think the plot was resolved at all. 

3. Writing
There were simple grammatical mistakes in the book. I'm not a grammar Nazi or anything, and I've made several grammatical errors. But in something as revised and edited as a book, there definitely shouldn't be any. The manuscript has passed through the eyes of editors, authors, publishers, and not one of them was able to catch a simple grammar mistake. There is nothing that bothers me more than a hardcover published book having grammar mistakes and typos. There was more than one occasion where Gaither used "Violet and me" instead of "Violet and I", which is mildly ridiculous. There's something wrong if after several rounds of editing nobody notices this mistake. 

Another thing was that the writing was overly dramatized. To the point where it didn't follow simple laws of physics. Not like magic where people fly through the air because of superhuman powers, but people would "fly across the room" after being hit by a small teenage girl. I'm not saying she was weak, but unless this is some paranormal book she's definitely not hulk. 

All in all, I really didn't like this book. There seemed to be little action and way too much soliloquy from Cate. I may have liked it more if I had read it in my head, but reading it out loud highlighted the glaring problems and gaps in this book. Though I really enjoyed the experience of reading out loud, I did not enjoy the actual book. While it seems I'm being a bit harsh, this was my honest opinion of the book. My expectations were set too high by the synopsis, and the actual book fell very low below the bar. I don't want to discourage anyone from reading this book, but I do recommend taking the synopsis with a grain of salt. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Tuesday Talks | Series, Standalones, or Trilogies?

It's Tuesday again, which means it's time for another Tuesday Talks! Tuesday Talks is a GoodReads group started by Janie and Janelle where we discuss book-related topics every Tuesday.

Today we discuss our preference of books, as stand-alones, series, trilogies, etc.

My preference depends on the book honestly. Series are great when I don't want the book to end. They're great when I'm so invested in the characters and the plot that each consecutive book is something I'm excited to read rather than an obligation.

Though lately, I do feel that the marketing aspect has misused the power of series simply in order to make money. Books that would do well as a stand alone are often being dragged out into duologies or even trilogies for marketing purposes, one of the reasons I'm not as into series as I used to be.

There are so many factors that play into what types of books I like, it usually depends on the time period and my mood as well as the character and plot development of the actual book.

What do you guys think? Do you have a preference between stand-alones, series, trilogies, etc.? Let me know in the comments below!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson | Discussion Post #5

Welcome to the final discussion post of Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson! If you don't already know, Courtney from CourtneyReads and I are doing a buddy read for the Mistborn trilogy.

We've just finished book one and will be continuing on the wonderful journey that Brandon Sanderson wrote with book two, feel free to join us! I'll link the other discussions down below.

Were you surprised to find out that the Lord Ruler was an Allomancer as well as a Feruchemist? Do you think this will have any impact on the future of Luthadel and the Empire?

Courtney: This did come as quite a surprise to me. We knew he had Allomany because everyone could feel it, but to find out that he could also use Feruchemy was quite a shock. I did wonder about all of the metal he wore through, which was explained by this. As far as this impacting the future, I think it will in some ways. I think there is a lot regarding the Lord Ruler that was left open and will continue to plague them, no matter if he's dead or alive.

Saloni: I didn't really expect this, but I expected that there was something different about the Lord Ruler that made him so powerful. I think the idea that both are possible opens the doors to a whole new section of the established magic system, one that will be expanded on in the second book.

What do you think of the new government the crew is helping to install? Do you think they will face any major setbacks in trying to make Elend king?

Courtney: I think it's interesting that they've placed Elend in charge, but it definitely makes sense. Like he said it gives them more of a legitimate stand since he's a nobleman. I do think they will face some backlash from the remaining noblement, as was mentioned briefly. Elend is still very idealistic and I think that could come back at him eventually. It will be interesting to see how everyone adjusts to their new positions.  

Saloni: It's interesting that Lord Elend is being put in charge simply because the crew was so suspicious of him throughout the whole book. And while they've learned so much about him I wouldn't think it would be enough to entrust a whole kingdom upon him. I think it'll be good for the public since nobility would still be in charge, but it would definitely create some tension between the houses and other noblemen.

Which character do you hope to see more of in book two?

Courtney: There are many characters that I want to see more of, but the two most prominent are Elend and Marsh. I loved Elend’s character in this book, but I don’t feel like we really spent enough time with him. I want to see more of him and from his perspective in book two. I also think it will be interesting to see his growth as he takes on being a king. As far as Marsh goes, I just find him fascinating. I would also like to see how he is reacting to being an Inquisitor and if that will have any negative affects on him,  

Saloni: I love Elend, so of course Elend. I want to know more about his curiosity and his personality and delve a bit more into his mind. But I think another great character would be Sazed. Throughout the first book he’s always been the side character and looked at as almost secondary to the Mistborn. But his powers as a Terrisman fascinate me and I would love to learn more about them in the second book.

In your opinion which character has had the most development?

Courtney: While I think almost all of the characters have had some development, I feel that Kelsier had the most in this novel. Vin grew, but at the same time she was constantly reverting back to old habits and ways of thinking. Kelsier made a lot of mistakes and learned from those mistakes. We also got some information about who he had been in the past and I feel like where he ended up was so much beyond what he’d been. I will miss having his character around.  

Saloni: I’m caught between Vin and Kelsier. Vin’s growth was fairly cliche. She went from someone who didn’t know how to trust and love to someone who did. But Kelsier, on the other hand, matured in a more poignant way. He saw the effect his actions had and became a little less impulsive, or at least impulsive in a smarter way.

How do you think Sanderson will expand on the magic system in book two?

Courtney: A lot of potential development was left open regarding the metals. Vin discovered things about the Eleventh Metal that they hadn’t known or expected. There are also more metals out there it seems and they just don’t know which ones or how to use them yet. I think this will be explored more in book two. Knowing Vin she will be determined to track down all Allomantic metals and figure out their secrets.

Saloni: There were so many things they introduced at the end of the first book it would impossible not to expand on the magic system in the next book. We’ve learned that Feruchemy and Allomancy can be used together and that there are more metals than the original ten/eleven we knew about. There’s so much more to learn in book two.

Do you think the logbook will play an importance later on or was its main purpose to expose the true identity of the Lord Ruler?

Courtney: While the logbook did play an important part in Vin’s discovering the Lord Ruler’s true identity, I don’t think we’re done with it yet. I think there are still secrets about the Lord Ruler and his reign over the Empire that can be answered or at least explored through the experiences recounted in the logbook. I’m not sure how that will happen, but I don’t think it has expended all of its usefulness yet.  

Saloni: I think the ultimate purpose of the logbook for the first book was to reveal the Lord Ruler’s true identity, but perhaps in the second book it will be used to uncover more secrets regarding Feruchemy and Allomancy. I’m not sure who will find the secrets and how, but I think it is very possible.

Overall, how did the book compare to your expectations?

Courtney: I can give two answers to this question, kind of. The first time I read it I know it completely blew me away. I had no expectations going into it that time around and ended up completely loving it. This time around is not much different. It definitely lived up to my memories and reminded me why I had loved it so much in the first place. It’s just a beautifully written novel and the world and characters are so real.   

Saloni: When I first started it I was a bit skeptical simply because high fantasy is usually not my thing. But once the main plot was introduced, I found it impossible to put down. There is something about Brandon Sanderson’s writing that pulls the reader into the story. I’ve been in a slump for the last couple of months since I just couldn’t find a book I really loved, but now I think I found one.

If you could change one thing about the ending, what would it be?

Courtney: Honestly, I think I would change Vin a little bit. I don’t feel like the ending was a good place for her as a character. While she had gone to Elend (which I think was great), I don’t feel like she had actually learned enough about love and friendship based on where her mental state was at that point. She is trying and I really like her, I just think her emotional and mental state was a low point for the novel to end on.   

Saloni: Honestly, I have no idea. I’d say I wouldn’t want Kelsier to die, but I understand that his death was necessary to galvanize the full rebellion, but I really liked him and his relationship with Vin. He served as a father figure/ older brother; the dependable kind that Vin never had. I understand why he needed to die and everything, but I really wanted more of Vin and Kelsier’s relationship.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Snapshot Saturday | My Percy Jackson Collection

Percy Jackson to me was what Harry Potter was to most people. It was essentially my childhood. So today I decided to show you my Percy Jackson collection. It's not as extensive as it could be, but here it is none the less. On the far left is the Barnes and Nobles Exclusive Edition of The Lightning Thief in honor of Percy Jackson's tenth anniversary. The next two books are The Sea of Monsters and The Titan's Curse in the new covers, and the rest are the original books of the series. My hope is to have all the new covers one day, but we'll see. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Free For All Friday | Beautiful Bloggers Award

Thank you to the lovely Diaries of a Book Lover and Paperback Heaven for nominating me for this award.

The rules are as follows: 

  • Link to the blogger/bloggers who nominated you
  • List seven, random facts about yourself 
  • Nominate seven creative, beautiful bloggers and notify them

Seven random facts: 

  1. I'm an only child. 
  2. I never check the weather before getting dressed in the morning. 
  3. I sleep on the left side of the bed. 
  4. I have a weird habit of rubbing my eyebrows and biting my lips when I'm nervous and/or thinking.
  5. My favorite type of sauce is buffalo.
  6. My favorite part of a chicken is the wing. 
  7. My goal in life is to watch every popular TV show. 

My Nominees: 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson | Discussion Post #4

Welcome to another Mistborn discussion post. For the last couple of weeks Courtney from CourtneyReads and I have been buddy reading Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson and after each section we've been posting short discussion posts, which I'll link to down below!

There will be spoilers ahead, so if you haven't read the book yet join the buddy read! The more the merrier. 

Do you think Kelsier really died?

Courtney: I don’t really see any possibility for there to be a different outcome. The fight was rather detailed and Vin saw his body afterward, I don’t see how he could have survived. It’s possible that it was some kind of imposter but since they were using Allomancy I don’t think that is likely. That scene was heartbreaking to read. I also feel like this will somehow play into his plans. I’m not sure exactly how this would have been included, but I feel like he had a plan that the others didn’t know about that had this built in as a possibility.  

Saloni: For some reason I don’t think he really died. I know all the evidence seems to point towards his death, but there just seems to be something missing. His death was too short and quick to be real. I think this might be where the Terrisman’s powers come into play, perhaps the aspect of Vin being able to access the Terrisman’s powers. I’m not completely sure, but I think this aspect will play a role in the future.

Do you think the Inquisitors broke Marsh or that their information was obtained some other way?

Courtney: I don’t feel like we have enough information about what happened to Marsh to really know for sure. I don’t think they broke him though. I kind of feel like that would have come out in Kelsier’s fight with the Inquisitor if they had because he could have used the information against Kelsier to defeat him more easily. If Marsh broke then they would have known his relationship to Kelsier. That seems like too valuable of information to ignore.    

Saloni: It seems too easy that the inquisitors broke Marsh, too predictable. I really don’t think Marsh would have betrayed them that easily, especially after going through the effort of trying to blend in with the Ministry. Perhaps they have a spy on the crew? I hate to say this but maybe Sazed, Breeze, or Spook?

What do you think the crew will do now that they no longer have Kelsier to lead them?

Courtney: Things are once again up in the air it seems. Without Kelsier’s passion for the job the others will lack focus. However, since they all loved Kelsier so much I don’t think they will completely abandon the mission. And again, I feel like Kelsier will have had a plan that included this possibility and some way of informing them. He wouldn’t die without some way for his plans to go forward, he was too smart for that.

Saloni: While Kelsier’s death wasn’t as noble as it could have been, I think his death will spur the skaa and the rest of the crewmembers to take action and avenge Kelsier. His death will serve to push everyone else over the edge, hopefully furthering his plan.

Why do you think Elend is so interested in skaa? Do you think it’s more than curiosity?

Courtney: Elend has shown extreme interest in skaa where other nobility just ignore them. He isn’t even bothered by the fact that Vin is skaa (he even seems rather intrigued by the possibility that he’s falling in love with a skaa woman). Where this curiosity stems from I’m not sure, but I think it’s more than just the idle curiosity of a bored lord. He has to have reasons for his interest in them.

Saloni: There’s something quite interesting about Elend. He seems very disinterested in the lives of other nobility but is very interested in skaa life. I agree that it probably stems more than from simple curiosity, what it is exactly I’m not sure. Perhaps something to do with his childhood/ past? A theory is that perhaps he actually was skaa from birth and somehow ended up as the heir to the largest noble house.

Do you think that the Lord Ruler’s overwhelming power (even when a Smoker is present) is simply because he’s stronger or because something else is aiding him?

Courtney: The end of this section is the first time we’ve actually seen the Lord Ruler (through Vin’s eyes). I’m not sure if it’s that he’s extremely powerful on his own and can thus break through a copper cloud or if there is some other explanation for his extreme display of allomantic strength. I also think the fact that he wears so much metal has to be important somehow.

Saloni: I would say that something is most definitely aiding him. Everyone has a weakness, and I don’t think the Lord Ruler is any different, especially since he wasn’t always like this. His power is linked to something, perhaps a rare metal supply like the Eleventh metal? Since we’ve gotten to see bits and pieces of his past, we can tell that there’s a Before and an After, now we just have to find out what’s separating these two.