Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday v.3

Back for round three! This week's topic: Top Ten Beginnings and Endings in Books. Wow! How do you limit yourself to just ten?? I went mostly classic on this one, but threw in a few newer ones as well. Let's see how this goes: (probably no particular order)

1. "Dying really isn't so bad after you've done it once." Sea of Tranquility. No. Not about vampires or anything paranormal!

2. "Mr and Mrs Dursely, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much." Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Because it starts off an epic journey of epicness. 

3. "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." Pride and Prejudice. It is just so well known that I just love it to bits!

4. "All this happened, more or less." Slaughterhouse Five. Story of my life.

5 "Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun." The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I feel like this sentence says so much, and yet so little; perfect description of this great novel.

6. "When choosing a therapist, one should consider criteria such as the therapist's reputation, field of expertise, affordability, and location. Since I was broke and my spouse was God, my criteria were "cheap" and "won't call the psych ward". Angry Conversations with God. I read this book at a weird time in my life. When I read this opening line, I knew I was reading the perfect book for me at that time. Full of humor and brutal honesty, read this one if you understand being angry at God!

7. "Are there any questions?" A Handmaiden's Tale. Uh...yeah...there are....like a billion.

8. "The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well." Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. 

9. "But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest a little boy and his Bear will always be playing." The House at Pooh Corner. 

10. The last line of The Sea of Tranquility. I don't want to actually share it in case it ruins anything for anyone. As I was coming to the end of the book I was wondering how Millay would leave us, and she did it perfectly.

Those are some of my fave endings and beginnings! What are yours?? 

Thanks for stopping by and make sure to follow Sunrise Avenue!!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sea of Tranquility

The Sea of Tranquility
Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
Click here for the author's Goodreads Page
Goodreads Summary: 
I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.
Former piano prodigy Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone learning about her past and to make the boy who took everything from her—her identity, her spirit, her will to live—pay.
Josh Bennett’s story is no secret: every person he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. Now all he wants is be left alone and people allow it because when your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.
Everyone except Nastya, the mysterious new girl at school who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But the more he gets to know her, the more of an enigma she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he will ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding—or if he even wants to.
The Sea of Tranquility is a rich, intense, and brilliantly imagined story about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances
I received this book on NetGalley from Atria Books. All opinions are my own. The Kindle price is currently set at $7.59 on Amazon (7/27/13).

My thoughts:

Oh man. This will be a tough review for me. My thoughts are in jumble of awesomeness and all I can think is: Yes. I likey.I want to first note that with 17k+ ratings on Goodreads, the average rating stands at 4.57. It isn't just me that fell in love with this unexpected book.

Sea of Tranquility is a freshman novel from Katja Millay. She poured blood, sweat, and tears into this novel. The story is truly fascinating and I encourage you to read it HERE. Millay comes bursting out the gates with her "A" game. The writing is beautiful and precise, creating words that quietly worm into your heart to nest.

Nastya is a 17 year old struggling to live after being murdered. Her brutal attack was random and she isn't supposed to remember it. But she does. The day she remembers she chooses not to talk, so the words won't slip past her tongue. Nastya moves away from her parent's house to live with her aunt in a new town and a new school. There, she meets Josh Bennett, a boy surrounded by an invisible force field that no one is willing to penetrate. Josh struggles with his own world of hurt and loneliness, a world surrounded by death. Slowly, the two meet and come together struggling with their everyday pains side by side. They build a companionship based on mutual understanding and trust, giving each other, and thus the reader, glimpses into their true selves. Soon, they need each other just to heal, but fear and self loathing keeps them both at a distance.
“I know at that moment what he's given me and it isn't a chair. It's an invitation, a welcome, the knowledge that I am accepted here. He hasn't given me a place to sit. He's given me a place to belong.”
I felt that this was not your typical contemporary YA read. Some readers have called it New Adult, but I still struggle justifying that as a genre so I can't agree. To be clear, Sea of Tranquility does contain adult situation, language, drinking, and drug references. These instances didn't bother me as much as usual. I hardly noticed them in fact because Millay makes them apart of the background and not center stage like a lot of novels.

I had no idea where this book was going to take me when I started. At first I was annoyed by the over mysteriousness of it, but then the author gives you a glimpse of the damage in both Josh and Nastya, and it is all I needed to hook me in. The story goes back and forth between Josh and Nastya's POV, with just a little too much Josh towards the end. As I was reading I had no clue where Katja Millay was going to take me. I was pure putty in her hands. What there going to be a romance? If so, with who? Would Nastya ever be okay? Would Josh ever be okay? Would she ever be reconciled with her parents? Will this book ever end happy?? SO MANY QUESTIONS!

My one regret with this novel was not being able to read it as quickly as I wanted to. I had to do crazy things like shower and socialize.

5 stars for Sea of Tranquility. I recommend it to everyone looking for an emotionally charged novel about experiencing friendship through pain. At 448 pages though, I would not recommend reading it on your phone. Whew!

Lastly, I want to say a very public THANK YOU to Atria Books for offering this gem on NetGalley, and for my lucky sense for requesting it! Just on a whim I discovered my favorite book of the year.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Follow Friday (1)

Welcome to Sunrise Avenue!

Increase Blog Followers

This is my first ever Feature & Follow! I am totally excited! I want to find more book blogs to be following on my Feedly! 

I love Feedly more than Bloglovin' (am I the only one??), but feel free to follow anyway you would like, including Twitter (@sunrise_books) or Goodreads (Alyssa Zech).

This week's question:

What do you do with your books after you're done reading them?

Answer: Shelve them! Currently I have one tall shelf for fiction alphabetized by author's last name, and another for non-fiction divided by section (cookbook, family, womanhood, etc) and then by author. But now I have so many books that I can't fit them in where they belong! So they sorta just hang out, stacked where ever I put them. 

BUT! If anyone has some hints on how to organize Kindle books, I would great appreciate it!! I wish I could organize them somehow to make finding what I want to read so much easier! 

Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Free eRead-a-thon!

It’s here! Sign-ups for the first ever Free eRead-a-thon! It’s a very low pressure event that begins on Sunday, August 11th and ends on Saturday, August 17th in your location. The best part? No money involved! The goal of Free eRead-a-thon is to tackle those free downloads we all have on our Kindles, Nooks, Kobos, etc. The schedule includes a few challenges, a Twitter chat or two and throughout the read-a-thon there will be prizes awarded. Anyone can join in on the fun even if you don’t have a blog.
Make sure to check out the sign up page HERE.
I am joining because I have an overabundance of free e-books. I subscribe to BookBub and get emails daily about free and discounted e-books! My Kindle and Nook are bursting the seams! I encourage you to check it out!!

The Henchmen's Book Club

The Henchmen's Book Club
The Henchmen's Book Club by Danny King
Click for the author's Goodreads Page.
Goodreads Summary:
Mark Jones is a henchman for hire. He guards bunkers, patrols perimeters and stands around in a boiler suit waiting to get knocked out by Ninjas. This is his job.

In his time he’s worked for some of the most notorious super villains the world has ever known – Doctor Thalassocrat, Victor Soliman, Polonius Crump; Mark was with each of them when they met their makers at the hands of British Secret Service super-spy, Jack Tempest and lived to tell the tale – if not pay the bills.

Still for every hour under gunfire there are weeks if not months of sitting around on monorails so Jones starts a book club with his fellow henchmen to help pass the time.

It was only meant to be a bit of fun.

It was never meant to save the world
I bought this book for free on Amazon. The book is being currently offered for $2.99 (7/23/13) or free for Amazon Prime members to borrow.

My Thoughts:

The main character is Mark Jones, a henchmen for hire, never goon. Although he works for evil geniuses, Mark himself is neither good or bad, he just wants to pay the mortgage. Because of the job though, he often finds himself in the line of fire...and unafraid to fight back. But there is another side to the hired henchmen: the book club side.

This novel was new, original, and thus quite refreshing. Danny King is British so you can imagine it is quite full of that dry, sarcastic humor. I think the book, being a henchmen's behind the scenes view of villains and heroes, would fail without that humor.

The over characterizations of Jack Temptest as a James Bond and Rip Dunbar as a Bruce Willis on steroids, are spot on and hilarious. Perhaps the heroes are not always in the right. King has us questioning why the heroes can kill so easily in defense of friends, but the henchmen can't. The injustice.

It took the novel quite awhile to reach the Final Big Conflict, but thats not to say the ride is boring along the way. Each event is important and lends a piece to the final puzzle.

Lastly, I want to note that this book has a lot of inappropriate language. It is an action book so there is violence and some gore.

I gave it 4 stars on my Goodreads page, but because of the language, am still considering if I will read any more of King's 14 novels. I recommend it for an original, sarcastic good time! 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday v.2

Top Ten Tuesday last week went smashing! I had great fun reading all the other authors that bloggers appreciate. This week is 10 words or topics that will make you NOT pick up a book. I am sure most of these won't require much of an explanation. Again, no particular order.

Here we go!

1. Sex or anything about sexual abuse. Let me state this first and get it out of the way: I am easily affected by what I read. If I read anything about abuse, murder, creepiness, I automatically start freaking out and assuming someone is about to kill me. I know. But it happens. But I am also a believer that pornography is not good for anyone involved and sex in books is the same thing. I try to avoid it always. 

2. Drugs or excessive drinking. Its just not something I relate to. I do not want to read about people's illegal habits or wasting life away. Sorry #butnotsorry

3. "Mean Girls". I totally LOVED the movie Mean Girls, yes. But if the book seems to be about the typical mean girl HS drama (Pretty Little Liars), I pass right over. Lame and NOT interested.

4. Divorce. Kinda. I like love stories and redemption more. If the book is about failing marriages, I just get depressed. I don't want to be depressed. This is probably why I have been putting off reading Gone Girl for about a year now. 

5. Music Books. Specifically indie music books. They are usually too uppity. I think I lost my interest completely after reading A Visit from the Goon Squad. Blech.

6. Political books or books trying to make a statement. Even if I agree with your soapbox, I am totally not interested in your opinions. I read for enjoyment, adventure, and new experiences not propaganda. 

7. Too much evil. Yes, that is vague. Again, see #1 and #4. 

8. Children dying or people dying needlessly. I am a mother now and children getting hurt produces automatic tears. Tears that I do not enjoy. I also cannot stand when mass amounts of people just die. Its why I am not going to watch World War Z. 

9. Just plain ole dumb titles. I keep track of THIS LIST on Goodreads for good laughs. My Darling, My Hamburger is near the top of the list. 

10. Unappealing photos/covers. Yes I DO judge books on their covers. I know I shouldn't, but I only have so much time to read and there are SO many books! I need the cover to tell me quickly what tone the book will give me. I will leave you with some bad ones for your viewing pleasure::

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Heard this was a good book, but the cover bores me.

The Great Gatsby I know this is a classic but....

Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles, #1) I mean what does this even tell us....it's creepy....and old. But I HAVE read this one and liked it. 


I am so excited for this! Today I am guest blogging over at the Reading List sharing about the book Anything.

Anything by Jennie Allen

Anything is a book you may have seen around the blogosphere, and for great reason. Jennie Allen is a pastor's wife who graduated from seminary herself. Jennie and her husband Zac knew and loved God, had grown up knowing Him, yet they both found themselves yearning for more. Together with her husband, they prayed a prayer, simple and profound: "God we will do anything. Anything."

Read more of my review at The Reading List !!

Thanks for stopping by this early Monday morning!

Reading List

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back

The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back

The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back by Sariah Wilson
Click for author's website.
Goodreads summary:
Everyone knows how all those fairy tales go. The princess gets beautiful, nabs her prince, falls instantly in love, lives happily ever after and leaves her evil stepsisters in the dust.
But what happens when you’re the ugly stepsister and your obnoxiously perfect—read pretty, smart, and, worst of all, sickeningly nice—stepsister is dating the charming, tall, devastatingly handsome guy you’ve had a thing for since you were nine years old?
Quirky, artistic and snarky Mattie Lowe does not lead a charmed life. Her mother is constantly belittling her on Skype. Mercedes, the school mean girl, has made it her personal mission to torment Mattie. But worst of all? Her stepsister Ella is the most beautiful, popular girl in school and is dating Mattie’s secret longtime crush, Jake Kingston.
Tired of being left out and done with waiting for her own stupid fairy godmother to show up, Mattie decides to change her life. She’ll start by running for senior class president against wildly popular Jake.
Ella can keep her Prince Annoying. Mattie’s going to rule the school.
And no one, not even a cute and suddenly flirty Jake, is going to stop her.
I purchased this book for free on Amazon. It is currently being offered for $2.99 (7/20/13).

My thoughts:

 Mattie Lowe lives with her spacey, artistic father and perfect stepsister Ella. Ella has blonde hair, is a cheerleader, volunteers all her free time, cleans religiously, and to top it all off: is dating Mattie's supercrush Jake Kingston.

Mattie, on the other hand, is not involved at school, has fuschia hair, draws manga, and has one friend who just also happens to be enamored with Ella. When she gets tired of not having her own happy ending, Mattie take matters into her own hands. She decides to run for class president against steamy Jake, who is loved by everyone. The odds are stacked against her. 

Mattie can be snarky, but honest and real. I fell in love with her almost instantly. She is relatable. For older readers, we get to relive the awkwardness of a first crush. Younger readers get to experience it for the first time. Mattie is more the awkward, geeky loner in school and I think a lot of people can relate to that easily. The reader can cheer for Mattie's wins and cringe with her upsets. Although she has a jealous streak when it comes to her sister Ella, Mattie always takes the right path. For example, she would remind herself that she can never date Jake now because of the Sister Code. We don't find this moral fiber in a lot of high school books lately. 

My one hang up resides in the title and summaries of others. You are lead to believe the novel will be about tension between Mattie and Ella, perhaps Ella does something that Mattie has to get back at her for. Not the case. At all. Both girls are incredibly mature and easily resolve their differences. The conflict truly lies between Jake and Mattie and the run for senior class president. 

This book was well written and easy to read, instantly having the feel of a comfy old sweater. I hadn't even meant to start reading it one night, but once I did I finished it in just a few hours. Sariah Wilson really does a fantastic job of bringing you back to your awkward high school crush days, full of jitters and feelings galore. 

I recommend this one as a quick read that will have you rooting for Mattie from page one! I rated this book on my Goodreads as a 4, but really a 4 1/2. 

Happy reading!