Saturday, May 31, 2014

The One With the Last Day of Armchair BEA

Welcome to the last post of Armchair BEA! It’s a bit bittersweet, but I’ve had an awesome time so far, despite computer problems and moving preventing me from putting up some posts. This was my first year participating and I absolutely loved it! Between the awesome Twitter parties, the great new bloggers I’ve met and the awesome giveaways and topics, I’ve had a blast! I know this is INCREDIBLY last minute, but I just wanted to put up a summary post and include a post I meant to put up the other day but lacked time because I decided to pack last minute :P So, without further ado, here is the topic:

Woohoo! This is my kind of topic! If you couldn’t tell from that gorgeous banner up top there, I blog about YA books. Don’t worry, I delve into MG books and even adult a few times, but my favorites by far are YA.

So, in honor of MG/YA, I want to share a list of my favorite books with you. This is hard. REALLY hard. But hopefully I can some good recommendations to some who may be a bit afraid to delve into the world of MG/YA.

The first books listed are books that I loved before i actually got “really” into reading - books read sporadically throughout my childhood - books I read before I started blogging


Harry Potter Series - How could I not add this to the list? Harry Potter is one of the first series I ever read and it has stuck with me years (and many re-reads) later. The characters are all so phenomenal. They are smart, witty, loyal or adventurous, but never perfect. They are complex. While it is ultimately a story of good vs. evil, it also shows that life isn’t always just black & white, but covered with many gray areas. It can even make you feel a bit of pity for the villains and realize that the heroes aren’t always perfect. This book is filled to the brim with life-lessons. While this series may be dark to a certain extent, ultimately it is a story of love and sacrifice and how these two aspects can be the most magical of all.  

Tamora Pierce books - This is another one of my “first” series I ever read. This, this is the good stuff. Pierce knows how to write fantasy and strong female characters. A girl who pretends to be a boy so she can become a knight? Perfection. I loved absolutely all of the characters and the world Pierce created was wonderfully complex and magical. The Song of the Lioness Series and The Immortals series are by far my favorites. Tamora Pierce is the queen of fantasy and I’m so glad she gave me my start in the medieval fantasy realm.   

Percy Jackson Series - The Lightning Thief is a phenomenal start to a phenomenal series. My friend made me read this book because she wanted me to go see the movie with her (don’t get me started) and I’m so glad she did. I’ve come to love all the characters introduced in this series (PERCABETH!!) and have come to love Riordan’s signature wit and humor. Greek mythology with a modern twist where demigods exist and adventures ensue. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Fun, engaging, witty and I seriously can’t get enough of the characters. Even the spin-offs are great. That’s saying something.


The Children of the Red King series - Magical kids descended from a magical king? Heck yeah! This is such an adventurous and magical MG fantasy. Kids descended from the Red King end up with magical powers, some very intriguing magical powers might I add, and attend a boarding school for the gifted that isn’t always what it seems. These magical kids are up against cruel and evil headmaster’s and magical villains. With the help of three awesome cats and an amazing cast of adults.  

Now onto books I read as I got really into reading - before and after starting to blog (this is so hard!). A lot of these books are series I loved as a whole, where every single book was phenomenal (So far).


Throne of Glass Series - To start off this list, I had to start with my obsession - the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. I was initially drawn to it because I’m a sucker for assassins. I was absolutely blown away by it when I actually read it. This book is absolutely and utterly phenomenal. I love Celaena’s complexity as a character. Celaena is fierce, strong, and witty, yet also broken in ways. She is in no way perfect and doesn’t pretend to be. But I admit that one aspect that endeared me to her was her femininity. This girl loves a beautiful dress, jewels and chocolate cake. How can you not like her? I love how she shows that femininity and strength can go hand in hand. Icing on the cake? Phenomenal secondary characters. Nehemia, the somewhat mysterious but just as awesome warrior princess. Dorian, the carefree playboy who isn’t a total jerk and somehow manages to be charming. Then the ever stoic, honorable, loyal, sexy, intelligent man-in-uniform - my main man Captain Westfall. Add in magic, intrigue, action, evil kings, magical realms, and, of course, assassins, and you’ve got a wonderful series. And want to know something? THE 2ND BOOK IS EVEN BETTER!

The Lunar Chronicles -I don’t even know how to describe the awesomeness that is this series. It’s a fairytale retelling like no retelling you’ve read before. It’s sci-fi awesomeness filled to the brim with awesome characters. While each story is mainly focused on a new character, Meyer does a phenomenal job of seamlessly connecting all the small plot arcs with the overarching plot arc of the series as a whole. And did I mention Captain Thorne? *Swoon*. Each character is so unique and engaging and just so awesome! And Captain Thorne!

9813425.jpg  Seven Realms series - High fantasy. ‘Nuff said. But in case you need more convincing, here it is: Great characters, brilliantly thought-out world, MAGIC, political intrigue and complexity. I’ve actually still never read the last book because I don’t want it to end! If you like high fantasy, read it. You won’t regret it (though it does have a bit of a slow start).

10215349.jpgThe Blood of Eden series - I was pleasantly blown away by this series. Me and vampires don’t always have the best relationship but, apparently, if you add zombies, it becomes my cup of tea! This was vampires done right. It was creepy and edge-of-your-seat terrifying (no sparkles here!). The complexity of the characters (if you can’t tell I like complex!) endeared me to them. Allie is hardened living in such a desolate world, but not without heart. Kanin did some bad things but his quest for redemption made me root for him. Jackal was the refreshing comic relief with his snark. Zeke, though not quite as memorable for me for some reason, was really truly sweet and caring but also tough. A good combination. Also a katana. Can’t forget the Katana.


Fire and Thorns series - This is one of those books that took me a bit to really get into it but absolutely blew me away by the end. Elisa is not your typical MC. She’s on the larger side and lacks confidence in herself. I almost didn’t like her because she complained for too much for my taste without doing anything about it. However, this story is truly one of self-growth and self-discovery. It is a beautiful coming of age story with an MC that goes from self-pitying to resilient and determined, finding her place in this captivating, magical world. This series is worth it’s somewhat rocky beginning. The second book was near perfection! While I haven’t read the final book, I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. And Hector. *fans self* Stoic, hard-working, tough and incredibly loyal. He was always there for Elisa and there slow-burn romance was to die for.

Okay, so this is in NO way comprehensive. Basically, I’m running out of time to add anything to this list (shopping calls!). What I can say? These are books that as a WHOLE blew me away. Believe me, there are plenty of series out there that were great, but maybe with a book or two I was iffy about or I only liked the first book. Also, there are a lot of new series coming out that I’ve enjoyed the first book, but didn’t add to this list because I can’t gauge the rest of the series. So, these are just some of the top of the top. The creme de la creme so to say.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The One with the Giveaway

        It's that time of the week when Armchair BEA has a giveaway day. It's a day when we bloggers want to show our appreciation to our readers with an awesome new book! Heck, we are here to spread our opinions about books, might as well take it one step further and actually buy you the book ;)

So, what am I giving away this beautiful day? A book of your choice up to 15$ from the Book Depository. Know what that means? It's open to my international folk as long as The Book Depository ships to you (gotta spread the love)!

Good luck my readers! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, May 26, 2014

The One Where I Introduce Myself For ARMCHAIR BEA

    It's that time of year again. The time when book bloggers, authors and all bookish fans get together in the NYC for the great meet and greet known as BEA. For those of us not lucky enough (read: poor college student) to attend the real life version of BEA, there is the great internet version known as Armchair BEA so that we unlucky folk can get a taste of the great big BEA in our own little corner of the internet. 

   Here is the Armchair BEA's Mission Statement:

Armchair BEA is the experience for book bloggers to participate in Book Expo America (BEA) from the comfort of their homes. This experience is created lovingly by book bloggers specifically for our peers who for whatever reason are not able to participate in the main conference in New York each year. We bring publishers, authors, and bloggers together in celebrating our love for all things literary by hosting celebrations such as sneak peeks, daily discussion topics, and sponsored giveaways.

Sounds fun right? Sure it may not be face to face, but it's a great way to meet other book bloggers and publishers to discuss all things bookish! Each day there will be a new post up with new discussions on all things books! Want more info? Here is the FAQ page for Armchair BEA.  

Now, without further ado, an introductory post about yours truly.

1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging? Where in the world are you blogging from? 

      Woohoo! My narcism, ahem, I mean high self-confidence, can come out without judgement! ;) Well, for those of you who don't know, my name is Mackenzie and I've been blogging since January of 2012. Well, it really only feels like a year and a half instead of two and a half because I took a year long hiatus. I'm an Army brat, so I'm not really "from" anywhere, but "from" everywhere. I took up blogging after finding out about book blogs. I accidentally came across one while looking for a book recommendation online and just kept finding more and more. I thought it seemed like a lot of fun, the community is great, and I just like to spread my opinion, so I created it on a whim. I was once the one looking for opinions on books, now I'm helping give them. 

A little bit about myself:

   I'm currently blogging from SC, but will be moving to the great state of GA until I head back to school in the fall in VA (see? I'm from all over!). I'm a HUGE movie lover. Some of my favorites? Gladiator, LOTR, Harry Potter, any war movie, superhero movies (a la avengers), Lion King, Mulan, Aladdin, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, the Princess Bride, Major Payne, and my absolute favorite comedy - MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL! And don't get me started on TV. I also love all things shopping and fashion. Too bad I have so few funds and that my love of clothes competes with my love of books. And traveling! Oh how I love to explore the world! I've visited and lived all over and can't choose favorites. Each place holds a special place in my heart. I also absolutely love animals. I wanted to be a zoologist until I learned it was pretty useless unless I had a PhD. Too much money. Also, too much science. But I have 3 wonderful, adorable, and annoying pugs. Gotta love em. I also may or may not have an obsession with all things Pinterest and Netflix. And interior decorating. And DIY. And DIY natural makeup and beauty. I also get bored quite easily and love taking up new crafts and skills. Thank you YouTube. 

2. What genre do you read the most? I love to read because ___________________ . 

Ohhhhhh a toughy, but definitely fantasy. Especially a medieval-like fantasy. I just love to escape to a new world and get lost in it. The imagination and creativity behind fantasies are like no other. I'm always a sucker for magical realms, magical powers and creatures, warring countries, action-packed fighting scenes, assassins and all sorts of weaponry. Give me a high fantasy any day of the weak. 

3. What was your favorite book read last year? What’s your favorite book so far this year? 

      Another hard one! Favorite book from last year is....Gah! Who am I kidding, I can't choose! Instead, here's a list (and a small one at that):
  1. Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kindoms #1) by Morgan Rhodes - high fantasy = awesome
  2. Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden #2) by Julie Kagawa - the FEELINGS! ALI! KANAN! JACKAL! ZOMBIES! KATANAS!!
  3. Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3) by Cassandra Clare - JEM!!!
  4. Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas - WOEIFJSLDFWELSKDFJLIW!!! So good I couldn't write a coherent review and had to use GIFs to accurately depict my feelings. Even that didn't do it justice. 
  5. Defiance (Defiance #1) by C.J. Redwine - Rachel and Logan forever!!!
  6. The Mark of Athena (Blood of Olympus #3) by Rick Riordan - PERCABETH!!! HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO ME RIORDAN! HOW?!?!!
    Yes, if you can't tell, I adored those books. Go read them. Now. Now onto my list of books I love so far this year:
  1. Cress (Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer - CRESS AND THORNE!!!! Also, just all around super galactic fairytale awesomeness. 
  2. The Falconer (The Falconer #1) by Elizabeth May - KIARAN!!! Also, Scotland. And evil "faeries". And Aileana is a tough, no-nonsense, vengeful, witty and awesome character who hides her emotions. Gotta love her. 
  3. The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski - Not what I expected but I loved it anyways. There was something just soooo....beautiful. It was heartbreaking and wonderful and imaginative and thought provoking. Definitely recommended. 
 4. What does your favorite/ideal reading space look like? (Pinterest encouraged!) 

Ohhhhh PINTEREST?!?! I'm so game. Okay, picture time. 

A Harry Potter reading nook. A HARRY POTTER THEMED READING NOOK!!!!

      And there are SOOO many more. Really, in short, I like a nice chair or couch by a window with lots of natural light. My go-to reading nooks in my house are on my couch right below some fantastically big windows or my comfy, vintage chair in my room next to another fantastically big window. I also really enjoy being outside in the shade. Also, how AMAZING is that HP reading nook. I found that and about had a heart attack. I WILL buy a house eventually and it WILL have a cabinet under the stairs and I WILL convert it into an HP reading nook. Challenge accepted.

5. Describe your blog in just one sentence. Then, list your social details -- Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. -- so we can connect more online. 

A fun, sassy, and unique (hopefully) little corner of the internet where I can talk all things bookish with fellow bookish people. 

You can find me on Twitter, Goodreads, Bloglovin, and Booklikes

And, I can't end without saying something on this day - For my non-US friends, today is Memorial Day. It's a day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our great country. For those US friends of mine, please remember that today isn't just a day for BBQ and hanging with friends, but a day to pay tribute to these soldiers and their families. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

The One Where I Review Manor of Secrets

Manor of Secrets 
by Katherine Longshore
Pages: 320
Source: Netgalley
Format: eARC

Goodreads Synopsis:

The year is 1911. And at The Manor, nothing is as it seems . . .

Lady Charlotte Edmonds: Beautiful, wealthy, and sheltered, Charlotte feels suffocated by the strictures of upper-crust society. She longs to see the world beyond The Manor, to seek out high adventure. And most of all, romance. 

Janie Seward: Fiery, hardworking, and clever, Janie knows she can be more than just a kitchen maid. But she isn't sure she possesses the courage -- or the means -- to break free and follow her passions.

Both Charlotte and Janie are ready for change. As their paths overlap in the gilded hallways and dark corridors of The Manor, rules are broken and secrets are revealed. Secrets that will alter the course of their lives. . . forever.

Not all is as it seems at the Manor.

Lady Charlotte is wealthy, available, and incredibly bored.
Janie is hardworking, determined, and just trying to keep her job.
What happens when you put this two young ladies together?
Scandals and secrets! That's what happens! And it is so much fun.

The early 1900s saw the separation of the classes where interactions were discouraged. Servants were not to be seen nor heard by those of the upper class. However, Lady Charlotte has different plans. She's tired of having to stick to the social norms and get married to a boring lord and have children and sew all day. She wants adventure and to do things that may not be socially acceptable, especially where a handsome and completely off-limits footman is involved.

Enter Janie, a hard-working girl with a fiery streak. She has the relative freedom that Charlotte so desires. The two strike up a friendship in spite of every social norm saying otherwise. While things don't always go quite as smoothly as they may like, this is a story of true friendship and sticking up for your friends no matter what. This is a story that questions the social "norms" and what it means to be a woman or servant in this time.

Perhaps the one thing I loved most about this book, besides the unlikely and wonderful friendship, is the fact that the characters are not at all what they seem. Some characters care more about what society thinks than remaining true to friends. Others may seem to stick to societies social norms because they think that is what the other person expects, all while hiding their true thoughts and feelings. This book truly shows that you can't judge someone based on the outside or based on their social standing. Everyone is hiding secrets and it takes kindness and heart to have them open up. And some of those secrets are BIG ones. This book definitely throws quite a few curveballs at you!

Short and Sweet:

 This is a wonderful historical-fiction about what it means to be true friends. It's a book that looks at social norms and tests the boundaries. It's full of secrets and gossipy goodness and characters that aren't always who they seem. While I'm not one to usually compare books, this feels like an episode right out of Downton Abbey and it is absolutely wonderful.


Monday, May 19, 2014

The One With the End of Bout of Books 10.0

Well, this whirlwind of a week is now over. 

Bout of Books 10.0 = I SURVIVEDDDD!!!!

Guyssss I hit my goal of three books! Woohoo!! That right there is worth celebrating in and of itself. Even better? I got 247 pages into my 4th book. HECK YEAH! 

So, what are my final stats for Bout of Books 10.0?
I'm glad you asked.

Pages read today: 40
Books completed:
Currently Reading: House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus #4) - 328 pages in
Total Pages Read: 1,147 - WHAT?! I just calculated this and read over 1,000 PAGES! CRAZY!!!!

Thoughts: Guyyssssss I DID IT!!!! I'm so beyond proud of myself! No lie, this is probably the first read-a-thon where I've actually met my goal and didn't have to change it. Makes me happy! I also participated in a Twitter-chat and had a blast. Met and followed some awesome new people. Though some of those questions were hard to answer!

Ex - In response to Q1 - "If I could only read one genre for the rest of my life _____" I promptly answered with a

I thought it fitting.
@bookbender likes to torture us so.

Another hard question? Asking us to give recommendations! Took me 4 tweets and even that didn't cover it!

Hint Hint. Shameless promotion. Go read them. Now.

Also participated in some great challenges!
Day 2 Challenge where we create a list of books we are looking forward too hosted by River City Reading - Check out my 2014 Anticipated reads here.
Also, my 2nd challenge was to retitle your current read hosted by Oh Magic Hour - Here is my awesome list of fantastic new names - very creative might I add.

So, all in all, tons of fun!! I'm really glad I participated and hope to participate in future Bout of Books Read-a-thons!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The One Where I Retitle House of Hades

I've decided to partake in the last mini-challenge of Bout Of Books 10.0. 
This wonderful little challenge is being hosted by Oh Magic Hour where you retitle your current read.
My current read is:

House of Hades

Oh, this book. I'm actually rather proud of some of the names I've come up with for this one.

The One Where Seven Demigods Just Can't Catch a Break

House of Horrors

House of Everything that Could Possibly Go Wrong Going Wrong

Adventures in Tartarus

My Ship is Better than Your Ship and it Still Gets Beat Up

All about Bob

Death Without Bob

The Story of How the World Would Have Ended Without Bob

Oh, I could've come up with PLENTY more. I just didn't want to give away too many spoilers. So, if you can't tell from those wonderfully happy titles, everything that could go wrong goes wrong and it makes for some awesome adventures. Sure, I feel awful for them and Riordan takes em through Hades and back, but it sure makes for some good reading (GO BOB!)!

The One With Day 6 Updates

Pages Read: 206
Books completed:
Currently Reading: House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus #4)

My Feelings In A GIF

My Feelings In Words


Okay, so as you may now know, I love all things Percy Jackson. Rick Riordan can do no wrong (even though that cliffhanger in the last book was just cold and spiteful) so I decided to pick this book as my last awesome read for #boutofbooks. I probably won't finish it cause this book is a chunker (586 pages!) and as much as I love my mother she is currently on a cleaning rampage and I am in her how much reading I'll get done today (Day 7)? No idea. Oh well.

It's the last day #boutofbookers

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The One With Day 5 Updates

Pages Read: 155
Books completed:
Currently Reading: Nothing - I'm still reeling from The Winner's Curse and had to take a break from reading. 

My Feelings About Winner's Curse in a GIF

My Feelings in Words
I just couldn't help but fall in love! I wasn't quite sure initially whether I'd like it or not. Sure, it had a ton of hype surrounding it (which caused me to buy it immediately) but I was hesitant. This hesitation was for naught. 

What a beautiful and heartbreaking story filled with action, war, politics and strategy. And pretty dresses. Can't forget the pretty dresses. But underneath it all, a story of friendship and finding your way. So beautiful. It was actually so good that I couldn't get myself to start another book (though I had plenty of time) because I just needed to think through all that I'd read. 

However, I have 2 days left and I WILL complete another book....well, at least start one :) 
By the way, MY GOAL WAS MET! WOOHOO!!! 


Friday, May 16, 2014

The One With Day 4 Updates

Day 4 = Complete

Pages read: 200
Books completed:
Currently Reading: The Winner's Curse

Feelings About The Winner's Curse in a GIF

Feelings About the Winner's Curse in Words

This book had a LOT of hype surrounding it. When I read the first couple of chapters, it wasn't exactly what I was expecting, but I approve! I'm right before the climax so here's to an awesome finish!


Thursday, May 15, 2014

The One With Day 3 Updates

Day 3 = SUCCESS!

I finished 2 books. 2 BOOKS!!!!!! 

Okay, well I only read the last 100 pages to finish my first book and a novella....

Pages read: 201
Books completed:
Currently Reading: Nothing - haven't started a new book yet

Feelings about THE FALCONER in a GIF


....I apologize for that. Actually, no. No I don't. 
Read it. Read it now. 

Feelings about POISON DANCE in a GIF

If this gives me a glimpse of what to expect in Midnight Thief then I CAN'T WAIT! 


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The One with Day 1 Updates


^You're welcome

To bad I failed ridiculously well in the area of reading.
I blame the fact that I was driving a good chunk of the day. Can't exactly read and drive simultaneously. Well, you could, technically, just probably shouldn't. I was tempted though....

Moving on.... 

Pages read: 64 (awesome right?)
Books finished: none
Currently reading: The Falconer 
Opinions so far

My Feeling in a GIF
Because Monty Python is the best so it is only fitting

My feelings in words:
I'm only halfway through and gahhhh can't wait! I'm not a huge faerie fan but I'm loving the lore and the characters and the setting and GIVE ME ALL OF IT!!!!!

*breathes deeply*
Okay, I'm calm now. But seriously, read it. 

Okay, now it's not Bout of Books without a few challenges thrown in so here is the challenge for day 2 - 

Books I'm looking forward to in 2014

The Blood of Olympus (Heroes of Olympus #5)
by Rick Riordan

I still haven't read #4 yet (shame on me) but IT'S FREAKIN RICK RIORDAN Y'ALL!!!
Beyond excited! Gah! I don't want it to end though!!! Ughhhhh but I need it nowwwww. 

Talon (Talon #1)
by Julie Kagawa 


The Murder Complex  (The Murder Complex #1)
by Lindsay Cummings

Ummmm....murder rate higher than the birth rate? Say what you will about me but I'm hooked. Also, assassins. 
So death, assassins, and action. Basically my perfect book....
Let's hope for awesome characters and I'll be game.

Ruin and Rising (The Grisha Trilogy #3)
by Leigh Bardugo 

First off, let me just point out how beautiful those covers are! Gorgeous!
Okay, so I hate to say that for some reason I wasn't in love with the second book. Sturmhond was who really made me at least enjoy it. However, this plot line and just series in general and I love it. I can't wait to see where it goes and get immersed back in the mythology and THE DARKLING! 

Midnight Thief (Midnight Thief)
by Livia Blackburne 


Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) 
by Sarah J. Maas 

This series can DO NO WRONG (knock on wood)! But seriously, this series is phenomenal. The characters, the plot, the MYTHOLOGY!! Can't....can't handle! And..........


The Young Elites (The Young Elites #1)
by Marie Lu

HAVE YOU READ THE SYNOPSIS?!?!?! Like, WHAT?!?!! Powers and vengeance and secret societies and secrets and and and AWESOMENESS!!!!!!
Also, this little part of the synopsis has me sold -

"I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.
It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt."

I need this now. 

Gathering Darkness (Falling Kingdoms #3)
by Morgan Rhodes


So this is a very short list (my TBR needs to be updated believe it or not!) but these are some books that I would punch people to get. Just kidding. Somewhat....

So what books are y'all looking forward to this year?