The Disney Princess Book Tag

???!!!!!???? A book tag? Featuring two of my very favorite things? Books and Disney? Well, three, if you count princesses as a separate entity. Three favorite things!

No, I wasn’t tagged, but I just saw that Farzy over at Books Keep Me Sane did the tag and I just couldn’t resist trying it out myself because it seemed like too much fun!

snow white : name your favorite classic

Does this count as a classic? Maybe a modern one, and I had to read it in school so I’m counting it. I love books based during the WWII era and this one has it all: romance, intrigue, family drama, war, friendship. And an ending that I never saw coming that absolutely broke my heart. The movie is great as well!

cinderella : name a book that kept you reading past your bedtime

When I first got this book I hadn’t heard anything about it. I’m not even sure that anyone I knew had read it. Of course, now it’s a staple in anyone’s YA collection. I read this in two or three sittings and remember the last one the most because I had hundreds of pages left but just HAD to know what happened so I sat up until the end, waiting for that great conclusion.

aurora : name your favorite classic romance

This is another book that I needed to read for class that I ended up really liking. We had to pick out a novel for our end of the year research paper and I selected this. Expecting it to be dry and boring, I was really surprised by how much I liked the subtle wit and Jane Austen’s style of writing. While I’m no fanatic about Mr. Darcy, I would recommend this book to anyone.

ariel : name a book that’s about sacrifices and fighting for your dreams

The Darkest Minds is all about sacrifice. Ruby accidentally sacrifices her family when she first discovers her abilities, yes, but THIS ENDING THOUGH. If that isn’t sacrifice, I don’t know what is. All in the name of making the world a better place for all of the surviving young adults.

belle : name a book with a smart, independent female character

shadow and bone

jasmine : name a book whose character challenges the social conventions of their world

This is another one of my favorite book trilogies ever. They’re written so wonderfully, I can’t fangirl about them enough! Todd is the main character here and it would take pages to talk about all of the change he’s making in his world, literally flipping it all upside-down and for the better. I don’t want to spoil anything because these books are a roller coaster of twists but they’re fabulous.

pocahontas : name a book whose ending was a roller coaster of emotions

This ending was completely unexpected to me. Beautiful, and heartbreaking, and happy, and everything I wanted but not quite the best . . So, of course, it was perfect.

mulan : name a book featuring war or battles

The Thief series become surprisingly more political books as they progress and are some of my favorite novels of all time. They’re beautifully written and feature their own mythology that’s loosely influenced by Greek myth. Two countries, Attolia and Sounis, are at war, with Eddis in the middle dragged into the conflict, and another threat looming on the horizon. There are great amounts of action and battles in these books but also scenes purely showing the political motives behind it all, with such unique and awesome characters.

tiana : name a book featuring a hardworking, self-made character

In a world where water is so scarce that people easily kill for it, Lynn and her mother have a pond to defend. Growing up, this is the only place and time that Lynn knows. She doesn’t remember how life used to be; she was too young then. She and her mother need to fight for what little they have, work for what they need, and that’s why I chose both of them for this. They made themselves into survivors.

rapunzel : name a book featuring an artist

Honestly, this book could fit into so many of these categories and I knew it had to go somewhere because it’s currently my favorite book, ever. What better place to use it than with my favorite princess? If anyone else is obsessed with Tangled (or Karou) let’s discuss!

Karou is a wonderful artist. Before her life gets kind of complicated, she’s going to a school for artists and has been honing her craft. I love how she shows both sets of her friends each world through her drawings. And it’s also kind of bittersweet, seeing how her artistry transforms and affects her life throughout the book.

merida : name a book with a mother-daughter relationship

Susannah Simon. One of the most badass ladies I read about in middle school, found out there were more books featuring in high school, and continue to admire as a role model (and be jealous of for her perfect love interest) in college. Meg Cabot has written some fantastic books but these will always be the best. Suze’s mom doesn’t play a major role in the books, apart from causing the two of them to move and kind of starting this whole thing rolling. But she’s always there for her daughter, even when she doesn’t quite know what’s going on with her. She wants her daughter safe and happy. What better relationship could you ask for?

~ ~

And that’s it! If you want to be tagged, consider yourself tagged! I’m also going to tag RaeAnne and Evie!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Kayla:

I just reread Daughter of Smoke and Bone because soon (too soon, but also not soon enough?) I’m finally putting my foot down and finishing this trilogy. It’s bittersweet because these are my favorite books. Ever.

Originally posted on Caught Between the Pages:

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1

author: Laini Taylor

pages [hardcover]: 417

memorable quote:
“It’s not like there’s a law against flying.”
“Yes there is.  The law of gravity.”  

favorite characters: zuzzana & akiva

summary:

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the…

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Career Talk Tuesday with Reese Hogan

career talk

Hello everyone and happy Tuesday! Today I have another fabulous author here to talk about how they came to realize they wanted to get into writing. Please welcome the talented Reese Hogan!

~  ~  ~

Hello! My name is Reese Hogan, and I’m excited to be joining Kayla on her blog today. Last year, I published my first novel, The Deadliest Echo, which is a science fiction thriller set in 1920’s Soviet Russia. Please visit my website at http://www.reesehogan.com to read a sample or keep up with my future projects. I can also be found at http://www.facebook.com/reesechogan or on Twitter @ReeseHogan1.

            For someone who’s been reading and writing since an early age, an English degree seems not only a logical choice, but almost a default one. Prior to entering college, I had completed my first three novels. My writing was nothing more than a hobby; in fact, it was my escape from the mind-shattering chemistry and biology classes I was taking for the pharmacy degree I was pursuing as a freshman. Over the next couple years, the science courses got harder, and fiction and poetry became even more of a refuge—both outside of the classroom and in, as I started searching out writing courses as a load-lightener for my eighteen-credit semesters. I wasn’t doing too well in pharmacy, but I excelled in the writing classes. Some professors brought up trying to publish. I wasn’t interested. I only wanted to write for the sake of writing. Anything else was too much work.

Switching my major from pharmacy to English was an obvious and logical step by the end of my second year. I also traded in my chiropractic therapist job for one at a bookstore. Coming into the reading and writing community from the medical field was like coming home after being in a foreign-speaking country for years. The conversations were stimulating, the jokes were witty, and the people were amazing. I connected with others faster than I ever had before.

It was after graduation that a former English professor—not one of my own, but a coworker—brought up publishing again. He was a writer as well, and someone I’d really grown to admire. For the first time, I really considered it. I’d tried my hand at journalism and editing, but found both unbearably dry—basically homework to get through so I could get back to my real writing. I wanted to write snappy dialogue, high-action scenes, and life-or-death situations that seemed impossible to escape. And I wanted to make myself part of a world of others who felt the same way. The world of authors.

If not for my habits of seeking refuge in my writing during my college years, I don’t think I would have ever found my way to the path I’m on today. I love writing as much as I always have, although I’ve come to wonder how I ever thought of it as easy. I guess that’s just part of gaining experience. It’s worth it. As someone who’s been reading and writing since an early age, becoming a published author wasn’t just a logical choice. It was a default one. It just took me a decade to realize it.

~  ~  ~

Thank you so much Reese! I loved hearing about how you found your way to your writing career today! I also loved having the opportunity to read your novel, The Deadliest Echo — and, guys, this is seriously one of the best books that I’ve read so far this year. Check out my review right here!

Do you want to participate in Career Talk Tuesdays? Email me at caughtbetweenthepagesblog at gmail dot com!

The Deadliest Echo by Reese Hogan

The Deadliest Echo

author : reese hogan

pages : [paperback] 242

favorite character : echo

summary :

The year is 1928, and American mercenary Echo Maebius is seized while fleeing Russia after the disappearance of Joseph Stalin. Just when things can’t get any worse, Echo’s doppelganger walks into the room, offering him a way out—but with a terrible catch. Now, broken, damaged, and alone, Echo must find out why his closest comrade Jez has disappeared from his life—and why the failure of their mission in Moscow is responsible.

Told in alternating chapters between Echo’s past and present, The Deadliest Echo is a science fiction thriller about assassination, alternate paths, and the dangers of being a foreigner in a country newly raised from revolution. It is a powerful tale about the thin line between loneliness and friendship, and the intricate web of secrets that forces Echo to confront the one truth he most wants to escape…

Unless he can finish the mission he never completed in Moscow, the whole world will pay the price for his failure.

review :

I’ve been trying to get into reading more books involving history lately so when I had the chance to read The Deadliest Echo I jumped on it. It’s an interesting combination of historical fiction with a dash of sci-fi, a whole lot of action, and complex characters.

Echo was most interesting to me because at first I’d assumed he’d be . . . not exactly boring, but there’s a certain stereotype that comes with mercenary characters. But Echo is younger than expected and although he is certainly clever and calculating, he’s also lonely. Wiling to do a lot to keep others from realizing this, of course, but when he finally gets himself a friend he’s willing to lose everything to keep that friend safe. And that’s something that I can understand, that makes him human.

Action is all over this book, literally from page one. Told with each chapter giving a piece of Echo’s timeline, before and after a major event happens for him, there’s something intense happening in each portion of his life that’ll have you wanted to learn about the past when you’re reading the future and wanting the future when you have the past. This book was so intense that, yes, one night after finishing a chapter, I actually dreamed that Russian assassins were coming after me. If that doesn’t say something about how entranced and entrenched you’ll be in The Deadliest Echo then I don’t know what would.

I feel like this is a novel that can appeal to people who read a plethora of different genres, especially if you’re wanting to get a peek into a different genre to see if you’d enjoy reading it as well. Sci-fi, historical, action, thriller, and even fans of spy novels will all find something unique, captivating, and thought-provoking in The Deadliest Echo.

5/5 stars

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Rebel Belle

Rebel Belle #1

Pages : [hardcover] 345

memorable quote I picked up the nearest weapon I could lay my hands on: a stapler. I lifted it, going for “menacing.” I admit it lacked a certain elegance, but hey. It was worth a shot.

favorite character : harper

summary :

Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper’s destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can’t get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she’s charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper’s least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him—and discovers that David’s own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y’all beg for more.

review :

I have to admit that this book completely surprised me and blew me away. Ten pages in, I was ready to give up. Fifteen in and I just couldn’t put it down! Rebel Belle is like Legally Blonde meets Star Wars meets Greek mythology. If that can’t convince you to try this then I don’t know what would!

Rachel Hawkins is an author I’ve been meaning to try out for a while and after reading this I think I’ve fallen in love with her writing style. How an author writes is a huge point in how much I’m going to enjoy their books and I have a feeling I’m going to gobble up everything she’s written up to this point, immediately.

This book contains some of the best characters I’ve read about in a while. I didn’t care for Harper and David’s hate relationship at the beginning (seems to be based on . . nothing?) but they were interesting as individuals. Originally, I disliked Harper. She wasn’t my kind of girl. But then she kind of turned badass. She’s extremely loyal to her friends, wants to do well by her parents, and basically tries to be nice to everyone even when she knows that they’re being rude to her face. I was misjudging her, the same way most of the people in the book seem to get the wrong idea about her. David was an eccentric nerd, as I’d expected, but (surprise!) he had depth to him and that was awesome.

And the plot. Surprisingly unpredictable, even when it . . . is. Hear me out: The characters themselves recognize where the big showdown/finale is going to happen. Harper and the other rich, frivolously Southern girls in school are preparing for Cotillion both before and after Harper gets her Paladin powers. And everyone recognizes that the bad guys are big fans of obnoxious gestures of power so they know they’re going to save their worst until Cotillion night. It’s the kind of build-up you can always see coming in books and these characters actually acknowledged it themselves and appropriately prepared for the moment and still managed to make it exciting and action-packed.

I would recommend this book to anyone. If you start reading it and don’t think it’s for you, don’t worry–just keep on reading and soon you won’t be able to put it down until you’re finished! And then you’ll immediately reach for book two, like I did.

5/5 stars

World-Building: 85%
Writing: 97%
Action: 100%
Characters: 95%
Plot: 97%
Overall: 94.8%

The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White

The Chaos of Stars

author : kiersten white

pages : [hardcover] 277

memorable quote I do believe in fate and destiny, but I also believe we are only fated to do the things that we’d choose anyway.

favorite character : ry

summary :

Kiersten White, New York Times bestselling author of Paranormalcy, is back with The Chaos of Stars—an enchanting novel set in Egypt and San Diego that captures the magic of first love and the eternally complicated truth about family.

Isadora’s family is seriously screwed up—which comes with the territory when you’re the human daughter of the ancient Egyptian gods Isis and Osiris. Isadora is tired of living with crazy relatives who think she’s only worthy of a passing glance—so when she gets the chance to move to California with her brother, she jumps on it. But her new life comes with plenty of its own dramatic—and dangerous—complications . . . and Isadora quickly learns there’s no such thing as a clean break from family.

Blending Ally Carter’s humor and the romance of Cynthia Hand’s Unearthly, The Chaos of Stars takes readers on an unforgettable journey halfway across the world and back, and proves there’s no place like home.

review :

If there’s anything I can’t resist it’s a book that says it references mythology. The Chaos of Stars tells the tale of children of gods, but not one like those seen out there in the industry today. These kids have no powers, no destiny, no immortality. Imagine how it would be, a human living among the immortal and powerful gods. That’s Isadora’s life and she’s tired of it. As soon as she found out that her parents weren’t willing to save her, allowing her to not only die a mortal death but to decorate her tomb, she tries to cut herself off from her family.

Unfortunately for her, the gods don’t want her to get away so easily. Her mother remains controlling and something dark, evil, and able to kill a god is lurking in Isadora’s dreams.

This story was fairly simple. I knew going in that it was a standalone, which was kind of shocking to me because most books today have a million installments and the plot here moves slow. I mean, slow. So much happens in the last twenty pages of the book because of that molasses buildup. In the beginning, I enjoyed it. I wanted to get to know Isadora’s home life and what the Egyptian gods were like in their ‘modern’ forms, in relation to her. Learning more about Egyptian mythology (with snarky quips from Isadora about how these myths lend to the modern day) was a lot of fun. But as soon as she got to America, I didn’t see the need for anything but speed.

Despite how much the mythology and the way gods were portrayed captured my interest, the book was painfully predictable. I’m not entirely sure if any of it was really supposed to be a plot twist. Well, there was an attempt for a red herring, which didn’t quite work, and another ‘twist’ about her relationship with one of her friends that Isadora found out about oh, thirty pages from the end, and I called from the very moment she met this kid.

Still, I enjoy Kiersten White’s writing. I loved her Paranormalcy trilogy and while this definitely wasn’t a favorite for me, I’ll read more by her. Next time, though, I’ll be checking it out of the library.

Mythology: 100%
Writing: 70%
Characters: 80%
Action: 65%
Plot: 70%
Overall: 77%

3/5 stars

Prodigy by Marie Lu

Prodigy

Legend #2
Book 1: Legend

author : marie lu

pages : [hardcover] 371

memorable quote He is beauty, inside and out.
He is the silver lining in a world of darkness.

favorite character : day

summary :

Injured and on the run, it has been seven days since June and Day barely escaped Los Angeles and the Republic with their lives. Day is believed dead having lost his own brother to an execution squad who thought they were assassinating him. June is now the Republic’s most wanted traitor. Desperate for help, they turn to the Patriots – a vigilante rebel group sworn to bring down the Republic. But can they trust them or have they unwittingly become pawns in the most terrifying of political games?

review :

I have a feeling that this is a trilogy that only keeps getting better. While it isn’t one of my favorites (and I wanted so badly to love it!) these books have some great elements that I think everyone should take a look at. I love a book that makes you think.

For instance, just as soon as you’re sure you have it all figured out in Prodigy . . . something comes along and blows it all away. In an amazingly realistic sense. It’s hard to pinpoint who, exactly, is the bad guy here because everyone has their different motivations, their evils and kindnesses, and there are so many agendas going on that it’s difficult for June and Day to know who their real allies are. Apart from each other, of course. The way their relationship progressed was pretty sweet, too.

Again, I just have a problem with the writing style. I’m unsure of whether it’s Marie Lu or simply the way she crafted these books. I’m tempted to continue following her writing even after I finish Champion because she has amazing ideas and I WANT to be able to enjoy them more.

Something I really did love? The action. Yes, these books are perfect for people looking for an adrenaline rush–and if you need nothing else, I’m certain you’ll love them. There’s never a dull moment here because even when the characters are resting, it’s usually only because they’ve discovered a new and terrible plot twist that’s about to make a whole other mess come down on them.

 Day is still my favorite character to read because, come on, who doesn’t prefer the rebellious badass. I love June for who she is, the strength she has, and the beautifully sharp mind she’s got . . . but there’s just something about vigilante justice that’s that much cooler.

While these aren’t my favorite books, I’ll recommend that others at least give them a go. I know there are others out there who’ll love them more than me!

Writing: 55%
Characters: 80%
Romance: 60%
Action: 100%
Plot: 70%
Overall: 73%

3/5 stars