Book Review Tuesday (10/9/18)-Carve the Mark

Hi there, everyone, and welcome to this week’s Book Review Tuesday!

 

I recently joined Epicreads, and I found that there was a massive (and I mean MASSIVE) amount of hype for this book. Understandably so, given the popularity of the Divergent series. (Don’t kill me, but I thought Divergent was decent, but it didn’t really live up to much of the hype.) So I checked it out at the library, and spent around 3 days snuggled up in various blankets, my nose deep in this book. And I must say, though it didn’t quite live up to all of the hype, it absolutely lived up to some of it!

Enjoy the review!

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(sorry, there weren’t really any good images for the cover…oof)

Carve the Mark

In a galaxy steeped in war and magic, two teen’s live will collide in ways that they never imagined were possible.

Cyra has lived her life as nothing more than an object, a weapon for her tyrannical brother. Many planets over, Akos’ peaceful life is turned upside down when his family is slaughtered, and only he and his brother survive-only to be kidnapped by the enemy. Determined to save his brother, he crosses paths with Cyra. Tradition and politics should make them bitter rivals. But they soon discover that they have a common enemy, and that they must set aside their differences to secure the fate of the galaxy.

 

 

Alright, everybody, here we go…

First of all, I liked this better than Divergent. In fact, I’d probably rate it a full star above it.

Part of it is probably because, well, y’know, I’m a total sucker for anything set in space. But Carve the Mark was a truly phenomenal book, complete with rich storytelling, beautiful visuals and world-building, and characters with near-perfect chemistry. (For some reason, I imagined Akos looking like Evan Peters, but that’s not really the point. 😜) Even if you haven’t read or didn’t like Divergent, this is a must-read for anyone who loves a well-crafted tale in the depths of space. 8/10 on my scale.

 

Before I go, I’m sorry that I haven’t posted much other than book reviews lately. I’ve been a tad bit busy, what with transitioning into high school, but I promise that I’ll give you guys some more variety content-wise.

Well, I hope you have a great rest of your day, and stay warm!

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Book Review Tuesday (10/2/18)-The Final Six

Hey, everyone, and welcome to the first Book Review Tuesday of October 2018!

That’s right, OCTOBER. IT’S OFFICIALLY SPOOKY TIME, FOLKS.

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I’ve got my Halloween costume *almost* complete, and the leaves are already starting to turn yellow. Forget Christmas, this is the best time of the year.

 

Aaaaaanyway, this week’s book is a jaw-dropper. I borrowed it from the library and managed to gobble it all up in one sitting (whilst wrapped in a warm blanket and in a fuzzy hoodie). And OH MY GOD, IT WAS PHENOMENAL. A chilling, inventive look at the future of humanity, and the race to find a planet to colonize.

Enjoy the review!

 

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The Final Six

Climate change is out of control, and all over the world, cities are being swallowed by floods and shattered by earthquakes. After the mission to colonize Mars failed, humanity’s next candidate for a new home is Europa. The first to colonize it? Twenty four teens with exceptional skill and intellect, drafted from all over the globe into the International Space Training Camp. As they progress in their training, some will be eliminated through a series of tasks and tests, and in the end, only six will remain.

Naomi, a budding scientist, and Leo, a championship swimmer, are two of the draftees, and they have been placed on the same team. When peculiar events cause one of their teammates to fall fatally ill, they suspect that their mentors may not be telling them everything. But can they get to the bottom of the mystery before the six are launched to Europa?

 

Okay, I should probably stop saying this, but I’m nothing short of shook.

SHOOK.

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The Final Six was a truly exceptional book! One minute, I was on the verge of tears, and the next, my jaw had clattered to the floor. Everything about it was truly stellar (would that be considered a pun? I hope not…)-writing, world-building, characters, and those INSANE PLOT TWISTS, OH MY GOD. I would highly recommend it not only for science fiction fans, but anyone who likes getting chills while reading.

 

Well, I hope you enjoyed this review, and have a great rest of your day!

Book Review Tuesday (9/25/18)-Sky in the Deep

Hi, everyone, and welcome to the last Book Review Tuesday of September 2018!

Before I begin, I have an announcement to make-this very site that you are scrolling through turned three years old last Wednesday! So, happy birthday, madelinetodd.com!

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Now, back on topic.

 

The book I’m reviewing today was actually the 200th book that I’ve read this year! (I’m taking the challenge on Goodreads, I’m now at 220 books.) According to the blurb on the back, its “part Wonder Woman, part Vikings, all heart”. So, as you can *probably* guess, the whole Wonder Woman part had me hooked.

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And I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed. An intense, action-packed novel, brimming with rich storytelling and fervor.

Enjoy the review!

 

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Sky in the Deep

Eelyn lives a life of grief and war. Day in and day out, she fights with her fellow warriors of the Aska clan to drive back their rivals, the Riki. The lines between good and evil seem to be as clear as day, until Eelyn finds her brother, who was thought to be dead for five years, fighting with the rival clan. Captured by her enemies and forced to spend the winter under surveillance by the Riki, she discovers that a threat even bigger than the Riki could shatter the lives of both clans forever, and the only way to stop it in its tracks is to unite with one another. Will she return to Aska in time to warn them of the coming storm?

 

 

This book almost borders on historical fiction, in a way. Though the world, clans, and people are all works of fiction, the author has clearly borrowed from Viking lore, among other things, to fabricate a rich and lifelike world. That, along with the incredible writing, realistic characters, and vivid descriptions, made for a fantastic book. I’d say that it would land a 7.5 to an 8 on my rating scale.

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Thus concludes this week’s review! I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day, and stay tuned for more next week!

 

Book Review Tuesday (9/18/18)-Reign of the Fallen

Hi, everyone, and welcome to this week’s Book Review Tuesday!

 

This book was released in January of this year, and I just finished it a few days ago. I recently checked it out at the library, got to read a little in English class (all hail Free Reading Friday), and finished it the following weekend. My expectations, truth be told, were a bit higher than they should have been (I mean, why wouldn’t they after Fear the Drowning Deep?*), but nonetheless, Reign of the Fallen was fantastic! Paranormal fantasy, action, and so much more! ❤

Well, without further ado, enjoy today’s review!

 

 

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Reign of the Fallen

In Karthia, the color of your eyes determines what magic you can wield. Those with blue eyes are necromancers, most working for the royal family, raising their dead so that they can rule beyond the grave. Young Odessa is a necromancer, and already has a heavy burden on her shoulders. After a venture into the Deadlands-where the souls of the dead live-one of her necromancy Masters and one of her best friends are killed by a Shade, a vicious monster preying for the souls of the living and dead. But Odessa knows that this Shade didn’t act alone. Together with her remaning Master, fellow Necromancers, and some unlikely allies from all over Karthia, she must risk her life to set things right in Karthia.

 

First of all, so creative! The approach to magic, the layout of the deadlands, the different types of magic, yes! I was almost swooning at the amount of creativity…no joke…

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Second, I love a good amount of creepiness in my books. Necromancy? Ohhhh yeah. Zombies? Executed well. Disturbing monsters? Shut up and take my library card.

And last (but certainly not least), LGBTQ+ REPRESENTATION! ALWAYS YES!!! This makes me SO HAPPY to have not just LGBTQ+ characters in realistic fiction, but in sci-fi and fantasy too! YAY! (The main character, Odessa, is bisexual, and one of the side characters is gay.) :)))))))))

All that, along with the spectacular writing, world building, and more, made this book…hmm, I’d say an 8.5 on my rating scale. Score!

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I hope you enjoyed my review, and have a great rest of your day, everyone! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

*If you want to read that review, see 8/29/17

My 5 Favorite Songs of 2018 (so far)

Hi, everyone! I hope you’re all having a good Monday! (Well, as good as a Monday can get. Hopefully that’s better than my standards for Mondays.)

Let me just start off by saying that boy, this has been a pretty fantastic year for music.

I’ve already reviewed two albums that came out this year (See Twin Fantasy Re-Release and Lush), but now, there’s even more awesomeness out there to listen to! Also, I did end up seeing BOTH of the artists whose albums I’ve reviewed this year (Snail Mail and Car Seat Headrest. Best nights of my life. I met Lindsey Jordan, who was incredibly sweet, and Will Toledo said that we were the best crowd he’d seen on this tour 😭), which has further increased my appreciation for those bands. Some of my opinions have stayed the same, but others have grown on me since I first listened to them. But I’ll get to that later; here are my five favorite songs so far!

 

1. “Bodys”, Car Seat Headrest 

Nobody can match Will’s moves. Really.

 

My original rating for this song was about a 7/10. But it has grown on my a significant amount, not only from increased listening, but from this performance as well. That, and the fact that I found out that the “need-to-know-basis” thing at the end was Andrew Katz. Hysterical. 

This is my go to feel good song, one that you can bop to no matter what mood you’re in. And I won’t deny that when Car Seat Headrest played this when I saw them, I danced so much that I feared that my new glasses would fall right of my nose and plummet from the balcony. I sang myself hoarse, too. But it was totally, 100% worth it. ❤

 

2. “Heat Wave”, Snail Mail 

After watching this video, there’s basically no need for an explanation. 10/10. Five stars. ALWAYS YES. Also, this was the first song that they played when I saw them, and THEY ABSOLUTELY NAILED IT. I WAS SO HAPPY!!!

 

3. “Everybody Thinks They Know (But No One Really Knows)”, Naked Giants

(The video’s just as weird and fun as the song. Trust me.)

I first got introduced to Naked Giants through Car Seat Headrest. They opened about an hour before CSH, and they were INSANELY TALENTED. Spectacular job.

We bought a few of their songs a few weeks after that performance, and this is the one I fell in love with the most. The perfect balance between light, dancey pop and alt-rock, that isn’t so cringey that you immediately switch the station. (Also, I’ll admit to listening to it on repeat in the first week of high school to remind myself that the other freshmen were just as confused as I was.)

 

4. “No Going Back”, Yuno

(Cute little video as well. Simple, but somehow perfect for the song.)

I first heard this song through Sirius XMU, and even though the DJ made a terrible pun about the artist in question, I couldn’t get the song out of my head. Kind of like #3, where it struck the perfect balance between pop and rock. A bit like the child of Tame Impala and…something I can’t quite place. Either way, such a fantastic little song. 🙂

 

5. “Valley of the Dolls”, Santigold 

I swear, Santigold has become the ultimate “blast-this-song-out-the-car-window-at-full-volume” artist. No matter what, her music has the uncanny ability to make you dance, no matter what mood you’re in. (Or, at the very least, nod your head or tap your foot.) “Valley of the Dolls” was no exception. Out of I Don’t Want: The Gold Fire Sessions, this was my favorite. The perfect balance, the goldilocks. Also, it just brings back this funny memory of my family talking about a completely different, really depressing album (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, if you’re dying to know 👌), and this happened to be playing in the background.

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Well, I hope I exposed you to some new music through this post! Enjoy the rest of your day, and stay tuned for the next BRT tomorrow!

Book Review Tuesday (9/11/18)-Wonder Woman: Warbringer

Hi, everyone, and welcome to this week’s Book Review Tuesday!

 

Now, before I begin, let’s all take a moment of silence for all of those affected by the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001. Even if you’re silent right now, as you’re reading this, stretch the silence on a little longer. Please.

 

Thank you.

 

 

As most of you guys now, I’m a pretty avid DC comics fans. So I was pretty excited to find out that not only is there a YA series about some of the DC “icons” (besides WW, there’s one for Batman, Catwoman, and a Superman one coming next year), but that our lord and savior LEIGH BARDUGO wrote the Wonder Woman installment. Shut up and take my library card! And I’m very delighted to say that I was not disappointed in the slightest. Quality with a capital Q. This makes me SOOOO HAPPY!

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So, without further ado, enjoy the review!

 

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Wonder Woman: Warbringer

Young Princess Diana of Themyscira longs to be a warrior just like her Amazon peers. But her chances at becoming the revered hero she strives to be soon seem to be shattered in an instant. A mortal girl has washed up onshore, and Diana, defying all of the laws of her people, did what she felt was right-she got her to safety, and hid her on the island.

But this mortal isn’t what she appears to be. Her name is Alia, and she is part of a long line of Warbringers-descendants of Helen of Troy who bring nothing but war, sorrow, and destruction in their wakes. And the only way to halt her powers would be to kill her. Desperate to keep her actions under wraps, Diana and Alia travel to the mortal world, but are soon caught in the middle of an international plot to kill the Warbringer. Will Diana be able to save Alia-and the world?

 

OH MY GOD. Pure joy is coursing through every fangirl blood vessel in my body.

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SQUEE!

 

Aside from the fact that, well, for the love of god, WE’VE GOT SOME PERFECT, ADORABLE DIANA ACTION, it was executed spectacularly. Bardugo’s signature writing shone through, and though I was suspicious of the new additions (Is this technically canon? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ), they were lovable as well. Nothing compares to good ol’ Diana though. I’ve always had a lil soft spot in my heart for her.

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mwah! 💞

 

Well, that just about concludes my review for this week. I hope you have a great rest of your day, and keep on being the phenomenal human beings that you are! I’ve got a couple more posts up my sleeve for soonish (I know I’ve been saying that a lot lately, but I swear I have more content coming up than just BRTs…😬) !

 

Rating Bizarre Stock Photos

The other day, my friend and I were talking about the weirdness of stock photos. I’d seen a couple of pretty strange ones before, but I had no idea of the enormity of the amount of weird stock photos out there. So I went on a little spiral, if you will, and googled stock photos. What I found turned out to be the stuff of nightmares. Or maybe more like fever dreams.

Anyway, I decided to find the weirdest photos possible and rate them.

 

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Simultaneously relatable and unnverving in some intangible way. 6/10 because I can kind of feel his confusion and outrage, but it’s also making me kind of uneasy

 

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UNLIMITED POWER. 9/10 because his facial expression is rather disconcerting

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This is the most assertive picture I’ve ever come across. The sheer amount of emotion and fervor rolls off of it in waves. *AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH* 10/10

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Ma’am…ma’am? Ma’am? Everything okay over there? Ma’am? 8/10

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This is the single best thing that the internet has to offer. An elegant force in motion. (Or, alternatively, “makin’ my way downtown…”) 100/10

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Corn D E T E C T E D. 9/10 a beautiful vision of the future

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This poor man is clearly in denial. Either he’s grieving his hair loss or he’s just hallucinating. 7/10 somebody’s gotta tell him eventually

 

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“Don’t you just hate that feeling when you’re eating a banana, and it just goes directly through your skull?”–anonymous

7/10 looks pretty painful, I hate that feeling too

 

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Now this is just disconcerting. His expression is a bit too smug, like he knows that you’ve spent an hour sitting on the toilet and he’s off to tell all of his friends about it. 3/10 get away from me please

 

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This right here is the definition of my 5th grade biology class.  5/10 because I don’t want to imagine how slimy that chicken is

 

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Now this is life goals. 8/10 because it’s kind of boring otherwise

 

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You can go anywhere with the power of imagination. 8/10 because I’m kind of worried that he doesn’t have any other clothes on other than that ridiculous hat

 

Well, I hope you *enjoyed* that disturbing glimpse of how my mind works. I promise that I’ve got some relatively normal posts coming up for you guys soon. Enjoy the rest of your day, and let’s hope that #2 doesn’t come creeping into your room at 3 A.M.