Monday, September 7, 2015

Update + Mini Reviews #11: Hello Again Rick Riordan!

So, long time no blog! What have I been doing for the past, I don't know, year? Well, as most of you know, I am in college. (At least, I hope someone is reading this.) Now I'm back. What sucks is that I never have time to read what I want. Well, I do, but I get distracted by other stuff. Anyway, it took me a year to finish The Serpent's Shadow by Rick Riordan because of all the college reading I had to do. ONE YEAR! That is ridiculous! What's great is that I remembered most of the stuff and tried to read tidbits of it every once in a while.  Well, here is my review of it plus The Crown of Ptolemy.

Goodreads: He's b-a-a-ack! Despite their best efforts, Carter and Sadie Kane can't seem to keep Apophis, the chaos snake, down. Now Apophis is threatening to plunge the world into eternal darkness, and the Kanes are faced with the impossible task of having to destroy him once and for all. Unfortunately, the magicians of the House of Life are on the brink of civil war, the gods are divided, and the young initiates of Brooklyn House stand almost alone against the forces of chaos. The Kanes' only hope is an ancient spell that might turn the serpent's own shadow into a weapon, but the magic has been lost for a millennia. 

To find the answer they need, the Kanes must rely on the murderous ghost of a powerful magician who might be able to lead them to the serpent's shadow . . . or might lead them to their deaths in the depths of the underworld. Nothing less than the mortal world is at stake when the Kane family fulfills its destiny in this thrilling conclusion to the Kane Chronicles.

Okay, so despite taking a whole year to read this book, I still enjoyed it. It was funny, dramatic, and had great history a part of it. While I kinda did not like how the romance kinda went down between the main characters and their love interests (it didn't go very fast - it was a typical teen relationship - but I felt that there should have been more interactions between Sadie and Walt/Anubis and Carter and Zia), I loved the over all story.  It was a good read, and I am looking forward to Riordan's next book. 

One thing though: The Kane Chronicles will never be better than Percy Jackson. 

Goodreads: In their first encounter, demigod Percy Jackson and magician Carter Kane had to battle a giant crocodile on Long Island. A month later, Annabeth Chase ran into Carter's sister, Sadie, on the A train to Rockaway, where the pair fought a god named Serapis. Now trouble is brewing again, this time on Governor's Island. 

An ancient Egyptian magician named Setne has come back from the dead and is experimenting with Egyptian and Greek magic, trying to become a god himself. He's so powerful and tricky that all four-Percy, Annabeth, Carter, and Sadie-have to team up against him. But their usual weapons and spells aren't going to cut it this time. Will the heroes be taken down by a wannabe god who looks like Elvis, or will they rise to the challenge?

So, I wasn't a fan on how this story started out - a little too fast for me - I mean, it jumped right into it without warning. But then again, it was pretty cool. I love this crossover between the two Riordan worlds. It was better than the ones with just the two boys or the two girls. I loved it when Percy and Nekhbet "worked" together. Favorite part: When Percy reminded everyone on why he turned down immortality. *Sigh* I love this boy. And this story was amazing. :D

Well, not sure when I'll update again. Probably when I delete pics off my computer or something. Until then, Keep on Reading!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A Shell Full of Books: 2014-2015 + Announcement

Well, this is where I tell everyone what books I got over the past year. Honestly, it's a lot of fun. I hope people see books they want to read or haven't heard of. 

Here they are!

As you can see, I got a lot of books.

And now...

There are new books in the store! Please check them out! 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Mini Reviews #10: Rick Riordan Edition

Title: The Throne of Fire (Kane Chronicles #2)
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: Yes
Finished: Yes
Source: Bought

Review: As always, Rick Riordan delivers a fantastic book of funniness and action and awesomeness. While I wish the romance was more spread out like it was in the Percy Jackson series, the book was still awesome. Unlike the first book, I found that this second book didn't remind me of any of the Percy Jackson books. It was new and refreshing. I was disappointed that Ra didn't come back as some awesome super god, but it was a fun book. Totally recommend it.

Title: The Blood of Olympus (Heroes of Olympus #5)
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: Yes
Finished: Yes
Source: Won!

Review: The end sucks! It just sucks! I mean, I'm happy that the person who was predicted to die doesn't actually "die die", but seriously, it was left so open! TOO OPEN!!! Anyway, I loved the book. I loved it when Percy said "I love you" to Annabeth and they shared a moment before they fought the giants. I loved that we got to see the POVs of Reyna and Nico, but I missed reading from Percy's view. Annabeth's was okay, but come on, we all love Percy. He's the Harry Potter of the Greek Mythology world. I can't wait for the Crown of Ptolemy to come out in May. Recommending it all the way to Elysium.

Ratings & Covers:

Friday, April 3, 2015

Review: Defy (Defy #1) by Sara B. Larson

Title: Defy (Defy #1)
Author: Sara B. Larson
Series: Yes
Finished or ARC: Finished
Source: Won

Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect?


Well, I read this a long time ago, and I got the sequel for Christmas, which is sad because I haven't been able to pick it up to read. College sucks sometimes.

Anyway, to start off, I really like Alexa. She's an amazing heroine that knows what she wants and goes for it. Of course, when it comes to boys she's a little confused. The plot line was a little original - the kidnapping part with Damian was brilliant. A unique twist. Of course, from there, it was a little predictable. But not too much. Sorcerers were banned, but of course, there are a few hiding.  Want to get rid of horrible ruler....blah blah blah. All you need to know is that Alexa had a large hand in saving the day, and Damian turned into something that we all suspected he was when his mother was brought up. 

The king has to be one of the worst villains I have ever read about. Well, in the top 20, he's at 10. After reading about him, I wanted to jump through the pages and rip out his heart Regina style (hehehe). Of course, that ability is something I lack. What I liked, though, is that Larson made him a very realistic king, as if she took one from history and put him in the story. I say this because - of course - the king is a dictator, but some of the things he did were things kings did back in old times - like rape. Not many books I have read mention the evil king raping or holding slave houses - usually it's just a lot of murder. (Not that I don't mind that either.)

The romance was....I don't want to say horrible, but it wasn't great. As read in the summary, there is a love triangle. Honestly, I think it was more like a scale that was very unbalanced. Alexa was clearly leaning towards one guy more than the other. She friend-zoned him before he got a chance to make her like-like him! And the thing with the other guy....ugh! Crappy insta-love. Let me tell you, there is not such thing as insta-love. It was horrible. And their little moment towards the end about her being with him because she couldn't trust him (please reread through the review if you can't guess which guy this is.)

The ending - happy, but I still need to read the sequel.


Come on, it's a gorgeous dagger! I want one!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Review: Possess by Gretchen McNeil

Title: Possess
Author: Gretchen McNeil
Series: No
Finished or ARC: Finished
Source: Won....I think

Rule #1: Do not show fear.
Rule #2: Do not show pity.
Rule #3: Do not engage.
Rule #4: Do not let your guard down.
Rule #5: They lie.

Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone: by her mom, by the cute son of a local police sergeant, and by the eerie voices she can suddenly and inexplicably hear. Unfortunately for Bridget, it turns out the voices are demons – and Bridget has the rare ability to banish them back to whatever hell they came from.

Terrified to tell people about her new power, Bridget confides in a local priest who enlists her help in increasingly dangerous cases of demonic possession. But just as she is starting to come to terms with her new power, Bridget receives a startling message from one of the demons. Now Bridget must unlock the secret to the demons' plan before someone close to her winds up dead – or worse, the human vessel of a demon king.

Review (Thank God I saved this in Word): 

This book was AMAZING! If you haven’t read this book yet, do so ASAP! While I do sound like a fan girl right about now, I have every right to be. I mean, once you read the book, I think you’ll be gushing about it to. Well, maybe not as much as me and sound as crazy as me. Anyway….

Looking at the cover, you’d think ghosts, right? Well, you’d be mistaken. The book is about demons and exorcisms and evil. All that good jazz. Yes, for those who love a little romance in their YA tale, there is some. Nothing extremely cheesy (except for one part), by romance nether the less. So to begin…

Bridget is your average teenage girl dealing with bullies and a boy who loves her just too much for her liking. This whole thing with her ability to hear and banish demons is pretty cool. Too bad this all had to manifest within the year of her dad’s death. Sounds like she should be a bit depressed, but she wasn’t.

What I loved about this book was despite all the crap Bridget was dealing with, she still found the time to be with her little brother, Sammy. And when she wasn’t, she had that badass attitude that we all know YA heroines have despite their whole world going crazy. She was able to stay strong and blah blah blah. Yet, unlike some of the other cheesy YA stories, eventually Bridget was able to let out all that emotion she was feeling, but not onto her love interest. Yes, she told Matt about some of the stuff she is dealing with, but nothing that she used his shoulder to cry on. I love that Bridge was that strong.

The whole plot to this story was creepy. Not in the sense of horror movie creepy, but it was close. I was thinking one thing, but then BAM, something else hits me and sends chills up my spine because now I’m in the dark. In addition to the creepy plot, the setting. It was creepy in general. Bridget lives in a fog-covered part of San Francisco. The creepy church with angels starring down at everyone. And then the doll shop. *shivers* That scene was wrong in so many ways, but yet so thrilling and exciting to read about. While there are some parts that are a bit predictable, the whole book is basically a guessing game. Who’s going to die? Is she going to pick that boy or this one? Is she going to blow up and yell at the crazed guy that’s obsessed with her? Yeah, this book was great.

Romance wise…small love triangle. Well, more like a love L. At the bottom, two people really like each other, but unfortunately, there is someone hanging on to the middle person (Bridget) that just won’t let go. The chemistry between Bridget and Matt was cute. Of course, there is the old cliché that she is fighting him off because of some reason that the readers wish wasn’t an issue, but in this case, I think an exception can be made. After all, it deals with her mom and Matt’s dad…get the picture? No, it’s nothing gross, but it gets to the point that it makes things awkward when Matt finally finds out. It’s hilarious.

Matt. Matt was interesting, yet a very stereotypical YA male. I loved him, but wish he was bit different. Star athlete, popular, but falls for the heroine who isn’t popular herself. No, he’s not an anxious jock, but he’s like the boy next door basically. (He actually was at one point before he moved away.) But of course, what girl isn’t looking for that boy next door to sweep her off her feet? (Girls that want bad boys, duh. But not me in this case.) I loved his humor and the way he conned Bridget into things. That was funny.

Can’t really hope for a sequel. Gretchen isn’t known for doing sequels (wish she was!). But the ending was great (for once).

Rating & Cover:

Saturday, March 21, 2015

I'm alive. Don't despair.

Well, if you are reading this, this means you have tumbled onto my blog by accident or get my emails. Anyway, I haven't posted anything in the last six, eight months because of COLLEGE!!! Yay me! Getting an education. Anyway, that takes up a bulk of my time. I don't know how others do it. Anyway, hopefully, a few new post will follow this one, including a few reviews of some awesome books mashed into one post (because it's been awhile and I really don't remember many of them in great detail).

So please, bare with me. Soon, the Sandcastle Bookstore will be full again. Hopefully, if someone is reading this, you can pass on the message. All money collected will go towards my college fund (or other stuff. Not sure for the moment). Of course, there will be books for trade. ARCS! :D

Well, I hope someone is reading this.

Good luck to you,
Tayte Hunter

Monday, August 25, 2014

A Shell Full of Books: 2013-2014

Well, it's been a long time since I've done one of these. I believe a year in fact. Anyway, this is where I post the books I got over the past year from people.

And here they are!

I've already read this one, and Racing Savannah, and I've loved them both!
Read them!

As you can see, I've gotten a lot of books over the past year. Plus, a bunch of e-books that I have bought/won and didn't write down.
Thank you to everyone who I won the books from and who I traded with.
And thank you to Amazon for existing.
 Sooner or later I'm going to do another post with all the books I don't want that I need to get rid of. Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Review: Breathe, Annie, Breathe (Hundred Oaks #5) by Miranda Kenneally

Title: Breathe, Annie, Breathe (Hundred Oaks #5)
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Series: Yes
Finished or ARC: ARC
Source: I won it

Goodreads: Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.

But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.


The first thing that really hit me when I read this book is how far along the characters from the first book, Catching Jordan, are. Jordan is now the coach for Hundred Oaks football team and the Health teacher. Sam is an SEC agent for the Titans. I hope in the next book see more of them. Then there is Matt Brown and his fiance, Kate, from Things I Can't Forget. Matt is a big part of Annie's goal. What I hate is that he went for a literature degree, and now he's not doing much with it. (Well, maybe he's writing a book that Kenneally didn't tell us about). I'm happy he's engaged to Kate though. 

Anyway, I loved this book. Annie is a great character and running a marathon for her dead boyfriend is amazing. It's sad how he died, but it's amazing what Annie is doing to honor him. What I hate is how she feels guilty about what happened. It's like when a person feels horrible for something bad that is not directly related to them, but they find that one little thing that gives them enough reason to feel guilty. I don't like people who do that to themselves.

The dynamics of Franklin, TN, really has affected the characters of the Hundred Oaks series. There was Parker, and how the Christians of the town looked down on her lesbian mother, which in turn turned Parker into who she was. Then there is Ty, who didn't like hand outs since he was poor. And now Annie, with the way her friendship with her former best friend turned out. It's sad to see what did happen to their friendship, but what really ticked me off was Annie didn't express how she felt about her situation with her friend. 

Jeremiah. I'd probably have a relationship with him like the one Annie did. I'd love him for how free and fun-loving his personality is, but I would be deathly afraid he's going to get himself killed from what he does to earn money (no, it's not the Mafia or stripping). His relationship with Annie is a complicated one. Yes, complicated. I said it. Annie has issues and Jeremiah has issues. Jeremiah is more willing to fight through his than Annie is, but Jeremiah helps her get through them. What I loved is that he is willing to do what Annie wants to do without pushing her. 

There is much comedy in this book. It's mostly Jeremiah, but every now and then Annie thinks of something funny.

I loved (can you tell how much I love the Hundred Oaks series?) how besides the characters from the first three books, we get to see the characters from the previous book, Racing Savannah. Tie-ins, they are great.

Now I have to sit and wait a YEAR for the next one, Best Day Ever. Though I'm disappointed this doesn't include the title character's name (like Catching Jordan, Stealing Parker, Racing Savannah), at least I know her name and her love interest's name: Maya and Jesse. You can find them here: Hundred Oaks Peep Diorama 

The Big Kahuna

Not a fan of the clouds for the background.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Review: Racing Savannah (Hundred Oaks #4) by Miranda Kenneally

Title: Racing Savannah (Hundred Oaks #4)
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Series: Yes
Finished or ARC: Finished
Source: I think I bought this, but I'm not sure. I might have won it.

Goodreads: They’re from two different worlds.

He lives in the estate house, and she spends most of her time in the stables helping her father train horses. In fact, Savannah has always been much more comfortable around horses than boys. Especially boys like Jack Goodwin—cocky, popular and completely out of her league. She knows the rules: no mixing between the staff and the Goodwin family. But Jack has no such boundaries.

With her dream of becoming a horse jockey, Savannah isn’t exactly one to follow the rules either. She’s not going to let someone tell her a girl isn’t tough enough to race. Sure, it’s dangerous. Then again, so is dating Jack…

Moral: not all rich people are stuck up snobs and that social class shouldn't matter when it comes to love.

Like all of Miranda Kenneally's books, there is a heroine that is pretty awesome and a guy that has some issues. Jack's issue: the fact he is forced to pretend to like someone he doesn't like, and he can't have Savannah because of it and the fact she is him employee. Classic love story situation. Yes, cliche. No, it's not cheesy. This situation between them is funny, but sweet in a way.

I loved the comedy in this book. Kenneally never fails to make me laugh. What I love is that when things are going horrible for Savannah, she inserts a bit of humor in to lighten up the mood. 

Savannah is a great character--funny, smart, and kind. What I love about her is that she doesn't take crap from anyone and is very strong willed when she wants something. I love that she was willing to do anything to make sure her unborn sister had a good life, even if she didn't like Cindy, her father's girlfriend, all that well. 

There are some really, really sad moments in this book that made me want to cry. I'm not going to indulge you on what they are, but those moments are ones that can happen in real life, which is what I like about Kenneally's novels. She creates real situations and turns them into amazing stories. 

Jack. I have mix feelings about Jack. I thought he was really sweet, but he could be the biggest jackass. I did believe that Jack truly cared for Savannah, but during one scene, I wanted to jump into the story and beat him. He asked a question that was so rude that I can't believe Savannah went back to him. Of course, Jack redeemed himself and everything worked itself out.

Overall, this book was a great read and I loved it. 

Rating & Cover:
The Big Kahuna
I love the cover of this book. I love Savannah's outfit.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mini Reviews #9: Christmas in July with A Man's Heart

I loved this book! Debbie Mason is a brilliant writer who crafted an amazing story about finding love again. While I hated that there was a love triangle and Grace's insecurities made her a bit...irrational, I loved that Jack never gave up on winning her back. I loved Jack, though he was a total idiot for what he did to Grace before he lost his memory. And then while he was gone, he was still an idiot, even if he did lose his memory. I loved how everything worked out, but I kinda feel that Maria's back-story was a bit overdone. If you read the book (which you should), then you'll know what I'm talking about. Overall, this book was really good. (I will admit though, I skipped the first two chapters because they sounded a bit boring to me).
5 starfish!
Image from Goodreads

A Man's Heart by Debbie Macomber
Like all of Debbie Macomber's books, I loved this one. While some may not appreciate some of the cheesy romance Debbie may sometimes come up with, I love it. Reading her books makes believe that there are great guys out in the world waiting for their other half to find them. (Yes, I'm a romantic. Sue me.) What I loved about the first story, The Way to a Man's Heart, was that the character's age difference didn't matter to them. And no one judge them! In the second story, Hasty Wedding, the main heroine didn't care that her husband was Indian. Getting past all the prejudice and seeing him the man he is, the heroine fell in love and forgot about her awful ex. Yes, some of parts of the stories is unrealistic and cheesy, but isn't that what makes a great romance novel? I think so.

5 starfish!
Image from Barnes N' Noble