Sunday, January 21, 2018

Reading Vlog - Jan 15th - 20th

This week I wanted to push myself to make time for reading since I had been failing to do so for a few weeks. I also wanted to try my hand at doing a weekly reading vlog. This week wasn't very exciting in my life so I may try this again when I have more going on, but I had a lot of fun reading and filming my thoughts to tell you today!

Let me know what you're reading this week and what you think of reading vlogs. Should I try this again in the future? 

Friday, January 19, 2018

Review - Alone with Mr. Darcy by Abigail Reynolds

Alone with Mr. Darcy: A Pride & Prejudice Variation
Series: Standalone
Genre: Historical Romance
Age Group: Adult
White Soup Press (2015)
Ebook - 370 pgs

Elizabeth Bennet can’t imagine anything worse than being stranded by a blizzard in a tiny cottage with proud and unpleasant Mr. Darcy. But being trapped there for days – and nights - with an injured and confused Mr. Darcy who keeps saying the oddest things about her is even worse. At least he possesses the useful ability of lighting a fire to keep them from freezing to death. But when he puts his arms around her, she discovers the hearth isn't the only place he knows how to build a fire. And the little half-frozen kitten he finds in a woodpile isn't proving to be much of a chaperone. 

She doesn’t really believe his promises to marry her if anyone finds out they spent two nights alone together, especially after learning he was betrayed by another woman in the past. When her worst fears are realized and her reputation is in tatters, she isn’t surprised to discover Mr. Darcy has vanished into thin air, leaving her no choice but to find a husband as soon as possible before her whole family is ruined. Any husband will have to do, no matter how much she dislikes him. Even if she can’t stop thinking of Mr. Darcy…

Rating: 4/5

Even though it has been a while since I read this retelling, I still remember enjoying it quite a bit. Normally these escape my brain rather quickly so that is just one of the many points in its favor.

There was a lot to like in this book including the amazing characterization. Like many of Abigail Reynold’s retellings the characters felt authentic and acted like their counterparts in the original novels. Personally, I really enjoy when a Pride and Prejudice retelling is filled with tropes and is a little predictable. I read these to relax and to simply enjoy different situations where Darcy and Lizzy meet. This was one of my favorites that I’ve come across in years as far as the love story is concerned. It is predictable in many of the Lizzy/Darcy interactions, but there are surprises in other aspects of the novel. Some of the other characters are very different than they are in the original novel. This was an interesting twist on the story and created a myriad of issues for Lizzie and Darcy.

There were some things that didn’t work as well. The circumstances of how Lizzie and Darcy end up in the cabin alone were rather rushed. Also there were two things plot points that bothered me. There was a rather callous dismissal of a rape victim and a mental health condition (PTSD) is glossed over for the most part. I understand these were both written in a historical sense, but I thought it could have been handled better.

Overall this is one of my favorite Reynolds retellings even though it had issues. I can’t wait for more Reynolds retellings. She just has a nack for it.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Traveling Bookshelf Tag

This week I wanted to finally get around to doing a tag I was tagged in at the end of 2017. This tag was created by Julie at HomeWithMyBookshelf and she tagged me in her original video.

Books about places you would like to visit
Books about times you would like to visit
Books bought on holiday
Books set half a world away - in a very different place or culture from yours
Travel out of this world - a sci-fi, fantasy or alternate universe that you’d like to visit
Coming back home - a book set in your town, state or country

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday - Resolutions & Goals for 2018

Every year I make a video about my goals from last year and the goals I hope to accomplish in the new year. That video is here and I've also done a New Years Book Tag about goals if you want to check those out. A lot of these are covered in those videos, but not all of them! Even so, I love to keep reminding myself of my goals and plans during January. It helps me stay focused for longer and not fail spectacularly in the first few weeks.

1)            Read 100 Books
2)            Read 40,000 pages
3)            Start 15 Series
4)            Finish 15 Series
5)            Reduce TBR Shelf to 150 books or less
6)            Listen to 15 audiobooks
7)            Post twice a week on the blog

A few that aren’t set in stone but I hope happen

8)            Reread The Mortal Instruments Series
9)            Reread the Kate Daniels Series

10)    Read the five oldest books on my TBR

Top Ten Tuesday has moved from our beloved Broke and the Bookish to a new home on That Artsy Reader Girl. I'm really excited for the upcoming topics. If you haven't participated before, here's another excuse to join the fun!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Read Series from 2017 and Plans for 2018

Though I have failed to fill out my reading statistic sheet through the end of the year, I do have some information gathered together. Today I wanted to talk about the series I started and finished last year as well as some books I want to start in 2018.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Review - Batman (DC Rebirth) Vols 1-4 by Tom King

Batman, Volume 1: I Am Gotham Batman, Volume 2: I Am Suicide Batman: Night of the Monster Men

Batman, Volume 3: I Am Bane Batman, Volume 4: The War of Jokes and Riddles

Series: Batman Vol III
Genre: Superhero Comics
Age Group: Adult
Source: Library 
Ebook -  ~200pgs per volume 
DC Comics (2017)

The Caped Crusader has never been stopped. Not by the Joker. Not by Two-Face. Not even by the entire Justice League. But now, in the wake of DC Universe: Rebirth, Batman must face his most challenging foe ever: a hero who wants to save Gotham...from the Batman! 

Vol. 1 - I am Gotham - 3/5 
Batman - Night of the Monster Men - 3/5
Vol. 2 - I am Suicide - 3/5
Vol. 3 - I am Bane - 4/5
Vol. 4 - War of Jokes and Riddle - 4.5/5

Normally I stay away from Batman comics. They tend to be a little too depressing for me. Batman isn’t my favorite comic hero either. This series was really interesting though and I really liked the arcs we followed through the four volumes I read. The over arching story is a little slow to start but each volume grew in my opinion.

Specifically the third and fourth volumes, I am Bane  and The War of Jokes and Riddles were well developed. Like I mentioned I don’t enjoy the really depressing Batman comics so I liked how these comics walked the line between tortured and soul-sucking. That might sound like a bad thing but I really liked where this story fell on that spectrum. Batman himself is tortured, but the story is exciting and interesting.

The art style wasn’t anything to write home about, but it wasn’t bad. I enjoyed these volumes overall (Especially volume four. That one stood out.) and I’ll continue to follow this series as it goes forward.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Goals: The Wrap Up and the Plan Going Forward

Have you broken any of your New Year's Resolutions yet? I'm sure I have by this point. All those thoughts I had on New Year's Eve about exercising everyday and eating healthy probably went right out the window. My bookish goals however usually are the one I stick to. Here's hoping that remains true in 2018. What are your reading plans for the new year? What are your big reading goals this year.

I'm trying not to set up lists of books I want to read this year. I'm hoping to just read as many of my unread books as possible. Too often I try to make lists of books I promise to read in a month or a year and I never do it. I'm too much of a mood reader. Anyone else have this problem?

Let's start the new year right and just keep reading.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday - Books I Meant to Read in 2017 But Didn't Get to

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! Every year there are books I wish I had read or made resolutions to read and I never picked up. These are just a few of the ones I wish I had read last year. I'm not going to make a resolution about these because that just never seems to work. So I'm just going to say I hope I'll read these this year or at least a few of them!

Opposition (Lux, #5) A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5) The Handmaid's Tale

The Fate of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #3) Quintana of Charyn (Lumatere Chronicles, #3) Uprooted

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1) Girl Out of Water A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2)

The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking #2)

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Bout of Books TBR - Round 21

An amazing start to the year is to participate in the Bout of Books Readathon. This is one of my favorite readathons and it is very very low key. The participants and hosts are so kind and encouraging. If you want to start the year off right, try this out. The only goal is to read more than you normally would. There are no challenges or extra expectations for this one. Just read and have fun.

Check out what I'm hoping to read this week here:

Friday, January 5, 2018

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)
Series: Six of Crows #2 (Final)
Genre: Fantasy
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Purchased
Hardcover: 546 pgs
Henry Holt & Co (2016) 

When you can't beat the odds, change the game.

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

Rating: 5/5

Here we go. Welcome to 2018!

It has been a long time since I sat down to write one of these. I need to reach all the way back to the end of the summer to find the start of a very long list of books I failed to write down my thoughts for. Crooked Kingdom is something I really regret not writing up when I first finished it. I remember being in complete awe of the book and being so absorbed in the book it was hard to start my next read.

The character continued to be my favorite part of this duology. The arcs and journeys each character went on in this story were beautifully crafted and shaped. Even though we had a lot of different voices, each one stood out for me. Not only were the voices distinct, Bardugo did a great job using character POV to hide information from the reader. At times I wished there were fewer jumps between characters. So much was going on I wanted resolution to one problem before we were thrown into even more trouble. This strategy created a lot of tension and stress though which made me keep reading. I needed to know what was going to happen to this crew. They needed to make it out ok. I have so many feelings about this book it is hard to put into words. I was deeply attached to this cast. The pacing Is very fast and made it difficult to put this down for any length of time.

As so many people have mentioned, the diversity in this story is fantastic. We have multiple people of color on the page, there are characters with physical and learning disabilities and a character fighting a drug addiction. Multiple characters have survived trauma and struggle with that. Though I cannot say if the representation is accurate, the amount of diversity on the page is great.

After seeing how Bardugo snuck in a few favorite characters, I imagine we will see some of these again in the future. I cannot wait to see what happens in the Grisha world.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

My Best Reads of 2017

It is incredible we've finished another year and I've read another 100 books. This year I read about 100 novels and around 45 graphic novels/issues/mangas. I've really enjoyed the books I picked up this year and it was hard to pick out just a few to mention. In the end though there are always a few that stand out from the rest. Let me know what your favorite books from 2017 were!