Friday, April 29, 2016

Review - The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Firzgerald

 The Great Gatsby
Genre: Classic/Fiction
Source - Purchased 
Published - 1925
Paperback - 180 pgs 
Add it // Buy it

Rating: 4/5 

THE GREAT GATSBY, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s<

At the end of the day I cannot add much to the huge number of reviews and discussions about this classic work. Much of what I thought about the book has been analyzed many times over and I already know I missed some of the symbolism and messages from in the story. This was my first complete read through since I skimmed most of the story when it was required reading in high school.

However, I want to comment on how I  appreciated the story much more now. This story is full of symbolism and social commentary  which I continue to think about long after I finished the book. I especially found the commentary about wealth and morality interesting. I'm sad I had such a strong aversion to this after being forced to read it in high school because it is actually a really interesting and well written story.

Throughout the story I knew the narrator, Nick, was trying to impress the things he learned from his time with Gatsby on the reader. Then through this Fitzgerald was exhibiting the moral dilemmas of the 1920's. It is quite heavy-handed at times, but difficult to catch all the symbolism at the same time.

Now, rather than finding the characters insufferable, I found this story to be sad but understandable. Instead of struggling to read this book I fell into it. I'm glad I took the time to reread it and I want to reread it and make even more connections in the future.

Happy Reading

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Three Reasons to Read - Tamora Pierce

All of the Three Reasons to Read I've done so far have been about specific books or series. Instead, today I want to highlight an author I really enjoy and want to encourage others to read. Tamora Pierce has been one of my favorite authors for a long time and she was one of the first to introduce me to fantasy. I have a special place in my heart (and on my bookshelves) for her books and hope I can convince you to give her a shot.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Book + Music Association

It is rare that I listen to books and music with lyrics at the same time. I get too distracted by the words in the song to pay attention to the words on the page. However, there are days when I'm wrapped up in the fictional world and need to hunt down songs I can live the story through even when I'm not reading it. Today I have a few examples of music that seems to be written for a specific book or series. I might turn this into a series if I ever come across more! This was a lot of fun to think about!

Lux Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout -

This series has a special place in my heart even though I haven't actually finished it. I've reread the first three books many times and read them from Daemon's POV in Oblivion. So when I started listening to The Peace of Wild Things in my car when I was also reading this series a lot of things stared to click into place. It felt like these songs were written for Daemon and Katy's relationship!

Oblivion (Lux, #1.5) Obsidian (Lux, #1) 
 Onyx (Lux, #2) Opal (Lux, #3)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Top Eight Bookworm Delights

If you are like me little things bring you pleasure and delight when it comes to books. It might be as simple as removing an ugly sale sticker or it could be the release of the finale of a favorite series. There are many things that delight me and I want to share just a few today as part of Top Ten Tuesday.

Check out The Broke and the Bookish for more Top Ten Tuesday themes.

1) Curling up on the couch to read under a blanket - My favorite place to read is my couch. It is not a coincidence that if my couch is messy I don't do a lot of reading. For some reason if I can't read there my progress is slow in the book I'm working on. I love my couch and curling up under a cozy blanket and good book is the best.

2) Finding your favorite book or series in a book store - Even though I already own copies of my favorite books, when I find them in a book store I get really excited. Maybe because I try to push them on my friends when I see them in the wild.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sunday Coffee Break - Kickoff!

Normally on a Sunday I kick back and read a lot of blog posts and drink a lot of coffee. This is the time in my week I set aside to relax, read some good content and savor my cups of coffee. So in honor of my tradition and to spread the love around the blogging world a little more, I have a new post to introduce you to!

Each week I'll be featuring one or two blog posts (and/or a Booktube video) I have enjoyed recently mostly from the week before. My plan is to vary this as much as possible and, hopefully, start reading even more blogs the process. If you are a blogger or a vlogger, let me know! I'd love to check out your posts and possibly feature them here as part of this series.

Along with the blog posts I'll be featuring a book that will be released in the upcoming week. You may notice my timing is quite convenient this week. If you don't know my most anticipated release of this year is coming out on Tuesday. I'm also excited to work on this part of the post to keep myself informed about what books are coming out and to hopefully promote some titles that are not as well known. So it will be a mix of popular releases and lesser known titles.

I'm really excited to kick off this post. I've been thinking about it for ages and finally figured out some of the logistics of making it. Most of them will not be this long and I doubt I will be able to post one every week especially at first. We will see where the blog posts take us!

Recent Blog Posts:

Recently there were two posts that really caught my attention. 

This post describes my life to a T. I've been struggling with a reading slump because I am a mood reader and nothing was working for me. I love this post! 

Upcoming Book Release:

Its finally here! The Raven King is here! Or at least it will be here very very soon! I can't wait for this book to arrive and I am also so frightened of all the feels I am about to feel. 

Because this is the final book in a series, I won't include a description this week. Normally I'll try to include a little more information about the book or series. This week though it is all too exciting!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Mini - Reviews (Stars Above, The Secret Garden & Unequal Affection)

Stars Above

The Secret Garden

Unequal Affections: A Pride and Prejudice Retelling

This week I have a handful of Mini- Reviews for you! These are reviews for books that I don't have a lot to talk about. Actually these were all pretty good books, but some books don't generate a lot of controversy or a strong reaction. Check out these great reads!

Stars Above by Marissa Meyer - 4/5
My Thoughts: This was a nice collection of stories about the characters from The Lunar Chronicles outside the main storyline. Some of the stories fill in the blanks from the series while others are completely separate. Personally, my favorite story was the Epilogue which reunited our band of heroes for a special event. Overall this was a fun read and I enjoyed most of the stories. This book is not essential to The Lunar Chronicles plot, but if you are a fan of the series, I recommend checking it out!

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett - 4/5
My Thoughts: When I was a kid I remember watching a movie version of The Secret Garden (maybe with Maggie Smith in it?) and falling in love with the story. I was craving this story recently and am so glad I had it on hand to pick up. This short straight-forward story is a delight even as an adult about friendship and determination. Some one the descriptions are lengthy about trivial things but overall it is a lovely story. 

Unequal Affection by Lara S. Ormiston - 4/5
My Thoughts: At first I wasn't sold on this one. The disastrous first proposal scenes is what I always considered to be the spark for Darcy's self assessment and improvement. Instead in this book, Lizzy doesn't berate Mr. Darcy's behavior but instead considers his offer rationally. It is an interesting take on the story and ended up being a good reimagining of events. I liked the scenes at Longbourn and seeing Darcy and Lizzy navigate their engagement. I did like that the two of them spared and misunderstood one another quite a few times. It was a fun read for sure with great writing and pacing!

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

T5W- Intimidating Books

It is Wednesday so it much be time for another Top Five Wednesday! This week I'm talking all about the books that intimidate me so much I end up not reading them! This could either be because I've heard a lot of hype about them or because some of these books are big! Check it out and let me know which one I should pick up first.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Surviving the Last Week Before The Raven King Release: A Guide by Me

There is only a week left until The Raven King release! 

Who else is losing their mind a little bit? I've had this book preordered for OVER a year and I cannot wait to get my hands on it. I know everyone is excited. I just cannot handle my excitement!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Read What You Want!

As you may guess, I think about reading a lot and I think about books a lot. I run this blog so obviously I have a big interest in books. However, this (waves hand at screen) can also put a level of stress on me I never expected when I started this as a hobby. I've mentioned it before but I still feel like I need to remind myself at this moment of a few things.

Reading is My Hobby 

No matter what happens in life I should be reading the books I really want to read. Sometimes I get too wrapped up in what other people are reading or what the latest release is instead of just picking up the book I want to read at this moment in time. It turns into me reading 10 books I kind of want to read all at the same time and going into a massive reading slump. Even when I make goal lists for myself, it usually doesn't work out because they aren't the books I want to read right at the moment. Being a mood reader is tough but I can read what I want when I want even if I feel outside pressure to do otherwise.

Reading 100 Books Isn't a Requirement

For the past few years my yearly reading goals have been at least 100 books. This year my goal is 75, but I've already hit 30. I don't need to rush through books! I'm already reading above the national average of six books per year!
One of my good friends was so impressed that I read so much. She can't remember if she finished a book in the past year which simply amazed me! I can't imagine not reading a book for pleasure for an entire year. However, I can slow down my reading speed! Its ok and I don't need to hit 100 books every year. Take the pressure off myself as much as possible!

Have Fun!!

This is probably the most essential but least thought about part of reading for me. I'm always having fun when I'm around books. When I'm at a book store, the library or even in my own room, I'm always happy to be around books. However when I'm reading I need to remember it isn't just about reviews and blogging. I'm reading just for fun and to enjoy the story.

Honestly I need to remind myself of these things every once and a while. Getting wrapped up in blogging and the pressures of booktube can be too easy. What are your tips and tricks to get rid of that reading pressure? Let me know!

Happy Reading!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Author-a-thon TBR

This week there is a new readathon happening! The Author-a-thon is centered around authors that you want to read or really enjoyed. I'm anxious to check out this readathon and try to read as much as possible. The event runs from April 18th through the 24th!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Review - Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Series: Throne of Glass #4 
Genre: Fantasy 
Source: Published
Published: September 2015
Hardcover - 648pgs
Add it// But it

Rating: 4/5

The queen has returned.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

Quick Thoughts: This book was a roller  coaster for me. Not only emotionally (maybe especially emotionally) but also my reading experience. I struggled at the beginning of this installment. Maybe this was because of a impending reading slump, but I think mostly because the characterization was off which kept distracting me from the events in the story.  After about 150 pages this issue was less noticeable and the rest of the book was fantastic.

Full Review: 
Queen of Shadows was the perfect follow up to Heir of Fire. While I liked Heir of Fire, we did not make a lot of progress in the story. There was a lot of character development, which was necessary, but the plot stalled for the most part in that book.

This story in contrast explodes from the beginning with action, adventure and new information. Characters reappear and new revelations drive the plot forward. The female characters in this series are phenomenal! I love  them and their relationships with one another. These relationships have only improved as the series goes on. Maas fleshed out several characters that felt flat and underdeveloped earlier in the series but especially Lyssandra and Manon. Their character development was out of this world during this book and I savored every second of it.  At first I was unimpressed by Manon but I am almost as interested in what happens to her as Aelin. Her whole life could be another series in my opinion. No one is really a side character in this series. Everyone has a backstory, a life and a story to be told. I love how they all feel important and necessary.

On the other hand we had a couple of instances at the beginning of this book where the characterization was out of whack. Chaol especially lot a lot of ground at the beginning of the story. I understand there is a certain amount of tension between him and Alein because they have differences of opinion, they are a former couple, and mistakes have been made on both sides. However, Chaol's character went backwards for a period which frustrated me a lot. His behavior also made me mad at Aelin for a while to because their interactions never seemed to be in character. There was a lot of frustration all the way around for me during their interactions! (Thank goodness I reread books 1-3 and don't ship them anymore)

Speaking of ships. I am behind all the ships at this point. Even the ones that may be controversial to some, I am excited for and ready to see how they work out.

Lastly I want to compliment Maas' writing in this series. After rereading the first three books and finishing this one, I can see how much planning went into this series. It is incredible to see how well she knows the world and what a deep knowledge of its history she has dreamed up. I love authors that know the history of their world long before any of the characters they write have been born.

The events in this story had me on the edge of my seat and holding my breath. There were moments when I had to let out great sobs because the emotions overwhelmed me. I am so excited for Empire of Storms. I love these characters and cannot wait to see what happens in the next installment, but I am also terribly afraid it will hurt me.

Happy Reading! 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

TV Shows I'm Watching Right Now!

Because I am limping along in a reading slump, today I thought we could talk about television. Currently I am in the middle of many things and want to start even more. Forgive me for my little tangent at the end of the video about Sleepy Hollow. I filmed this a couple days after the season finale and my anger was fresh. (It still hasn't diminished) Anyway let me know what you recommend and any other thoughts on these shows I'm watching right now!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

T5W - Books on my TBR with "Hard" Topics

This week on Top Five Wednesday the topic was top five books on tough stuff. This could include any topic you believe would be sensitive or tough to read about. Instead of books I've read, this week I am featuring books that I would like to read that I know feature tough topics. Below the covers I will be listing the tough topic each book covers as to give a tigger warning of sorts.

Exit, Pursued by a Bear This Is Where It Ends All the Rage

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

March Favorites

It may be a little late to make a March favorites video because we are rapidly approaching the midpoint of the month. However, I still want to recap my month and I like making these posts so I'm going to break the rules (are there rules?) and make this a little late.

Book Favorite:

March was a weird month for reading for me. I started out of the gate at a rapid pace, but my reading died off REALLY fast. I didn't finish a novel after the second week of the month and went on a graphic novel binge for a few weeks before slipping into a massive reading slump. So instead of a book favorite this month, I have a favorite book format. 

I love the graphic novel format and I read quite a few in March. They are just as emotional and full of interesting characters as regular novels, but they have art and are faster reads!

Amulet, Vol. 1 by Kazu Kibuishi Hawkeye, Vol. 3 by Matt Fraction Lumberjanes, Vol. 1 by Noelle Stevenson Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1 by G. Willow Wilson 

Blog/Video Favorites:

This month my favorite post was the Top Ten Tuesday post I put together about the Top Ten Bookish People to Follow on Social Media. (There was a lot more than 10) This post was a lot of work to put together but I liked the way it came together. 

I also really enjoyed finding more people to follow on social media from the Broke and the Bookish's master post on their blog

Monday, April 11, 2016

Spring Reading Slump

Before a few weeks ago, I didn't take reading slumps very seriously. I knew there were times in my life when I didn't feel like reading very much or there were things I wanted to do more than read. However, it never got this bad. I never felt this disinterested in books and reading. When I am typing this, I am coming up on four weeks from the last time I finished a novel. Things are getting ugly here at my house. The more I try to read the more frustrated I become! 

At first I thought I was reading too many books. I was. I had a pile as high as my nightstand going all at once! So I reshelved some promising to return as soon as possible. That didn't help.

Then I tried a different book format. I picked up comics and graphic novels. I listened to audiobooks and lectures rather than reading anything. Still, no desire to read has reemerged.

This feeling is different than my regular autumn slump too. Every autumn I start to slide into a bit of a lazy period. The days are getting shorter, all the summer excitement is over, and the weather is turning cold. At that time of year I tend to be a vegetable on my couch every evening. This isn't that. This is just no desire for reading.

Did I break my reading bone?  The sad thing is I know when I "hurt" myself too. 

It wasn't even a bad book that broke my reading desire.  It was all me reading too much in February. In February I felt like I was reading faster and faster. If I was in a car I would have been pushing pressing my accelerator to the floor. It was reading reading reading all month and every second of it was glorious at the time. It was great then! Now I can barely look at a book. My TBR shelf seems boring. The books I was excited to read in April scare me and my anxiety over my reading goal grows every day. My graphic novel and comics therapy isn't working any more either. I read recklessly and now I'm paying for it.

Have you ever felt this way? What did you do to fix it if you did? Should I just let this weird slump run its course? Advice is welcome. Slump breaking books are also appreciated.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

March Book Haul

Ah it is the sweet smell of Spring or it the sweet smell of new books? Either way it is time for my March Book Haul! This month I have done a good job not buying books even though I have done a poor job reading book (especially new ones). It has been tempting to go buy a bunch of new ones though! I will not give in!

 Books Mentioned:

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Top Five Wednesday - Rainy Day Reads

This week on Top Five Wednesday I wasn't sure how to interpret the topic. What are rainy day reads? I don't know. This week I decided Rainy Day Reads are books I could read in one sitting or books that I read on a rainy day. These could also be books I think would be great to read a large chunk of in one day even if you don't finish it. Top Five Wednesday was created by Lainey, but she has passed the torch to Sam from Thoughts on Tomes! Both of them are lovely. Check out the Goodreads group for topics or more details.

1) Storm by Brigid Kemmerer - This is one of my favorite paranormal romance series right now. The books are really fun, easy to read, and I love to sit down to read them in one sitting. A rainy day would be the perfect atmosphere to submerge yourself in this element-powers based series.

2) The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle - I got completely lost in this book and spent several hours listening to the end of the audiobook because I needed to know what happened. So reading this during a rainy day sounds like a good idea.

3) Wait for You by J. Lynn  - This is a great contemporary. It is Armentrout's addicting writing mixed with a compelling story. I couldn't put it down and it gave me all the emotions.

4) The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman - You could read this in one sitting. I would love to reread this on a rainy day! Such a great magical realism story!

5) Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke - Go read this graphic novel! It is super cute and easy to read. It is all fun and games.

Storm (Elemental, #1) The Accident Season Wait for You (Wait for You, #1) The Ocean at the End of the Lane Zita the Spacegirl (Zita the Spacegirl, #1)

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Top Ten(+) Bookish People on Social Media

There was absolutely no way to scale this list down to just ten people. I could do ten for each social media platform and I wanted to touch on them all! While I tried to mention mostly non-authors, many did sneak in especially in the Twitter section!

Also if you are interested in following me on any of my social media, it is all linked on the sidebar or right here!



Jen Campbell - Jen has a wonderful channel full of discussions, tags and recommendations. She runs a bookshop and is an author! I love her videos and she makes me think during every video. She takes on really interesting topics too and features really interesting unique books. (Website)

Misty (thebookrat) - Mist was the first booktuber I followed way back in the day. She has a ton of interesting Book Chats, her book hauls are always enormous and she has a wide variety of recommendations from graphic novels to Jane Austen to fantasy. Her channel is awesome. (Blog)

Monday, April 4, 2016

April TBR (2016)

Check out the books on my surprise April TBR. I mention this in the video, but this TBR is an experiment. I haven't done one in a while since they weren't working for me. So I tried this and we'll see how it goes. I may do another in May or go back to my currently reading format. 
We'll see! Let me know what you think!

Books Mentioned: 

Happy Reading!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

March Wrap Up (Part 2) | Comics

Happy April! Extra post today! I'm not fooling! Today I wanted to wrap up the other half of my reading month. In March it was split down the middle between novels and comics. If you want to see the novels I read in March, check out my video wrap up HERE. I'm anxious to read even more comics, I'll be visiting the library today actually, so you may see another split video in April depending on how many I read!

Books Mentioned: 

Friday, April 1, 2016

Review - Winter by Marissa Meyer

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4)

Series: The Lunar Chronicles #4 (Final) 
Genre: Sci-Fi Fairytale Retelling
Source: Purchased
Published - November 2015
Hardcover - 824 pgs

Rating - 4/5  

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

Quick Thoughts: Overall the ending to this series was very good and I was pleased with the wrap up to the story. A lot of questions were answered and the action sequences in this book were awesome. However, I did have a few questions left over at the end and didn’t love it quite as much as everyone else.

Full Review: Alright. This book took me almost a month to rate or even review. I had many mixed feelings about this book after finishing it and I still feel like I’m sorting through them.  I wanted to love the wrap up to this series after seeing so many glowing reviews online, but I got stuck. There were a lot of things I liked. For instance, the action and adventure in this series has always sucked me in. I feel like I can really visualize what is going on and Meyer has always given me a complete picture of this futuristic world. I ship all the ship especially the friendships and felt very satisfied with the conclusion of this story. However, I did have a few problems.

The fairytale interpretations throughout this series have been innovative and this installment is spot on as well. I love the elements of the Snow White fairytale we saw and the futuristic twist to the classic story too. However, there were a few points where scenes felt forced into the story to accommodate more parts of the fairytale. In some ways this story has become completely independent of the original stories so I found it a bit disruptive to be reminded this was a retelling. However, I felt very similarly at the end of Cinder and upon reread found it worked better for me. 

My other issue with this book was the main couple. I had a really hard time with Jacin and Winter at first. There was so much character development and progress in Cress. I was already in the middle of so many stories and character arcs I had a hard time starting two new ones. Eventually I did like both of them and found their stories interesting. Plus Winter and Scarlet's friendship was a really interesting dynamic. I love Scarlet so as she and Winter spent more time together, I warmed up to Winter.

Like I mentioned though, the wrap up was well done. I liked the ending and how fast-paced and thrilling the conclusion was. There is a lot of drama and excitement in this wrap up. It is a long book so be prepared for emotional upheaval and lots of action. I was pleased about a lot of the decisions Meyer made for her characters and how the story panned out. I was satisfied with the conclusion of the story. 

Happy Birthday!