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Monthly Archives: December 2014

January TBR 2015

“It’s time to begin, isn’t it?”

Happy early New Year to all of you who have subscribed to me (thank you!) and to those who have only just come across my blog (hello!). I know it’s two days early, but I have a feeling I’m going to be hungover on New Years and therefore won’t be able to type coherently let alone decide what books to read. My New Year’s Eve is going to consist of watching the ball drop on my couch with my SO. The two of us will drink champagne and other alcohols while feasting on a wonderful meal of Stouffer’s mac & cheese and chicken nuggets. It will be splendid. :”D

So I’m picking my books today. Because champagne usually kicks my ass.

First, if you remember, I decided to join Katytastic’s TBR Jar Challenge. And if you also remember, I mentioned needing a jar. Well… I found a jar. It was full of hot chocolate powder, though. So after a lot of hot chocolate drinking, I now have a jar!

IMG_0909Instead of a typical tbr jar that contains all the names of books I have yet to read, this one contains twelve challenges to complete. Each month, I will draw one and in addition to the rest of my tbr list for the month, I’ll read a book that fulfills the challenge on the slip I pull. So I pulled one:

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A book that is not a novel. As I’m writing this right now, I have no idea what I will read to fulfill this, but by the time you get to the bottom of this post, I will have gotten up, gone through my books and chosen one to add onto the list (it’ll be at the bottom of my list since I already know what the others are, yay). So onto my January to-be-read!

 1. S. by JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst

This book I’m very much looking forward to getting farther into. This is the most intriguing book I think I’ve ever come across in my 24 years of reading books. The book itself contains another book. Goodreads probably does a better job describing it than me, but here I go, my best shot:

The book within is called “Ship of Theseus” by VM Straka. As you read this book, you notice it is translated by someone who has schizophrenia and is obsessed with Straka. Then you begin to see notes scrawled in the margins by someone who has also read the book. Soon after a second person begins to scrawl in notes as well. As you continue to read “Ship of Theseus” you begin following a second story in the margins as the two readers interact with each other and try to find out more about the mysterious author and the schizophrenic translator. And throughout the book, there are things you’ll find folded up in the pages, like news articles and maps and lists that the readers have made. It’s so fascinating turning a page and having something unexpected fall out. That’s the why book comes in a box, so none of the pieces go missing before you can get to them. I really like it! So you’re really reading a book within a book. I’ve already started it and even though it looked daunting with all the different color notes along the sides, I soon picked up a knack for knowing when to pause in reading the main passage of the book and switch to reading the notes that follow along. It’s a lot easier than it sounds and I can’t even explain how I figured out when to pause. I just… did. And if you pick this up, I’m sure you’ll be able to see it too. I am SO excited to continue this book. I feel like even if I end up hating the plot, the fact that it’s just so damn fascinating and interactive will compel me to write a review for it. Though from what I’ve read so far, I feel like I’m going to love this. Political intrigue, conspiracy, I love it I love it I love it!

2. Perdido Street Station by China Mieville
I’M GOING TO FINISH THIS DAMN BOOK DAMMIT!

I’ve been reading this book since September and I still have over 150 pages to go. I don’t know what it is about this book, I just can’t read it quickly. But, honestly, I’m loving it. Right now it’s sitting at a solid 4 stars, could bounce higher if the ending is spectacular.
I think part of what is taking so long with this book is that the plot is not immediately obvious, I suppose. Going into it, I didn’t realize that. The book instead is about the city New Crobuzen, in which the story is set. China Mieville breathes life into this city to the point where I feel like I could walk down its streets, see its sights, smell its smells, interact with all the different creatures he has created. It’s so wonderful. My goal is to finish this book this month. I think that if I finish this one and no other, I’ll be satisfied (I mean, I hope that doesn’t happen, but whatevs. I’d still be happy).

As far as I know, this book is part of a three book set of companion novels, of which I also own the second one, The Scar. And if that book is anything like this one in writing style, I’m sure it’ll be just as rich and fulfilling. Looking forward to finishing this one and hopefully getting to the next very soon.

3. The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

This is another one I’m still reading. This one’s progress is a lot slower than the others, purely for the reason that I’m reading it aloud with my SO a chapter or two at a time, and with all the holiday stuff going on recently, we haven’t touched it in a couple weeks. I’m really hoping to get back to it soon before I begin to forget everything that’s happened so far. This book actually contains five books, but I’m not counting them as five on my goodreads, just because they are all relatively short and when combined together, make a decently large sized tome. So I’m going to leave it at that.

For the few of you remaining on this planet who have not read or heard of this book, it’s about uh… well, hitchhiking, towels, aliens, poetry, robots and sarcasm. It’s so wonderful, I highly suggest it.

4. The Diviners by Libba Bray
This book is one that I picked up recently and then put down purely because I grew distracted by other books. I really am liking this book though. And lucky for me, the Reading Adventures Book Club on Goodreads has chosen this book as one of their January picks. So guess what, perfect opportunity to resume reading this and hopefully finish it. This is a chunker of a book though man, holy cow. And from what I’ve heard it’s the first of a series, not a stand alone like I thought it was when I originally purchased it. Those goofies, making me emotionally invested only to take those emotions and rip them apart in what I am sure will be a cliff hanger at the end of the book. Mark my words, there will be a cliff hanger.

This book is set around the 1920s and the main character is definitely a flapper. I really like Libba Bray’s writing in this – she writes the 20s really well – the slang used, the implied social roles and their alteration during this decade, the history, it’s all wonderful. This book, if you couldn’t tell from the title has a supernatural twist. I love it.

5. The Keepers of the Garden by Dolores Cannon
I think this is going to be an awesome read. This is my TBR Jar Challenge book. This book I actually borrowed from a friend before winter break with a promise to get it back to her by the beginning of the spring semester, so it was perfect that I would pick ‘not a novel’ for the challenge this month. This book is written by a hypnotherapist that specializes in regression and past lives. I’m not 100% sure if I buy into this or not, but I’m keeping an open mind. Anything is possible, right?

The book I believe is about a case this woman had where she regressed a man and he slowly revealed his past lives. Now, when you hear about past lives, you think great kings, raccoons, blah blah. Earth species. But this man, as he goes farther and farther back, begins revealing past lives he’s lived as extra-terrestrials. Alien past lives. How awesome is THAT?! It will be so awesome to read about. I can’t say I’ve read anything like this before, fiction or otherwise. I can’t wait to pick this one up.

So that’s it, my January TBR. I’m hoping to finish all of these, but we’ll see what happens. My classes resume on January 20th and as soon as that happens my reading is going to take a nose dive, so I’m hoping to have the majority of these finished before then. Wish me luck, and happy reading!

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Posted by on 12/30/2014 in Books

 

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Book Review: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Be still my beating heart. This book had it racing like no other.

When I first picked up this book, I had already heard a lot about it, both bad and good. I knew the basics of the premise and it piqued my interest enough to not let the hype push me away from it. I can say I’m definitely glad that I read this.

First off, I need to thank Marie Rutkoski – it was her writing and plot that pulled me out of a horrendous reading slump. This is the first time I’ve finished a book that wasn’t mainly pictures in months. And I did it in three days, even. That’s kind of unheard of for me. I need book two stat. STAT.

Second off, my thoughts on this book – I will try my best to keep this spoiler free. If I feel something is spoilery, it’ll be whited out:

This book, if you haven’t read it yet or need a refresher, is about a young woman named Kestrel who lives in a kingdom that has enslaved another race of people. Kestrel is in town one afternoon and through a series of events ends up purchasing a slave. The story alternates between Kestrel and her slave’s POV, allowing the reader to see both sides of the events that occur in the book and as the story progresses, the two find themselves ensnared by their country and each other. This book has a bit of political intrigue, a bit of romance, and a bit of action. I think I may have even laughed once or twice.

I won’t go into more detail about the plot because I feel I’ll say something it’d be better to just read for yourself. So onto my thoughts.

Characters/character development: For the most part, I love these characters. Kestrel I find to be a wonderful character – she’s a general’s daughter and is praised for her military tactics – her mind. She’s genuinely smart. It was refreshing to see a strong female lead that wasn’t a kick-ass fighter (not that that’s a bad thing, but that’s typically the go-to for strong female leads). The only issue I have occurs part way through the book, where one characters in my opinion acts a bit well… out of character. But who am I to say, I suppose. Not my book. This part of the book is the reason it bumped from 5 stars down to 4.5. Don’t let this deter you from reading it though! The issue is minor, but I’m picky, haha.

Plot: I really like the set-up of this world. There was a bit of world building but it wasn’t as though I was sitting through chapter after chapter of ‘okay this is how the government works’. The plot was able to progress quickly, keeping me on my toes, all while informing me of important details in the constructed world that made the plot occur the way it did.

Writing style: I read the book in three days. I can’t do that with writing that I don’t like. Need I say more.

Overall rating: 4.5/5 stars
Need. Moar. Now.

 
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Posted by on 12/28/2014 in Books

 

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TBR Jar Challenge 2015!

I’ve decided to take part in Katytastic’s TBR Jar Challenge for this coming year. I figured it would help me a lot when it came to reading books that have been on my shelf forever that I just haven’t gotten to yet. A tbr jar is typically a jar full of book titles that you still need to read. Once a month or week or whatever your reading pace is, you pull a slip from the jar and read whatever book is on it. I had never done one before because I knew that if the name on the slip was a book that I wasn’t in the mood for, I wouldn’t read it regardless.

But then this challenge was created and I liked the sound of it a lot more than the normal jar idea. I will add all of the challenges listed in the video into my jar and pull one each month. I will be changing two of the challenges however. The two that I’m altering were originally ‘listen to an audio book’ and ‘read a book you had originally given up on’.

The reason for these changes is because I don’t have access to audiobooks – too poor to buy, and I don’t really have the attention span to listen to something while doing nothing else. I know I’d have to give the audio my attention or I wouldn’t pick up on the story, and I feel like my brain won’t let me do that. I’m not trying to be whiny, but seriously, my attention span is shit. I full acknowledge that this is problem. It’s in my resolutions for this year to work on it. (y’know what, maybe an audio book would help me do that… buh. Audio book recommendations, I guess? Please? xD) And for the ‘given up on’ challenge, I’m not picking those up again. I gave up on them for a reason, and I know if I’d try a reread, it would be gross. I don’t like the books I gave up on (though I suppose if I come across a book I was supposed to read for school but didn’t, I’ll do that. But otherwise.)

So this is the list of challenges I will be doing, the bold ones are my alterations:

-Read a book with 500+ pages
-Reread a favorite book
-Read a 2015 debut novel
-Read a book that someone else picks
-Read a book that you’ve never heard of before
-Begin reading a new graphic novel/graphic novel series
-Read a new-to-you author
-Read a book that is not a novel
-Read/watch a book and its adaptation
-Read an award winning novel
-Read a classic novel
-Read a series finale

Now I just need to find a jar. Whatever slip I pull out of this jar will be included in my January TBR and my choice of book that fits that catagory. Happy reading!

 
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Posted by on 12/28/2014 in Books

 

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End of Year Wrap-Up 2014

One of my first posts upon creating this blog was an end of the year TBR kind of thing. There, I listed five books that I hoped to finish before the new year struck. Well, uh… zero of those books were finished.

The first one, Perdido Street Station by China Mieville, I am still reading. It’s gotten really good but I still can’t bring myself to read more than a couple chapters at once. And since it’s over 600 pages, it’s taking me a while. I’m about 2/3 through it and it’s still sitting at a solid 4 stars. Hopefully I’ll finish that one… eventually.

The second book was a collection of Daredevil comics, and after getting about 50% through, I decided to give up on it. I wasn’t connecting to the characters, I wasn’t invested in the story… Why force myself to read a book, especially one that was borrowed and I didn’t actually pay for myself. So that one I quit.

The third is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy which I’m reading out loud with my SO. I figured this one would take a while and guess what, it is. I’m going to be continuing this one into the new year.

The fourth is The Diviners by Libba Bray. I was really enjoying this one and then got distracted by other books. Oops. But guess what, the Reading Adventures Book Club, which I’m a part of on Goodreads has announced this book as one of their reads for January, so I’m going to pick this back up then and try to finish it. This one is also a heffer of a book, so hopefully it won’t take me too long.

And the final book is The Future of the Mind by Michio Kaku. This one I feel particularly bad about not finishing already. This book I was so excited for and actually pre-ordered a copy for both myself and my SO that were signed. I meant to read it upon getting it and I did start it… but honestly, I think the reason I haven’t been able to get into it is because the beginning is all background info, most of which I already know, so I find it hard to dredge through it. I know once I get past that I’ll be more active on reading it, but y’know, buh for now. I think that it will be a part of my TBR Jar post that will be coming up, so it’ll get read this coming year, dammit. Dammit dammit.

Otherwise, I did end up rereading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson, which I’ve linked my review to. I did this for Christmas (duh). And I’ve also started The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski, which I’m really liking so far. Hopefully that will be completed by the end of the year, if not super early January.

That’s it for my Wrap up. TBR Jar Challenge and January TBR posts will be up soonish. Happy reading!

 
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Posted by on 12/28/2014 in Books

 

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2015 Book Resolutions

Okay, I have a problem. This past summer, I moved out of my parents’ house and into an apartment. I took a little over half of my books with me. I just went through the books that I brought with me. Out of those books, I still have not read 117 of them. ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTEEN. Assuming I paid roughly $10 per book, that’s over one thousand dollars of goods that have been doing nothing but wasting away on my shelves.

Therefore, a book buying limit is in effect as of Dec 31st. That being for Christmas stuffs that will involve books beforehand.

Exceptions to the limit:
– Books I receive as gifts
– Books that are purchased through gift cards I receive that are specified for bookstores (meaning, no Target cards can be used on books. Just bookstore cards. I can’t purchase myself bookstore cards, they must be received)

The rules of the limit:
To purchase a new book, 5 books on existing to-be-read shelf must be read. Library books don’t count towards this goal
– If I read a book and don’t like it, either give it away or donate it to the library to free up shelf space

Goals:
– Read 30 books throughout the year – the more the better, though
– Focus on sequels and stand-alones,
– Buy only 6 books for the 30 read
– Write reviews for at least 50% of the books read
– Separate ‘to-be-read’ books onto their own bookcase. Yes, entire bookcase.
– Go through ‘to-be-read’ books and decide whether or not I’ll actually ever feel like reading them. If not, give away or donate them. These do not count towards the ‘5 books’ count to purchase a new book

So there we have it. These reading goals will be among the slew of other non-book-related goals I have for 2015. Honestly I feel like this one will be the easiest to accomplish, considering y’know, I actually like reading. Wish me luck!

 
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Posted by on 12/22/2014 in Books

 

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The Grinch Book Tag!

Another Christmas tag, yay! This tag was created by Samantha, go check her channel out. Here we go!

1. Half of the lights on the Christmas tree are burnt out : Name a book/series/character that started out good but then went downhill
For this one, I’m going to choose the series that hold my favorite books. The Deepgate Codex. The first two books were SPECTACULAR, and while the third book wasn’t heinous it was a horribly disappointing ending to the series. I want a rewrite 😦

2. Annoying Great Aunt Sally who will not leave you alone : Name a book that you didn’t enjoy, but everyone else seems to love so it never goes away
At the moment, nothing really. Any book I don’t like I tend to not talk about, so the conversation never really comes up. Just lucky I guess :”D

3. Your pets keep knocking over the Christmas decoration : Name a character that kept messing things up for everyone else (can’t pick a villain!)
My cats do this – they’re all buttheads. And for this one, I’m going to pick Pippin from The Lord of the Rings. I’m not even going to specify which book. He’s a ding dong in all the books. He redeems himself towards the end, but ugh, PIPPIN MAN CONTROL YOURSELF.

4. You hear your parents putting out the presents and learn Santa isn’t real: Name a book you were spoiled for
Allegiant. I haven’t even read Insurgent yet. Whaaat. I was spoiled while watching a video on HOW TO AVOID SPOILERS. WHY. I felt like this little girl:

5. It’s freezing outside: Name a main character you just couldn’t connect with
I’m going to go with Dru from the Strange Angels series. I don’t know what it was about her. I just couldn’t picture her as a character with more than one dimension. The series itself isn’t terrible, but this didn’t help it.

6. Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’ and it’s giving you anti-romantic feelings : Name a couple you couldn’t stand
Ron and Lavender from Harry Potter. Couldn’t stand it, wanted to punch it.

7. That scratchy homemade wool sweater you got for Christmas years ago but won’t get rid of : show some books that have been sitting on your shelves for a while, and you aren’t motivated to read, but you don’t have the heart to get rid of
There are way too many. Probably the majority of the books I left at my parents’ place when I moved. I mean, haven’t read a lot of them, but the fact that I didn’t feel the need to bring them with me says a lot.

8. Grandma Got Runover by a Reindeer: Name a character death you still are mad about (warn people for spoilers! You can also use TV or movie deaths)
THIS IS A SPOILER FOR SUPERNATURAL SEASON 6!!! Highlight to see: Bobby. Why Bobby why 😦

9. The malls are overly crowded with holiday shoppers: Name a series that has too many books in it/went on too long
Artemis Fowl. I feel like it really went downhill after book 4 or so. And I think there are 7 or 8 now. The last one I finished was 6, tried 7 and couldn’t do it. It’s just ugh. It’s a real shame though – I really love the first few books. They’re my childhood.

10. The Grinch : Name a main character you HATE (No villians again!)
Bella from Twilight. That is all.

 
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Posted by on 12/21/2014 in Books

 

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15 in 2015

Today I’m going to pick out 15 books I’m going to try to read in 2015. I will be reading more than this, hopefully, but these 15 will have priority. In theory. These are all books I already own but have not gotten to yet. My goal is to finish up series I have half completed scratch off some stand-alones. A more specific January TBR will be put up in January and in that I’ll detail more about the books I want to read, but until then I think I’m just going to list them.

1. The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness (Chaos Walking #2)
2. Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness (Chaos Walking #3)
3. Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik (Temeraire #5)
4. Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novik (Temeraire #6)
5. The Scar by China Mieville (Bas Lag/New Crobuzon #2)
6. Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey (Monstrumologist #2)
7. The Isle of Blood by Rick Yancey (Monstromologist #3)
8. Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2)
9. Dreams of Joy by Lisa See (Shanghai Girls #2)
10. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
11. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
12. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
13. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
14. The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
15. The Future of the Mind by Michio Kaku

 
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Posted by on 12/16/2014 in Books

 

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