Monday, May 22, 2017

February, March, April 2017 Mini-Wrap Up

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FEBRUARY, MARCH, & APRIL 2017 MINI-WRAP UP

February
I read a lot of graphic novels in February, and all exclusively on February 16th, which was a Thursday. I have no idea why I read so many graphic novels that day or how I even had the time to do all that reading. I mut have skipped all of my classes that day...

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I really do love the "Saga" and "Giant Days" series. If I had to pick one, I would probably say I love 'Giant Days" more though because I can relate to them so much as a college student and I just love their journies of self-discovery and friendship. I don't even really like the new Spider-Man series that much, so I'm not sure why I'm still reading it. I guess mainly because I feel compelled to see it through to the end. As for "Around the Way Girl", I listened to it on audiobook and thought it was alright. I love Taraji P. Henson, but her book was eh.

March
I didn't do a lot of reading at all in March. Like at all...

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I was sent an ARC of "Geekerella" for an honest review by Quirk Books and quite enjoyed it. It was a sweet, concise, contemporary read. As for "Kindred", the only reason I read that book was for class, and believe me when I say if I didn't have to read it for class, I would have DNFed that sucker one chapter in.

April

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Yeah... So I only read one book in April and it was for my god-awful sociology class. I hated that class with a burning passion. However, I really enjoyed this book which I so did not expect since my professor was a quack. There were many insights and interesting stories in this book.

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Well, that's how the last few months of reading have been for me. Hopefully you guys had more fruitful months of reading and enjoyed what you read. Real talk though, you should give "Giant Days" a chance.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Mini "A Court of Wings and Ruin" Spoiler-Free Review

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Book: A Court of Wings and Ruin

Author: Sarah J. Maas

My Rating: ★★★ 3/4 (3.75 Stars)

Synopsis: Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin's maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places. 

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all. 

      I'm going to keep this review because a) I don't have that much I want to say and b) I'm still getting back into the swing of blogging.


     Overall, I really did like this book, but I will be the first to admit that it was not excellent, no where near the level of "A Court of Mist and Fury". Pretty sure the second book will always be my favorite in the series. That second book was just pure perfection to me.


     This book... I don't know, something just felt like it was lacking. It all felt rather rushed and wrapped together perfectly in a little bow by the end. The conflict was not nearly as big as I thought it would be. I think overall the plot was what was lacking for me. I did appreciate the action scenes though. Those battles were intense a.f.


     That being said, the characters definitely made this book. Feyre and Rhysand... my god I love them so much. Individually they are great characters, and together they are just perfection. They love each other so much and will do anything for each other and their people.


    I honestly don't know how I feel about the fact that this is the end of Feyre and Rhysand's stories (supposedly the rest of the series follows other characters). I've grown so attached to them, and while I do like the other characters, I don't feel like their story was fully flushed out because as I said earlier, I feel like it was rushed. Despite this, I will of course finish the series and am really interested to see who tells the rest of the stories. Almost all of the other main/close side characters, with the exception of Tamlin, grew on me and I like them a lot too, so I would be okay with reading their stories.


     Overall, I did really enjoy this book. I devoured it at lightning speed. The characters gave me so many feelings and I fell in love with them all over again. However, it definitely was not without it's flaws and did not live up to my expectations.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

So I've been M.I.A.... Reading and Life Update

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 So I've been M.I.A... Reading and Life Update

     *awkward lil' wave* Hey you guys. So it's been some time since I've written a post. Like I'm not even going to go look up when the last time I wrote a post was because I'm sure I won't like what I find. I've been hiatus as I kind of warned you guys, but it definitely lasted a lot longer than I intended. However, I'm not going to apologize or make up execuses. I needed it.


     This last semester of college was very taxing on my mental health. My anxiety and depression was probably the most intense it has ever been. And it was all due to one class. One stupid class. Amazing how everything else in your life can be amazing but one thing throws you a curveball and skews your entire perspective. That's what happened to me. Other things kind of added to this feeling, but it was definitely my organic chemistry class that was the cherry on the top.


      I didn't have the will to wake up and go to class or hang out with my friends, much less read or write on this blog. Exams have come and gone and those consumed me. They didn't go as I had planned, so that had me down in the dirt for a little while, so I decided to take a mental health break. I've been limiting my time on the Internet, especially social media, and I'm so glad I did. I needed that break.

Anyone watch the season 3 premiere of Rick and Morty? I love that show and can't wait for the rest of the season.

     Now I'm back and my mental health is improved. Still not great, but definitely a lot better. I realized that I shouldn't let one class make me feel like shit and I also remembered that as important as school is, it should not define you. Grades are not who you are, especially just one grade.


    I haven't fully gotten back into the swing of reading, but I'm making baby steps. I've read "A Court of Wings and Ruin", which I will have a spoiler-free review up soon. I loved it, but I will be the first to admit that it was not excellent, it was problematic, and definitely was not my favorite in the series.


     This past week I started my summer research internship. It's just a continuation of the research I've been doing this past year, but the job is full-time, so I'm working 40 hours a week. The great thing about my research is a lot of it is waiting around because there are certain experiments and processes that take time, so I've had plenty of time to read. During this time, I've really gotten into graphic novels. The two series I've been reading this past week are "Giant Days" and "Lumberjanes". I started "Giant Days" months ago and it is one of my favorite graphic novel series. "Lumberjanes" is new to me, but I already love it.


      I'm going to try to make more blog posts and read more this summer, but I make no promises. This summer is all about my mental health, and I refuse to force myself to do things that I know I will not enjoy or that do not benefit me. So as much as I love to read and write, I will be the first to admit there are times when I just can't pick up a book or write a blog post because I don't want to.


     If you're still reading this, thank you. I sincerely hope things are going better for you than they have been for me.


Monday, April 17, 2017

Cink Street Spring Reading Week: "Peanuts & Eggcups" by Sara Mendes da Costa Guest Post

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Book: Peanuts and Eggcups

Author: Sara Mendes da Costa

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing

Synopsis: For Maggie Parsons there’s only ever been one man: the stunningly delicious Luke Henderson. Unfortunately, he left her, without explanation, after their ‘first night’ together …breaking her heart in the process. 

Now ten years on, without any contact, he’s back and going to her school reunion. Great! And, to confuse matters…so is his suave, sexy, brother Tony who makes a major play for Maggie, then turns up with his insufferable - supposedly ex – fiancée! 

Via the reunion, a black eye, getting the sack (as a result) a madcap girlie holiday and juggling her confused emotions around the two alluring brothers…Maggie starts to build a picture of what she really wants in life. 

Trouble is, Maggie’s a pawn in a game she doesn’t even know she’s playing …and things are about to get a whole lot more complicated. 


Guest Author Post

Magical spring

Well, how fabulous is spring! I have to say I simply love it.
Fresh starts, more sunshine, longer days, people smiling more, getting out and about into the world. It’s like spring is Britain’s morning. It’s our awakening time after the long sleep of winter. It’s when we rouse and stretch and say: ‘Hey world, we’re up, we’re awake, we’re ready – what’s in store for this year?’

I so love the different seasons but spring brings something a little extra special.
For me, it feels like the season of hope, of possibilities and of that extra ‘spring’ in the step. We’ve done our hard graft, we’ve survived the dark days, we’ve done our hibernating and it’s time to venture out, to not rely on Netflix in quite the same way (actually, I’m not sure that’ll ever happen for me!) and it’s time to think about adding more colour to our wardrobe. To pack away the long boots in favour of ankle boots. To shake off the thick winter coats in favour of thinner, lighter, brighter layers and, certainly for me, to wear less black. That in itself feels pretty healthy.

There’s nothing quite like the wonderful energised, newness of spring and everywhere I look in nature, there’s a gorgeous sense of fresh growth and evidence of a new cycle. I simply love the first stirring sightings of the spring flowers, particularly the yellow ones. Funnily enough yellow isn’t a colour I’m drawn to or ever wear, it’s not a colour which features in my home either, but when it comes to the garden and nature, yellow flowers are so uplifting. The wonderful first daffodils then the crocuses and later on freesias (my favourites) …and then mix those with the glorious blues of the forget-me-nots, the bluebells and the purple irises and it’s quite a heady combination. And how fabulous do spring flowers smell; delicious!

There’s also the promise of warmer, longer days and summer just a little out of reach but up ahead for sure. For me, in particular, there’s the knowledge that it’ll soon be time to sit out in the garden on the garden swing chair, gin & tonic beside me on the old tree stump, wiling away the hours dreamily; bliss.

I love the bees beginning to buzz around and even the ants building their nests. Everywhere I look in the garden, there is something new sprouting up and coming alive and there’s that wonderful fresh green that you don’t quite match at any other time of year. Out of the old comes the new; the gardens die down in winter and are reborn in spring.

There’s a difference in the way I feel too, I imagine it’s the same for so many of us; we fill up with renewed energy. I always think it’s wonderful that we are lucky enough to have real changing seasons. I know we all complain about the lack of sun and warmth but one of the great things about our good old British weather is that we do have variety – perhaps a little more wind, rain and cloud than we might like, but still. We have defined seasons and with spring, there’s a very definite change and a reminder of what we’ve been missing, with memories of the previous year ‘spring’ing up to prompt us. It’s the one time where the buds grow in this unique way, we have the random pockets of warm sun we’ve missed for so long and we can finally start venturing out a little more.

I think that witnessing the newness all around me promotes positive emotions; I feel better. Things inspire me. Spring gives me ideas for new projects and renewed enthusiasm to tackle things I didn’t want to do during the darker days of winter. I certainly have more energy in the longer lighter days and I can set about clearing my space, my home, my garden, my office and my mind… as if there’s something inside me telling me it’s going to be a good thing for me to do – to create a clear canvas on which to paint a new chapter.

You can probably tell by now – I’m a fan! This is such a positive time of year, full of possibilities and hope…and anything that helps us to feel good, has my vote.


So, thank you spring – I think you’re rather ‘blooming’ special.

About the Author

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Sara Mendes da Costa is the voice of the BT Speaking Clock; the fourth person to hold this prestigious title since 1936.

A successful, world-renowned voiceover artist, her dulcet tones are easily recognisable on television, radio, film and across countless media.

Never far from the press, she’s known for her appearances on BBC Breakfast, ITV This Morning, Children in Need, Wake up to Wogan and The Today Programme, and balances her prolific voiceover career with her passion and commitment as a novelist.

Peanuts & Eggcups, her debut novel - hotly anticipated by the industry - is “The perfect & highly addictive reading companion for women’s fiction fans”. `

A lover of laughter, creativity, great storytelling and a wee dram, Sara adores writing novels and seeks to entertain, uplift and inspire.


Her upcoming novels: Time & Time Again & Maggie Ever After, are expected in 2017.


Friday, April 14, 2017

It's that time of the semester... (Hiatus)

4:38:00 PM
Well you guys, it's that time of the semester. I have a few weeks left of my semester and then I'll be done with my second year of college. With the end of the semester comes an influx of exams, papers, etc., so unfortunately I've got to go on a bit of a hiatus. I will be back, but right now school has got to be my focus!


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

"The Book of Air" by Joe Treasure Blog Tour Guest Author Post

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Book: The Book of Air

Author: Joe Treasure

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing

Release Date: April 4, 2017

Synopsis: Retreating from an airborne virus with a uniquely unsettling symptom, property developer Jason escapes London for his country estate, where he is forced to negotiate a new way of living with an assortment of fellow survivors.

Far in the future, an isolated community of descendants continue to farm this same estate. Among their most treasured possessions are a few books, including a copy of Jane Eyre, from which they have constructed their hierarchies, rituals and beliefs. When 15-year-old Agnes begins to record the events of her life, she has no idea what consequences will follow. Locked away for her transgressions, she escapes to the urban ruins and a kind of freedom, but must decide where her future lies.

These two stories interweave, illuminating each other in unexpected ways and offering long vistas of loss, regeneration and wonder.

The Book of Air is a story of survival, the shaping of memory and the enduring impulse to find meaning in a turbulent world.

Guest Author Post

Why did you choose Jane Eyre as the book that governs Agnes’s society?

What if a random book, that we know to be a work of fiction, were to survive a cataclysmic event? And what if a future community, with no concept of narrative fiction, were to take that book as a unique guide to life’s purpose? What would that community look like? What rules would it live by? What kind of rituals would it have constructed for itself under the book’s influence? These were some of the questions I had in my mind, before I began The Book of Air.

I didn’t know, at this point, that I was going to use Jane Eyre. I just knew it would have to be something familiar enough that readers would at least have heard of it. I didn’t want to start by shutting people out. When I’d completed a draft, one of the people I gave it to was a guy in his twenties, very bright but with no literary background, just now beginning to get into reading. He’d never read Jane Eyre, never seen a film or TV adaptation of it, never heard the name Rochester. I wanted the book to work for him as well as for the Bronte fan, and for everyone in between.  

I have a resistance to writing that parades its own cleverness. Narrative writing that’s full of intellectual references creates a problem whether you get them or not. If you don’t get them, you flounder. If you do, you’re constantly being bounced into a cognitive place. You’re stuck in your head, when you want to be free to experience emotions. Above all, a story has to evoke feeling.

So I knew I was setting myself a challenge. It would only work if I started with a book that was not only well-known, but had a central plot that could be easily grasped. I briefly considered Oliver Twist, whose main character people know through films and musicals as well as reading. But I quickly ruled out Dickens as too urban, too dependent on the social mechanisms of city life. Dickens is interested in institutions, law courts, prisons. I was envisioning a rural community, isolated, materially self-sufficient. Jane Austen wouldn’t do, either, but for different reasons. Her small communities would be on a recognizable scale, but the subtle rules of decorum that governed their interactions would baffle my imaginary villagers.

It didn’t take me long to settle on Jane Eyre. I saw in Charlotte Bronte’s fictional world the clash of elemental forces that these future readers would respond to. Austen’s Lydia Bennett, eloping with Mr Wickham, risks social ruin. But when Jane Eyre discovers that her employer Edward Rochester has a mad wife locked upstairs in the house and runs away to escape his advances and the temptations of her own desire, she almost starves to death on the moor.  The passions, of love or enmity, are starkly drawn. The elements are vitally present.

To tell the story of that community, I imagined a young woman called Agnes. Though dutiful in many ways, and devoted to the study of Jane’s life, Agnes chafes against the limitations imposed on her. The story is told in her voice, through a journal she is secretly writing. Through her eyes we see how food is worked for, how order is kept, how matters of love and marriage are regulated, how sexual transgressions are punished or covered up, how the dead are buried. It’s a story of disobedience and punishment, of the impulse to escape in sharp conflict with the desire to belong.

I hadn’t gone far into telling this story before it occurred to me that its readers might reasonably expect an account of how this community came into existence. Why this isolation, why this piece of land and these buildings, and why, particularly, this book?

A parallel narrative was required – the story of how our world gave way to theirs. I found myself being launched into something much more daunting, because of its scale and it catastrophic trajectory – an account of how everything we are familiar with comes to an end. For Agnes’s story to be possible, nature must thrive, but people and social structures must be destroyed. There would be pockets of survivors, the ancestors of Agnes’s community being one.

My novel became more complicated but also richer. I found myself thinking about the essential experience of loss, the way memories are constructed, and the basic human urge to create meaning.  

About the Author

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Raised sixth in a family of nine, Joe Treasure enjoyed a capriciously Bohemian childhood. Having received his educational grounding at the hands of Carmelite priests, he escaped to Cheltenham Grammar School where he excelled only in music and art. His architectural ambitions were thwarted by low grades in maths and physics. The local college of further education allowed him to pursue more congenial subjects, after which he surprised everyone, not least himself, by winning a place to read English at Keble College, Oxford.

Settling in Monmouth, Wales, Joe taught English and ran an innovative drama programme. He moved to Los Angeles at the turn of the millennium to join his wife, Leni Wildflower. Temporarily unemployed, he set about fixing up Leni’s house and turned to writing fiction.

In 2004, at the end of George W Bush’s first explosive term in office, they relocated to London where Joe studied creative writing at Royal Holloway. He wrote The Male Gaze, a novel that drew on his American experience, mingling social comedy with political drama. Offered a two-book publishing contract with Picador, he went on to explore the divided loyalties of an Anglo-Irish family in Besotted, a novel that celebrates the enduring bonds of brotherhood.

The Book of Air is Joe’s first venture into speculative fiction. He and Leni currently live in Balham, London.



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My Rating System

★★★★★ This book is a gift from the literary gods
★★★★ This book was pretty damn good
★★★ This book had potential but missed the bar
★★ I probably didn't finish this book or it was god awful
★ Why does this book exist?

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