Books, Reading

September wrap up/book haul

Whoops, late again for another wrap up post. But it’s been a crazy and weird start to fall. Basically what happened in September (besides me totally not reading as much as I wanted to) was I got a second job, at Barnes and Noble. (I’m there all the time anyway and when the manager asked if I would be interested in getting a part-time job there, I had to bite my tongue to not scream out “YES PLEASE!” because I love working in a bookstore.)

So that happened, and with my weekends filled up thanks to that, and most of my evenings as well, this month I only read 19 books. Now that might not seem like a bad thing to most people, but my goal was 28 books; which was set before the job but still, failure here.

I did #SequelSeptember last month as well, and even though I didn’t get to any of the NEW sequels, which was actually kind of the point, I did manage to reread 6 books (5 that had sequels). The rest were new, but also were library books. So last month I didn’t make a dent in any of my TBR monster named Steve.

This month I also tried to take a pic of every single book I read, which was actually pretty fun and I’ll be continuing that this next month! (Plus it makes my post all pretty with pictures! (I’m not sure if I’ll show every pic for this month, or just a few highlights)

 

 

~Best: (4-5 star rating)~

 

Of my 4-5 star reads this month, only 2 were brand new to me: Around the world in 80 Days (which is actually now a new favorite) and the Attributes of God (again, a new favorite). The rest were rereads: Mere Christianity was the only reread that I read this month that was a stand-alone, everything else was a sequel/first of a series.

 

 

~Okayish(2.75-3.75 star rating)~

 

All of these were interesting, but not fully worth the full 4 stars (the road back to you I think I gave a 4 star, but it was more like a 3.75) There were some problems with all of them. Mostly it was the characters that got me in the end, in a Darkness Strange and lovely the main character swapped what character growth she had made in the first one, which made me not very happy. The weight of ink didn’t really know what tone it wanted to take with this historical fiction. And the Thief Lord was an interesting read but I couldn’t help but wonder if there was something missing because it seemed to read like 2 different plot ideas, and was rather loose on what should be happening/too many characters to really care about.

(not pictured: what Jesus demands from the world. It was a good book but it seemed to drag on for a long period)

 

~Skip! (1-2 star rating)~

All of these had major problems mostly with the plot and the characters. Book of speculation tried too hard to be magical realism; Beastkeeper had absolutely NO CLUE what the story was or what they really wanted to do with the “plot” (of which there was none); spellbook of the lost and found also tried too hard to be magical realism but just pretty much lost all of it when the author tried to tie it together. And honestly, I don’t like Shel Silverstein’s writing style at all.

(Not pictured: welcome to nightvale and words in deep blue. WTNV was super boring and not at all like the podcast. Words in deep blue was a huge disappointment by not having deep characters, a good plot or any sort of conflict.)

~Book Haul this month~

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Look at all these pretties!! Ok, so this month I ended up purchasing/receiving 10 books.

Hunting Prince Dracula, WonderWoman:Warbringer and Enchantment of Ravens were all pre-orders (we aren’t going to talk if I’ve read those yet or not), I bought Americanah and Station Eleven because I’ve heard really good things about them. I found the Goldfinch in our bargain section at work for $6, with my discount came down to $3 (and I couldn’t beat that) and I got Language of the Thorns because it was autographed and a total impulse buy.

The Color Project is actually the replacement copy because there were some issues in the production and those of us who preordered got an ARC, so this was a replacement copy. And Gypsy Moth Summer and the Lost Letter were books I won in a giveaway in May, and finally received at the start of summer.

So that was my month of September. I’m hoping for October to do more reading of my TBR but I’m not sure if that will happen or not.

How was y’all’s month of reading? What was your best book you read? What was the worst? Let me know below!

Happy reading Dragons and remember, life is too short to read mediocre books!

~Stephanie

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Books, Reading

You probably won’t like this…

I have been known to destroy books.

Not like ripping out pages or burning them or using them for modge-podge crafts or whatever.

Nope. I, a well known booknerd, someone who doesn’t like people borrowing her books, have done such evils as:

*Cracking the spines on paperbacks or hardcovers

*Dog-earring because I couldn’t find something to shove in it to save my place

*Splaying open the book also because I couldn’t find something to mark it

*highlighting several passages (so many all the time)

*making notes/writing in a book

*doodling on a page or two because I was on the phone and couldn’t get to a notebook

*accidentally dropping it in the ocean (I found it and it was saved but it did happen)

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The reason I’m telling you this? A couple of days ago someone posted a link to an article titled “11 things that will make bookworms angry” and every single one of them was about messing up the pages or writing in the books or cracking the spines. None of them were about the price, or the fact that some of the books are printed so cheaply that we cannot even shut them hard because the main cover falls off or about the stickers on books which are horrid to remove.

Nope, apparently what makes us angry as booknerds, is seeing someone mistreat their own property.

Which got me into a rabbit hole of thinking because when I was first becoming a lovely reader, I would frequent garage sales and thrift stores and library sales. I would scour the bookstore for the wonderful signs stating “Buy one get one free” because score, I get two books! Even when I started venturing into Borders (Oh I miss that place) I would still go for the massmarket paperbacks because they were under $6.00, so I could get about three of them at a time.

And to me, it didn’t matter if they became marked up and slammed back and forth in my bag, those marks were marks showing that I loved them and they were also recipients of my love.

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However, ever since I started doing my Bookstagram, I have noticed that pristine pictures of books have gotten better likes (well, as many as they can with that algorithm) and for some reason this has made me want to make sure that my books are perfect. That no visible scratch or dent or mark is showing and that the cover is gorgeous.

But does it really matter? I mean, the main reason I started falling in love with the cardboard and paste and glue and paper and ink was because of the stories that were inside it, not because they were “aesthetically pleasing” or “looked nice on my shelves” (though I won’t lie, it does make me happy when they look nice on there).

I actually like the look of used books better. I feel like there’s a connection between me and the person who read it last, a thin thread that we like the same book or the same author and for a brief moment in time and space were on the same page. That makes me happy.

I have friends on both ends of the spectrum. Friends who bend their covers of the books and all their books look second-hand (even if they were just bought that morning) and friends who have libraries that look like they were just unwrapped from the publishing. And that’s okay.

I’m not saying that it’s wrong to want to keep your books pristine, if that’s what you want.

Or crack those spines if you want.

What I am saying is that maybe we could stop judging other booknerds for how they read books. People have different ways of showing love, and we need to be okay with that. You might not think that someone is a “real” bookish person because of how they do or don’t handle their books, but in reality, if we are reading, they we are all booknerds. We all love the same thing, words that transport us to a different time and space.

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~To build up a library is to create a life. It’s never just a random collection of books (Carlos Maria Dominguez)

Happy reading and remember, life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

 

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Books, Reading

So….it’s September….huh…

I don’t know about many of you, but I absolutely love fall and all the things fall brings.

Sweaters.

Pumpkin Spice Lattes (yep, as long as those are available I’m getting one, or Pumpkin Spice Creamer because…yum!)

Crisp cool weather.

Rain.

Lovely scented candles that smell like caramel and apples and just make me very happy.

And perhaps most importantly, new books.

 

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(Literally in the first 4 days of September I bought these…I might have a bit of a problem)

While there are some books that come out in the summer months, I’ve noticed that during September is when the majority of new releases come out, and when my wallet starts whimpering and my shelves start groaning because OF COURSE I’m going to buy some books.

But this September I’m actually participating in a month-long readathon called SequelSeptember. In which we (the participants) try to read all the sequels that we have purchased for series but…haven’t quite…got around to them yet?

I am personally a master at this.

I find out that a book I really enjoy is coming out with a sequel, or the last book in the series is coming out.

I wait with anticipation, preordering it and constantly checking my mail. Then the glorious day arrives, IT’S HERE!! All celebration and happiness, until I go to read it and realize that I actually don’t remember anything of the previous books. And then I set my newest conquest on the groaning whinging TBR shelf and tell myself “One day I shall reread all these again”. (Which, spoiler: really hasn’t happened much at all this year. I have so many books I need to reread, see photo below!)

 

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So this readathon is something that I’ve been needing to do for a while. Not that it’s helping matters at all because I’ve been getting a TON of library books lately and all of them have been over 400 pages long (why must good stories take FOREVER and a day to write decent characters?)

There are about 7 series that I need to finish before the end of the year (I would say month but we both know how that will end…in failure) although most are duologys so that’s a small good thing. I’m hoping I can finish the Jackaby series, Into the Dim duology and the Blackhearts duology by the end of this month (I’ve already finished the reread of Into the Dim, so yay!)

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And I know that a lot of people would say “Just find a review and read that, so that way you don’t have to reread a lot of books” but see for me, that’s kinda the whole point. Also sometimes what I catch and what others point out in reviews are two totally different things…and I like rereading books.

It’s like coming home, knowing all the characters and the plot (basically) and knowing what is going to happen with them, it’s nice. And also it helps my goodreads goal so there’s that.

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(a ginormous stack of part of the library books that I have checked out…these do not really help my own personal TBR get down at all)

Anyways, hope y’all are having a great day!

Are you joining up for any readathons this month? Any books high on your radar for this month? What is something you are currently reading? Let me know below!

Happy Reading Dragons!

~Stephanie

(follow me on all my social media accounts: Goodreads- dreams_in_blue

twitter- dreams_in_blue

instagram- dreams_in_blue)

 

 

 

 

 

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Books, Reading

I somehow read 150 books, and the year is only half over…

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One of the questions that I have gotten a lot in the past couple of months, from people who follow me on bookstagram or twitter is primarily “How do you read so much/so quickly/Are you magic?” ( I lie, no one has even hinted at magic with me, which is kinda rude because really I might have some magic in me, but no).

I never really know what to say to people who say this, so I thought I would just do a blog post about how I read, and maybe that would help somebody out? Or really, if I get more questions like this I could just point them to this blog and that would work as an answer….yep, liking that idea already. 🙂

So the first thing you should know is that even though I’m not really competitive with other people, I am beyond competitive with myself. And I will push myself harder and longer to just beat out what I did previously. (But not with others….just me) And so for the past 4 years, I have tried to beat my Goodreads reading goal. And I have succeeded. And every year at the start I increase my Goodreads goal by 5 books.

For example, last year’s goal was 120. By December 31st I had read 169 books. This year, my first goal was 125 books. By the end of May I had beat that and was working on 150. Well I beat that last week (by the time this posts I will have read 157 this year alone).

When people ask me how I read that much, I have to explain that I don’t really watch much tv. In fact, I don’t even have cable, just internet so therefore I watch what is on Amazon Prime or Netflix, sometimes Hulu if they have a show I’ve been meaning to watch. But usually I don’t. Sunday’s are usually my veggin’ out days, in which I will watch 4-6 episodes of a show (Usually Doctor Who or something else like that) but even then, there are days when I will watch part of an episode and think ” I would so rather be reading.” And so I turn off the show and read.

I also read a lot during the day. My job allows me to have 2-15 minute breaks and a 30 minute lunch break. Usually I will be reading during those times, just sitting at my desk and diving into a story. And when I get home at night after work, even if I want to watch something on Netflix or whatever, I make myself read for at least 20 minutes before I do anything like that. Which of course usually turns into hours and me finishing a book, but still, sometimes 20 minutes is good and then I can watch a show or two.

I am extremely introverted. Not like the type portrayed in Hollywood where they stand on the side and don’t get involved with people. I am okay with people, for the most part, but what I mean is I get my energy from NOT being around people. Like after a hard day of work, it’s hard for me to want to do anything that regards going out around people. It drains me to be around people 24-7. So it recharges me to sit down and read.

 

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I also follow Reader Rule #1 which states profoundly–Never go anywhere without a book. I take a book with me to the Post Office, to the gas station, even to the bookstore because maybe I just have a hankering to read but none of their books. When I go and do doggie-sitting like I do, and I have to stay overnight, I have been known to take about 4 or 5 books with me. ( you might laugh but last time I went dog-sitting, it was an overnight job, I had my nightshirt and 8 books in my bag…true story) And in those little moments of waiting, instead of being angry that there is only one person who is working the Post Office (like seriously though, who does that?) I read.

I also read right before bed, usually about 30-40 minutes snuggled up, with covers and just reading to my hearts content makes me happy. Maybe not sleepy, but definitely happy. And, I read pretty fast. It’s actually common for me to finish a book within the day, sometimes it might take me 2 days but on the whole I can finish a book in one sitting, which also goes with the whole “introverted thing” that I have going on.

I personally think that I read so quickly because my parents would tell me “10 minutes till lights out” and I would try and read as fast as possible to get the book done with, because I hate going to sleep on cliffhangers. (Hence many times, especially since being on my own, I have dragged my poor body to work with as little as 30 minutes of sleep)

Many bookish people have asked me about slumps, and I don’t like to say this because up until a year ago I got them bad, but I just don’t get them anymore. It’s not like I’m reading amazing and wonderful action packed books every single day, nope. Sometimes those books are so boring that I don’t want to finish them but I do anyway (not always, there are those DNF’s I have) but I decided at the beginning of this year that I wasn’t going to allow slumps to be present in my reading life.

Basically anytime a slump starts to feel like it’s going to come on, I remind myself that I feel happy when I read books, that I like reading books and that I should read books. Sounds weird I know, but there are actually quite a few Booktubers/bookstagramers who do this, maybe not reminding themselves that exact thing, but they pretty much state that they don’t like slumps so for them slumps don’t exist. 🙂

I also try and read a certain amount of books per month. I started in January with a goal of 14 per month and just kept increasing it by 2 each month. It helps me to write it down in my journal not only of my goal but also what books I read that month. Which also, because I’m a visual learner, I like seeing my goal marked off with a huge “YAY!” (again remember I’m competitive against myself)

And when reading, I don’t limit myself to reading only one book. I tend to have anywhere from 1-4 going on at the same time. I try to not do the same genre simply because that does throw me, so for instance, right now. I am in the middle of Atlas Shrugged (which is a HUGE book), Huck: the remarkable true story of how one lost puppy taught a family about hope; the Thief Lord (a MG) and Letters from Vincent (biography). I’ve learned that if I give myself multiple books to choose from, not only will I read faster but I’m less likely to fall into slumps. Plus it helps my whole mood reading syndrome of which I definitely am a part of.

 

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The last thing people always ask is if I have any tips to help them read more, which of course I do!

1-Obviously bring a book with you everywhere. If you can’t do a physical copy, try Audible.com. They have tons of audiobooks, and while I personally cannot stand audiobooks, they might work for you. Or get your ereader fired up with some books (tons of sites have lots of free books for ereaders)

2-Try to read for at least 5-10 minutes per day each day, mainly just to get the hang of it. As you go on, you can always increase it, but try with that little space of time just to get back in the groove.

3-Use noise canceling headphones. Not for music (though I do read a lot of my books with music on the background) but rather for helping you keep your focus. They block out a lot of minor sounds so if you are someone who gets easily distracted, especially if you start trying to do this at work or somewhere there is a lot of background noise, this will help.

4-Don’t be afraid to branch out. If you have never tried YA, go for it. If you always read YA and never have thought of adult fiction, do it. Try to read at least something that is different for you, who knows, you might actually like it, and it might be a new favorite.

5-Set the phone down, preferably on airplane mode, with a timer set. That way not only do you have a set time that you can read, but you don’t get distracted by notifications and likes popping in on your phone. (Obviously if you are someone who people need to get a hold of you, don’t do that, but if you aren’t you might try it.)

6-Read multiple books. Try some different genres and let yourself get immersed in different stories

7-Try reading somewhere you don’t normally. Like if you always read on the couch, try the kitchen table, if you always read inside, try out by the pool or at a coffee shop. Variety is the spice of life after all.

8-Don’t be afraid to DNF (Do Not Finish) a book. Yeah I know I just told you to read all these books and all these steps, but honestly if a book isn’t working for you, you can stop reading it. It’s totally cool. DNF is absolutely 100% allowed.

Anyways, I hope this was helpful, at least to some people. If not, well…I had fun writing it so there’s that. 🙂

Do you have any tips for reading more? What is the best thing that works for you?

Happy reading y’all! And remember life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

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Books, Reading

June Wrap-up (otherwise known as I read HOW MANY books?)

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June was a weird month for me. Not because I didn’t do any reading (oh I did reading lads, lots of reading) but because I was dog-sitting at about 3 different places, making me only home for about 3 days in the past 3 weeks. Which isn’t bad, except when you have to come home, repack books and head back out. I’m finally home now, sitting in front of my lovely overstuffed shelves and thinking about how many books that I read over June.

I read a grand total of 27 books. Which is great! Until I look closer at my huge TBR mountain and realize that of that 27, 6 were from my personal shelves, and 3 were rereads. So technically while all the rest of them were from the library, I only managed to make 3 books off my physical TBR go onto my “Hallelujah, I read that book” shelf!

But at least I was reading, and I did save some money because I was at the library all the time. But that’s a different story for a different day! 🙂

Now, to the books!

The Best books I read in June (4-5 star rating)

  • The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien (Can you be a LoTR fan and not have read this? I finally read it, and I really enjoyed it, though I feel like the LoTR and the Hobbit are tighter and more cohesive, I did enjoy it quite a bit, and I can finally say that I have read it!)
  • Unequal Affections by Lara Ormiston (this was so close to being a full 5 star rating, it got a 4.75 star from me. It was so good, a reimaging of Pride and Prejudice, but if Elizabeth accepted Mr. Darcy’s first proposal. I loved it and thought it was very well done, I didn’t like a few things which is why it wasn’t a solid 5 star, but if you like Pride and Prejudice, be sure to pick it up!)
  • The long way to a small angry planet by Becky Chambers (Road trip in space with what felt like the crew of the Serenity. I loved this book, it was a solid 4 star from me again)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. (I read this in high school and let’s be real dude, I hated this book. But decided this year that I was going to reread some of the classics that people seemed to love and this made the list. I actually really enjoyed it, however I can understand why I didn’t like it when I was in school. But reading for pleasure and reading for a grade are 2 totally different things)
  • When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandyha Menon. (Super cute book, I gave it a 4 star, it was super adorkable and sweet but it didn’t really blow me out of the water. It was honestly like a Hallmark movie but in book form, you knew they were going to get together and the fun was watching how they did.)
  • Every Breath by Ellie Marney (Retelling of Sherlock as the boy next door. Plus it was written by an Australian author, and I don’t know about you, but even if people don’t let me know it’s from ‘Stralia, I can tell, they have a very brash tone. Anyways, it was cute and gory and sweet…and yes there was murder and it’s quite nice, solid 4 stars)
  • All your worth by Elizabeth Warren (one of the better finance books I’ve read, and trust me I’ve read a lot of them, but this one made so much sense and I really enjoyed it)
  • The book whisperer by Donalyn Miller (this is a book that a lot of teachers use to understand/mimic how to teach kids to love reading. This was a lot of good points, not just for teachers but I would strongly say that if you have kids, this would be a good book for you too, or really any reader.)

 

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Books that were meh (3-3.75 star rating)

  • Nikola Telsa: A spark of Genius by Carl Dommeruth-Costa. (This was an interesting book, and since I really didn’t know much about Tesla it was good knowledge but it was a bit dry in the middle, mainly when it was talking about the science behind a lot of his experiments, still good to read though)
  • Make your bed by Admiral William McRaven (Don’t get me wrong, this was a decent book, but because it came from a rousing graduation speech, that is pretty much the feel you get through the whole book. And it was interesting, especially the Hell Week part, but for the most part I flew through this book quickly and it didn’t make too much of an impact on me)
  • Frogkisser by Garth Nix (retelling of the frog princess, sounds great, but in reality it felt too cobbled together, didn’t have much of a plot and seemed more MG then YA. It was still a decent read, but I think that had there been some more editing and lengthening of the story and plot, it would have been better)
  • The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron (disclaimer, this did get a 3.75 but I’ve heard that the other books in this series are much better. I enjoyed this one but even though it was fast paced and quick on the draw, it kinda forget some things, like introductions…world building….that sort of thing. And some of the stuff, hopefully will make sense when I read the sequel, but it didn’t make sense when I was reading it. I will be picking up the sequel though, cause I’m curious to see how it goes)
  • The Ocean at the end of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (so it was….weird….and different…and I feel like if it had been a bit longer I would have liked it more, but it just kinda dropped you into this story, but then was so open-ended at the ending…it wasn’t for me. I know lots of people who loved it, but I wasn’t one of them.)
  • The incredible adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil (I had so many high hopes for this book, but sadly it just didn’t live up to my hype. It was interesting but it…just felt like it dragged on and on without any real point?)

 

The books I wish I hadn’t read (1-2 stars)

  • The little book of Hygge by Meik Wiking (Did you know that Danes are the best at being comfortable? Well if you didn’t, you will by the end of this insufferable, blowhard book which basically told me nothing new except that I now have a newfound hatred for the word Hygge. It was so not worth a read at all)
  • The zookeeper’s wife by Diane Ackerman (maybe if the wife of the zookeeper was done more in first person, rather then third; maybe if she showed more empathy towards the humans hiding from death and concentration camps then feeling bad for the animals; and maybe if we got it in a more linear way, I would have liked it more. But we didn’t, so I didn’t.)
  • Holding up the universe by Jennifer Niven (I was really hoping that I would like this one, I heard so many rave reviews, I was hoping that I would fall in love with this book, but sadly it was not to be. I didn’t like one of the main characters, had such a hard time liking even the writing style and …ugh…nope. not for me)
  • The Anatomical shape of a heart by Jenn Bennett (published under the title Night Owls for the UK….and I am a sad little melon of discontent cause I WANTED to like this book but seriously, it was not to be. Girl on girl hate, double-standards and manic pixie dream boy…not my cuppa to be honest.)
  • Hunted by Megan Spooner (black sheep opinion y’all, I had such a hard time with this book and I really wanted to like it. I love BatB and was really hoping that this book would be awesome but sadly it is a nope. I felt like there was very little character growth, I was MASSIVELY confused by the “twist” at the end and I just…I don’t care for it)
  • We were liars by E. Lockhart (I thought this was a pretty interesting book but the main reason I didn’t end up liking it was the tone throughout the whole book. Rich snobs and money and nah bro I’m good)
  • Books for living by Will Schwalbe (Nope. memoir disguised as a book about books which I didn’t ask for and certainly didn’t want. Also the tone of this “author” was pretentious, snobbish and downright rude. Hard pass)
  • Jane Austen: A life by Claire Tomalin (Y’all know I’m nuts about Jane Austen, and so I have a tendency to get books about her, and this one….was…so….BORING. Like it was about everyone else BUT Jane. And dry. And sleep inducing. And boring. pass)
  • The Assistants by Camille Perri (I love when I go into a book with little to no expectations and when I finish I think “That pretty much played out about how I thought it would” and this was one of those books. I think I would have liked it more had the characters been a bit more fleshed out…and if we possibly got a different view then the MC, who I can’t even remember right now. )

 

Books I reread:

  • Radical by David Platt
  • Restless by Jeannie Allen
  • Pride and Prejudice audiobook read by Rosamund Pike
  • breaking free by Beth Moore

 

So that’s what I read this month. There were a surprising amount of books I didn’t care for, whereas I feel like in May I had more books I liked. But this is the burden of being a reader, some months you get amazing results and others, you limp by and hope that the next month you do better.

Have a great day Dragons! And remember, life is too short to read mediocre books (apparently that’s what I was here for this month!)

Cheers!

~Stephanie

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Top Ten Best books I’ve read this year (so far)

Today I’m linking up with the Top Ten Tuesday post from Jamie over at the broke and the bookish (you can check her post here) and the prompt is the best books that we have read this year, so far.

Um, somehow it’s already the middle of the year? When precisely did that happen, because I sure didn’t sign up for my year to be almost over, especially when I think of all the books I’ve yet to read.

I actually thought that this prompt would be easy to do, but even with all the books that I’ve read so far this year, I seem to have a shocking low number of books that were so impressive that they earned a 5 star. But Ce’st Le Vie, we go on. These are in no order at all, nor are they all ones that are brand new (I’m good but darling I’m not that good), they might have been from years ago, but they are new to me, so that’s all that matters.

Now to the lists!

1- Duels and Deceptions by Cindy Anstey. This is a Regency era romance, with snark and laughter and I loved it. This is by the same author who wrote Love, Lies and Spies, and I thoroughly enjoyed this one (it’s not a sequel, perhaps it might be considered a companion novel?)

 Synopsis:  Lydia is trying to have her life go to plan, which means getting hitched to the man her late father prepared. However, her life goes off track when she, and her new law clerk Robert, are kidnapped. Now she has to escape, save her reputation and just possibly fall in love? Oh dear. 

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2-The Dragon with the Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis. MG. This is about a snarky dragon who gets transformed into a girl. And a very snarly girl at that. And there’s chocolate and snark and sass and dragons and I absolutely fell in love with this and with the writing! I loved it! (Also snark, sass, dragons and chocolate? It’s like the universe said I needed a book just for me and made it) It’s fantastic.

 

3-Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. I am a sad little melon ball that it took me until THIS YEAR to actually read this book. Because I know for a fact had I read it back when it came out, I would have pushed it on every single person that I know. And ones I didn’t. I have never known a book that was so obsessed with books and love of reading and it’s just amazing. (Also bad reader confession, I actually saw the movie first, had absolutely NO CLUE this was a book and loved the movie….now that I’ve read the book, I want to go and read all of the series) This sadly was a library book so I couldn’t keep it, but I’m probably going to be getting the U.K. cover set soon, because now I must read the whole thing.

 

4-The girl who fell beneath Fairyland and led Revels there by Catherynne M. Valente. MG Actually this whole series is pretty much fantastic and super under-rated. I feel like hardly anyone knows about it, even though it has some essential and wonderful things, like snark, sass, a Wyvern (book loving dragon) and a very strong female character. I only had heard of this series in December and this has quickly grown into one of my favorite series.

5- The Finishing School quartet by Gail Carriger. Ok, So I know it’s only supposed to be one book but honestly this quartet is just filled with complete awesome and I love it. Again this is a very under-rated series, I didn’t even know what it was called until I got to the last one. It revolves around a finishing school that is not exactly what it appears, instead of tutoring young women how to find wealthy husbands, it instead tutors them in how to survive the supernatural. Werewolves, vampires, steampunk, rich friendships and snark and sass….it made my day to find this series. I’ve started recommending it to everyone who likes steampunk/alternate history.

6-Unequal Affections by Lara Ormiston. An alternate retelling of Pride and Prejudice where Elizabeth accepts Darcy with his first proposal, instead of giving him a proper venting. It is one of my favorite retellings, because it really does feel like Jane herself could have written it. I loved reading it, and was on pins and needles at some points, even though I knew what would happen! Don’t get discouraged by the rather hideous cover though, it’s still worth it.

7-The long way to a small angry planet by Becky Chambers. Road trip, with aliens, in space. Pretty much sums it up. I personally loved this book and thought it was so complex and different and brilliant. How the aliens observed the humans so reminded me of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (which is one of the few books I like that is a sci-fi book) and there was so much snark and sass and diversity and it was great! (*Side note: it is not an epic space battle book, it literally is a road trip book but it’s still really great because the characters have so much depth and grit….I love them)

8-Outrun the Moon by Stacy Lee. This was an amazing book. Dealing with a young Chinese girl, her parents and their expectations of her life, and the great earthquake of 1906 in San Francisco. It explored racism, friendship and what expectations/ideals parents might put on you, but that you sometimes have to go find your own path. I highly recommend this book, also because it surprised me. I knew it would be good, but I didn’t realize how good.

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9-The Color Project by Sierra Abrams. Ok so this is slightly cheating as it’s not out until July, but I got an ARC of this and I read it and fell in love with Levi and Bee and everyone. This is a book that is about learning to trust when you have been failed, learning to love outside your plan and being 100% exactly who you are. I loved it so very much (in fact, you can check out my entire squee-like review here if you want to) but seriously, go preorder this book, you won’t regret it.

10-The burning page by Genevieve Cogman. This is the third in the Invisible Library series, and this book was fantastic. The Invisible Library series deals with parallel worlds, dragons (yay!), snark, sass, kickin’ Librarians who are the guardians of the worlds, books, vampires and some romance. I honestly got into this series because of the cover, but the cover is just a small part of how awesome this series is. Please go check it out, you won’t regret it.

So that’s my list of the best books I’ve read so far this year.  There are quite a few new books that are on my radar that aren’t here yet, or even out in the world yet, but I can’t wait for them (short list includes The Dire King*, Retribution Rails, Wonder Woman, and so many others!) 2017 has been (so far) a great year for books, and I hope that it gets even better.

*Oh look, I almost made it through one post without mentioning my absolute love for the Jackaby series….and then I failed….oh well.

What were some of your best books this year? What books should I add to my list to check out? What is one of your favorites?

Happy reading Dragons, and remember, life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

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Books, Reading

My marvelous May wrap-up

Ok, so this is slightly late, but at least it’s not in the end of say June where I’m talking about the books that I finished in May. Priorities y’all. 🙂

Seriously though, I somehow got through 26 books in May.

I really don’t know how, perhaps witchcraft was involved because let’s be real, May was a crazy month for me. I had stuff happening every weekend, my birthday happened and Memorial Day, where I didn’t do anything but dog sit. So yeah, I’m as shocked as you to learn how many books I actually read this time around.

Out of all the books, they are separated into pretty much 2/3 categories,  new/library and rereads. I try to reread quite a few books each time, not that it helps me to conquer my TBR monster but hey, it makes me happy. The problem I’m finding is because I’m a mood reader, when I have a huge stack of library books around I need to tell myself that I’m in the mood to read such and such book. Which sometimes works, and sometime I have to renew them so that I can get them done.

So I read 18 new books and 7 rereads this past month. Of those 18 new books 15 of those were from the library. Which means I really only read 3 books that were brand new to me and were off my TBR. Which means that if I continue this rate of reading, I will read all the books in the library but yet I will still have a TBR that crushes me to death. I might have to work on this for this month.

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My 5-4 star reads this month

In May I managed to finish the Finishing School (haha lame pun I know) series by Gail Carriger. I had previously read her adult book and didn’t care for it, but the finishing school series worked really well for me. I felt like there was a ton of snark and sass, along with evil genius’, were-wolves, vampires and of course how to be a spy while still being a lady. The whole series is 4 books long and I rated it a collective 4.5 stars for the whole thing, (and all the books pretty much got a 4 star rating, or even a 4.5 rating) I strongly think it’s worth a read. (I got them from the library but I’m probably going to be picking them up in the next couple of months because they were so good)

I also got an ARC of The Color Project, and let’s be real, I geeked out over this book! You can read my whole review here The Color Project

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I also read The Careful Undressing of Love, which to be honest is a strange magical book which I quickly got involved in and really liked. I gave it a 4 stars, it had strange and beautiful writing, and I really liked it. (I will state though there is some bedroom times, not very graphic but they are there so just so you are aware.)

Other 4-5 Star books

  • Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
  • Curtsies & Conspiracies, Waistcoats and Weaponry, Manners and Mutiny by Gail Carriger
  • Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  • Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
  • City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett
  • Lord Edgeware Dies by Agatha Christie (reread)
  • The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (reread)
  • Grace for the good girl by Emily P. Freeman (reread)
  • God is Able by Priscilla Shirer (reread)
  • Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (reread)
  • The Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson (reread)
  • Let me be a woman by Elisabeth Elliot (reread)
  • Looking for Lovely by Annie F. Downs (reread)

 

3-4 star books

  • The only Necessary thing by Henri Nouwen (basically a rehash of many of his books, not really a fan)
  • Writing down the bones by Natalie Goldberg (the tone was so much talking down to people that I could barely stand it)
  • Kissing in America by Margo Rabb (I really really really had a problem with how the MC treated her friend, I loved it up till that point which is why it’s only as a 3)
  • Until we meet again by Renee Collins (science and logic took a break with this book though it was semi-squishable, the fact that nothing was really explained made me unhappy)
  • Matilda by Roald Dahl (I kinda had a problem with this, mainly with the portrayal of the adults and such. Granted I wasn’t the intended audience but still…wasn’t great)

 

Major disappointments

  • The Assassin’s Curse/The Pirate’s Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke (Man I had such high hopes for this duology but in all aspects it failed and failed miserably. The first book was pretty decent, but both of them had a tendency to drag on and on and on, even though they both were small books, it felt like they had been going on forever. I was not pleased)
  • The life changing magic of cleaning up by Marie Kondo (this one had some good points but on the whole, not worth my time. The only redeeming factor? It was a quick, easy read.)
  • The Necklace by Cheryl Jarvis (ugh. rich snobs who share a necklace that cost more than my car. Not a fan)

 

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So that’s what I read this past month. I actually did read quite a few books that were really amazing and some that missed the mark. As always, what I don’t like is just my opinion. If y’all like it, or want to try it, please do! What works for me might not work for you.

That being said, have you read any of the ones I listed up there? What were you’re thoughts? Did you disagree with any of my ratings? Let me know below (courteously of course)

Have an awesome day Dragons!

And remember Life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

 

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