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

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, BookTube, Reading, Uncategorized

#Read30Days

 

I have a sort of reputation as being “The Bookworm” in my group of friends in real life. They call me when they have recommendations for books or when they have heard about a book but are wondering if it’s worth it or not. I generally can tell them if it’s good, or if I haven’t read it, if I’ve heard it’s good or not.

I actually like this reputation, not only does it make me feel awesome to help someone out, but usually I can walk away with a good book rec as well, which is always nice.

But lately I haven’t been reading as much as I would like to. In fact, I haven’t been reading much at all for the past 3 weeks. I still have finished a few books, and I still want to read, but I’m finding that it’s so much easier to just turn on Netflix or go to social media and let my brain just relax then it is to pick up a book and start reading.

It’s like I have gotten out of the habit of how much fun reading really is, which frustrates me, which then causes me to go back to Netflix because why would I pick up a book? (this doesn’t even make sense to me as I’m writing it but still)

So I was watching on SarawithoutanH’s booktube and she was having this same problem and decided to do a challenge to read for 30 days straight. Even if it was just for like 10 minutes or so, just to get her back in the habit of daily wanting to read.

And I first thought that it was a cool challenge but since I had no problem reading everyday, while it was cool, it wasn’t for me. Then I started thinking when I had read a book last, or really when I had picked up a book last. Before I knew it, I realized I was in the same spot, where I liked to read but at the moment I wasn’t reading.

So I decided to do this challenge. I’m going to do the #Read30days on my twitter, and I’m going to document it on my insta-stories, that way you can see how I’m doing. (Both twitter and instagram are dreams_in_blue for the newbies here)

Read for 30 days. At first I wanted to be super competitive with myself and try to finish a book a day, and that lasted maybe 5 minutes, 4.5 of them laughing hysterically at myself, and then I decided to just read each day. Solid uninterrupted reading time.

So I’m going to be doing this for the month of March. If anyone wants to join me, just let me know. This is super lowkey, just to let you know, the goal is just to simply get back into the reading habit, not to try and read as much as possible. (although that’s a good goal too)

Anyway Dragons, have a great night and remember, life is too short to read mediocre books!!

~Stephanie

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Books, BookTube, Reading, Uncategorized

10 books I’m constantly recommending

 

Ok, so I was going to do this for the Top Ten Tuesday post but I fell a bit behind so I thought I would put my own spin on it and state some of the top books that I constantly am recommending to people. These will range from “Do you want YA, adult etc.” to simply “You should read this book”

These are in no particular order, just how I thought of them. Enjoy!

1- The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. (All of them but specifically the Voyage of the Dawn Treader) Narnia was my gateway to reading fantasy. It was the turning moment for me realizing that fictional characters could make you cry and laugh, and I wanted nothing more than to find a passage to Narnia. I cannot imagine what my reading would be like if I hadn’t discovered Narnia, and I’m so thankful for that series.

2- From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankwieler by E.L. Konigsburg. This holds sweet memories as it was one of the books my mom would read out loud to my sister and I when we were younger, one chapter per night. I loved the story of Jamie and Claudia running away to hide out in a museum. Always struck my fancy and I will admit I thought about doing that sometimes after a fight with my sister. And it’s one that I recommend simply because it’s a great quick read.

3-Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Seriously this is one of my all time favorite books, it has it all: Romance, intrigue, wealth and snobbery, and it’s one of my favorites of all time. Besides, after watching the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth playing Mr. Darcy, tell me if he isn’t your ideal bloke. 🙂

4-The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. This book is my stepping stone into high fantasy. There are elves, and dwarfs and even dragons. I love the simple story of a small hobbit going there and back again, and it makes me so happy. The only thing that could have made this better was that the movie adaptation was better than what it was. But all in all, this was an amazing book and one I always read right before I need courage to do something or to remind myself that even the smallest person can change the course of the history.

5-Jackaby series by William Ritter. This series really got me into YA about 3 years ago. It is like a Buffy meets Sherlock meets Supernatural, in the 19th century. I love this series, where there are vampires, skin shifters, dragons and guardians. It has so much action and such a strong female character that I gush about this series pretty much all the time. It makes me so happy.

6-The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater. This is a magical realism series regarding Cabeswater, a search for a Welsh King, an amplifier, Raven boys and magic. I fell in love with how Maggie writes her stories and how she drizzles each word with magic and strength. This was one of the best series that I have read so far, and I cannot wait to read more by her.

7-Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. This is a gritty heist book where none of the crew is good, or nice or actually very good except for Matthias. And it’s amazing. Think V for Vendetta with the wisecracks of Oceans 11 and food, and you might have the start of what this is about. I love the snark, and the heist and this is one I cannot believe was just a duology because it was so good I needed more, like yesterday.

8-The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. This is one of my absolute favorite books, it has magic and a game and love and a circus. Not just any circus though, this circus is only done up in black and white with dashes of red, and it is specific to talents. Why have a large tent when you can have many small tents where you can see the illusionist or the lion tamer or have a cloud maze? Trust me when I say I wish she would write something else, because her writing is fabulous.

9-Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie. I am a sucker for mysteries, and you add the Great Christie onto that, I’m gone. She is one of my favorite authors and the reason that I love this book so much is that it is one of 4, like she doesn’t introduce a random person towards the end that could do it, it is only one of the 4 previous introduced. Also I love her twists and turns. And then there was none is another favorite of mine.

10- The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord. This is a sweet and wonderful story that revolves around Max and Paige and I just fell completely in love, head over heels for their story and build up. They are slight friends that turn to good friends and maybe more? Plus Max is a geek who knows and loves things like Firefly, Star Wars and Chucks. I love him immensely and want him all for myself. Like, no one else can have him.

Honorary Mentions: The Mysterious Benedict Society trilogy by Trenton Lee Stewart; Scorpio Races by Maggie Steifvater; The gold seer trilogy by Rae Carson; Love fortunes and other disasters duology by Kim Karalius; P.S. I like you by Kassie West; Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman; The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien; A darker shade of magic by V.E. Schwab; Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson; Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling; Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman; The invisible library series by Genevieve Cogman; the Rebel Mechanics series by Shanna Swendson; Uprooted by Naomi Novik; The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen. 

 

What are some books you constantly recommend? Any that you have read on the list that I recommend to people? Any you now want to read? Let me know in the comments below!

Cheers!

Stephanie

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Books, BookTube, Reading, Uncategorized

steps for how you become a “READER”

There are certain things that happen when you become a reader, things that people maybe should have prepared you for, things that you won’t expect to happen just because you are reading a book.

See, it starts small, you get a recommendation from a friend, you get a coupon in the mail you decide that maybe you should check out whatever book they were talking about, because they won’t ever stop till you finally read it.

So you go to the store and find it. Surprisingly (especially if they are someone who knows books) you will have no problem finding it. And then you buy it, making some little joke about how it’s something your friend wants you to read, because you would never actually read something like this in real life.

Then you go home. Maybe you set the book down and forget it for a few days until you meet up or hear from that friend again, and then somehow mention that you got that book they are always going on about. Which makes you have to be able to read it now, without any excuse.

But then, you actually liked the book.

And then you found yourself spending more time on sites like Amazon and BookDepository, finding cheap books because a hunt, and then you discovered the bookish community.

A whole community of people who not only talk about books, blog about books, but also take pictures of books, and even film about books. You find people that you absolutely love to watch and read every review they write.

And then you realize that you are drooling over shelfies (pictures of bookshelves), wanting all your books to match and you start having almost an attack because you see people bending their books backwards or dog-earring pages. And your collection of books starts to rival those BookTubers that you see.

How did it get to this, just one simple step at a time.

Congratulations you are now a reader.

Welcome to the rest of your life.

Grab a new book, get some tea or coffee, and enjoy this new life that you have embarked on.

Cheers fellow readers,

Stephanie

 

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Books, BookTube, Reading

Why I no longer do a TBR list….

 

I am a BookTuber, and one of the things that I have stopped doing in the past couple of months is not posting a TBR list of books I want to read that month. (TBR=To Be Read)

I’m not knocking that those work.There is nothing more satisfying then looking at the list of books you wanted to get to and crossing all of them off and making sure that you let people know, you have conquered the ever elusive TBR pile, at least for this month.

But for me, they don’t work.

I have tried.

And I have failed. Numerous times in fact.

Posting TBR lists somehow always make me seem like I’m a failure at reading because to be honest, I don’t complete them.

I will actually avoid the books that are on my TBR because I’m just not in the mood for them. Or I was in the mood to read that certain book when I posted a video about it, but then as the video went up and the month went along, my feelings changed.

I would no longer want to read that book.

Or I would hear of a mixed review.

Or someone would tell me a different book that I just had to pick out and read because that one had all the feels attached to it.

So there are many reasons why I stopped posting a TBR. And you know what dragons?

It’s made me a better reader. It’s made me really want to read more books because I tell myself I can read whatever I want in whatever order I want.

This is actually termed as being a mood reader, and there are so many readers who really understand this and go with the fact that they are just not in the mood for a book they said they wanted to read.

Now the only exception when I do post TBR posts is when I am doing a Readathon. And for those I always post a video with a TBR because there are usually challenges and contests attached to each one, and I like seeing if I can get through all of them.

Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I complete all the challenges, and sometimes I don’t even complete one of them.

But I keep reading. I guess that’s the most important part isn’t it? To make sure that we are still reading, still striving towards the unattainable goal of conquering our TBR pile.

What about you dragons? Do you do a monthly TBR? A yearly TBR? Tell me down below!

~Remember, life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

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