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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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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Books, Reading

22 boxes, 1 shelf and other reasons moving is not the best

I recently moved.

This already ranks on the “I hate this most” award, but here’s the thing that makes it worse, I have books.

Not just books but 22 boxes of books.

And not just 22 boxes of books, but I ended up having 2 of my shelves break when I moved so now I’m down to one measly shelf that is literally holding over 200 books on it.

I have books piled on my desk and nightstand, on my tv stand and even in my bed. (that last one is a really bad habit that I need to break mainly because I don’t want to kill any of my precious babies, but still haven’t).

And not only did I move recently but I moved 2 times in the past 5 months. And each time someone thought they would be funny by telling me that my books should be donated or sold because I have too many. (Nope, I sure don’t. Don’t even try, not gonna happen)

I don’t have too many books, what I have is inadequate shelf space. And boxes that are still unpacked because of the books that reside in them.

I am hoping to get some new shelves this weekend, mainly because I feel all out of sorts.

All my series are out of order, and not even near each other. My carefully planned bookshelf is a mere caricature, now sitting among stacks and piles of books. And it’s overwhelming.

But for all my grousing about how bad moving is, at least all my books made it this time. One of the times I moved, I stored some boxes in a friend’s garage and left them there for a couple months. What neither of us realized was that the garage flooded, and my boxes of books that were off the ground and setting on plastic tubs, had been moved by one of the roommates looking for her things and were setting on the ground. Fully immersed in the water. I don’t want to tell you what happened when I found out what books they were, but tears were shed. (here’s a hint, 1st ed. HP HC if you want to know)

So from that day, I promised if I had to leave something behind it would never be my books. And I never have.

The funny thing is when you move enough and when you have enough books, people start to remember why they don’t help you move. And one of my jokes is that I have to get new friends to help me move every time because they all remember how many boxes of books I have. And it keeps increasing. 🙂

Anyways, hope y’all are having a great day, and remember life is too short to read mediocre books!

happy reading Dragons!

 

~Stephanie

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judgement free zone

So something happened the other day that kinda wrecked what I was going to talk about today, and even though it happened over a week ago, it still bothers me every single time that I think of it, or try and talk about it, so this personally is going to be a sort of rant, but not much of one.

For the seasonal time of the holidays in the US over here, I worked a second job as a bookseller at Barnes and Noble. I really do love telling people what I thought of certain books and what they should or shouldn’t get, (which is also why I started this blog) and I love seeing kids get excited about reading.

So I was checking out this girl who was maybe about 8 or 9 and she was getting a couple of books, one of which was the Ever After High Book #3, which she said was one of her favorite series. Now, I had just come on shift and had passed the newest book when I came in so I told her about it. Her face lit up and she asked her mom and dad if she could get that one as well. Her parents agreed and she sprinted off and got it.

(this part was awesome, I love seeing kids run for books).

Then the girl asked if I had read them. Well, I had so I told her yes I have, they are pretty cool. The girl standing next to me on the cash register snorted with laughter but didn’t say anything until the girl left.

Then my coworker, still laughing, manages to say “Nice lie about those books, good thing you thought on your feet to sell more.”

Me: Why would I lie to someone? I don’t care if she bought another book or not, I was just letting her know.

And this dear readers was where it went down hill. This coworker proceeded to not only mock me, but also anyone who had the audacity to read something outside of their age group. She said “If you are older than 16 you shouldn’t be reading anything that is geared towards Kids or Teenagers.”

I couldn’t put into words precisely what I was thinking because I was so irritated.

I know I told her that she shouldn’t have any judgments on what people choose to read or not to read, and that age shouldn’t tell me that I can’t pick up a YA book and enjoy it.

I love YA, simply because there is a lot in there that you don’t realize. Not just the Hunger Games/Divergent/Twilight but more thought-provoking, more plot entertaining, more of a thrill than most of the adult books I’ve read. Age should never deter you from buying or reading a book, just because you are older than teen or YA, doesn’t mean that you should feel shame for liking or reading that book.

Let’s be real, all of us have a guilty book pleasure, one that we read but that we would never admit to anyone that we like. Maybe because of the stereotype surrounding it, maybe because it’s in the wrong section, or maybe because we just feel “too old” to be reading something that 12 year olds are reading, but let’s stop bookshaming each other. Let’s stop making the snide comments about age, or gender or whatever.

Do you like it? Do you enjoy it? Then why does it matter what others say or think? At least you are reading.

Personally I think that we need to just remind people that reading is reading, no matter what you are reading. (ok one exception because I know that I know that people are going to start twisting saying that I’m saying that kids should read whatever they want, no…the age rule doesn’t apply to them. They need to read in their genre, but for adults it doesn’t matter. Got it? Ok good)

For the record, when I got off of work that day I walked over to the YA section and picked up Jackaby which I had been waiting for, for about 2 months to come out, and went through her line. And when she rolled her eyes at me again, I laughed and said “I can’t wait to read this book. It’s for me.”

Cheers friends.

Stephanie

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