Weekly Wrap Up: March Week 3

This is my weekly wrap up:March week 3.

I was participating in a readathon this week, but I mostly kept to myself. No talk

Book that were on my TBR

Blue Lily, Lily Blue  by Maggie Stiefvater

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making  Catherynne M. Valente

A Gathering of Shadows by VE Schwab

The Coldest Girl in Cold Town by Holly Black

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa  (DNF) and so I picked up Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo 

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkowski

My goals are even simpler this week: 
  • Walk/exercise every day

I got sick this week with demon flu. But, I have picked up some great productivity tips from Mollie.  I am starting to handle my time better. 

  • Write every day

Hahah. No. Still needs work. 

  • Read every day

Yep! 

  • Try to be more active within the book community

My anxiety sometimes spikes up when I talk to people, so this is going to take some time. But, I am definitely trying to do this. 

You may have noticed the absence of a wrap up last week. I am, as
Image courtesy of username 1103489 on Pixabay. In my first week of July, I have
Goodbye June, you were a rough month. Growing up is hard work, but I am

BT: I Dare You Book Tag

Today, I found a video by Pages and Pens on the I Dare You Book Tag.   This tag sounds wonderful, so I decided to give it a try for the blog. I want to preface the I Dare You book tag with a warning: these are my opinions. By no means am I implying that just because I feel a certain way, you should, too. We may disagree on the books or characters, but we can still be friends and respect our different opinions.

Now that this was said and done, let’s begin with the rules.

Le Rules
  • You must be honest
  • You must answer all questions
  • You have to tag at least four people

 

1. What book has been on your shelves the longest?

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. 

It’s the first book I owned. I got it in 2002.

2. What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?

Current read: Shadow and Bone 

Last read: Um. I can’t remember which, but The Wrath and the Dawn was pretty close or A Gathering of Shadows 

Next read: Blue Lily, Lily Blue and A Shadow Bright and Burning 

3. What book did everyone like, but you hated?

The word “hate” makes me flinch. I may dislike some aspects of a book, but I don’t like saying that I hate it. Uh, I don’t think that many people liked it but…Allegiant. That was a bit of a shocker for me.

4. What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?

A Thousand Nights. I just don’t like the book because it doesn’t establish any connection with the characters. It’s hard when they have no name, and no dialogue. I keep giving it to my brother and taking it back.

5. Which book are you saving for retirement?

None? I want to read all the things now! I can reread later on in life. Also, I have no intention of retiring.

 

6. Last Page: read it first, or wait till the end?

Uh. You WAIT TILL THE END. Always.

7. Acknowledgment: waste of paper and ink, or interesting aside?

As a reader, I kind of don’t look at the acknowledgments because I feel like it’s somewhat private. I know, it doesn’t make sense. But, I want my own acknowledgments one day as a writer to be kind of a private affair.

8. Which book character would you switch places with?

Probably Blue from the Raven Cycle. I just wish I were cool and hip.

 

9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life (a person, a place, a time)?

Anna and the French Kiss reminds me of happy spring/summer days. Harry Potter books remind me of my early days in California and discovering reading/libraries/books.

10. Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.

City of Bones I got it while having really bad fever and flu in grad school. I was uninspired and had no direction because school was just all about boring books.

11. Have you ever given away a book for a special reason to a special person?

Yep! I give books to my brother and sister often.

12. Which book has been with you the most places?

I’ll Give You The Sun was a book that I had taken all over the place while we were hanging out with one of my mom’s friends. We’d take her to beaches, and museums, parks, and I’d bring this book with me to keep my anxiety under control. And, it was a pretty good book. Even though it had some sad moments, I think it tells an important story for me.

13. Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later?

Shakespeare and Jane Austen are probably the two main ones. I actually ended up hating a lot of classics, and never intend on trying them again. Like, The Red Badge of Courage and The Scarlet Letter.  I ended up disliking the books I used to like, but mostly because of the memories associated with them.

14. Used or brand new?

Both! I like free shipping, when I get to that 25 dollar mark. And, if it’s cheaper to buy the book used, I do that. Whichever is cheaper.

15. Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?

Yes, I have, but it was early in my reading life. It was way before the movie were made. *Is a hipster*

16. Have you ever seen a movie that you liked more than the book?

I always say this, but The Perks of Being a Wallflower. 

 

17. Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks excluded?

No. Is that a thing? I am vegan, and the character rarely just eat what I eat.

18. Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?

Hm. My book friends, for the most part: Jolien, Inge (sometimes Aly, too. But, I am still too shy to ask), Ely (and Michelle kind. Too shy to talk to her that much), Cait (we’re not quite at the friends stage, but I like similar books to her). Some booktubers have close tastes to my own, too.

 

 

19. Tag (at least 4) friends

Asti 

Annemieke 

Jolien 

Ely and Michelle 

Inge and Of Wonderland team 

Chiara 

Shannon 

 

Anyone who wants to do this, go for it, consider yourself tagged (<— that was one gross run on sentence).

My incredible friend Ely posted her answers to this Book Personality Challenge a few days
As I watched Marines' video of this tag, I felt that it would be a
    Ali from the Hardback Hoarder channel recorded a video where she answered the

T5W: Books You Felt Betrayed By

Welcome to another Top 5 Wednesday (T5W!). Before I get to the exciting stuff, I want to link the Goodreads group here. This week’s topic is the top 5 books that betrayed me.

5. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

In particular, Mockingjay was not what I was expecting. Katniss had PTSD and it was hard to keep up with her without it being triggering. In fact, I have  struggled with this series because I find it rather difficult and uncomfortable. It’s also why I like it so much. But, Mockingjay was just so different and heavy.

4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Look, I just feel like Rowling couldn’t decide between the horcruxes and the deathly hallows. Like, what’s the point in introducing this plot line if it was not going to be relevant? Let’s not even discuss the epilogue, which included the worst kid names ever. There’s no need for it.

3. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

I tried reading David Levithan’s books and I know that he’s just not the author for me. But, man, John Green couldn’t pull off this book at all. I hate Tiny Cooper. And, I felt so betrayed by this book because it could have been nuanced, clever, and funny. It’s just forced and awkward.

 

2. The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

As a fan of her Mortal Instruments series, I was obviously aware that these books are also going to rock. They didn’t just rock, they blew me away. I seriously can’t even fathom a world with no Jem, Will, or Tessa. I wasn’t betrayed in a bad way. It was awesome kind of betrayal, because I thought the love triangle was going to go one way and it didn’t.

1. The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray

The pretty covers of this series, the charm of magic and Victorian times, all didn’t prepare me to the awful finale. While I am all for including LGBT+ in stories, but not as a plot twist. Also, this book is huge and I don’t remember anything in this book other than annoyance on my part.

 

Your Turn:

Have you read any of these books? Did they (un)pleasantly surprise you? Share your top 5 in the comments!

For Top 5 Wednesday, this week's discussion topic centers around book tropes that were presented
In honor of Father's Day, the wonderful Top 5 Wednesday group assigned a topic for
    Today's Top 5 Wednesday is all about science fiction and fantasy authors. More

TTT: Top Ten Books On My Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is back, right from the source, The Broke and the Bookish!  This week’s topic is about our top ten books on our spring TBR. I am excited to share some of my most exciting books that I’d like to read this season.

 

10. Eye of the World (Wheel of Time, book 1) by Robert Jordan 

This series has been recommended to me by my friend Emily. I remember watching her read and theorize about the last couple of books. Part of me is intimidated because it is an investment to get into this series. Having bought it all used over the course of a few months (fourteen books!), I am anxious to read it.

I can tell it is the OG of fantasy, but I am curious to learn more. It could help me with my writing, too.

9.  The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

Are you noticing a trend? I am hoping to tackle series in the spring. But, anyway, Regean from Peruse Project always talks about this series. Moreover, Jolien has started reading it and she’s enjoying it. Aside from Locke Lamora, I am still trusting Jolien’s taste in books. Plus, I have Chima’s boos, so might as well read them.

8. Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

I want to meet Magnus already and hate on Lucia. The characters just sound so exciting and I want to join the fandom. I have been collecting the book over the years. Time to tackle them.

7. The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness

Apparently, the dog is awesome in these books. As long as the dog lives, I should be okay. I am excited to read this trilogy. I have some Ness books, and I’d like to read them.

6. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

So, I have had this series on my shelves for a long time now. I tried reading it before, and I was overwhelmed by the style of writing. As a writer, I kind of take mental notes while I read and Laini Taylor is like a goddess in my head. I think I am ready to learn from her, without feeling like I could never be as good as her.

5. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

How many years have passed since I said that I’d read this series? I don’t know, but I am tired of seeing graphics and quotes from it on Tumblr and not knowing who said what. I want to meet these cute little literary babies. Soon!

4. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

I don’t know much about this series. But, I have had epic huge fantasy on here, and I’d like some easier reading to do as well. Plus, isn’t there an anime of this book? Maybe I can tempt my brother to watch it with me.

3. Shiver by Maggie Steifvater

Now that I am working my way through the Raven Cycle, I think I need to get to her older stuff. Werewolves, huh? Maybe this could be as eerie and interesting as the Raven Boys.

2. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

I read this book so fast, that I don’t even remember who the heck was Lady Midnight. I know. Shameful. In preparation for Lord of Shadows, I better reread this book. Plus, I want to bond with these characters a bit more.

 

  1. A Conjuring of Light by Victoria Schwab

    Because at some point, I will finish this trilogy. I am enjoying it A LOT. I have to see what happens to these literary babies of mine. I love them so much. Will Holland and Kell have an epic battle? Who will win?

Your Turn:

In the comments, share your most anticipated reads for the spring!

Image courtesy of Couleur on Pixabay. Not a genre I normally reach for, middle-grade books
For this week's Top 10 Tuesday, I am twisting the prompt a bit. Rather than
**Image by Jill 111 on Pixabay  As someone who struggles with a mood disorder, I

BR: A Gathering of Shadows

I was hesitant to start reading A Gathering of Shadows by V E Schwab. Mainly, my fear was that the characters were going to suffer, as this happens to be a scary story in general. Listen, Schwab is not playing in this book either. Obviously, I will try to keep this review spoiler free.

Pirates and Thieves

Lila’s story line is just outstanding. I like that she’s not waiting around for someone to help introduce her to this London. Unlike normal people, Lila doesn’t simply exist. She thrives where-ever she goes. I admire her ability to always land on her feet.

Alucard Emery was such a refreshing, charming, heartbreaking man. He was scary sometimes, because, well, he broke some hearts here and there.

His relationship with Bard was the perfect balance between teacher, crush, and equal.

Kell and Rhy

If anything, this book further progresses the relationship between Kell and Rhy. Because of what happened at the end of book 1, things are no longer the same between them and their parents.

Part of me doesn’t really get the point of the tournament. I want them to lay low, but I also know that they’d go crazy that way.

The magic, the beauty and horror of it, came to life in this book through Kell and Lila. They face each other and their relationship is just so sweet.

Holland

There are moments where I absolutely hate Holland for having to rely on someone to be strong. It’s probably because I’d do what he does. I identify with him too much, and it makes me flinch from him sometimes.

And yet.

Survival is something he’s good at, and I admire him for fighting on. Even if he makes Kell miserable.

But that cliffhanger was so not cool.

I’m picking up the third and final book SOON.

 

The Love for V.E. Schwab I started reading V.E. Schwab's work about a year ago.
        **Before I continue, I have to credit the following brilliant photographers:
  After reading the Raven Cycle, Maggie Stiefvater became one of the most interesting authors on my

TBR and Goals: Read-O-Rama

Here is my TBR for the Read-o-Rama Readathon. It will take place from March 12-18th. I will link the twitter for it right here.

I want to say that even though week was kind of a fail in terms of reading, still, I feel somewhat hopeful. Many of the books I chose for this week are by authors I like, so there’s plenty to look forward to.

Rama in the Title or in the Author’s Name

Blue Lily, Lily Blue  by Maggie Stiefvater

Book with Animal(s) on the Cover

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making  Catherynne M. Valente

 

Character that Shares Your Initial

(De)Lilah Bard in A Gathering of Shadows by VE Schwab

 Book With Irish Elements


Blue Lily, Lily Blue 
by Maggie Steifvater (Ronan is who I have in mind),

Book About an Illness

The Coldest Girl in Cold Town by Holly Black (Vampires!)

 

Start a Series

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa 

Read a Book Blind

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

 7th Book:

Because we’re supposed to get seven books in the week, so I would like to read Winner’s Crime. 

My goals are even simpler this week: 
  • Walk/exercise every day
  • Write every day
  • Read every day
  • Try to be more active within the book community
The NEWTs readathon has been steadily creeping the bookish web for the past month. As
My first round of booktubeathon went so poorly that I am in need of trying
Image courtesy of @ Pexels on Pixabay. My awesome friend Ely along with the fabulous

March Weekly Wrap Up 2

This week’s wrap up is hard to write, I’ll admit it now. If you haven’t noticed on Twitter, my sleep has been so off lately.

And, I was either sleeping too much or too little. So, I’ll cut to the chase and say it: I finished only one book this week.

In my defense, The Lies of Locke Lamora was the longest book I have read in a while (670 pages), and it felt long, too. I just didn’t like it at all. Poor Annemieke, she had to deal with me being grumpy about this book.

But, the lesson I was reminded of: people have varying tastes in things. And, it doesn’t make the thing less valuable if you don’t like it. In other words, I understand that Locke Lamora has merit. It’s just not my thing right now.

Onto my goals:
  1. Exercise more within the week

Not really. I have been focused on another goal on here instead.

2. Continue to work on novel

Kind of accomplished this one. I have found an easier way for me to work, but I haven’t been able to balance my time better.

3. Read and post multiple times a week

I have been reading just fine. It’s just that I was focused on finishing Locke Lamora, so I can read other things. I posted a couple of times on here, but not like I imagined. Need to work on it some more.

4.Sleep more. I am running on 3 hours of sleep. Lately, I haven’t been able to sleep at all, and it’s really affecting my energy levels and mood.

YES. I got this down. I started on a new medication by Wednesday night. Still, I am now trying to figure out how to get things done with the time I am awake. 

You may have noticed the absence of a wrap up last week. I am, as
Image courtesy of username 1103489 on Pixabay. In my first week of July, I have
Goodbye June, you were a rough month. Growing up is hard work, but I am

T5W: Favorite Fantasy Reads

Before I begin, let me link the Goodreads group for T5W. T5W’s topic for this week is top fantasy (and science fiction) reads. Because I have been recently reading again, I don’t have the most awesome answers ever. I am not really well-read (not happy about it. Look at my face, it’s a sad face). But, I’ll try to answer this question with what I do know so far.

5. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Oh, you should have known I was going to recommend this fantasy book. Rowell does fantasy well, and she creates a complex world. The characters are charming and fun.

4. The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

A horned fae prince sleeping in a glass casket. A boy with a talent for music. A female knight. Come on. This is SO good. Holly Black is brilliant and she writes fantastic characters, politics, and humor really well.

3. A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab

I don’t remember a world where I didn’t fangirl about this series. I’m on book 2, and just living for this world. I am enjoying every second of it. Read it for Kell, and Rhy, and magic, and Lila, and HOLLAND.

 

2. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

A seemingly ordinary world, until you realize some people are born with something called a Godstone. Starting the next book in the trilogy soon, I hope!

1. The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

Surprise! (You’re not really surprised, are you?) I just love how Clare balances fantasy with the ordinary. Simon and Clary bring so much realness and depth to this world of Shadowhunters and Idris. I highly recommend this series.

 

For Top 5 Wednesday, this week's discussion topic centers around book tropes that were presented
In honor of Father's Day, the wonderful Top 5 Wednesday group assigned a topic for
    Today's Top 5 Wednesday is all about science fiction and fantasy authors. More

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Regret DNFing

I am trying to participate more in the book community as I read more books. Top Ten Tuesday is run by the Broke and the Bookish. Each week, these lovely people post a prompt where we list our top ten list for a given topic. This week has been a hiatus for the link up, so I am coming up with my own freebie: Top ten books I regret DNFing.

This is an embarrassing list, but I am glad that I have copies of these books. So, in a way, this is also a glimpse of my to-be-read pile as well.

 
10. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

I liked Karou well enough, but my anxiety spiked through this first book because I was overwhelmed. I didn’t finish the first book. The writing style was very ornate and beautiful. It was rather difficult for me to keep going. The one thing that’s changed is that I have been reading a little more, so I don’t feel like I’ll panic as much when I give this a go.

9. Soulless by Gail Carriger

Steampunk was very new to me. It still is, but I didn’t know what it was back then. I was just in shock that there was Victorian times but with technology. Now, though, I am in awe of the genre and want to write some stories within it.

Also, have you seen Gail Carriger? The most adorable creature, she really is. I love the interviews with her so much. Look her up on YouTube.

 

8. Uprooted by Naomi Novik

So. I won this book in a giveaway, then I was like, “Nope. Not reading that.”

And, then, I started reading snippets and quotes of Novik’s work on Goodreads. Then, it dawned on me that not all books are the same. There’s different approaches to telling a story.

I picked it up, loved it, then stopped reading again. My mental illnesses kicked my butt at the time. Definitely will pick it up again, for sure.

7. Doll Bones by Holly Black

Hi. I am easily frightened. This cover seems somewhat creepy. For some reason, I keep thinking it will be like the movies with scary dolls.

But, I enjoy Holly Black’s work, so…I am going to give it a try. I am not sleeping anyway.

6. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman

My friend Kelli got me this book and I was like, “Pft. Who is this dude anyway?” And, I read a little bit of it, then dismissed it.

Then I heard the man speak in YouTube videos and I am a huge fan of him already now. I think I have a better attitude now. Perhaps his writing will teach me a thing or two.

Probably way more than that, to be honest.

 5. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

The only werewolves I knew were the ones in Twilight, and I was like, “No. I don’t care.” But, then I heard the woman speak in a YouTube video. I’ll link it here. She just inspires me a lot, to pursue passions.

But, then, I read the first two Raven Cycle books, and I was like, “Yep. She’s a genius.”

I need to read these books after I am done with the Raven Cycle.

Truth.

4. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cyborgs aren’t normally the characters I would gravitate towards. So, I was like. *Awkward laugh* “What is this? I don’t like it. Where’s the love triangle? Why isn’t she 17?”

Yeah. My tolerance for new things was kind of low.

3. Fallen Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

I have been slowly buying the books used, but I was kind of intimidated when I started reading the first one. Multiple POV, and I was overwhelmed by the world in the book. My hope is that I can try to be more patient and establish relationships with the characters. Plus, Pinterest and Tumblr have awesome mood boards for characters.

*Thumbs up*

2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Read this one in high school and I was somewhat put off by the tone of it. Charlie sounded so…vulnerable and honest. I wasn’t in that same mentality at the time. I have read and loved this book since I started therapy back in 2012. But, before then, I was very uncertain about it.

 

And finally!!

Dun dun dun

 

 1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

It was a clear case of judging a book by its cover. You have to understand where I was at mentally when this book was introduced to me. I had skipped two grades, from middle school to high school, and I didn’t want anyone to dismiss me. As a young woman, it’s hard to establish credibility. The last thing I wanted was for people to think I was juvenile.

I ended up reading it when I moved to a new school. Everyone thought I was weird anyway at that point.

Image courtesy of Couleur on Pixabay. Not a genre I normally reach for, middle-grade books
For this week's Top 10 Tuesday, I am twisting the prompt a bit. Rather than
**Image by Jill 111 on Pixabay  As someone who struggles with a mood disorder, I

BR: The Wrath and the Dawn

It took me two days to read The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. Simply put, I enjoyed the book quite a bit. I am going to be reviewing it here, sans spoilers.

The Story

Sharzad is a wonderful badass of a woman, seeking revenge for the death of her best friend. I think the story was interesting enough, and somewhat unique.

Khalid, our King of Kings, has a complex backstory. I do wonder about the pacing of the story, though, because there was skimming on my end. Every time someone who start sharing a story, my sight just kind of glazed over at the monotonous ramblings.

Then, there’s the magic system, which was lacking depth and explanation. I am okay with that, because I recognize that maybe the characters themselves don’t understand it. But, the text doesn’t really explain how certain people cast spells and whatnot. Someone should know what the heck they’re doing when dabbling with dark magic.

 

Characters

Shahrzad is a strong, independent woman. She doesn’t allow anyone to boss her around. In addition to that, she is capable of defending herself, despite so many attacks toward her.

Khalid is a tortured soul who has a painful past. And, these two characters are just wonderful together. Their relationship develops slow-burn style.

I don’t know if I like Tariq enough to see the appeal of his character. He reminds me of Adam in Shatter Me. So not cute.

Oh, and let’s not discuss Shahrzad’s father. I have no clue what he was doing throughout the book.

Obviously, Despina is giving me life. I just adore her. But, does she always have to exclaim, “By Zeus!” ? I get it, she is Greek.  You don’t have to keep reminding me of that fact.

 

Diction

I don’t know if I have shared this before, but I speak Arabic as an Arab American. Arabic and Persian share a lot of the same vocabulary. Representation really matters, because for me, I felt a thrill whenever Ahdieh used familiar words.

It made the setting all the more real and tangible. Even the insults sounded similar to things I have heard growing up. “You ass!” (as in donkey, not butt).

There was something that bothered me with the whole “Shazi” thing. It reminded me of how in Disney’s Aladdin, the main character asks the audience to call him Al.

No, dude. No. Her name is Shahrzad. Not all names need to be short and Western-sounding to be easy to learn. It’s frustrating to see this. Trust your audience to be clever and attentive. If they want to learn someone’s name, they’ll put in the effort.

In Conclusion

Overall, it was a good book. I enjoyed it a lot. But, it had some issues that could have been addressed with the text.

RATING: **** (Four stars)

Onto the next one!

The Love for V.E. Schwab I started reading V.E. Schwab's work about a year ago.
        **Before I continue, I have to credit the following brilliant photographers:
  After reading the Raven Cycle, Maggie Stiefvater became one of the most interesting authors on my