End of May TBR and Goals

This week, May ends. Time is passing rather quickly, and I have been in a lot of senseless turmoil and grief. Life with depression is frustrating when it comes to goals and deadlines. For the end of May, I am going to get back in the habit of having goals and a set TBR. Perhaps I’ll never read all the things I want to in one go. It’s okay.

End of May TBR

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I LOVE this book so far. Kaz is a fantastic leader to this epic crew. I look forward to finish this story!

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Look, I tried to resist reading this until now. I need to read it this week, in order to see if my literary kids are okay (they probably won’t be, but I have to see how much injury takes place).

If I have more time, I can probably manage to sneak in some Mistborn 2 (Well of Ascension). 

Elend and Vin are my buddies and I want to see what happens to them.

Goals
  • I want to write more various posts on my blog (and in general, just write more often).
  • Another goal I have is to connect and communicate with my blogging buddies more often.
  • Read, study, meditate, worship. Balance my time better.

Hoping you have a wonderful end of May week, and a brilliant time this spring/summer days of this period of time. I look forward to be more active around the internet and get to talk to you all in comments or tweets.

Oh, also: if you have any ideas or suggestions for my blog, please let me know! I would love to figure out how to do this blogging thing better. I love getting feedback from friends.

Also: JUNE IS ALMOST HERE.

 

 

An Honest Update before the Fall into Fantasy To Be Read Pile: You may have
October of 2018 was a total dumpster fire. Nevertheless, I am determined to bounce back
I haven't been able to post on my blog for most of September. The world

T5W: Top 5 Minor Characters

It’s another top 5 Wednesday

(T5W)! Top 5 Wednesday is a Goodreads group that you can find right here. This week’s topic is our top 5minor characters. My Slytherin nature is shown clearly here, because I love so many characters per series, and chose 2 at a time.

Enjoy!

5. The Raven Cycle: Henry Cheng and Kavinsky

I have very mixed feelings about Henry Cheng. Perhaps it is because I didn’t get enough time with him to fully realize what the heck he is all about. On the one hand, I understand his humor and can identify with him. But, on the other hand, I feel like he made me very uncomfortable.

The same thing can be said about Kavinsky. I wish we had more time with him; if we got a story with him and his dream thieving, perhaps he’d make more sense as a person. I like how he pushed Ronan to grow up but how did he get to this point?

4. Beautiful Creatures: Wesley Jefferson Lincoln (and Ridley Duchanne)

Link is one of my favorite characters ever, actually, because he brought this grounded nature to these books with heavy emphasis on the supernatural/paranormal. He was steeped in the culture of the place, too.

In contrast, his relationship with Ridley was so neat. I didn’t read the series focused on the two of them, but I loved just the hint of possibility between this very “real” human and then this dark castor. Perfection.

3. The Grisha Trilogy: Baghra and Genya

There is a very brief exploration of these two characters in the series. Part of me really wanted to see more of these minor characters. Baghra, in particular, and her relationship with the Darkling, was fascinating. I wanted to see more of her as a child and her relationship with family.

Genya is another really close character to my heart, because she is a sexual abuse survivor. She certainly handles it with grace and strength. Definitely something inspiring and encouraging.

2. Mistborn: Elend Venture 

I didn’t expect to love this dude as much as I do. But, here we are. I am on the second book in the series, and he has taken on a larger role, which makes me SO glad to see more of him.  Mainly, I am curious to see how he will develop as a person, as a noble, as someone in a powerful position, and as someone who has Vin in his life.

 

 1. Paper Towns: Ben and Radar

Minor characters shine bright in John Green’s work. But, among my favorites, are Ben and Radar. I just love them. They make me laugh a lot, and they are intriguing characters. Specifically, I would have liked more adventures with these two guys. Why can’t we hear more about Ben and his relationship woes? What about Radar? How does his family come to collect black Santa figurines? SO MANY QUESTIONS!

I am having a particularly rough time existing, so I am taking advantage of post
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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Summer Reads

Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday. As always, I will link the Top Ten Tuesday feature on The Broke and the Bookish website here.  This week’s topic is the top ten summer reads.

10. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson 

A bucket list. A friendship. Love. All mixed into a summer time setting, what more can a person ask for? This book is a fast paced, sweet story about finding one’s own place in the world, and about finding friendships, romance, along the way. I have a few Matson books to read this summer. Hooray!

9. Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens’ Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Another lovely summer read about love and identity. It is about family, friendship, and cuteness. It’s just very fluffy and sweet. Perfect for the summer. I read it last year and adored Simon and Blue. Can’t wait to read the next book by this author. I will hopefully pick it up this summer!

 

8. The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkowski

Finally wrapped up this series, and it was dramatic and emotional. The relationship central to the story is one I was rooting for all along. It is really hard not to like these two together. Kestrel is a scheming, clever, and brilliant girl. She’ll give you the girl power vibes. And not in the way you expect.

 

7.  Scarlett Epstein Hates it Here  by Anna Breslaw

Fanfiction makes its first appearance on the list, who is surprised? I loved this book. It’s another one I read last year. Definitely a thought-provoking read about internet culture in relation to “real life.” If anything, read it for the feminism presented in the story.

6. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Uh, I have not read this book yet. But, I have it lined up for this summer. Huntley Fitzpatrick is frequently recommended in book-land and so I have gathered copies of her books. I hear this one is about neighbors from very different family environments reacting to each other. The covers of her books are so cute. It just sounds like a sweet, summer read.

5. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Surprise, another fanfiction related work here on the list! This book is a favorite of mine, as it deals with anxiety and adapting to a new environment. Cath is a wonderful writer. She and Levi are hilarious, and they will make your heart melt this summer.

4. This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

Another one I have not read yet. I haven’t read anything by Emma Mills, but I used to love her videos on YouTube. She just sounds real and honest, funny and sincere. Very excited to read this one. It has to do with art!

3. Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

I have read other work by Nina LaCour, and this one is the most famous out of her work. So, naturally, I am very stoked to read it this summer. It’s another one about art and Hollywood sets, and it features an LGBT+ pairing.

2. Anna and the French Kiss trilogy by Stephanie Perkins

These books are some of my favorite contemporaries. They are just cute love stories featuring very sweet main characters. I may revisit them again this summer because I miss the stories and the settings of these books.

  1. Anything Neil Gaiman (Stardust? I’m tempted to start with Stardust)

As I have said before, I have been trying to read more Gaiman. I haven’t read any of his work, and I’m thinking of starting small. The movie Stardust makes me feel happy and cozy. So, I’m thinking of starting my Gaiman book-reading series by reading Stardust.  Cannot wait to read it.

 

Slumps, of all kinds, are the worst. It doesn't matter if you can do your
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

BR: The Mixed Bag of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Today, I will be discussing Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. This book makes me feel things, good and bad. Mostly bad, I’ll be honest, but I’ll try not to let this affect my review too much.

Challenging Traditional Stoic Masculinity

At the heart of this story is the relationship between Aristotle and his father. Aristotle’s father is very stoic. He doesn’t talk about his feelings or his past. And, Aristotle mimics this sometimes (or maybe he is just like this, too, as it is a very traditional approach to masculinity).

That connection between father and son challenges the traditional assumptions people tend to make about masculinity. Mainly, it is about a lack of communication, suppressing emotions, and so on.

Mexican American/ LatinX Identity

Another interesting exploration in the novel is the navigation of the Mexican American identity. Throughout the story, Aristotle and Dante struggle to find their place in the world as Mexicans and Americans.

The author questions stereotypes in the novel as well. So, Aristotle gets a truck, and Dante doesn’t. Aristotle’s mother is a teacher, and Dante’s father is a professor. It’s nice. I genuinely mean this.

Positive Portrayals of Parents

While the parents are very different in the story, they are all positive individuals in their kids’ lives. It is a rare feature in young adult literature to see something so lovely. Parents who are active and invested in their offspring’s lives.

Homosexuality and Homophobia

And ultimately, yes, I know the story is also about Aristotle and Dante coming to terms with their sexuality and their feelings toward each other. But, I think the book has lots of other things going on and wanted to address those first.

But…

So, I hope I explained why the book may be a good fit for other people. For me, though, Aristotle was very annoying. He was upsetting for me, because he was rather impulsive, aggressive (thoughtless on what he says and how he acts), and frustrating. He does not grow up or develop over the course of years. It’s baffling.

Ultimately, this is my key point of annoyance with the story: Aristotle and how he treats Dante poorly. Following Aristotle’s perspective made the book even more unpleasant.

Furthermore, the plot (or lack thereof) made it hard for me to stay invested in the characters. Maybe if there was some sort of driving force for the characters to grow, some tension, some conflict that they’re up against, then maybe the book would have been more interesting.

Overall:

I understand why there’s hype for the book, but I also don’t have any interest in keeping this book on my shelves. It’s not for me. But, maybe you’ll like it.

 

 

Some of you may know that I lived in Egypt in the 90s. I was
In the most recent months of 2018, I have been aiming to read beyond my
The Love for V.E. Schwab I started reading V.E. Schwab's work about a year ago.

BR: The Raven King

Make way for the Raven King, the Raven King! 

I finished reading the final book in the Raven Cycle, The Raven King and I wanted to share some nonspoiler/slightly spoilery thoughts here. But, to keep things brief at first,  my review of the book is that it was awesome!

Plot

Overall, the plot of the story was fast paced but in a reasonable way. It was not all about the quest. There were hiccups along the way. There were many losses, and heartbreaking moments. I particularly loved Orphan Girl and Aurora Lynch, Cabeswater, and Ronan. This is kind of a shock for me, because I was very intimidated by this boy. But, I have warmed up to him a lot, and I felt intense pain for him.

There were some instances in the story where the pressures of growing up seemed very daunting. College, friendship, quests were on everyone’s minds and there was the question of how to juggle all of these things along with their responsibilities as key players in the ley line’s existence.

Relationships

My favorite relationship in these books has been Ronan and Blue’s friendship. Hands down, they were amusing as they tried to deal with the tension between them. And, the best moment ever is “Sargent, you asshole.” My heart just melted at the image of Ronan bumping fists with Blue, this beautiful strong girl.

The introduction of Henry Cheng left me with mixed feelings. As someone who is an introvert and something who learned English as a second language, there was something so…comforting in seeing a clever boy like Henry deal with the insecurities that come with speaking another language, how lost one feels in between two cultures (and for him, it was even more dramatic, because I have to factor in magic into this). I am not sure why he made me uncomfortable, though. The way he behaved before the group got to know him, it was kind of in bad taste. Was he just trying to fit in? I am not sure.

Ultimately, the story centers on a key relationship between Noah and Gansey. Noah will always be one of my favorite characters ever, even if he confused me at first. His limbo status, the pain and fear, and the desire to be alive all made him endearing and yet so heartbreaking. He went through so much, and I miss him already.

Blue’s father was frustrating, and yet I came to understand his hesitation to participate in the quest. Kind of. Still, I am not a fan of his, to be honest.

I won’t get into romantic relationships, because spoilers are unpleasant. But, I liked who ended up with each other and such.

Idealism and Wishes

Ultimately, what ended up happening when the group “meets” the Welsh king was so fantastic, and it reflected so much on their age, their expectations, the naive dreams one has.

But, it was mostly a step towards growing up, this releasing of an expectation. I love that.

Overall

I am so glad I read this series, and that I have copies of the books to reread again. If you have not read it, I strongly encourage you to do so.

Excelsior

 

 

Some of you may know that I lived in Egypt in the 90s. I was
In the most recent months of 2018, I have been aiming to read beyond my
The Love for V.E. Schwab I started reading V.E. Schwab's work about a year ago.

T5W: Top 5 Summer Reads

For this week’s Top Five Wednesday (T5W), the discussion will be on the top 5 summer reads. Before we begin, let me link to the awesome Goodreads group for T5W.

Let’s begin.

5. Uprooted by Naomi Novik

I have not finished this book, mainly because I realized that I was reading it at the wrong time. It just feels very summer-y or spring related at the very least. Nature plays a huge role in the story, and there is magic, romance, and beautiful friendship. It’s definitely a book I want to get to this summer.

4. Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman 

This is a retelling/historical fiction story about Alexander (the Great). I am intrigued by it so much that I picked up the first two books and I am very much hoping to read them to catch up on the series. From what I know, the author is a historian? And that makes the books daunting (I admit) and exciting.

 

3. Ballad/Lament by Maggie Steifvater

Look, I have read these books a year ago during the summer and it was a fantastic experience. Fae and music! So good.

 

2. The Siren by Kiera Cass

I have tried reading mermaid books before, and I was interested in the subject matter. This is not quite about mermaids; it’s a little darker (which is great). And, I heard really good things about the book. The sea and death. Plus, Kiera Cass seems brilliant in interviews, and I am curious to see her take on sirens.

 

 1. The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore  

This book is something I have been saving till the summer, because it is about performers. For whatever reason, I associate this book with summer and I am keen to read it this summer/spring. McLemore has really atmospheric writing and her characters are beautifully fleshed out. It’ll be a treat to read this book, for sure.

 

 

I am having a particularly rough time existing, so I am taking advantage of post
Ah, welcome to another Top 5 Wednesday where I break the rules. This is becoming
Getting redeemed is often reserved for villains, but today, I am going to be talking

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Mothers Who Deserve Their Own Books

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is: a) late, and b) a freebie, so I had to ponder the topic a bit.  Today, I’ll be talking about the top ten mothers who deserve a book of their own.

Let’s begin!

10. Lena’s Mother in Beautiful Creatures series

I am curious to learn more about her, and how she went down the path she was on. How did becoming a dark castor feel for her, and how was her relationship with her family like?

9. Mrs. Lynch from The Raven Cycle

Losing a husband and losing touch with family just sound so painful, and I wish there was room for her own narrative to come in and express her feelings.

 

8. Vin’s mother from Mistborn

Having unwanted children, and feeling frustrated by the responsibility thrust (no pun intended) upon her must have been overwhelming. Did she know that her son, Reen, was a jerk? And, did she know that Vin doesn’t trust anyone? Did she know that her kid is Mistborn?

7. Katniss’ mother from the Hunger Games

When I was diagnosed with my illnesses, I realized that I was less like Katniss and more like her mother. So, due to very selfish reasons, I want her mother to get a shot at explaining her mental illness, her shock after losing her husband, and later after seeing her daughter in so much agony.

6. Kestrel’s mother from The Winner’s Curse

Rutkowski doesn’t really include much about this lady, other than that she liked to play music. But, how did she meet the General? And what drew her to him? What did she think of her daughter? What were her hopes for her child? SO MANY QUESTIONS!

5. Rose Hathaway’s mother from the Vampire Academy

I may be in the minority here, but I love her mom a lot. Very curious about how she met Rose’s dad and how their relationship worked (if it did). What was her life like as a Moroi and a Guardian?

4. Rhy’s mother in A Darker Shade of Magic

Rhy and Kell’s mother is a BADASS and I adore her. From the glimpses in the final book of the trilogy, I just knew she was complicated, clever, and cool. Just cool lady, and I want more of her in a book (or a series!). How did she find Kell?

3. Baz’s mother in Carry On

I am just very curious about her backstory. How did she meet Baz’s father? What did she think of him and of his family? Were they in love? What did they think of their vampire kid?

2. Hagrid’s mother in the Harry Potter series

How did she meet Hagrid’s father? And what did she think of him? What did she think of her kids? What happened to her, anyway?

 1. Clary Fray’s mother in The Mortal Instruments

SO MANY QUESTIONS! How did she meet Valentine? And what did she think of other people in the Circle? Her relationship with Sebastian is fascinating and I want to hear more about it.

Slumps, of all kinds, are the worst. It doesn't matter if you can do your
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

Top 5 Books As Special Events

Hello there, it is Wednesday, which means it is time for Top 5 Wednesday. The topic for this week is top 5 books as special events. I have to warn you that I am not very good at events. But, this list is what I imagine a fun special event could potentially be.

5.  Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor 

I have never finished this trilogy, but from what I remember there was a very interesting atmospheric tone to the first book (I only read the first couple of pages, before deciding to get the trilogy. That’s how good it was). Anyway, the main character designs and draws creatures.

 

4. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Steifvater

Another very eerie read and it would be a fantastic event. Just setting up a place like Cabeswater or even Blue’s family home would provide ample excitement and interest, I think.

 

3. Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan 

The magicians and the demon hunters, the market setting can act as great elements to an event. The dancing to summon demons in particular could be so much fun. I imagine the dancers dressing up for it. It’s not every day you summon a demon.

 

2. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I haven’t read this one yet, but from what I understand, there’s a circus that appears. Now, provided that there are no animals in this circus, I am okay with it being held as an event. It sounds like a fun and charming way to socialize.

 

 1. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs 

The whole atmosphere of a loop day sounds so intriguing. So, on September 3, we live like we’re in 1940. Doesn’t that sound fun? I think also having the dark and lush tone of the story would create a nice scene (well, I have seen the movie. Got the books earlier this year).

I am having a particularly rough time existing, so I am taking advantage of post
Ah, welcome to another Top 5 Wednesday where I break the rules. This is becoming
Getting redeemed is often reserved for villains, but today, I am going to be talking

Ten Things on My Reading Wishlist

Today is another Tuesday, which means it is time for the Broke and The Bookish’s top ten feature. This week’s topic is the Top Ten Things on my reading wishlist.

10. Steampunk YA Westerns

Revenge and the Wild was a steampunk western that I enjoyed it tremendously.  That’s the only steampunk western I have heard of.

9. Steampunk Alternate History

I have not read that much steampunk (something I am trying to remedy). But, I have read Scott Westerfeld’s take on one of the world wars retold with a steampunk twist. The concept is something that stuck with me. To make things even more exciting for me, I want different countries as settings and their histories being twisted with magic and technology. That sounds so lovely.

 

8. Girl Gang

I just want a group of girls being friends and kicking butt. They can be pirates, ninjas, witches, vampires, I don’t care. It’s definitely on my reading wishlist to see a group of female characters bonding and not having a guy in common. Sort of like how The Raven Boys were friends before Blue ever met them. Girls who are friends regardless of love interests is my jam.

7. Gender-swap Historical Fiction

Sort of like And I Darken (I have not read it yet, but the concept is something I live for, honestly). I want a female Alexander the Great, Hamilton (or any Founding Father), Newton, Einstein.

 

6. Queer disabled people as main characters

As much as I love Magnus/Alec, I am excited for Cassie Clare’s books that center on queer characters more. That’s definitely something on my reading wishlist: more queer characters, especially disabled characters. YA is lacking in terms of including diverse characters. I want to see people from minorities be the chosen ones who go on adventures and do great things.

5. Darkness and Light attraction

Another theme I have on my reading wishlist. Lightness needs darkness to exist. I am tired of seeing the “dark side” reduced to being “evil.” No, it’s a different perspective and surely there’s a middle ground to reach. It’s not “we defeated evil” type of narrative. I want a genuine grappling, and an active back and forth as those sides reach a resolution, if any. Deathless by Cathrynne M. Valente is often shared as an option for those who were upset by the pairing in The Grisha trilogy. It’s definitely on my radar. We need more of that kind of storytelling though.

4. Classics Retold

There are characters I wish got their own stories. Like Mary Bennett, Tiger Lily, Pearl from The Scarlet Letter, Lady Macbeth. A transgender Shakespearean retelling of Twelfth Night would be swell. I used to really be fascinated with the priest in The Scarlet Letter. Just that guilt and his relationship with the villain. Can someone get on that, please?

3. Matriarchy

Keeping up with the theme of girl gangs, I want entire matriarchal societies presented in stories. With warriors and villains and everything.

2. Villains and Anti-Heroes

Wouldn’t be nice to see more stories told from the “villain’s” point of view? I just want a little complexity in characters and how we discuss them. Please don’t do the whole, “Oh, she fell in love” thing. No. There are other reasons that could tip someone over. And, sometimes, “evil” is just a different perspective. I really want a Lady Macbeth story so bad.

 

 1. Retelling of Old Myths/Stories

While I understand the charm of retelling the stories of Greek gods/goddesses, I dream of slews of stories revolving around some old stuff I read in college. Like Cuchlain’s story (The Tain, I believe is what it’s called?). I enjoyed his story way too much because it was so weird and fun.

 

Your Turn

What are your top ten ideas on your reading wishlist? Please share them in the comments!

Slumps, of all kinds, are the worst. It doesn't matter if you can do your
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

May Week 2 TBR and Goals

It’s time for May Week 2 TBR and a bunch of goals, while balancing mental illness problems. I am trying to be gentle with myself because kindness is the best policy, I feel. I normally rely on love and appreciation with others, and I am realizing that perhaps it would be good to apply this to myself.

So, May, week 2, is going to be awesome.

To be Read Pile

I am sure there are readathons going on (I checked), but I am determined to start wrapping up some series. I also have started a few books and never picked them back up. They need to get some love.

The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkowski

The Raven King by Maggie Steifvater

 

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Shakespeare still sounds like a good idea, and so I want to to put the goal on here. Hopefully, I can start reading a play this week. I don’t know which play I can start with, but I know I like the tragedies more than the comedies. However, I want to read both.  

I don’t have a collection of poems, but I want to read more poetry online. It will take me a bit to figure out logistics. The intent is set!

Goals

I want to keep myself busier. Language learning is humbling and frustrating, but I want to give it a go again. My brother showed me how the library has online resources for languages. SO. I would like to learn some more. I may even venture into learning more than just French and Spanish (like, Dutch! How cool would that be! Maybe some German? It all feels possible now that the resources are available). I also want to do yoga some more. Finally, I want to pick up drawing. I am not the best at any of these things, which is scary. But, I think these activities can help me grow as a person.

At the same time, I want to be okay with not doing these activities every day. My mental illnesses make it hard to start following a schedule and I need to accept that this part of my daily living. It’s not going to come easy to me. That doesn’t mean it’s not going to be a worthwhile activity. It’ll be more about showing up and doing the work when I can handle it.

 

 

An Honest Update before the Fall into Fantasy To Be Read Pile: You may have
October of 2018 was a total dumpster fire. Nevertheless, I am determined to bounce back
I haven't been able to post on my blog for most of September. The world