Working my Way Through Trilogies: Sarah J. Maas and Jessica Cluess in Week 1 of June 2018

For week 1 of June 2018, I was able to tackle two series: Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses and Jessica Cluess’ Kingdom Fire trilogy. Aside from epic reading adventures, I have been trying to dig my way out of the tunnel of sluggishness.

Books: Sarah J. Maas and Jessica Cluess’ Stories: Lights in Literary Form

While I am reading other books at the moment, my experience with Jessica Cluess and  Sarah J. Maas’ stories was such a fun one. I hope to read more of their books in the years to come.

Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses

Feyre is the main protagonist in Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses. When her father loses all of his wealth, Feyre is pushed to provide for her family (two sisters and their dad). Unlike Celaena, Feyre has a timid air to her personality, which is something I enjoyed.

Upon shooting a faerie disguised as a wolf, Feyre is whisked into faery town (not what it’s called in the book).  There, she encounters Lucien, Tamlin, Alis, and a mysterious ominous figure with power Feyre could never imagine.

Love:

My favorite part of this book was Lucien, Alis, and Feyre. I am going to write more about the characters once I finish the story arc.  Lucien was a good friend who had experienced excruciating loss.

The way Sarah J. Maas set up the faerie realm was creative and original. She unpacks Feyre’s humanity as a catalyst for change in that realm. I keep hoping for more of her sisters. Nesta’s character took on a completely different role towards the end of the book.

A Little Humor:

I have not found enough fan videos for this series. But, I do like many a Tumblr post on it. Perhaps I’ll link to those posts later on. For now, I want to share this video of Whitney over at Witty Novels, where she is testing her knowledge of Sarah J. Maas’ character names. If you’re up for a laugh, give the video a try.

A Poison Dark and Drowning by Jessica Cluess

The biggest surprise is how there is no fandom for these books. Come on, fellow nerds, do not fail me! Henrietta Howel is a fierce force to behold. She and Rook have such a neat relationship where they orbit one another, often reflecting hidden aspects of their opposite counterpart (each other!). I am here for Blackwell and Eliza, Dee and Lily, and even Maria is fascinating.

Nerds, get on this fandom!

On the Way:

I am also reading a couple of other books. First, A Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman is taking me a while to get into. My main issue was that the characters are numerous and it’s hard to keep track of who is who. But, perhaps this will resolve once I read enough of the story.

In addition, I am tackling Richelle Mead’s Midnight Jewel. This one is a lot of fun. I am enjoying the main character so much. More geekery to come.

Other Great Things

I am obviously going to tell you about Dancing Hermione, who has iconic dance moves. This video below is my favorite.

 

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
Week 3 of June included a loss of my blog's purpose. In a sense, I

A Bookworm’s Book Haul for June 2018

Image by Capri23auto on Pixabay
As a bookworm, it is the greatest joy in life to haul some books. Nothing beats the possibility of acquiring stories that bring inspiring characters. It is even more amazing when these characters are put on great quests. I cannot wait to tell you about the stuff coming in the mail. Here are the book gems I nabbed for June 2018.Bookworm’s Dream Book Haul: Series

I have gathered up some courage to embrace my love for Sarah J. Maas. Actually, I have been listening to her interviews and she sounds so delightful. I acknowledge that elements of her writing are problematic. However, her characters have stayed with me all the way since February.

My book haul included stories from her two series.

A Court of Thorn and Roses series

I have ordered a copy of the first two book in this (so far) trilogy. Feyre is all over Tumblr and I want to see if she will resonate with me, or if some other character will strike a sense of familiarity and representation.

Throne of Glass series

The first three books in the series were all I could afford for now. The plan is to pick up a book or two per month, depending on how much they cost at that point. As I was able to read the first five books from the library, I want to make my purchases up until Tower of Dawn and maybe reread parts of Empire of Storms when I get my own copy as well.

I remain unsure of whether the novellas are something I need soon or later on. Sam and the feels need to be in my life at some point.

Bookworm Goals: Try New Series

I picked up the first book in the Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard. While the series received mixed responses, I like what I have seen from the fandom on Tumblr and YouTube. Besides, I enjoyed the author’s ideas when she was on a panel with Sarah J. Maas, Alexandra Bracken, and Susan Dennard.  The panel brought joy to me, so much that I often think of the discussion brought up within said panel.

Bookworm Quest to Better Self:

And finally, I purchased a used copy of Gala Darling’s book called Radical Self Love. Her videos have been a great guiding tool for me so I aim to carry on my journey for healthier relationships.

If you have not seen videos of Gala or visited her blog, you totally should check her out. Here’s a link to the blog.

Another figure that has come up so far through podcasts and videos is Katie Dalebout. She wrote a book on journal-writing that I have snagged a copy of. It’s called, aptly, Let it Out. 

Your turn! Share your own June purchases (or plans of what you’d like to haul this month).

See you in comments.

Roaring onwards

 

I have been having a difficult lately with life and I apologize for being scarce.
        For May 2018, I decided to branch out more than usual.
    Welcome to my book haul for the month of April 2018. I do

Month in Review: May 2018

Photography by Anton Repponen on resplashed.com
It is time for my first a month in a review that includes more multimedia variety.  May 2018 was a busy month, full of reading young adult backlists and some newer releases. Some surprises (good and bad) came up as I read on.

The Month of May, Moods, and Productivity

It is a surprise to me that I am still shocked by my mood swings. I don’t know how things were ever more manageable but there is a lot of kicking myself for not having a better grip on the mood disorder/bipolar thing. I still get scared and hopeless because there seems to be no end to the back and forth extreme energy levels.

Anyway. I am saying this because I still cannot read like a normal person, or blog, or comment regularly enough. For example, I commented on perhaps three blogs last week. I have read the first three weeks of the month and then completely lost steam.

Because of this, I am going to try a different attitude: do what I can and accept where I am at. It probably doesn’t sound like rocket science; however, this is not something that comes naturally to me. I am a tough critic.

Express Yourself: Instagram for the Blog

In a particularly ambitious moment (probably slightly high on my manic energy), I decided to give Instagram another chance. My blog’s account is linked in the sidebar. And, here is the link, if you are curious.

Part of this attempt is that I want to practice posting whenever I want to share my passion for stories, hype up my posts, and learn to be okay with imperfection.

On my private Instagram,  I am trying to post my personal journey’s snapshots. Again, this is all about accepting imperfection and inconsistencies.

For both accounts, I am trying to perform less (as in, post things that are genuine) and explore where I stand without worrying about future or past. It’s going to be an exercise in discomfort.

Book Surprises in May:

Vicious was so hyped that I was afraid to see for myself if it lives up to all the praise. It turned out to be a total hit. Morally grey characters and sisters with powers siding with former friends.

The other wonderful surprise was the very delightful A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

Disappointments include Strange Angels and Nightshade. 

A Playlist for the Month

Throughout the month of May, I gathered some songs that sang to my heart. I will try to share the playlists that I create between months too. I am working on a couple of those already.

Enjoy the songs.

Hope your May was wonderful.

Roars onward

 

  Even though I had a tumultuous January, I had a pleasant reading month. Part
    November has come to an end. Here is a wrap up of the
    Welcome to another monthly wrap up. This monthly wrap up will be for

V.E. Schwab’s Vicious: Delicious Morally-Grey Enemies

The Love for V.E. Schwab

I started reading V.E. Schwab’s work about a year ago. Prior to this, I had only collected her books with some vague assumptions of their greatness. Having read most of her stories, I had one more book to go: Vicious. Back when I was sure of my belonging in Slytherin, I thought of this book as a staple to the nature of that house.

The Premise of Vicious:

The story alternates between two points of a decade where two friends prepare for their thesis in university. Eli and Victor unravel the process of becoming people with powers. At the end of the timeline, we see Eli and Victor as sworn enemies.

Through a cat-and-mouse chase, we get to see the tension between these former friends crackle to life while they rely on two allies who were sisters, Sydney and Serena.

Vicious and Morality

My favorite aspect of this story is the opposite journeys we experience with Eli and Victor. At first, I was certain that Victor would not ever make sense but the biggest surprise is watching Eli become bewilderingly nonsensical. I mean, I follow his train of thought, but my goodness, he is terrifying.

The most shocking element in Eli’s thinking was how warped his faith in God collided with his view of the powers he has and the attitude he has towards other EOs.

Reminding me of Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows, Vicious had me cheering for the “bad” guys. For the most part, the antagonists (in the novel’s society, at least) were simply trying to exist. They were on the run.  While Victor does terrible things along the way, he is focused on facing Eli, who did some shady things, okay.

Connections in Vicious

Serena and Sydney mirror Eli and Victor’s closeness in the earlier sections of the book’s timeline. There are loads of mistrust and uncertainty. Besides, the chase between the two sisters was also ruthless.

The bad blood between Eli and Victor bound the story’s plot in thick threads and tendrils. Like all relationships, the way each person acts is a result of a series of perceptions. Eli thinks of himself in a certain way, and he reacts to other EOs because of this view. The same thing can be said about Victor (who is kind of my baby, I just want you to know this upfront).

That Ending…

Oh, this book ends with the tables totally turned.  I have never been this happy about a smile.

Easily, this novel is among my favorites. It was so good.

        **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
Yesterday, I finished reading the sequel to An Ember in the Ashes, which is called A Torch Against

Final Week of May 2018 Series Crackdown

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

For the final week of May 2018, I am participating in some SERIES CRACKDOWN action. Series Crackdown is a readathon where you tackle series that you have not finished (or started). Because I have a few series that I am in the middle of, I am going to try and focus on them this week.

Series Crackdown 1: A Shadow Bright and Burning series

The first book of this series was so much fun to read, and I want to pick up the second one. I already have a copy of it. What will happen next to Henrietta and Rook? Only time will tell. Of course, I want to pick this up as soon as possible.

Series Crackdown 2: Something Strange and Deadly series

Ages ago, I read the first book in this trilogy by Susan Dennard. I enjoyed it but did not continue to the next book. For this week, I am cracking down and reading (at least) the next book in the series. It’s steampunk and features zombie-like creatures (from what I remember).

Series Crackdown 3: Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy

For some reason, I keep pushing this series away in favor of other series. Actually, I know why: I am scared of what will happen next. Anyway, I am going to try and tackle the second book this week.

Series Crackdown 4: Shiver

It would be amazing if I can get started on Linger by Maggie Stiefvater. The first book was a quick read, so this is possible to accomplish. I want to read more about Sam and Grace. Plus, I have been perusing the Internet and people talk about this other couple (Cole and someone else. I don’t remember if I’d met Cole in the first book…).

Finish up: Legacy of Kings

I am currently at the 30% mark of this book. It does require some extra effort to read because the cast of characters if huge (Or it feels that way). But, I am intrigued to see what happens to them.

Image courtesy of Stocksnap on Pixabay. I had to do this. Breaking the rules was
Image courtesy of Predra6 on Pixabay. For week 2 of July 2018, I am combining
Tom Topple has started a few days ago. A readathon created by the glorious Sam

May 2018 Week 4 Weekly Wrap Up: The Letdowns and the Surprises

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Irina Kostenich on Unsplash

Week 4 of May is ending and I have so much to tell you in this wrap-up. Grab a cup of tea, get ready for some fan-girl action.

Books Read

First off, I devoured Michael Grant’s second book in the Gone series, which was called Hunger. 

Even though I have read these books ages ago, I still found myself annoyed with the Human Crew or whatever the heck they called themselves. Duck, as a character, was so intriguing. I want more of the Breeze, Dekka, and all of Sam’s team. I remember snippets of what will come next, so I am going to take a break from reading the series.

Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow
Reading this book was a strange experience because it was a fast read but it was also not fulfilling. There was vagueness when it came to any fight scenes, mythology or lore of the supernatural elements of the story, and even in the main characters’ history. I gave it two stars.

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess
This book was such a surprise. Not only did I fly through it, but I also enjoyed Henrietta and her journey to find her place within a rather male-dominated society. She and Rook literally find their power and strength. I may write a whole review for this book because it truly impressed me.

Vicious by V.E. Schwab
Easily one of my favorite 2018 reads, this book took me a single day to read and finish. Eli and Victor have this cat-and-mouse chase throughout the story and, man, I was living for their tension. Again, I may write more about this book because I loved it so much.

Netflix Chronicles

The Office is still what I watch daily. I am nearing season 4. By the way, I dislike Andy so much more than Michael, which is saying a lot. There are moments when I feel sad for Dwight, who is so loyal that it breaks my heart. Also: I am not a fan of Roy.

Videos

I have essentially been watching so many videos of Sarah J. Maas, who is just pure delight to listen to. Videos of her give me the courage to openly like things that are often criticized. My favorite video of her is this one, where she talks about how much fun she had while writing Manon.

All her video with YouTubers are great, too, but my favorite panel of hers is the one she had with Alexandra Bracken, Susan Dennard, and Victoria Aveyard. It made me so happy to see a group of talented women fangirling with not a hint of sarcasm.

John Green’s video called The Liger Delusion was also a hit for me this week. It got me thinking quite a bit. Cynicism and conspiratorial thinking, jumping to conclusions, these are things I feel I should be more aware of because they don’t create healthy dialogue.

Elsewhere on the Internet

I also published another hub on my Hubpages account. The hub was one where I discussed Jane the Virgin and telenovelas. You can read it here. 

 

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
Week 3 of June included a loss of my blog's purpose. In a sense, I

Top 10 Absolute Best Character Names in YA Books I Have Read (So Far)

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

In a surprising turn of events, I found myself with enough time to start another post today. Hopefully, this will mean I’ll be able to post at least twice this week. Small victories (I am celebrating them). For this post, I am participating in Top 10 Tuesday’s prompt for this week, which is the top 10 best character names I have encountered so far.

Let’s go.

10. All the Peeps in Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas

I honestly find Chaol’s name to be a perfect representation of his reserved and withdrawn nature. He is straight up like kale. I like him. Celaena’s name is also rather fetching. Dorian. Manon. I just love all their names. They just suit them perfectly. And, for some reason, I never felt like they were made up names. They feel real.

9. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephenie Perkins

All I remember about this book is that: a) Lola is very quirky, b) she has gay dads, and c) her love interest is a boy named Cricket. His name, unlike Maas’ characters, did draw my attention. However, it soon acted as part of his charm. I remember him because of his strange name and because he was such a sweet character. Actually, the more I think about it, both of their names are delightful. Lola and Cricket.

8. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

I know. You probably saw this coming. Karou’s name is like candy to me. It sounds so out-of-this-world cute, unique, and almost fairy-like. I love her name.

7. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Cathrynne M. Valente

Briefly, I had glanced at the first few pages of this book. One thing became abundantly clear: the main character is a curious and sassy kind of gal. I still have to read it to learn more, but, get this, the main character’s name is SEPTEMBER! It’s such a unique yet tangible name.

6. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

You are probably expecting this book to be on the list, I know. It’s not just Blue’s name that is precious. In fact, I adore all her family’s names. Persephone. Calla, Maura, Neeve. Besides, all the nicknames the Raven Boys give her are hilarious.

“Jane.”

5. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

I read this book once and I am in need of a reread (and to continue with the trilogy), but I remember one of the characters giving Sophie a hard time about her name?

Here’s the quote, “Let’s see . . . brown hair, freckles, whole girl-next-door vibe going on . . . Allie? Lacie? Definitely something cutesy ending in ie.”

Oh, here is a bonus. “So if you can heal with your touch, why are you working here as like, Hagrid, or whatever?”

*Wipes tears* Oh, Sophie. I don’t know if I love you more because Archer made fun of your name, or because you are hilarious.

I want to finish this book and get the rest of the series because it is so good.

4. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Baz has the most perfect name that ever existed in all of fiction. This could be a very biased statement, but let me tell you something: I read Carry On years ago and I STILL love Baz more than so many other characters. I guess Simon is cool, too. I am fond of the girls’ names as well. Agatha sounds like an old lady name, and it is just perfect for this story set in a reserved magical world. Penelope’s name is also pure love.

3. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

All I want to protect in this world is my monster, August. He is pure and his name is so ordinary but it just suits him so well. My violin-player.

For the top two spots, I have yet to find books with awesome names, so I am reserving them for now.

What are your favorite character names? How do you find a name cute? Are you into quirky names? Traditional ones? Please share in the comments!

 

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

May 2018 Week 4 Reading Plans With A Twist

 

 

Ah, May reading plans are still a mess because of my mental headspace for the past week. Nevertheless, I am continuing the fight with new reading plans for this upcoming week by following a twist. The Duodecathon is running this week, and I am attempting to include some of its challenges to guide my reading.

A Book Recommended by Someone

The Diviners by Libba Bray is one of the books recommended in the Goodreads group, which you can access here. It has been on my shelves for a while and I am looking forward to seeing Bray’s portrayal of metaphysical forces at work in 1920’s America.

A Book With Multiple Points of View

A Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman, I think, has multiple points of view. I recall hearing that it is a historical fiction novel with a touch of fantasy in there. It clearly has to do with kings and royalty, so I thought it fitting to include it in this week’s reading plans.

A Book About a Villain

Vicious by V.E. Schwab has been waiting for me ceaselessly. Aside from the Archived duology, this series marks my completion of all Schwab’s published work. I am thrilled to read some Slytherin-inspired characters. Plus, the book has a beautiful cover now (and in the reprinting. Totally love them both).

A book with Antonyms in the Title

I did not know what to use for this challenge, but lo and behold, on a list of suggestions, I found Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr. I am trying to make my way through all my unread books. This will be a nice, satisfactory check on my list. However, I am also considering A Shadow Bright and Burning. 

A Second Book in a Series

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor, of course, has to be on this list. I just need to find the mental space to read. But, the first book was a hit for me, and it just blew me away, honestly. Naturally, I look forward to reading this story’s continuation.

I doubt I’ll be able to finish all these books in a week but I’d like to at least start. Bonus points if I can tackle Twilight along the way.

**Photo image by Zwaddi on Re: Splashed

Image courtesy of Stocksnap on Pixabay. I had to do this. Breaking the rules was
Image courtesy of Predra6 on Pixabay. For week 2 of July 2018, I am combining
Tom Topple has started a few days ago. A readathon created by the glorious Sam

Angst and May Week 3 Wrap Up

 

 

 

May Week 3’s wrap up is coming with a heavy dose of angst. I am annoyed with myself for not having a steady work schedule. Lovely people have commented sweet things on Twitter. But, I think I may have to revise my attitude toward blogging and writing in general. Let’s move on from this depressing topic. Here is May Week 3’s summary.

Books Read:

First, I want to share the book that broke me this week. Freaking Nightshade by Andrea Cremer upset me so much. I had only made it to the 20% mark before realizing it was fueling this rage. Then, I had put it down.

But then, I was torn. Twilight has some unhealthy depictions of relationships, and I like that series. Why can’t I like this one? The truth is that werewolf lore in the story is very reliant on aggression. I kept thinking of Leah from Twilight and how she challenged this violence so clearly, even if it was a minor part of the narrative.

So, I picked it up again. I made it to the 60 something percent mark before I just decided it was not for me.

I could vent a lot about the way Calla’s virginity and Ren’s hyper-sexuality kept getting enforced, with no challenge. Oh, and the whole “growling” thing. I get it. They’re werewolves. But, they’re human, too. I just don’t see the supposed romance behind aggression like that.

Nope.

Then, I start Michael Grant’s Hunger. Right now, I am at the 54% mark. I should be able to finish it up within the weekend. It’s such a fast read.

In addition, I am at the 30% mark of Lili St. Crow’s Strange Angels, which is another intriguing read.

Movies

I got my copy of Kings of Summer a few weeks ago and I finally watched it this week. It was hilarious. I think there’s a lot to be said about how masculinity is shown in the film. Maybe I’ll need to rewatch it a couple of times to come to a better understanding of the film’s message regarding maturity and masculinity.

Shows

I have officially made into season 2 of The Office. Even though my progress is somewhat slow, the show does make me laugh. Again, still fascinated by Dwight and Jim’s arguments. Mostly, I am impressed by Jim and Pam budding romance while they cause trouble around the office. So cute.

Your Turn:

How was your week? Are you enjoying the month of May? What are some highlights you await over the next couple of weeks?

See you in the comments.

 

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
Week 3 of June included a loss of my blog's purpose. In a sense, I

Cartwheeling into May 2018’s Week 3 with Epic Reading Plans

Photo Credit: Phoebe Dill on Unsplash 

 

 

 

This week is officially marking a halfway point of May 2018. While I have been slowly making my way through my huge TBR piles, I am hoping to keep trying to pick up the pace. In other words, I am catapulting my reading with some ambitious plans. Without further stalling, here are my ambitious reading plans for the week.

Reading Plans via Challenges from the #KillYourTBR Quest

A Book With a One-Word Title: Hunger by Michael Grant is on my list of books I desperately want to tackle before the end of the month. I have read these books ages ago and I am aiming to reread them as I repurchase used copies of the series. My reading plan for the rest of the year is to revisit this series. It is a grim story but I do enjoy the characters and their story arcs.

 

 

A Collection of Short Stories from a Genre You’re Unfamiliar With: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman is not a collection of short stories. However, it is a fairly short novel and, more importantly, it is from a genre I am totally unfamiliar with. I have read only a steampunk interpretation of Westerns as a genre. This one, from what I gathered, is more of a faithful adaptation to the staples of this said genre.

A Book With an Animal on the Cover: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer is a book I am interested in reading this week. I want to contrast this take on werewolves compared to Twilight and Shiver. 

A Book With a Five-Word Title: Days of Blood and Starlight is a given here. Obviously, my heart has been aching for more Karou, Akiva, Zuzana, and Mik. That’s all I have to say on this matter.

A Book With a Character With a Disability: I am unsure if this is accurate but I recall Talon from Under the Never Sky having a disability that I foolishly cannot remember. I am now on the second book in the trilogy. It should be a fun ride.

Oh. And finally. The First Book in a Series: I am thinking of getting to Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds. Amandla Sternberg plays the main character in the film and I am a fan of their work (they use they/them pronouns). It’ll be nice to read something a little different than the rest of my pile.

Obviously. This is an ambitious pile. I want to read more but I recognize that I read slowly. 

Image courtesy of Stocksnap on Pixabay. I had to do this. Breaking the rules was
Image courtesy of Predra6 on Pixabay. For week 2 of July 2018, I am combining
Tom Topple has started a few days ago. A readathon created by the glorious Sam