Saturday, January 20, 2018

"Between the Blade & the Heart" and "Pretty Dead Girls" Mini-Reviews

4:30:00 PM

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Book: Between the Blade and the Heart

Author: Amanda Hocking

Publisher: Wednesday Books

My Rating: ★★★ 1/2

Synopsis: Valkyries have one great responsibility: to return immortals to the afterlife by slaying them. As a Valkyrie, Malin has always known that the balance of the world rests on her ability to carry out orders. But when Malin discovers that her mother spared the life of an immortal who was destined to die, her world is thrown into chaos. 

Malin not only wrestles with the knowledge that her mother might not be who she thought—she’s also thrust into the path of a gorgeous blue eyed guy named Asher who needs her help slaying the rogue immortal who destroyed his family. The balance of the world is at stake. And, as Asher competes with Malin’s ex for her love and loyalty, so is her heart.

     I picked up this book because I was interested in reading a book that dealt with the Valkyrie, especially after watching "Thor 3". Long story short, there were aspects of this book that I liked and others that I felt could have been improved with some editing. I truly enjoyed all the characters in the book, especially the main character. I appreciated how she was a member of the LGBT+ community, but it wasn't a big deal or something that overshadowed other parts of her identity.

      This futuristic-type world where humans know of other creatures and immortals is probably what I liked the most. There was so much mythology I didn't know about that I got exposed to. That being said, I would have liked a bit of a better explanation for why the world was the way it was.

      My main problem with the book was the plot. Much like the other book I read from this author, the plot starts one way in the beginning and then veered another way towards the middle/end, which is fine, but the pacing was not executed properly. The entire middle/end felt rush and did not fit in with the rest of the book at all. That being said, I'll still probably read the sequel because I am interested to see where the store goes next, especially after the little plot-twist like thing that happened in the end, leaving us with a cliffhanger.

32972117Book: Pretty Dead Girls

Author: Monica Murphy 

Publisher: Entangled: Teen

My Rating: 1/2

Synopsis: Beautiful. Perfect. Dead.

In the peaceful seaside town of Cape Bonita, wicked secrets and lies are hidden just beneath the surface. But all it takes is one tragedy for them to be exposed.

The most popular girls in school are turning up dead, and Penelope Malone is terrified she's next. All the victims so far have been linked to Penelope—and to a boy from her physics class. The one she's never really noticed before, with the rumored dark past and a brooding stare that cuts right through her.

There's something he isn't telling her. But there's something she's not telling him, either.

Everyone has secrets, and theirs might get them killed. 

      So I just finished this book and I honest to goodness still don't know how I feel about it. It is a mixture of bad and good, but in a way that was still entertaining to the point where I couldn't put the book down even though there were so many times where I was like wtf am I reading??? It's your typical high school bullshit murder mystery, but not at the same time because the characters in this book are weird af. And it's not that they particularly have multiple complex dimensions to them, they're just... different? Like I don't know how to explain it. Overall the book really intrigued me, despite it lacking depth (while having it too at the same time, idk man, hard to explain), and the ending being complete bullshit. It was a murder mystery with like typical YA romance that totally wasn't necessary, but was highly entertaining.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

My 2018 Reading and Blogging Goals

4:53:00 PM

MY 2018 READING AND BLOGGING GOALS

      Long time no blog! I think the last time I posted on here was Christmas, which was almost a month ago. But for those of you who are keeping up, you know I spent my winter break doing a study abroad class in Costa Rica, so I didn't have time to read or blog because I was doing research. I ended up doing research on the monkeys there, so that was really cool. If you want to see some of the pictures I took there, check out my personal instagram account: nerdwithbooks. Costa Rica was an incredible experience that I'm not glad I had the opportunity to take. The trip really reaffirmed my love of traveling and just made me want to travel more.


      Anyway, this post is a quick snapshot of what my 2018 reading and blogging goals are gonna be. I'm gonna be honest, these goals are really loose, and that's because I'm not really sure what all this blog is gonna be like this upcoming year, cause this is gonna be a crazy ass year for me.
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      So a quick timeline of important events happening this year:
      January- Classes start again. Thankkfully this semester doesn't look like it should be too hard, but ya never know.
     March- I take the MCAT in March! That's a huge deal cause this test is gonna have a large effect on what the rest of my life could be. So up through March, I'm going to be spending as much time as possible studying for this exam, which means not so much time reading and blogging. After March though, I'm pretty much in the clear.
    Summer- This summer I apply to medical school! This is what all of my previous education has been building up to. In all honesty, this won't take much time or effort, so I'm sure I'll have plenty of time to read and blog outside of work.
    Fall- During the fall I will (hopefully) have interviews for medical school. Not only that, but this fall is my last semester of undergrad! I'm graduating a semester early which is crazy!!! I seriously cannot believe that I graduate from university this year. It seems like just yesterday I was ending high school and terrified/excited about starting college. Now it's almost over. 

     So what does this timeline mean? Basically the first part of the year I won't have much time to read or blog at all, the summer I should get a decent amount of reading and blogging done, and I may or may not have time in the fall depending on how medical school interviews go and how crazy graduation stuff is. 
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      Focusing on my actual goals, I would like to read 100 books this. I didn't think I could last year, but I somehow managed to do it, so I'm confident I can do it again this year. The difference between this year and last year is I'm not going to waste my time with books I'm clearly not interested in. If a book bores me or just isn't for me, I'll just DNF it and move on to the next one. 


      Concerning book reviews, I want to focus less on reviewing books for publishers and authors and just read books I want to read. Last year I noticed almost all of the books I really enjoyed were the ones I read on my own because I wanted to read them, so that's what I'm going to do.


     As far the content of this blog, that is still a work in progress. As I said in a previouos post, I have more passions than books, and talking about books is just not enough for me. So be ready to see posts on books, tv/movies, music, my life, and honestly whatever the hell I feel like posting on here. This blog is for me, not you. I mean, don't take this the wrong way, but I do this blog because I want to do it, so I shouldn't have to cater the content to y'all. Ya understand?

      So that is loosely what this year's "goals" (if you can call them goals) are. This year is really about doing what makes me happy because I already know that with all the shit I'm gonna face this year, my mental health and happiness need to be fine-tuned. 

Monday, December 25, 2017

My Top 10 Books of 2017

11:24:00 AM

MY TOP 10 BOOKS OF 2017

      I'm actually real surprised with how my year went, bookish wise. I thought for sure reading 50 books would be a struggle with me because of how my academics were going, but as of today, I've read 113 books! I'm really proud of myself for getting that many books read. Granted quite a few of those were graphic novels, but hey those still count. So without further ado, here are my favorite books of this year in no particular order.

Lumberjanes by Grace Ellis & Shannon Watters

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This is such a fun, uplifting series filled with such enjoyable characters. I really love the Greek mythology aspects that have been infused into the books and the feminist humor.

Giant Days by John Allison

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I really connect with the characters in this series because they are college students just like me trying to navigate young adulthood.

Archie by Mark Waid

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I will admit, I only started reading this series because of the Riverdale tv show (which I am wayyy behind on and need to catch up on ASAP). I didn't think I would like it as much as the show but I really do. They are two completely different stories and while some of the characters are exactly the same as their tv counterparts (*cough* Jughead, my child *cough*), others are different, and I appreciate their uniqueness from the show.

Goldie Vance by Jackie Ball

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This book is about a black, LGBT teen in the 1960s(ish) who is a detective in her spare time and I love it so much. I love the representation and the badassness shown and it just warms my heart to have a graphic novel series like this exist. 

After Life by Marcus Sakey

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I honestly did not think I would like this book as much as I did. I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review, which you can read that review here. This book was a thrilling, mind twister.

Wicked by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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If you guys know anything about my reading tastes, you know that I love Jennifer L. Armentrout's books. This was no exception. As of right now I have no desire to read the sequel, but I'm sure I'll get to it eventually.

How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather

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I love witches. Enough said.

Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

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This series is so weird but it has drawn me end with its strangeness.

Into the Light by Aleatha Romig

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This book is a about a strange cult and it was filled with twists that I never saw coming. Eventually I'll read the sequel....

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

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This is a book that I put off for the longest time because I was afraid the hype was more than what the book deserved, but the book actually turned out to be a good read. I'm still not sure if I'm going to read the sequels because I don't think I'm that invested in the story.


So those were my favorite books of 2017. Despite reading so many books, I don't feel like I read the many good books outside of the graphic novel issues. Hopefully I'll find more books that I like next year. 


What did you guys think of my list? See any books that you also liked? What were your favorite books of 2017? Send me some recommendations in the comments and I will try to tackle them in 2018.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Quick Winter 2017 Update

1:23:00 PM

QUICK WINTER UPDATE

      Hey everyone! It's been forever and a day since I've written a personal type post outside of a review. I've been bombarded with exams, projects, papers, research, and all the other things being in school entails. This means I haven't had time to read or blog. Hell I've barely had time to eat. I really struggled with my depression these last few months as a result of the stress of school, and unfortunately reading and blogging did not help relieve my symptoms. All I'm good now and have come to terms with what I need to do to keep my mental health in check.


      As much as I would like to jump back into reading and blogging this winter break, that simply is not going to happen, but for a good reason. I will be spending this winter break in Costa Rica doing research! I'm really excited to go to Latin America and see all the wonders of the rainforest. So while I'm away, I have a few scheduled posts made already, but other than that I will be offline. I haven't decided if I will make myself available on Twitter or not. I really just want to enjoy the natural world when I'm on break.


      So, I hope you guys have been having a much better end of the year than me and have been reading some good books. I've been really out of the bookish world loop, so let me know some good books I should check out when I get back from Costa Rica down in the comments.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

"We Other" by Sue Bentley Review

3:02:00 PM

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Book: We Other

Author: Sue Bentley

My Rating: ★★★

Synopsis: A gripping fantasy for young adults and anyone who enjoys a journey into a twilight world. Sue Bentley is a master story teller.

Family secrets, changelings, and fairies you never want to meet on a dark night.

Jess Morgan’s life has always been chaotic. When a startling new reality cannot be denied, it’s clear that everything she believed about herself is a lie. She is linked to a world where humans – ‘hot-bloods’ – are disposable entertainment. Life on a run-down estate – her single mum’s alcoholism and violent boyfriend – become the least of Jess’s worries.

Trigger Warning: There is attempted sexual assault and violence in this book. Nothing graphic.

Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

     I don't have too much to say about this book. The premise really interested me as I have become quite enthralled by Fey despite having hated them for the longest time. I think "A Court of Thorns and Roses" by Sarah J. Maas is what changed my mind about Fey. Anyone, the premise interested me so I agreed to read the book in exchange for an honest review.

     The book was just okay. I think given more development and rounds of editing the book could be fully flushed something a lot better. There is clearly a good foundation, however the pacing, writing, plot, and characters all needed some work. There were many times when I was confused about whose perspective I was reading for as there were a lot of characters, how things were connected, and basically the point of certain things. All the connections eventually became clear, but I feel like the pacing was too slow for much of the book, and just when things seemed worked out, things were rushed and unnecessary plot elements were added. I didn't find myself attached to any of the characters because there wasn't a reason to like any of them.

     Overall I thought the book had a lot of potential and could lead to a good series given more edits and development. I would be interested in reading a sequel if it were written better than this book.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

12 Days of Clink Street Christmas: "Live Like You Give a Fuck" by Nicola Findlay Review + Author Post

8:30:00 AM

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Book: Live Like You Give a Fuck

Author: Nicola Findlay

Release Date: November 7, 2017

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing

My Rating: ★★★ 1/2

Synopsis: Live Like You Give A F**K! The No Nonsense Philosophy for Smart Girls who Want to Smash It!

Boss a bitch? Diet a hot mess? Broke after payday? Ghosted on tinder?

If life feels like a constant hangover why not take five f**king minutes for yourself to decide what you really want. Slam on the brakes, kick off your heels and unplug from the social media circus.

Stop Surviving - Start Thriving

Live Like You Give A F**K will show you how to create the future you want, not the one that’s been shoved down your throat. It will shake and wake you from the hypnosis of modern living. The triple shot of empowerment, confidence and motivation will unleash the badass in you.

Nicola Findlay is the straight-talking, bold, coaching diva who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. If you ask her advice about your lame partner she’ll give you a bitch slap, tell you to raise your standards and get rid of that loser. She’s your best friend, your enemy, your punchbag and your cheerleader. Some people call her a diva, some people call her a badass bitch but whichever you decide you will get results. WARNING: If you’re afraid of a few swear words on a page put this book down and go cry to your Mama. I’m not here to offend anyone.  I’m here to tell you how to rock your world, and because I’m so passionate about it I’ll be shouting and swearing from the rooftops.


My Review

      Overall I thought the was a very enjoyable and insightful quick read. A lot of this stuff is common sense and stuff I'm sure most people have thought before or heard before, but it's always very motivational having someone lay down the facts to you and kick you into gear. I definitely recommend this book to people who are feeling down with where they are in life, need a pick me up, maybe just stuck, or just need some motivation in their life. Nicola writes in a very lighthearted by motivational way and she almost sounds like a best friend of mom giving you advice and not some life guru.

Author Post

Twas the night before Christmas.  Delicate flakes of snow started settling on the ice cold ground, classic Christmas anthems bellowed in the background and the smell of warm mulled wine filled the air.  You gaze at this delightful scene and feel the strongest desire to…. rip someone’s fucking face off.

Merry Christmas.  Bah humbug.  What has been Merry so far? You’re broke beyond belief, not because you splashed out on a once in a lifetime holiday or that designer dress that makes you feel hotter than the sun.  No, it’s because you spent your hard earned cash on crappy presents for ungrateful people.  They’ll pull there ‘oh you shouldn’t have face’ and then do the ‘dump or disappear’ act with your gift quicker than you can sing; ‘All I want for Christmas is you’.

If it wasn’t bad enough you have used up you’re precious annual leave to spend time with the people you’d most like to avoid.  You could be having some much needed rest and relaxation or enjoying a Christmas catch up with friends but oh no, here you are holed up at Auntie Barbara’s with 10 others and there’s no visible way out. Hey, shouldn’t Christmas be a time of joy?!

Yes there is a lot to be miserable about but on the flip side there’s so much to be grateful for.  Follow these steps to see how you can ditch the stress and instead cope with Christmas.

Gratitude:
Instead of focusing on what you hate about this season, start focusing on what you have in life that you’re grateful for.  Your family may annoy you at times, but at least you have one. You might not receive your dream gift but someone thought highly enough of you to buy you one. You might have to slum it on the sofa bed for a couple of nights but at least you have somewhere warm and safe to rest your head.  Once you start looking at your Christmas situation through a lens of gratitude you’ll stop crying and start celebrating.

The Art of Saying No:
This Christmas season is when you need to have the power of saying no down to a fine art otherwise the pressure of social expectation and not wanting to offend people will take you to breaking point.  To avoid a crisis, deploy delay tactics. So if someone asks you if you’re coming to that Christmas party tell them you’ll have to let them know later as you need to check with your partner, diary or Santa first.  Then listen to your gut, you know it will give you the right answer.  Once you’ve decided that you don’t actually want to go to that drunken party serving up warm, cheap wine but rather snuggle up on your sofa and watch a marathon session of Game of Thrones, it’s time to say so. When declining an invitation avoid the habit of making up stupid excuses as to why you can’t go.  You’re an adult remember, and you don’t have to justify your reasons to anyone.  Decline in a mature and refined way with a simple: ‘Thanks for the invite but I can’t make it’, and start loading up
that box set...bliss.

Family Feuds:
No one can push our buttons and make us go from zero to crazy like family can.  And there’s no better environment for a family bust up than at Christmas.  Lots of people gather who wouldn’t normally spend so much time together.  Here you’ll find three generations squeezed into a family home designed for four.  House rules are one thing but everyone usually has their own expectations about; what time you should eat, when you should open presents, (I’m a before breakfast kinda gal), what family movie you should watch, and the list goes on. It’s little wonder world war 3 hasn’t broken out before lunch is served.  When it comes to testing times with your family over Christmas try and be the bigger person.  Ask yourself; ‘Does it actually matter?’ and if it doesn’t drop it and leave the ego behind. Don’t ruin your day with drama.  Think about the other person’s reasoning of their argument.  Do they want to do things differently because their younger or older, got kids or haven’t got kids, or maybe they’ve got to travel.  If you’re fluid and flexible about how you roll over Christmas you’ll enjoy yourself so much more.

Put Perfection into Perspective:
For a truly stress free Christmas we need to release our minds from the stronghold of perfection.  Whether it’s where we spend Christmas day, the food we eat, the presents we gift, the way the table is laid for dinner or the decorations in the house, we can always find something to panic about. If the turkey is a little on the dry side, it won’t kill anyone.  If you had to spend a little less on presents this year because you're broke, your family won’t hate you.

There are plenty of things you can be stressed out about in life but Christmas shouldn’t be one of them. Relax, appreciate who and what you have around you and be blessed that you’re here to celebrate it for another year.  I raise a glass to you and wish you a very merry Christmas.

About the Author

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Nicola Findlay, a former British Airways air stewardess, is a qualified neurolinguistic practitioner and
accredited international coach with over a decade of experience. She runs personal group
workshops, 1-2- 1 coaching and corporate training working with companies such as Specsavers and
Stella & Dot. Previously she managed the Brighton branch of Life Clubs where she ran weekly
personal development workshops with different themes each week before starting her own
company The Coaching Diva in 2015. In 2018 she is planning a series of live events in London and
New York including; Attracting Mr Right and Live Like You Give A F**K! Nicola lives with her 7 year old daughter and husband in Surrey, England.


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My Rating System

★★★★★ This book is a gift from the literary gods
★★★★ This book was pretty damn good
★★★ This book had potential but missed the bar
★★ I probably didn't finish this book or it was god awful
★ Why does this book exist?

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