Tuesday, November 19, 2019

So Where Have I Been???

10:01:00 AM


      Hi, it's me Sierra, aka The Nerdgirl Review. You may not remember who I am because it's been over two months since I've disappeared from this blog. Where have I been and what have I been up to? Well that's what this post is all about.

      So let's see, where did I leave off. I think the last time I posted was the beginning of September. I had just got back from my Bahamas cruise with my mom. Things got crazy because while I was on the cruise at work. My team changed departments, got a new boss, and our new boss decided to dock all of our pay. That was a lot to deal with and I'm honestly still dealing with it. I've lowkey been looking for another job because my new boss just doesn't make this a good work environment.

      Despite the bullshit, I was able to go on vacation again with my mom at the end of September/beginning of October to Europe. We went to London, Dover, Paris, Lucerne (Switzerland), Venice, Borano, Florence, and Rome. We were gone for two weeks and I'd do it again in a heartbeat, just not with my mom. (Me and my mom don't have the best relationship as of recent since she decided to divorce my dad in the most inhumane way possible.) I got to see and experience so much and I'm so glad I was able to finally do something that's been on my bucket list for years.

      Coming back from Europe, I had to deal with the bullshit that is work, once again. We went from salaried employees to hourly, so that was a big change for me because I was used to having my own schedule and not being pressed. In addition to work, as a I mentioned, my parents are getting divorced and my dad did not take it well at all, so I was dealing with him. I don't have particularly personal relationships with my parents, but me and my dad definitely bonded more through this experience.

    Finally, throughout all of this I was in the process of applying to graduate schools to pursue my PhD in Neuroscience. As of last week, I'm finally done applying! It's such a weight to have all of that off my shoulders. Now I just have to wait to hear back which is super anxiety-inducing, but it is what it is.

      So did I read throughout all of this time? A little bit. Not as much as I would have in past years, but as evidenced by everything above, it's been quite a couple of months. I've read a whopping 4 books in the past two months. In my next post I'll probably do some mini-reviews for those books. This has been the lowest amount of books I've read in a year since probably elementary school. It feels pretty bad but I also realize books aren't everything and as an adult I have to deal with real shit now.

      Well, that's what I've been up to. Hopefully I can get back into the swing of reading and posting since my life has calmed down some. Today "The Queen of Nothing" by Holly Black was released so you bet your ass I'm going to binge read that shit.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Friday Reads: September 6, 2019

9:30:00 AM


      I'm on a roll these past few weeks with posting, so I'm keeping that momentum going and doing a Friday Reads because why not?

      This past week I've tried picking up several books, and none of them really made me want to keep reading. I'm 100% a mood reader, so if I'm not in the mood for a book, then I'm not going to force myself to read it because there is no point. 

      I finally landed on a book, and that book is "The Way You Make Me Feel" by Maurene Goo. 

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Synopsis: Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn't so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad’s business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind? With Maurene Goo's signature warmth and humor, The Way You Make Me Feel is a relatable story of falling in love and finding yourself in the places you’d never thought to look.

      I'm going to be honest, I'm very close to DNFing this book. I'm about 15% in or so and I'm very annoyed by the main character Clara. She irritates every bone in my body and she is the type of girl that I absolutely hated in high school. I'm really hopeful that she'll improve and I'll want to keep reading, but I'm not counting on it. It's not just her I have a problem with. I don't like the way the author is presenting teens and their priorities and behaviors. She makes them seem so self-absorbed and image centric and maybe I am out of touch at the ripe age of 21, but that seems off to me. Like I still very much consider myself a young adult, and this book makes teens deplorable. That's not to say some teens aren't, but I feel like she is generalizing. 

       Anyway, I'm not loving this book which is disappointing because everyone seems to really enjoy this book, but it is what it is. I'll give this book up to like 25% to 30% to get better, and if it doesn't then it's got to go.

      What have you guys been reading this past week, and what do you plan on reading this weekend? Also if you've read The Way You Make Me Feel, what are your thoughts on it? I'm curious to see if anyone else is annoyed by Clara.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Tuesday Tunes: Slide Away" by Miley Cyrus

9:30:00 AM


      Now I ain't done a Tuesday Tunes in forever and a day, but I'm in the blogging mood and this song has been on my mind for days, so I here I am typing about it.

      "Slide Away" is Miley Cyrus's new song and it blew me away. I haven't listened to anything from Miley Cyrus in a while because her new stuff is uhhhh... we'll use the words different and problematic. She has a bad happening of taking shit from the black community and acting like it's hers, hence why I don't really mess with her. However, this new song is completely different from anything she has done in years, and I love it.

     This song is so chill yet raw. For those of you who don't know, her and Liam broke up (got divorced??? Idk what their relationship was and I don't particularly care). It sucks for her, but it really gave her an edge for this song. It's an emotional, show it all to the world type of song that just really hits you in the feels. I find myself constantly humming the song in my head or when I am able to listen to it, just shoving my headphones in, closing my eyes, and swaying to the music. If Miley put out more songs like this, I could be persuaded to be a fan of hers again.

      If you haven't given this song a listen, do it down below. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Summer (May - August) 2019 Reading Wrap Up

12:23:00 PM


      So straight up, I didn't get that much reading done this past summer. That's not a bad thing, not a good thing, that's just the way things were. I would have liked to have read more, but at the same time I'm not disappointed in the amount of books I read. I'm ahead of my Goodreads challenge, and honestly that's really all I care about at this point. So without further ado, here are the books I read this summer.


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      Pure by Jennifer L Armentrout- This is the 2nd book in the Covenant series and was a reread for me. I'm rereading the entire series with my best friend because we both really enjoyed this series when we were in high school. I've forgotten so much of what happened in these books, but I still love them.

      Fuck I'm in My Twenties by Emma Koenig- This book has been on my TBR ever since I turned 20. I didn't expect to get much from it going into it and that's exactly what I got. It took my like 30 minutes or less to flip through this book. It was funny, but nothing special.

      Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel- I saw this book at my library and decided to check it out without really knowing anything about it. I hadn't read a book in less than a day in forever, so it felt really good powering through this bad boy so fast. The beginning act was rough, but it grew on me a lot. The romance was so unrealistic but gave me fuzzy feelings nevertheless. The supernatural aspect was really interesting and I would love to know more about the lore behind it.


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      The Hating Game by Sally Thorne- I originally read this book last June funny enough and decided to reread it again this summer. Somehow I loved it even more the 2nd time reading it, and that never happens. This book does the enemies to lovers trope perfectly and the whole nursing the other person back to health trope is one of my favorite tropes on Earth. I could reread this book over and over again. 

      Deity by Jennifer L. Armentrout- This is book 3 in the Covenant series that I'm rereading with my best friend. I forgot how much pops off at the end of this book, and that made me super excited to get to the other books.

      Giant Days- This graphic novel series is one I've been reading since like sophomore year of university. I really enjoy this and will keeping reading it until it's no longer a thing.


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      Elixir by Jennifer L Armentrout- This is a novella between he 3rd and 4th books in the Covenant series. While it isn't my favorite, it gives some important insight on the events that transcribe between those books. This novella is from Aiden's POV (the MC's love interest) and it just broke my heart reading this because he goes through so much shit for this girl.

      Storm and Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout- Apparently I only read JLArmentrout in July so that's interesting. This really banged. I can always count on Jennifer L. Armentrout's books being absolutely everything I need them to be. Paranormal romance will forever be my favorite genre and I can't wait to see what happens next. It doesn't even matter that I remembered next to nothing from the main series this spin off series is based on because the characters and plot make it great on its own.


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      Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson- You can read my full review here, but I thought this book was just slightly above okay. There was a lot that wasn't explained and it felt very fantasy-lite. The fact that it was a standalone didn't help either.

    Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston- You can read my full review here, but overall this was a cute read. I didn't like it as much as everyone and their mother did, but I still had a really good time reading it.

      Matchmaking for Beginngers by Maddie Dawson- This was a free book I decided to pick up on Prime Reading and it ended up being perhaps my favorite book I read this summer. Like this was a 4.5 Star book. I don't typically like women's fiction or chick-lit, but this book was just an amazing read. I love the two POVs we get to read from and the events that unfold in their lives. It was written so well and I just devoured it for the 5 hours I was at the airport. 

      Those are the books that I read this summer. As you can see, it was very much a summer of paranormal/fantasy romance and contemporary books, which honestly best describes my reading tastes. Without a doubt, my favorite book with the curve ball out of nowhere, Matchmaking for Beginners. I'd say my least favorite book was Fuck I'm in My Twenties.

       What did you guys read this summer? Have you read any of the books I did, and if so what did you think? Tell me everything down in the comments.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

"Red, White & Royal Blue" by Casey McQuiston Spoiler Free Review

12:37:00 PM

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Book:  Red, White & Royal Blue

Author: Casey McQuiston

My Rating: ★★★

Synopsis: What happens when America's First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There's only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.

Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through?

      If you are a part of the bookish community, then I'm sure you've heard of Red, White & Royal Blue. If you haven't, how??? Anyway, this book caused quite the hype storm for two main reasons: it's a M/M LGBT+ contemporary romance and because it was marketed as an enemies to lovers book and the bookish folk love that trope. Well those two things really get me going just like all the other bookish folk, but I was hesitant to read it at first because of all the hype. If you have been here for a while, you know that I'm not one to buy into the hype. The readathon, Bout of Books came around and I thought this would be the perfect time to finally tackle this book. That being said...

      I really enjoyed the book. I don't think I loved it nearly as much as everyone else, but I did truly like it. As promised, we got out M/M romance and the enemies to lovers trope. I think both aspects were done really well. Our main character, Alex, struggled in coming to terms with his sexuality and that played into the whole enemy thing he had with Henry. I was kinda iffy on their relationship in the beginning because it seemed they were just using each other physically and in an unhealthy manner, but as time passed their relationship progressed in a way I was happy with. Going off the whole physical aspect of their relationship, this book is New Adult, which I was not mentally prepared for, so do what you will with that information....

      I've never read a book before that centered around being in the political spotlight before so that was interesting. I don't know how accurate all of that was, but it was entertaining for the most part. It kind of ticked me off that Alex's mom, the president of the United States continuously put her presidency and the campaign before her children's happiness and autonomy, but I guess with all that power people's priorities become warped.

      As far as the characters and their relationships go, I thought they were all cute. It was an extremely diverse cast of characters, from race, gender identity, sexuality, etc. I think all that representation was cool, but I'm not sure how authentic it was, you know? Like did the author manufacture all of that representation in order for her book to be more diverse? I don't know, but nevertheless it was nice to have a diverse cast where their diversity wasn't a big thing that drove the plot.

      All in all this was a light-hearted contemporary that was an extremely fast read. It was the perfect book to read while I was on the cruise and it's something I could see myself going back to reread in the future as a feel-good read. I'm excited to see what other books this author puts out.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

"Sorcery of Thorns" by Margaret Rogerson Review

8:53:00 AM


Book: Sorcery of Thorns

Author: Margaret Rogerson

My Rating: ★★★ 3/4 (3.75 Stars)

Synopsis: All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

      Before receiving my OwlCrate box with Sorcery of Thorns, I’d heard very little buzz on the book. It was something that popped up a little bit on Goodreads and Twitter, but nothing overly hyped that put it on my radar. That being said, when I received it in my OwlCrate box, I was pretty excited because not only was the cover super pretty with my favorite shade of purple, but the premise of books coming alive that surrounded the book captivated me. That being said…

      I have mixed feelings on this book. Even after having a day to mull over my thoughts, I’m not quite sure where I’m at. I don’t hate the book by any means, but I don’t think it was fantastic. I saw another review describe the book as “fantasy-lite” with a sprinkle of romance, and that is exactly what this book was. The fantasy in this book was very light, and that’s an aspect of the book that really let me down. I was expecting more explanation on how the magic system worked, some world-building, why the wardens hate books, why the wardens and sorcerers have beef, more on the whole books coming alive thing, but that didn’t really happen. I was super let down about the whole no explanation on the books thing because the concept of books coming alive is something so foreign that it needs a lot of explanation, especially since I couldn’t really get an imagine of what these transformed books might look like in my head. Basically what I’m saying it I wanted more fantasy from this fantasy marketed book.

      As far as the plot went, it wasn’t anything we haven’t seen before. Special girl meets boy, boy is special so she hates him of course, something happens that only special girl can solve, special boy eventually comes around to help special girl, they fall in love, the end. I’m pigeon-holing the story of course, but that’s essentially it wrapped up in a nutshell. I think the plot (and the fantasy to be honest) could have been flushed out better if the story was not a standalone. Going into this book, I thought this was the start of a trilogy, or at the very least the duology. I soon realized about halfway through that this was probably just a standalone and that bummed me out. I think a lot of the issues I had with the book could have been resolved if the overall story was a part of more than one book. For instance, the pacing of this book was super odd and something that I just couldn’t shake off. A lot happened in the beginning, then it slowed down, then a shit ton was thrown at us, then it slowed down and I was like where is this, going and finally it ramped up again until wham bam we were at the end and I was like that’s it? All in all, I didn’t hate the plot, but damn could it have been more.

      The final, and arguably one of the most important aspects of the book, was the characters. I’m going to be honest from the get go: there was nothing special about any of the characters. There I said it. Elisabeth was the typical “quirky” girl who was seen by others as this adorable weirdo, especially when she was first put into the limelight. It’s clear from the beginning that there is something different about her as far as magic effects her, and when the explanation of that was given, I was disappointed. It wasn’t a terrible explanation, but it just kind of felt like a cop-out and not as magical as it could have been.

      As far as her love interest, Nathaniel, is considered, I’ll be honest and say he kind of stole a piece of my heart. Nathaniel is this a sarcastic, queer, loveable, asshat and the lines he delivered were pure gold. Every time he went to speak, I thought, “what amazing weirdness is this boy going to speak now”. He kind of reminded me as a mix of Damon from “The Vampire Diaries” and Stiles from “Teen Wolf” and that did it for me. I loved the fact that him being bi was not a big deal and not an element that pushed the plot. If I could get a book just about him from his perspective, I would get it in a heartbeat.

      The final character who really matters is Silas. He was a character I didn’t expect to like as much as I did. He’s a stoic yet funny character in the way that he deals with Nathaniel’s shit. I wish we got to know more about him, but I guess that air of mystery is part of what makes him the character he is.

      Overall this was a quick, entertaining read. It drew me in from the beginning, and while the pacing and plot wasn’t the greatest, it was enough to keep me interested and entertained. Nathaniel and Silas really made the book for me, and if they weren’t as great as they were, I would not enjoyed this as much as I did. And as I mentioned before, I still have mixed feelings. This book was by no means the best book I’ve read in a while, but it also wasn’t awful. I think the majority of people will really enjoy this book, and I suppose that is all that matters.

      This was a super long review, and if you read it all the way through, then damn, thank you. If you read this book, what are your thoughts? Are you one of the people who thought it was amazing? Or are you like me and thought it was just pretty good? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments down below.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Bout of Books 26: Day 2 & 3 Update

10:54:00 PM


      So yesterday was an okay reading day for me. I had to work, so I didn't get as much reading done as I did for Day 1. I got to about the halfway done mark in Sorcery of Thorns after skyping my parents and hanging out with my roommate. Not as much has happened as I feel like should have happened. As I mentioned before, the pacing is super weird as is the characterization. Sometimes the things and thoughts that happen seem out of place or unnecessary. 

      I only got about 15 minutes worth of reading done on the bus today because I had to run a lot of errands and pack for my cruise. As expected, not much happened in those 15 minutes, I think I read maybe 3 chapters. I'm starting to feel like maybe the hype for this book was blown a little out of proportions, or maybe I'm too critical of the book. For the most part, I like the setting, and I really like Nathaniel and Silas, but the world building and overall plot could be better and Elisabeth isn't a main character that I find myself drawn to. She's very vanilla to me. Maybe some shit will pop off in the 2nd part of the book that will win me over.

      So those are my updates for yesterday and today. For those of you who were unaware, today mark's The Nerdgirl Review's 5th anniversary!!! So head on over to my anniversary post for a chance to win 3 books of your choice from Book Depository. Just click here! Tomorrow I head to my mom's place for 2 days before the cruise, but she doesn't have Internet, so I'm going to do my best to post, but if not, I should be back this weekend. 


8:30:00 AM


      Well by some sort of magic, The Nerdgirl Review is 5 years old!!!

      A lot has happened throughout these 5 years, not just in the blog, but in my life. I started this blog when I was a junior in high school, and now I'm a college graduate getting ready to apply to Ph.D programs. I've experienced a lot of things throughout these 5 years that have made me a different person. I've experienced crippling anxiety and depression but I've also experienced amazing joy.

      As far as this blog is concerned, I've written over 430 posts. Not exactly sure how to be honest, but I have. In the beginning I blogged a lot more than I do now, and honestly, I needed that back then. Reading and writing was my way with coping with my situation and finding an escape. Now I live a life in which I don't necessarily need books and this blog the way I did then. That's not to say I'm going to stop blogging. Despite the infrequenty of my posts, I do enjoy writing on here. I'd love to read more books and focus more on this blog, but I've got other things that I have to prioritze and think about. Maybe someday I'll be able to apply the energy this blog really needs.

      I can't even begin to fathom the amount of books I've read in the past five years. I've read over 500 books and that's wild because the majority of people will never read even a fifth of that. Being a part of the book community has introduced me to so many books that I never would have come across on my own, and many of these books have become some of my favorite books. These books will have a lasting impact on me, and I'm forever greatful for being introduced to them.

      Running this blog has introduced me to some pretty fantastic people. Being a part of the book community has been a bit of a struggle. I was a part of booktube for a while (something I may be returning to soon) and that led to me really being introduced to the bookish community. I haven't felt particularly close to the book blogging community, but that's partially my fault and something I'm working on.

      All in all, I can't believe everything that has happened in the past 5 years. I hope to continue to grow and improve, and hopefully I'll be around for the next 5 years. I'd like to show my thanks to all the support I've had and as a token of my appreciation, I'm throwing a giveaway!

Giveaway Info

To show my appreciation and to celebrate 5 years, I'm throwing a giveaway. After running a poll, y'all have decided that you want me to get y'all books. 

How: Rafflecopter Giveaway
When: August 21st - August 30th, 2019
What: 3 books of your choice from Book Depository valued $50 or less
Who: This is an international giveaway open to everyone! If Book Depository ships to you, then you're good to go!

*You must be subscribed to me. Can subscribe via Blogger, email, or bloglovin. 
*Must comment on this post or any other post

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Bout of Books 26: Day 1 Update and Day 2 Challenge

6:06:00 PM


Day 1 Reading Update

      Hey you guys! Bout of Books is under way and I'm off to a pretty good start! Yesterday was the first day and I started reading "Sorcery of Thorns" by Margaret Rogerson. I'm about a third done with the book and I have mixed feels about it. I loved the first quarter of the book, but since then, things have gotten kind of weird... Like the pacing and characterization has gotten strange. Furthermore, things that I thought were going to be explained, especially as far as the world building and magic goes, haven't been explained yet, so that's pretty dissapointing. But maybe that will get explained later...

      That being said, I am enjoying the book overall. It's been super easy to power through and I really like the characters. My favorite character without a doubt is Nathaniel Thorn. He's such an annoying smart ass and I love it. He's delievered some of my favorite lines. 

      My second favorite character is his servant Silas. The main character Elisabeth is honestly too much of a trope in my opinion. She's the quirky, smart, strong, speaks her mind, naive girl and I'm real tired of reading that character. I don't hate her, but she does not make the story for me.

Day 2 Challenge
Challenge: Adaptation Aspirations
What book would you like to see adapted for another medium? What would be your preferred format? Movie? TV Show? Broadway musical? Something else? If you want to elaborate even further, who would you cast to play the characters? Who would you want to write the script/screenplay? Write the music? Direct? Are there adaptations that exist that you think could be better? Tell us all about your aspirations for the perfect adaptation!
      This was such a hard question for me because there are so many books that I would absolutely love to be turned into some sort of adaptation. Ultimately, I decided to choose "The Power" by Naomi Alderman. I think this would amazing on Netflix, Amazon Prime, or HBO as a limited series. There is a lot of material to touch on, which is why I think it would do well as a tv series and not a movie, but I don't think it needs to be stretched out like a normal tv series. I don't have anyone chosen as far as actors/actresses or directors, etc. If you know me, I'm all about movie/tv soundtracks, so if any of my fav composers did it, I would be head over heels. 

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?