Sunday, April 5, 2020

Quarantine Reads 2020: Week 1

1:11:00 PM


      As I'm sure all of you are vastly aware of, we are in strange times. COVID-19 has altered our current lifestyles and really just fucked shit up to say the least. Personally, COVID-19 hasn't had an extreme impact on my life. I'm not personally quarantined as I have a healthcare job, so I'm still going to work (almost) everyday. I'm not happy that I'm still going out, but such is the life of those in healthcare. That being said, I've had a hell of a lot more time to read, not just at home but also at work. I work at a cancer company, and even though it's a healthcare company, we've had a significant decline in workload because people are focusing on coronavirus as opposed to cancer (which makes complete sense). So half the time at work I do actual work, and the other half I have to myself, so like the bookworm I am, I've been reading. 

      As weird as it is to admit, this time has been doing wonders for my reading goals. I didn't read a single book at all in February and only read one in January. So far during this quarantine, I've read three books and am working on the fourth. I thought I would do little weekly wrap-ups of the books I read during this time since I'm reading a lot more than usual. Although I've technically been under quarentine since mid-March, I didn't really get into the reading mood until the last week of March/first week of April, so that's where this is starting.

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Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston: This was a re-read for me. I read it for the first time last August and really enjoyed it. I decided to reread this book because I wanted some cute, fluffy, queer literature in my life. For those of you who have been around for a while, you'll know that I tend to have the habit of falling back to rereading books I've enjoyed as a way to get back into the swing of reading. That's exactly why I picked up this book. 

Stolen by Lucy Christopher: Another re-read on the list- no surprise. I first read Stolen way back in August of 2014, aka my senior year of high school. I remember enjoying this book a lot in high school but putting off re-reading it as I was afraid I would realize the book wasn't actually any good, such was the case when I reread Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I bit the bullet, and luckily I still enjoy this book- probably not as much as high school me as there was definitely some problematic shit, but that was to be expected with the subject matter of the book. The second half the book could use some reworking as some things went from zero to 100 without much connection or build-up, but I digress.

The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones: This is the first book so far that wasn't a reread. I received The Bone Houses in an OwlCrate a few months ago. I tried to read it in January, but I just wasn't in the right headspace to give it a fair shot a shelved it. On a whim, I picked it up again yesterday and I finished the book in less than a day. I don't think you guys know how long it's been since I've consumed a book in such a short amount of time. I liked the book quite a bit. It's by no means a favorite or exceptional, but it was a nice read. I could visualize everything in my head as I was reading it and for some reason it was giving me Chronicles of Narnia movie vibes in the way it was projected in my mind. I think this book would translate really well to the big-screen and I think Disney could do a good job with it if they gave it the same treatment as Chronicles of Narnia visually.

      So that's what I've read so far in this strange pandemic. I'm in a reading kick so I'm sure I'll have plenty of more books to share with you guys. 

      What have you guys been reading during this time? Have you read the books I mentioned, and if so, what did you think? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments down below.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Liebster Award Part 2

9:19:00 AM


      Once upon a time, a long, long time ago on this blog, I did the Liebster Award. This blog was much younger than and full of hope and bookish tags. (You can read my responses here.) A lot has happened since then and this blog isn't the same one it was. Life has haggard it and things just aren't the same. Nevertheless, I saw Emily @ Paperback Princess do part 2 (which I had no idea there was a part 2), and I decided, what the heck, why not. So, without further ado, here is the Liebster Award Part 2.  

1. If you could be put into any bookish universe, which would you choose? 

The no brainer without any thought would be the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. No other world gives me as much happens and such a feeling of completeness as that one. However, if I didn't go with my knee-jerk response, it would probably be Middle Earth from Lord of the Rings. I would love to be an elf that lives in the woods (though with my luck and height I'd probably be a dwarf or hobbit).

2. Are there any genres you wouldn't read? 

Oh boy, you bet your ass there are genres I won't read. I'm really not for nonfiction, historical fiction, or poetry. Sometimes I make exceptions when it comes to nonfiction, such as the case with memoirs or educational material, but outside of that those three genres are not my cup of tea.

3. What's your favorite winter read? 

I absolutely love to read the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone during the winter. It just gives me holiday vibes and makes me feel warm inside.

4. Did you enjoy any compulsory high school readings? 

For the most part, yeah I did. I really enjoyed the books in my AP Literature class and AP Language. My other classes, not so much, but I can't say there are any readings that I absolutely hated. Without compulsory reading, I wouldn't have discovered my enjoyment for some books, such as The Glass Castle or The Stranger.

5. What's your most disliked popular book? 

This is a hard one because there are quite a few books that I don't like that are popular, but my number one would probably by the Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. Actually, anything by Cassandra Clare is a no for me. She just doesn't do it for me in the least bit.

6. What is your least favorite thing about blogging? 

My least favorite thing is the push for engagement. I wish I could just post without feeling like I need to be heard or have a following, but that just isn't the case. I wish I could go back to the beginning where I didn't care about the numbers, but unfortunately I do. Honestly, a huge reason why I don't post as often as I probably could is because I feel like my voice isn't heard and that there is no point if I don't have an audience with engagement.

7. What's your favorite book series of all time? 

Why would you ask such a question??? Putting aside my knee-jerk reactions, it would probably be the Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I think that series is slept on by the bookish community, especially when you compare it to other books Jennifer L. Armentrout has written. I just love the mythology in it, the characters, and the romance. It was the first series that I ever bought all the books at once.

8. What book has made you truly angry? 

I can't say there is a book off the top of my head that makes me truly angry. There are a lot of books that I've DNFed because they've started to make me angry or annoyed me, or there are books that were just plain old bad,  but I can't say I've hated a book. The closet thing I have of hatred towards a book is probably the Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare.

9. What's a bookish trope you wish you never had to see anymore? 

I think it would be "I'm special" or "not like other girls". Like we get it, you're the chosen one, the quirky one, or whatever. So is everyone else.

10. What's your most underrated favorite novel? 

It would be hands-down Stolen: A Letter to my Captor by Lucy Christopher. There is definitely a lot of grey area in this book. but I still really enjoy it. I had so many conflicting, emotional thoughts when I read this and I wish more people knew about it. Along the same vein, I also think The V Girl: A Coming of Age Story by Mya Robarts is super slept on. There is so much social commentary in this book while also being an excellent romantic book. Sigh.

11. What character would you like to swap lives with? And for how long? 

I would swap lives with Rose from the Vampire Academy. I would probably do it just for a year or so. I chose her because I would love to learn how to be a badass like her and be around vampires without actually being a vampire. I identify most with her and I think I could swap pretty easily into her life once I nail down how to be a fighter.

      Well that's all folks! It was nice doing this tag. I haven't done one in such a long time and sometimes it's nice to just stop and reflect. Hope you guys enjoyed it!

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Pitiful January 2020 Wrap Up

9:23:00 AM



      So January happened.... I had such high hopes for 2020, but this year is already kicking my ass. My personal life has pretty much fallen to shit in every single aspect possible, so reading was like the last thing on my mind. I have so my stress and anxiety right now, and for some reason Youtube has become my safety net more than reading has been in the past. It sucks because I have goals for this blog and reading-wise that I really want to accomplish, but I don't know if that's going to be possible with the way my life is going right now. But I'm going to try because that's all I can do right now.

      Due to the shitty state of my life, I read a measly two books this month, and both of them are books I technically started last year and finally finished up in the beginning of the month. But hey, it's better than nothing.

39679076       My favorite book of the month was hands down "House of Salt and Sorrows" by Erin Craig. This was a great book to start the year off with. I really enjoyed the writing, the plot, the main character, and the romance. This was the perfect YA fantasy/paranormal romance book to get me into the mood of reading. I wrote a full review which you can read here. I highly recommend picking this book up if you haven't already given it a chance.

40680738. sy475       The second and last book I read in January was "In the Darkness" by Mike Omer. This is the second book in the Zoe Bentley series, in which the first book is "A Killer's Mind". I read "A Killer's Mind" in 2018 I believe, and super enjoyed it. Mysteries used to be my bread and butter in middle school and high school before I joined the online bookish community, so reading "A Killer's Mind" was a nice dive back into that world. That said, I don't know if the timing just wasn't right or what, but I wasn't the biggest fan of "In the Darkness". I had a lot of issues with the characters, the plot, and there were a lot of microagressions and stereotypes present that I did not vibe with. I wish I had enjoyed the book more, but at the end of the tea it wasn't my cup of tea. It wasn't a terrible book, but it also wasn't great. It was just your average run-of-the-mill murder myster.

      Well those were the two books I read in January. To be honest I don't feel like February will be any better. A lot of things are kinda coming to head at the end of February beginning of March, so my life is going to be crazy and the last thing I'm thinking about is reading and blogging. But hey, you never know- maybe I'll get into a crazy reading and blogging frenzy.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

House of Salt and Sorrows REVIEW by Erin Craig

10:42:00 AM


Book: House of Salt and Sorrows

Author: Erin Craig

My Rating: ★★★★1/2

Synopsis: In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls' lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn't sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh's involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it's a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.

      Where do I even begin with this book? I put it off for quite some time after receiving it in one of my OwlCrate boxes because I honest to goodness didn't know what it was about and wasn't sure if this was something that would be up my alley. Uhm, y'all. I WAS WRONG!!! Why did I push this off??? I mean, I guess it turned out to beneficial in that I was able to start 2020 off with a bang.

      This book really blew me away. Whatever expectations you have coming into the book, throw them out the window. You might think you know where the book will head, but you don't. There are elements of mysticism/fantasy that get incorporated into this story so well that it just subverts whatever expectations you have going into the book. 

      I don't even know where to begin when it comes to what I enjoyed with this book. The characters, the plot, the romance, the fantasy/myth- it was all great. Our main character Annaleigh makes for such an interesting read because once you get into the last half of the book you start to question everything she's experiencing. And the romance between her in Cassius. Swoon. At first I was hella sus of him and didn't really buy into him, but damn it if he didn't win me over. I don't 100% buy the way their relationship started and it felt instalovey to me, but it grew on me. They were hella cute together.

      I can't say too much about the plot without giving a shit ton away, so I'm not going. Just know that this book does a really good job of not making itself too predictable but while also still being realistic and entertaining. I wish more books were able to surprise me like this book did. 

      Overall I had a really time reading this book. The world and characters were super enthralling and made me want to learn more about the particular mythology that was the focus of this world. Erin Craig did a great job with this debut novel and I can't wait to read more from her.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

2020 Bookish Resolutions/Goals

9:50:00 AM


      Well it's that time of year where everyone and their mother comes out with their resolutions/goals for the year. I almost didn't do it this year because I wasn't sure it was worth it. At the end of the day however, I figured it couldn't hurt to come up with some. So, without further ado, here we go.

*Read 60 books*

For my Goodreads goal of the year, I'd like to read 60 books. Last year I read 53 books and that's the lowest amount of books I've read in like 6 years. Ideally I'd like to read 100 books like I've done pretty much every year, but I don't want to put that much pressure on myself. 2020 is going to be an incredibly unpredictable year personally, so I don't know how reading is going to fit into it. I'm go to try my best to get back into the hang of reading more often.

*Do a monthly wrap up each month*

This past year, more often than not, I ended up doing multi-month wrap ups instead of monthly wrap ups, simply because I didn't consistently read or blog each month. This year I'd like to go back to doing a monthly wrap up. Even if I don't read many books in a month, I'd rather take the time to do a quick little post than have nothing.

*Post at least once a week*

This is really my main goal of the year and the one I plan on putting the most energy into. It might not seem like a lot to write a post once a week, but to me it's important. I feel like blogging at least once a week will ensure I remain active and that I use the blog effectively. 

*Have a review at least biweekly*

This one might be a bit of a stretch and more difficult for me to obtain, but I really want to make sure I put out a review at least twice a month. While I'm making changes to the blog and the content I post about, I do want to stick to some of my roots. This blog started off as a dedicated place to review books and I still want to review books.

*Be more active on bookish Twitter*

This might seem like an odd one, but it's one that I feel like I need. I see the bookish community and I want to interact with it more, and the best place to do that seems to be Twitter. I'm one of those people that follows others but doesn't really interact with them. I'm trying to change so that in addition to interacting with other tweets, I tweet more as well.

*Make more bookish friends*

I say this every year and it's true every year. I definitely had more interactions with the bookish community in 2019, but I truly want to make more connections. So if you're in the market for a bookish friend, hit me up!

*Revamp the website*

Little but time-consuming thing, I really want to revamp the look of my website. It's looked the same for the past few years and I feel like I need to spice it up more. It's pretty plain right now and I'd love for it to look more like my personality.

*Read more new releases*

Last but not least, I'd like to read more new releases. The majority of books I read are ones that came out in the past. I read maybe 5 books a year that were released that year. In 2019 I slowly started reading more new releases, and that was partially due to me getting OwlCrate. Without OwlCrate, I wouldn't have discovered some of my favorite books of the year. Now I don't want to exclusively read new releases, but I want to incorporate more of them into my TBR.

      Well those are my bookish resolutions/goals for 2020. The majority of them won't be too hard to accomplish, but there are some I know I'm going to struggle with. I really want to put more work into this blog and bookish stuff in general this year. If I put effort into it, I know I can do it.

      What do you guys think of my list? Do you have any in common with me? What are your lists? I'd love to hear everything down in the comments.

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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