Tuesday, January 31, 2017

(69) Top Ten Graphic Novels I Want to Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topicTop Ten Favorite Graphic Novels/Comics or Ten Comics on My TBR or Top Ten Favorite Picture Books.
And I chose to talk about the graphic novels I really want to read someday!
***in no particular order***


I'm not too big on graphic novels, but after trying Nimona and LOVING it, I have wanted to try others! I think they'd especially be perfect for those days when I don't really want to read or concentrate hard on the story. Which isn't to say that graphic novels are simple or not able to produce what full novels can. But they're short and quick, and sometimes short and quick is what you need. I'm especially interested in reading Saga and Monstress, as I've heard nothing but good things about them. And I'm very excited about Wires and Nerve because IKO. The rest of them came to me through recommendations, and I'm definitely looking forward to trying some of these soon! Oh! There was also an upcoming graphic novel that I REALLY want to read, but I cannot remember what it's called or who the author is. Wah. (It might have been Shattered Warrior, but I really don't remember). 


Are you a graphic novel/comic person? Are there any books you *must* recommend as I start to get into the genre? Let's talk! :D

Monday, January 30, 2017

To DNF or Not to DNF

Lately I haven't been reading a whole lot. Well, since last November, since the election, really. I've been in suuuuch a slump that I've started and stopped a ton of books and now I'm left with the decision: do I DNF them or not? It's not generally too hard for me to DNF books, but it is when I can't really tell if it's the story itself or if it's just... me. If it's just this slump, then perhaps there's hope for the book.

Especially because, for most of them, I enjoyed the story while reading it! I just haven't been able to get back into the books. Partly because of me still being in a bit of an I-don't-wanna-read-at-all mood, but mostly because my January was taken up by the Dumbledore's Army readathon and my binge-reread of Harry Potter. I had to set aside many of them because they just weren't priorities at the time.

But now I'm left with a problem because there are so many unfinished books and I have to ask myself if I'm really going to continue them. And that's a difficult question, even more so when it comes to ARCs, which I find harder to let go of and DNF. I want to make sure I give them a chance. However, at some point, I've gotta be honest with myself and realize that I prooobably won't finish some of them.


I will likely DNF The Bear and the Nightingale since I'm not really interested in continuing the story? I've heard people compare it to Uprooted in how it's written and how the book unfolds, but I just can't find it in me to care to find out whether or not I'll love it. My time is so precious right now, a reason why I'm also for sure DNFing A Lady by Midnight. Much to my dismay, though. I didn't think I could dislike a Tessa Dare novel.

But as for the rest, I still want to finish them! I was super enjoying Frostblood and Timekeeper, especially, and I think giving them a second chance would be worth it. I am VERY unsure about Trick, though, because I really dislike the MC so far, and the writing is simple bordering on boring. And with TIQ, I'm not really into it, but I've also heard mostly good things and I DO want to see where it goes.

I also started a few review books recently, Prisoner of Ice and Snow, and You're Welcome, Universe. And I'm not at the to DNF or not to DNF stage so I will definitely be continuing them soon. Especially YWU, which I'm liking so far. But I really should NOT be starting anymore new books right now, and just finish up as many of these as I can/want to. After I finish this binge-reread of HP, of course! #priorities


Do you guys find it hard or easy to DNF? Do you ever start so many books at once and then have a whole bunch of them you're unsure whether to give up or continue? How do you decide which ones deserve a second chance? Let's talk! :)

Saturday, January 28, 2017

ALA Midwinter Recap

Guys. GUYS. If you ever have a chance to go to one of these book conferences (the professional ones), choose ALA because it is 1,000% better than BEA. I'm so utterly satisfied with what books I picked up and the people I got to meet. And the best part? NO LINES. (Okay, there were like two I actually waited in, but it was only for a little bit and people didn't start congregating around booths hours in advance). But whoa, I am getting ahead of myself here. We've gotta talk about the travel and after-hours too!

Somehow, someway, something always goes wrong. I don't know why, but my friends and I seem to have such poor luck when it comes to these conferences. So, I shouldn't even be surprised that we got a flat tire and it HAD to be changed with the spare halfway into our (mine and my mom and brother's) trip to the train station. And I shouldn't be surprised that we had to wait for a tow truck, that it took him awhile to get to us. But fortunately, he was able to help us change the tire, and my brother got me to the station 10 minutes before my train came. (He was the real MVP of this trip, tbh. I'm so grateful for my mom and brother for doing this. I'm quite blessed).

I managed to catch the 9:34 a.m. train when I was 100% certain I wouldn't. And I met up with Rashika at the station in Chicago, where we then got on public transportation to take us to the airport. The airport wasn't even as bad as I thought it was going to be. But as this was my first time flying, I was pretty anxious and my nerves were on edge, but Rashika is a wonderful travel companion, and we got through to our terminal with no problems. We grabbed some Mexican food and just waited. And THEN IT WAS EVEN MORE WAITING ONCE WE GOT ON THE PLANE. The anticipation was killing me, and I was like: let's just get up the air already I can't take this anymore. But once I got through takeoff, and got used to what it's like flying, I actually quite enjoyed it. I even grabbed a few pictures while in the air! And I watched us land in Atlanta the whole time!

(Atlanta was FULL of forests and little cul-de-sacs like this one)

Once Rashika and I found Shannon, and met Val outside, Val drove us to the hotel and then we went out to eat. We explored quite a bit of the city whenever we went out, and Atlanta is SO COOL. And so pretty. I loved my time there; I just wish we'd had more of it. We weren't able to do anything tourist-y, but it was still a fun few days in a city that I really want to return to at some point in the future. AND THE FOOD WAS GOOD TOO. I was super disappointed with Chicago in this regard last May, but we found some great places to eat. The first day we actually went to one that was recommended to us by Roshani Chokshi. Bocca Lupo. The food was fabulous, albeit small and sad portion sizes. And then we went out to Amelie's French Bakery, and I tried a macaron! I'm not really a fan of them, but I'm glad we stopped in because we'd meant to cake hop in Chicago but never did and we were making up for that. We also went to a Mexican restaurant on Saturday that was really good too; Atlanta's food scene was A+.

After a great night (and some wine, of course), we were READYYYYY for the first day of ALA. I had NO idea what to expect going into this. I just knew that it was very different from BEA, and that most people love it a lot more than that conference. And, after only one hour, I could totally understand why. Though there aren't really any schedules, it's not a hindrance. Some books were set out that you could grab, but most of the time, you just asked about them. And it was super easy to do that, even for this shy and socially awkward girl. ;) The people there were SO NICE and so willing to hand us books. I got a few that hadn't even been on my radar because the publicists were so excited about them and convinced me that I needed them. There was only one moment that we were turned down for being bloggers, but that was just because of the title we asked about (and we were able to get it the next day). We left the event around 1:30 because we'd gotten most everything we wanted and we were like: hey, let's just go hangout together away from here! So, that's what we did. :D

Oh, how have I failed to mention one teeny, tiny thing? I WAS SICK. Not sick enough to where I should've stayed home, but sick enough to where I just wanted to lie around in bed instead of explore Atlanta. I got a super bad cough the Thursday before, and it steadily progressed into congestion and a sore throat. Luckily, I have good friends, and they took care of me. I'm a little sick right now, still mostly have that cough. But I was so mad it had to happen on my vacation weekend. OH WELL. I tried to make the most of it, and I was able to enjoy Atlanta, my friends, and flying even though all I wanted to do was sleep. I just had to eat a looooot of cough drops. Haha.

Sunday came too quickly. I was not the slightest bit prepared to say goodbye to my friends when I had just said hello to them. At this point in time, I hadn't been all packed, I was missing my second pair of leggings (which unbelievably, I did end up leaving at home but didn't know that until I actually GOT home), I was angry that my plane was changed and Rashika and I were no longer sitting together, and we ended up having to walk to the convention center because of the marathon and traffic. It did end up being the best choice because an uber would NOT have gotten us there before 10, which was the only signing Rashika and I could do since our flight left around 1:30. But man, that was not good on my cough and lungs. And I was worried we'd miss the signing. BUT WE DIDN'T.

And omg I'm so happy I went. I've already read A Crown of Wishes, thanks to St. Martin's sending me a NetGalley widget for the book. But I HAD to meet Roshani. She's one of my favorite people, and I could not pass up this opportunity (especially as it was the only author signing I could make it to). And to my surprise, she recognized me straightaway! Immediately upon putting my bags on the floor, she gave me a hug and we got to talk for a few minutes. I definitely had a starstruck moment, but she was so sweet and I was so freaking happy she knew who I was. And I will treasure this photo we have together. 
<3

Rashika and I grabbed a few more books we had wanted, and then we said our goodbyes. It is always so fucking hard doing this. I only get to see these women once a year basically, because we don't live close enough to get together more than that. So UGH. I hate it. Every time. But luckily, the people at the airport were able to get us seated together, so I didn't have to fly alone (which was good bc I was not feeling well on the ride home and that made me sad since I couldn't enjoy the flight). When Rashika and I got to Chicago, we went to Portillo's because she knew how long I've wanted a cake shake and we didn't get to do that last time. SO WORTH IT. The burger was good too. And then. It was time to say goodbye to her too and get back on my train home to Michigan. *sobs* I hate goodbyes. But while this trip was super short, I do feel like my time and money was worth it. It wasn't enough time, and I may have been sick as fuck, but it was amazing. And I can't wait to do this again.

I won't be showing my whole book haul this time, but I did want to share the books I'm most excited about :D

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Hi, 2017

I don't do a monthly recap on the blog, partly because I'm lazy and partly because there isn't usually much to say. But I was inspired by Jamie's If We Were Having Coffee feature (which was inspired by someone else!) to start doing more personal posts on here. And what better way to do that than to recap my month in LIFE instead of just books and blogging? So Checking In will be a monthly feature on here that will help you guys get to know ME better, and hopefully you'll start sharing your own stories with me. :)

*****

Guys, can you believe we got here? After the trash hellfire that was 2016, I think we were all a bit relieved to get out of the year, no? Even though, since the election ended, I've also been dreading it. It marks the start of four years under this presidency, and I am scared. I'm worried. I'm anxious. And I'm white, so this won't even affect me as much it will others. But I have hope, not much, but it's there. And I refuse to believe that the world is gonna end or that we'll end up in a dystopian novel. But with this impending scary time, it's made it abundantly clear to me how badly I need to take care of myself: physically, mentally, and emotionally.

I've been practicing a lot of self-care lately, and it's helped quite a bit. Most of my self-care involves binge-watching TV shows, snuggling/playing with our cats and dog, but it works for me. Not nearly enough, but enough to where I feel like I can breathe without this knot of anxiety over the future weighing me down. Reading would normally have been added to the list, but after the election, I could hardly find the energy to escape into books. I got into a huge slump with it, but I think that's finally over now, and I'm looking forward to reading A LOT in 2017. But as much as this self-care has been good, it's also still a crutch because I'm NOT taking care of myself as much I should.

I've never been good at this, which is why it's taken me awhile to even write this post. Because it's another failed year, you know? I may have gotten better in some aspects (i.e. confidence and assertiveness, especially in a work environment, speaking up about how I'm feeling even when people might not want to hear it, being more independent), but I'm still stuck in this sort of aimlessness that hasn't helped the anxiety I've had about the next four years at all. So, 2017 is going to be a year for lots of changes! I feel like I say this every year, and I always have these plans for myself. But actually putting steps into practice is what will be the challenge. However, I feel like I'm actually willing to do that this time, and make changes. To how much time I spend on the blog and social media to my lifestyle choices.

I won't be disappearing! And I will still be active, but not nearly as much as in the past. I'm just trying to not let myself go down the road of no return, tbh. So, I'll be a bit more quiet on the personal front moving forward, for now. But I'm very excited to get back to writing posts again, which I haven't really done, since well, now as I'm typing this up. Haha. I had also wanted to write a bit more because this feels so short, but I just don't have a lot to say and I didn't want January to end before I'd reflected on 2016 a little. It was not, on the whole, a good year for me, so I think that's also a reason the post is very... uncharacteristically short. Here's hoping 2017 is better!

I've got a little celebration coming up for the 4th season of The 100, because of course. I've got a week of posts planned that I'm really excited about, and I'm cooking up fun stuff with Shannon and Erica for that. I'm also going to be talking about my time at ALA midwinter in Atlanta this past weekend. GUYS. If you ever get to go to a conference, choose an ALA one, because it is 1,000% better than BEA. I can't wait to share recap with you, and I'm so very excited about the books I picked up. I still haven't been reading a WHOLE lot, but I'm loving it and will continue to let myself be chill in this regard because it's so much better for me. :) Other than that, I'm not sure what I'm gonna do! I haven't thought that far ahead, so I hope you'll stick with me as I try to make 2017 another good year of blogging.


I hope 2017 has been going well for you guys, so far! I wish you all a good year. Let's talk soon. <3

Monday, January 16, 2017

Dumbledore's Army Readathon Wrap-Up

Guys, Aentee is so effing creative, and this was SUCH a fun readathon! I almost can't believe I was able to read all 7 books in the 15 days it went on, but I did! :D

I had posted my TBR back near the end of December, and I did read *most* of the ones I'd had on there. And I'm glad to say that I enjoyed ALL of them! My favorites were Melina Marchetta's and Under a Painted Sky, but I at least liked the lot of them. So I'm going to talk about them a little bit. And then at the end of this post, I've got my ID card with my points tallied up!

*****
 
Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta. I don't think it's possible for me to NOT fall in love with a Marchetta book. This one was just as amazing as the rest I've read, and it was also personally relatable for me, which made it special. <3

243 pages = 24 points

Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed. I've read 0 books with a Pakistani MC, and very few in general when it comes to Middle Eastern and South Asian countries. This was a very hard book to read, given some of the things that happen in it, but it's eye-opening and important. So if you haven't read it yet, I strongly urge you to do so soon!

282 pages = 28 points

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo. This one wasn't on my original TBR because I completely forgot I had it! It's #ownvoices because it's about a transgender teenager written by a transgender author. And I really liked it; it was super readable. It just didn't have a ton going for it, but Amanda's experiences matter.

281 pages = 28 points
 
Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee. This book was sooooo good omg, I loved it. The characters, the setting, the story, the relationships, all of it. Stacey has become an auto-buy author for me.

370 pages = 37 points


Cam Girl by Elliot Wake. This was the other book that hadn't been on my original TBR, and I can't believe I forgot about it. As ridiculously engrossing as Elliot's other books, even though it wasn't my fave I've read from him.

415 pages = 41 points

The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore. I feel like I haven't heard a bad thing about this book, and it was SO hyped back when it came out in 2015. It took me a long time to read it, and while I was angry about certain parts, I super enjoyed it and wanted to roll around in Anna-Marie's words forever.

308 pages = 30 points

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han. Shannon has recommended this one to me before, and had tried to get me to read it sooner, to no avail. ;) I DID start it awhile back, but didn't get far because I wasn't into it. And it did take a long time to really get into the story, but it was so fun and I loved the relationship Lara Jean has with her sisters and dad. It made my heart melt. But holy hell, that ending was MEAN. I'm so glad there's a sequel because omg not cool, Jenny.

357 pages = 35 points

***** 

Now time to tally up my points!

223 points from the books above + 35 points for reading all of them = 258

+ 10 points for reviewing two of the books (Cam Girl & The Weight of Feathers) this past week on the blog = 268 

I also posted my ID card to Twitter, for 1 point. 

Grand Total: 269 points! 

*****

Hey y'all, did you guys do this readathon too? If so, how many points did you get? What'd you read? Let's talk! :)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

An Enchanting Modern-Day Romeo and Juliet

Title: The Weight of Feathers
Author: Anna-Marie McLemore
Publisher: Thomas Dunne
Release Date: September 15th, 2015!

From Goodreads...
For twenty years, the Palomas and the Corbeaus have been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for over a generation. Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows—the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find.

Lace Paloma may be new to her family’s show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she's been taught from birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small town where both families are performing, it’s a Corbeau boy, Cluck, who saves Lace’s life. And his touch immerses her in the world of the Corbeaus, where falling for him could turn his own family against him, and one misstep can be just as dangerous on the ground as it is in the trees.

Beautifully written, and richly imaginative, The Weight of Feathers is an utterly captivating young adult novel by a talented new voice.



My Review!
*Spoilers! You've been forewarned.

I am MAD at this book. Like, I want to roll around in Anna-Marie’s gorgeous words forever, but I am not happy about the way this story went. Not. at. all. I didn’t even realize how angry I was about it until I started reviewing it in my head and I started tearing down the Corbeaus and the Palomas. I don’t think I've been this angry at fictional characters in a long time. These two families are fucking RIDICULOUS. I can’t even begin to express my utter dismay at how they handled things in the past and how terrible people they are. Both the main characters suffered much abuse at the hands of their families, the people who are supposed to love them unconditionally. It made me want to cry a lot.

Lace is emotionally abused by her grandmother. This woman is a piece of fucking work. She uses her women family members as a way to live, as they are the ones who bring in the money from the shows. And she constantly picks at their insecurities and makes them believe that they can only be las sirenas if they are beautiful to her standards. None of the Palomas goes against her because they believe that her word is law, and they just LET her decide their lives for them. They let her kick Lace out of the family because they believe a Corbeau cursed her and they could not bear to see his mark on her. And after everything that Lace goes through, she still wants her abuela’s approval and will doing anything to get it back. I could understand it to some degree given how much she loved performing in the shows. But you know what? Her family will never see her as anything more than a tainted Paloma now, and I hate them for it. And? This isn’t even the worst of what the families have done.

Cluck, my poor precious baby, deserved SO MUCH better than what the Corbeaus gave him. So much better than being called an ugly duckling who doesn’t belong. He is neglected and physically abused by his older brother while his mother lets it happen because she hates him. And the worst part is that none of it was his fault. None of it was because of his own choosing, which is of course the same for all victims of abuse, but it is literally true in Cluck’s place. He finds out near the end of the book that he is both a Corbeau and a Paloma. That the Palomas readily gave him up and that the person he loved most in the world is not his grandfather, but his father. And I cannot even begin to express how fucking angry at Alain Corbeau I am. This man watched his son get beaten down, neglected, emotionally and physically abused, AND HE DID NOTHING ABOUT IT. Sure, he made sure to stay a safe space for Cluck in that family, but it still doesn’t negate how much damage the Corbeaus did to this kid. He deserved love and warmth and to be told that he matters. Instead, he’d grown up in a household that did not care, that did not want him, and who made sure he knew that. Over and over again. The only thing that even slightly makes me feel better about this is that he finally got out. He’s no longer a part of them, and he can finally breathe a little easier. Though, the damage they’ve caused him will leave a lasting mark.

I just cannot with these people. They let a feud go on this long all because they didn’t bother to look for the truth and to tell it. They hid behind their lies and their curses and their “rules” for the children. They controlled people’s lives and did not allow room for growing up, for mistakes, for kids to find their own paths. They are awful fucking people, and I hate them. Anyway, I did love the romance, though. I loved both Lace and Cluck, and I just wanted to give them giant bear hugs and tell them that they didn’t need the Palomas or the Corbeaus. They only needed each other. But that ending is bittersweet, because I’d been hoping things would turn out differently, that the two of them would help their families see what they’ve done, make them change. It didn’t. :(

While The Weight of Feathers was beautiful and pulled me on a whirlwind of an adventure, I can’t let go of how much I wish it hadn’t gone in the direction it had. And how much I despise these families that could give the Capulets and Montagues a run for their money. Which, I suppose was the point of the book, given that it's basically a modern-day Romeo and Juliet, but still UGH. I was also super confused by one part of the ending, though I have my own theories about it. But you know, even given the anger, I did really enjoy this book, and Anna-Marie’s writing is just so freaking lovely.

RATING:

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Classic Stories I Want to Read This Year

Another personal challenge I'm doing this year is: a classic a month! I'm not someone who thinks that if you don't read the classics, you just can't appreciate fine literature, or someone who thinks those who read classics are literary snobs. I know I don't have to read classics, that it isn't some guideline that bookworms have to cross to be considered a book lover. But there are some stories that I REALLY want to read. I'm going to try to read at least one a month, but we shall see!

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
This one will DEFINITELY happen this month. Alice and her story have always been one of my favorites, but I've never actually read the book. So I'm super excited to *finally* read it!

The Hobbit
I read this twice in high school (for two different English classes), but I never finished it either time. So, I want to do that! And also because I love this story, and the movies, a lot. :D

Peter Pan

I've always liked this movie, so I want to read the actual story!

Jane Eyre
I  tried this once before, because my friend and I were gonna read it and discuss together. But then, we quit after like 5 chapters, so I haven't gotten back to it.

Pride and Prejudice 

I have ALWAYS wanted to read a Jane Austen novel, and P&P has been at the top of that list. I'm so excited for it.

a Grimms fairytale

Not sure yet which one, but most likely a Disney story! Since those are really all I know about the Grimms brothers' tales. :p

a Hans Christian Anderson fairytale
I'm not which story I want to read yet, but there are SOOOOO many to choose from. Honestly, I'll probably start with The Little Mermaid since it's one of my favorite movies!
Macbeth
I've read quite a few of Shakespeare's works already, after taking a class all about him in college. But I still have yet to read Macbeth! I feel like it's a must. 


These are all books/stories I own, and since it doesn't equal 12, I will definitely be trying some other classics! I'm just not sure which ones yet. :D But unlike with a series a month, I won't be devastated if I skip a month. This is just going to be for fun! 


Have you guys read any classics; if so, did you like them? Or have you ever wanted to read any? Let's talk! :) 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

(68) Top Ten 2016 Releases I Meant to Read But Didn't (and Plan to Asap)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topic: Top Ten 2016 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn't Get To (But TOTALLY plan to)

My Lady Jane
I feel like I've not heard a single bad thing about this book yet. I did test out the prologue to see whether I was in the mood, but I set it aside because historical fiction is something that I need to read when I DEFINITELY want to. So yeah, I really want to read this one soon, and I'm sure it'll happen this year!

Foxheart
I cannot BELIEVE I haven't read this yet, that it was not one of the first books I read when I brought it home from BEA. If you ask my friends, they'll be able to tell you how much I wanted this book. Haha. I WAS ALL ABOUT IT. And yet, here it sits, unread. I'm blaming much of it on the slump I hit during the last few months of 2016. But I'm definitely gonna devour it soon!
 
The Love That Split the World
This was one of the most hyped debuts that came out in 2016, and since I read a lot of the debuts, I'm surprised I didn't get to this one! I know it's been called out for problematic Native rep, but I'm still curious and want to read it.
 
Girl Against the Universe
I somehow always manage to put off reading Paula Stokes and idk why since she's one of my fave people. I think it's because the two I own and haven't read are ARCs, and I know the finished copies for her books tend to differ a lot from the ARCs. So I really just want to wait until I can get my hands on a hardcover instead.
 
A Court of Mist and Fury
I need to see what all the fuss is about, and since I really enjoyed ACOTAR, so I want to get to it as soon as I can!
 
The Unexpected Everything
Though Morgan is one of my faves, I still have only read Since You've Been Gone. I know, I know. WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE. I honestly don't know, but I really hope to get to this one at some point this year. :D
 
The Serpent King 
I've heard a lot of good things about this book, and I think all of my friends LOVED it, so I've got high expectations. Which is a big reason why I put it off for so long.

Ever the Hunted 
I'm wary about this one based off reviews I've read from trusted bloggers, but I had MEANT to give it a try before it released anyway. Hopefully I can do that this year.
 
The Steep and Thorny Way 
I still haven't read a Cat Winters novel yet, guys, and it *needs* to happen in 2017. And since I have this book, I want to read it, especially since it's a reimagining of Shakespeare's Hamlet
 
Scythe 
Gaaaah, I've wanted this one ever since I heard of it, and I absolutely want to read it before this year ends. I just need to get a copy of it. 

*****

What 2016 releases are you sad you didn't read last year? Which ones do you DEFINITELY plan on reading in 2017? Let's talk!