Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Books I Read In May

I had a decent reading month for May, I managed to read nine books. Which is a decent amount but I am going to have to step it up in June, if I want to catch up on my reading goal.

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas - This is the third book in the Court of Thorns and Roses series, which wraps up the main arc of the character, Feyre. This was my most anticipated release of 2017 and I was not disappointed. I absolutely loved this story and felt that it was a stratifying ending to the original story. I can't wait to see how Maas continues on with this series, because there are so many directions that I'd like to see.

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han - This is the last book in the To All the Boys I've Loved Before trilogy. This was another anticipating read for me, and I really liked it. I didn't love the plot of this book as much as the previous two, but the character development really made up for that aspect. I love how this book wraps up Lara Jean and Peter's story and gives the story more of a definitive ending.

I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak - This book follows Ed, who is given a series of cards with tasks that he has to complete by an unknown person. I absolutely love Zusak's novel The Book Thief and I have been meaning to read this book for ages. I enjoyed this book, the plot is very unique and it's very hard not to compare this to The Book Theif, because it's a completely different story, but I didn't form as much of an emotional connection to this story.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor - This book is Lazlo, who has been fascinated by the lost city of Weep, and when he finally visits the city, he encounters a half-human girl that travels in his dreams. This book is an excellent start to a duology, the writing is beautiful and the story is so unique and colorful. This book took ages for me to read (I started it in April), but I really enjoyed taking my time with this story, as the world is dense (but in a good way).

Geekerella by Ashley Poston - This is a modern, contemporary retelling of Cinderella, where a fangirl unknowingly starts texting the new star of her favorite series. I was surprised by how much I absolutely loved this book, the story is so adorable and a really unique take on the fairy tale. I feel that this book captured the essence of fandoms and I'm already dying to reread it.

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli - This book follows, Molly, who has had 26 unrequited crushes. I was really excited to pick this book up, because the author's debut Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda was great. I started off really liking this book, and I found it to be really relatable, but as the story progressed, I started to be bothered by Molly's narration and I'm not sure why. Overall this was a really cute book and the ending was sweet, but I was a little disappointed while reading it.

The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro - This is the second book in the Charlotte Holmes Trilogy. I really enjoyed the first book in this series and was eager to pick up this one. I didn't like this book as much as the first one but it was overall a good book, even though the ending was very confusing. I am looking forward to the last book's release in March, to see how everything wraps up.

The Novice by Taran Matharu - This is the first book in a trilogy that follows Fletcher after he learns that he can summon demons. I think this was a fairly solid start to a series, I did find that this book has a ton of common tropes in YA fantasy, but I think this book had some interesting things to say about equality. I have the rest of the trilogy to read through, and I'm expecting this series to get better.

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare - This is the second book in The Dark Artifices trilogy, the third series in Clare's Shadowhunter universe. I absolutely loved the first book in this trilogy, and this book did not disappoint. The writing and the story in this series is so strong and detailed and I love seeing how everything unfolds. I absolutely love how this book focuses on each and every character from the first book, and it was an emotional roller coaster to read their story. I am deeply pained by the fact that the last book isn't coming out for another two years, because this book ends on a major cliffhanger.

And those are all the books I read in May. I've got a lot of reading that I'd like to do in June, so if I disappear from the blogging sphere a little that will be why. - Jessica

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May Snapshots

1-3. Summer calls for lots of desert eating, so macaroons, ice cream, and tiny nutella pies.

4. Exciting book mail, new releases from Sarah J. Maas and Jenny Han, and then the second book in the Charlotte Holmes trilogy. I also added some new bookmarks to the collection. /// 5. Part of my bookmark collection, I have so many and it's becoming a problem. - Jessica

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Piano Playing Away

Playing music is one of my favorite hobbies, but I regrettably don't have a lot of time to practice. Because of life in general, I don't get to play as much as I'd like, but I love when I'm listening to music and I come across a song that I know that I have to learn. Those are the moments that make me excited to play, and it's times like those that I really wish that I could find the motivation to practice every day.

My keyboard has always been in the living room, and I finally moved it into my room last week and I have been able to play so much. Last week, I got Paramore's new album After Laughter and I have slowly been learning songs from it. I'm really grateful for summer vacation and having the time to practice. A similar thing happened over spring break, a little after Ed Sheeran's new album came out and I learned a couple of the songs on guitar. So here's some random rambling about how much I have missed playing music. - Jessica

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Books I Read in April

April was a decent reading month for me, considering the amount of school work I had to juggle. I read 9 books and 5 of which, I listened to on audio. Audiobooks are basically saving my reading challenge, because as a way to destress, I'll listen to them while I'm driving or while I'm playing Animal Crossing. I've been using my local library to download audiobooks to my phone and if my library doesn't have the audiobook, I'll use my Audible membership. I used to be the person who didn't care for audiobooks, but I've completely changed my tune on them. So here are the books I read during the month of April:

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - This book centers around Starr, after she witnesses her childhood best friend get killed by a cop. I was blown away by the intensity of this book, it tackles some really heavy issues. I listened to the audiobook and I absolutely loved how the narration added to the emotions of the story. I highly recommend this book and I can't wait to read more from Angie Thomas.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas - This is the second book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. This was a reread, in anticipation for the third book in the series. ACOTAR is one of my all time favorite series and this book is the reason why. The first book is good, but this book is incredible and I absolutely love the characters and their story.

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley - This book follows Solomon, a boy who has agoraphobia and hasn't left his house in 3 years. I had a lot of mixed feelings about this book, because I loved 2/3 of the main characters and could not stand the main female character, Lisa. I liked how this book approached the subject of mental illness, and how the book emphasized the importance of friendship.

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi - This is the sequel to The Star-Touched Queen, and follows Gauri who is introduced in the first book. I loved the first book and was looking forward to picking up this book, but I felt that it didn't quite live up to the first book. I found the plot entertaining, but I could not get over the instalove aspect. I ended up rating this a 4/5 stars on Goodreads despite this, because I really loved the ending.

The Land of Stories: A Treasury of Classic Fairy Tales by Chris Colfer - This is a collection of short stories, and has some loose ties to The Land of Stories series. Going into this book, I expected it to be the actual book that Alex and Connor read in TLOS, but I was wrong. It is much more like a carbon copy of the actual fairy tales, and only some of the character traits crossed over from TLOS. This was a quick, entertaining read and the illustrations were really beautiful, but this was another book that I was a little disapoint in.

The Last True Love Story by Brendan Kiely - This book follows Hendrix and Corrina, as Hendrix fulfills his promise to his grandfather to take him to his hometown and visit the place where he fell in love with Hendrix's grandmother. I enjoyed this book, it was a really quick read and there was excellent character development. This book did have some common YA character and plot tropes, but I still enjoyed it.

Champion: The Graphic Novel by Marie Lu, Leigh Dragoon, and Kaari - This is the graphic novel adaption of Champion, the last book in the Legend trilogy. The Legend trilogy is one of my favorites, and I have really enjoyed the graphic novel adaptions. Like the first two adaptions, a lot of the plot points were left out and there are issues with pacing, but I really like the art style. 

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Callavaro - This is the first book in a trilogy, that follows Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes, the great-great-great-grandchildren of Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes, as they investigate a murder at their school. This book is essentially a retelling, and I really enjoyed those elements. I think the mystery element of this book was really well done, and mirrored the original sources in a respectful way. I'm interesting in seeing the direction this book takes, and seeing the relationship between Jamie and Charlotte develop.

A Book of Spirit and Thieves by Morgan Rhodes - This is the first book in a trilogy, that is a spin off to the Falling Kingdoms series.  This book takes place in both modern day Toronto and Mytica. I absolutely love the Falling Kingdoms series, and I was really looking forward to reading this book. I enjoyed the cast of characters, but I struggled with seeing how the two worlds combine and I'm looking forward to reading the second book to see how Rhodes develops the story more.

And those are all the books I finished, I started making my way through Strange the Dream, but I've now put it aside for a bit to focus on A Court of Wings and Ruin and Always and Forever, Lara Jean (my two most anticipated releases for this year). Summer break is so close and I'm looking forward to how much time I'll have to read. - Jessica

Sunday, April 30, 2017

April Snapshots

1. I finished my reread of the first two books in the A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy, gearing up for the release in two days! One of my favorite things to do when rereading my favorite books is to mark my favorite parts and quotes. I've only done this for Sarah J. Maas books and for my Harry Potter books, so tabs in my books signify how important they are to me. 

2. My favorite item in this month's OwlCrate. An exclusive candle from Novelly Yours, that is Simon and Baz inspired. Carry On is another favorite of mine and I was so excited when I received this. /// 3. I found an arc of the first book in The Land of Stories series at a secondhand bookstore, and I couldn't resist and had to get it. I knew it would be a cool addition to my TLOS collection. 

4. A grilled cheese sandwich made mac and cheese! It was so good. /// 5. Fawkes and his puppy cone. A friend and I went to get snow cones and Fawkes got his own treat too. 

6. USA vs. Russia. I saw the USWNT at the beginning of the month. A lot of my favorite players weren't on the pitch, but I still love watching this team play.

7. Sometimes your favorite musician takes 7 years to release new music, so once you get your physical copy in the mail, you freak out a lot. I absolutely love this EP and can't wait to hear more music from the Criss brothers. - Jessica