Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Books I Read in September


I read a lot in the month of September, I read a total of 15 books and 1 comic. I think that I managed to read so much because there were a lot of new release and in general I was excited to read again. I also caught up to my reading goal on Goodreads! So reading doesn't feel as much of a chore now. Although one of the books (The Blind Owl) was for school, so I won't talk about it below because I had to write about it already and I'm still not sure on my opinion of it. So here are the books I read and my thoughts and feelings on them:

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys - This is a historical fiction novel, set during WWII and leads up to the events of the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff. I really liked this book, and it was really interesting to read something about WWII, that I had never heard of before. This book is told in four perspectives, and it was really hard for me to read, since one of them was a German soldier. I did however really like all the other characters, and I would recommend this, if you're interested in historical fiction.

Kids of Appetite by David Arnold - This book follows a group of outcasts before and after they are involved in a murder. I liked this book, but it did feel generic to me. It had a lot of quirky vibes, that are found a lot in YA contemporary novels. It took a while for the plot points to start connecting, but once it did, this book was much more engaging.

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera - This book follows two strangers, who both find out that they are going to die in less than 24 hours, and they meet up on an app to spend their last day together. I absolutely loved this book, the concept is amazing and the characters pull you in. Adam Silvera is a master story teller, I feel that every single one of his books is so unique. Even though I knew the outcome of this book (not a spoiler cause it's actually in the title), I did not make it any easier.

Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana - This book centers around Princess Amrita, who is going to be married off to a neighboring kingdom, and goes on an adventure with an oracle, in an effort to change her fate. I really enjoyed this book, although I did feel that the plot was a little rushed towards the end. The writing was beautiful and I really liked the main character.

Skin&Earth (Vol. 3) by Lights - This is the third issue in Light's dystopian comic series, that ties into her new album. I absolutely loved the direction this story has gone. As with the two previous issues, the art was gorgeous. I'm so engrossed in this series and I can't wait for the next three issues to come out.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo - This book is an origin story for Diana. I really enjoyed this book. It's by Leigh Bardugo, who is amazing, and it's filled with diversity. I'm fairly new to the realm of Wonder Woman, my previous knowledge primarily comes from the movie, but I think this was a well told introduction to her story. I did have some issues with the romance in this book, (small spoilers ahead) because basically Diana's love interest is a demigod, and for me this completely undermined Diana's character.

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas - This is the latest installment of the Throne of Glass series, and this book centers around Chaol and takes place parallel to Empire of Storms. I went into this book with low expectations, the Throne of Glass series is one of my all time favorites and I was disappointed that the last book was pushed back when this went from a novella to a 700 page book. I completely changed my tune while reading this, I absolutely loved this book. I loved the new characters, and I also liked Chaol for the first time ever while reading this. I was completely blown away by how this book tied together so many elements from The Assassin's Blade, so even though Aelin is not physically present in this book, it is still her story. It's still really hard knowing that the last book isn't coming out for another year, but I can't wait to reread the series closer to the release date. 

The Wrath & the Dawn and The Rose & the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh - This book is a One Thousand and One Nights retelling. I really enjoyed this book, I thought the writing is beautiful and it has a great cast of characters. I really enjoyed how the fairy tale elements were adapted into the authors own story.

Warcross by Marie Lu - This book is set in a Si-Fi world, where the virtual reality game, Warcross, has taken over people's lives. Every year there is a tournament, involving the best players, and the main character, Emika Chin, finds herself apart of the games after hacking the servers. Marie Lu is one of my favorite writers and I did go into this book with high expectations, and I absolutely loved this book. The world building is incredible and I love how diverse the characters are. And the cherry on top of all the amazing elements of this book, is that one of the main characters has a corgi! I just absolutely love anything that Marie Lu writes and I can't wait for the second book to come out.

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner - This is a coming of age novel, following three best friends, who live in a small town and are trying to tackle their senior year. I had the same reaction to this book, that I had with Kids of Appetite. It's a good book, but I felt that it has a lot of generic elements of a YA contemporary novel. But I think I have a minority opinion on this book, because everyone else that I've seen has loved it.

One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake - This is the second book in the Three Dark Crowns series. I was really excited to read this book, because I thought it was the conclusion to the series, but it was announced recently that it has been expanded to be four books long. I was disappointed by the first book and I thought that this book would be able to redeem itself. The problem that I had with the first book was that the plot suffered because it was too romance centric and 4/5 of the main female characters are boy crazy. This book was a little bit better than the first, but ultimately the plot felt stretched thin and there is still too much romance, which is rare for me because I usually love romance elements in books. I honestly don't see myself continuing on with this series, which is such a shame because the concept is amazing, I just am not a fan of the execution.

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson - This book centers around Isobel, an artist, who paints portraits of fae. The autumn prince, Rook, takes her away to stand trial, after she paints him with a mortal flaw, revealing his weakness. This was actually the book among the new releases of this month that I was most excited for. I had heard that this book was loved by ACoTaR fans, and I went into this with extremely high expectations. I absolutely loved this book, the writing is beautiful and I love the world building. The romance was a tad predictable, but overall I loved this book.

Ghostly Echos by William Ritter - This is the third installment in the Jackaby series. I was initially hard for me to get into this story, because it had been so long since I read the second book, but I ended up really liking this installment. I really like the main character of this series, and I think she's a fantastic narrator. This book also had a LGBTQ+ character, and I really enjoyed that element. I read most of the last book in the month of September, but I wasn't able to finish it until yesterday, so I'll talk about in my next wrap up.

The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan - This is the second book in the Magnus Chase series, which is Riordan's take on Norse mythology. It's really hard for me to read this book and not compare it to Percy Jackson and The Heroes of Olympus. So while I like this series, I just don't love it, like the author's other series. I did not find this installment as engaging as the first, I still feel like Magnus' humor is a little forced and I don't care for how the gods are represented (they act like 12 year olds to me, which makes sense but I think its a bit to much). But I really like the cast of characters and just how there's so much diversity in this series. The last chapter of this book, was honestly my favorite, because it set up for a Percy Jackson crossover.

And those are all the books I read. Seven of these, I listened to on audio, so audiobooks were the true hero in saving my reading challenge. There are several new releases coming out this month, that I'm looking forward to reading, and I hope that these books can keep up my momentum. - Jessica

Saturday, September 30, 2017

September Snapshots


1 & 2. Fun, random shoot while I was reading Warcross. Fun fact: one of the main characters in the book has a corgi!


3. I finally got a Polaroid! I've been wanting one for a while, I've always been faithful to the Instax line (cause it's way cheaper to shoot), but I got this camera for a really good deal. Now I just need to buy some film. /// 4. Added these to my Happy Hello collection. The bookmark of Hermione is such an accurate representation of me reading.


5. So many books have come out lately, that my shelves don't even look like this anymore, cause I have had to move around a lot of books to make more room. /// 6. Chaol + Tower of Dawn.


7. My friend and I went to see Metro Station. It was such a fun, throwback show. /// 8. Another one of my friends is in this play, "The Wolves." If you're in the Austin area, it is open until the 21st and I highly recommend it. /// 9 & 10. I saw Paramore live for the 5th time! They were incredible, as always.  - Jessica 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Fawkes


I'm definitely one of those dog owners who gets excited about their pet's birthday. Especially since Fawkes is a year old this week (we don't know the exact day that he was born but Hermione Granger's birthday is just as good time to celebrate it). He's grown so much since I got him for Christmas, but he's pretty small compared to my family's other corgis. I'm also definitely the person who get's their pet cakes that say Happy Birthday (but I'm waiting until this weekend when my sister is here with Hazel to give it to him). So to celebrate my dogs birthday, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite shots I've taken of him.


Isn't he so cute? He's not a huge fan of getting his picture taken, but I reward him greatly. - Jessica

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Books I Read In August


August was a busy reading month. I finished 12 novels, 1 graphic novel, and 2 comics. Here are the books I read and some of my thoughts and opinions on them:

Beast by Bree Spangler - This is a YA contemporary that is loosely inspired by Beauty and the Beast. I've been looking forward to picking up this book for a while, because I heard it had good trans representation. I really liked that aspect of the book, but I had a hard time getting over the main character's misogyny. Through out this whole book, I kept wishing that it was told through Jamie's, the main love interest, perspective.

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab - This is the second and last book in Schwab's Monster's of Verity duology. I really enjoyed this installment. This book was entertaining and I left it both shocked and satisfied at how it ended.

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith - This book follows Alice after she buys a winning lottery ticket for her best friend. I really enjoyed this book, I really liked Alice's character and how she dealt with her environment. This book definitely made me more interested in reading more books by Jennifer E. Smith.

Legend of Korra: The Turf Wars (Part 1) by Michael Dante DiMartino and Irene Koh - This is the first edition in a graphic novel series, that takes place right where the show left off. I absolutely loved this. LOK is one of my all time favorite shows and the story and characters translated so well in graphic novel form. I loved how we got to see how Korra and Asami's relationship progressed and also how their relationship is perceived in the universe.

Skin and Earth (Vol. 1-2) by Lights - This is a dystopian comic book series that directly ties into Light's new album. I have been a huge fan of Light's music since her first album. I was immediately intrigued with the concept for the album and the comic, and I think it's genius how well these two mediums interconnect. I listened to the released songs from her album on repeat while reading these two volumes, and I love how they tie into each other. I'm really interested in this story and I think that Light's has created a really cool universe.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon - This story centers around Dimple, after her parents allow for her to go to a summer program, mainly because they have set her up with her "Ideal Indian Husband," Rishi. I loved this book, the characters were so intriguing and I loved how Dimple and Rishi interacted. If you've read this book then you would know how much I needed an iced coffee and an iced chai while reading it.

Summer Days and Summer Nights edt. by Stephanie Perkins - This is an anthology of 12 short stories, written by 12 various YA authors. I don't usually read anthologies because the stories are either hit or miss for me. There were 4 stories that I really liked, but the other's did not stand out as much to me, and overall I ended up rating this a 3/5. If you want to check out my Goodreads review, I have the individual ratings for each story.

Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen - This is the first book in a fantasy trilogy, surrounding Kelsea, as she returns to her kingdom after 18 years of hiding, and has to fix it's many problems and escape death. I thought this was a good start to the series, I did have trouble wrapping my head around the fact that there is a heavy dystopian aspect to the world. I really liked Kelsea as a main character, and I'm interested in how the magic system works.

Harry Potter Books 2-7 by J.K. Rowling - I really thought that I was a little in over my head, when I decided to reread the series and gave myself a 2 month deadline to do so. I ended up only reading a little bit of the second book in July, so I really had to make sure that I stayed on top of rereading the series, and the audiobooks helped so much. It was really cool to experience the story in a different medium. I absolutely loved rereading this series, and I'm so tempted to just start it back up again, since the Kindle in Motion edition of the first book just came out.

So those are all the books I read in August. There are a ton of new books coming out this month that I've been looking forward too, and I also want to continue on with the Queen of the Tearling. School has just started back up, but I'm hoping that I'll still have a good amount of time to read for fun and not just dense scholarly papers. - Jessica

Friday, September 1, 2017

19 Years Later

“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. 
The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple.”

Today, the Potter family is getting ready to go to King's Cross station Albus' first day of school at Hogwarts. The nineteen years later. The events of the epilogue.

I purposely waited until midnight to reread the last chapter of book 7, so that I could finish the story on the exact date that it happened. I desperately wish that I was at King's Cross today, standing at Platform 9 3/4, where the story ends on the pages. - Jessica