Thursday, February 15, 2018

Reading Slumps

Arguably one of the worst things for a reader to hear is the term "reading slump." I think one of the most frightening parts of having a reading slump is the uncertainty surrounding how long they can last. When I was in high school, I only read a handful of books on my own accord, and I fear that I will revert back to those times when I didn't read on a regular basis. Ultimately, I don't want to lose my love of stories or lose my love of getting consumed within the pages of a book.

I'm so used to reading almost every single day but earlier this month, I went almost a full week without picking up a book. At that point, I started to panic. I searched my shelves for a book that I actually had a desire to read, since I've learned that I tend to not enjoy a book as much when I force myself to read. I ultimately decided to reread The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson, and just three days later, I had finished the entire trilogy. I think revisiting favorite books is one of the best cures for reading slumps. Even though, I know what's going to happen in the end, there are always so many elements I've forgotten and details that I didn't pick up on before. My recent rereads have really fueled my desire to reread more books, and I'm already planning my TBR to include some more of my favorite series. - Jessica

Friday, February 2, 2018

Books I Read in January

I had a really good reading month in January, I read 10 books and 2 graphic novels. Here's what I read and some of my thoughts and opinions on them...

Everless by Sara Holland - This is the first book in a fantasy duology, that is set in a world where time is currency. This was a great first book, the plot is unique and there are elements of mystery and political intrigue that kept me entertained. I did struggle getting into the writing style, but I enjoyed this book.

Frostblood and Fireblood by Ellie Blake - This book follows a Fireblood, Ruby, who lives in a world of Frostbloods and she becomes enlisted to take down the corrupt Frostblood ruler. I enjoyed the first books in this trilogy, it definitely has plenty of cliches, but I found the story interesting and the writing is executed well. I'm looking forward to the release of the last book in June.

Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu - This follows Bruce Wayne before he becomes Batman. I'm not a huge superhero fan, I like watching the movies, but I was never into the comics, but I've really enjoyed the DC Icons series so far. I also was surprised to see a Filipino main character in this book, and I wish she had a larger role. Overall this was a quick and fun read.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black - This story follows Jules and her sisters, who are kidnapped and raised in the world of Faerie. There has been so much hype surrounding this book, that I was eagerly anticipating it's release, and I was not disappointed. It took a while for me to get swept up into the story, but once I did, I couldn't put this book down. The plot definitely leans towards a slow burn type of story, and I loved that aspect. I really grew to love the characters and I can't wait until the next book is released.

The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli - This book follows Asha, a dragon slayer, enlisted by her father to kill the first dragon and motivated by his promise to end her impending marriage. I loved this story, the world building is incredible and I loved the characters. I listened to this on audiobook, and I would highly recommend it. This is another book that had a slow burn development and at times it did drag, but I still really enjoyed it.

Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett - This book follows Kamzin, who is enlisted by a renowned explorer to help climb a deadly mountain. I enjoyed this book, the world building is so well done and I love how the author was inspired by Himalayan culture. I was also really surprised that the author chose not to explore the love triangle angle of this story, and I really enjoyed that it wasn't an issue in the story.

The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye - This story follows two enchanters as they compete against each other to become the royal enchanter of Russia. I was really intrigued by the premise and the inclusion of Russian history, but every other aspect of this book fell flat. There was no world building and the plot suffered due to an instalove-love triangle. I really don't think I'll continue on with this story.

Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo - This series follows six criminals, who are hired to pull of an impossible heist. This was a reread for me, because I saw that the audiobook for the first book was on sale, and I've been dying to be back in this universe. The first time around, I didn't fully understand the hype surrounding the first book and I came to absolutely love the second. Reading this again, I was able to fully understand how incredible the first book is, the world building in that book and the character development is absolutely stunning. The only (tiny) issue I have with this series, is that I feel like one character's storyline was left incomplete, and I fully believe that Leigh Bardugo could write a billion more stories surrounding these characters. I absolutely love both of these book, and I definitely will be rereading them again soon.

Wires and Nerve and Gone Rogue by Marissa Meyer - This is a graphic novel series that continues the story from The Lunar Chronicles, and follows Iko. I really loved the chance to get back in the Lunar Chronicles universe and read more about some of my favorite characters. These book are  great and quick reads, and I loved the character development of Iko and Kinney. I really hope Marissa Meyer is planning to write more from this universe, because I never want it to end.

And those are all the books I read in January, I did start Wild Beauty but I didn't get too far into it, so I should finish that this month. So many of my anticipated releases are coming out this month, including Immortal Reign, the final book in the Falling Kingdom series, and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy. - Jessica

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

January Snapshots

1 & 2. I've been trying to take bookish photos for my Instagram lately. I really love the bookstagram community, I can get lost for long periods of time looking at book photos. These snaps are my first few ventures into the scene. 

3. It snowed for the third time in ATX this month, although the second time was really miniscule. Texas weather is crazy, cause right now we are already experiencing spring weather. /// 4. I skipped my snapshots post last month, so I didn't get to share the new bookmarks I got from Happy Hello Co then. I absolutely love the holiday HP themed set and I wish I could have used it more during the holidays. I also got some more ToG ones, cause I'm planning a big reread later this year, since the last book will be coming out.

5. Last month, one of my favorite musicians, Darren Criss, released his first solo EP in over 7 years. I absolutely love this EP and I had to snag one of the signed copies. /// 6. In other music news, the last volume of the Skin and Earth comic was released, and it was a whirlwind. I love this series and I really hope to see it continued.

7. And here's a cute photo of Fawkes, just cause. - Jessica

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Bookish Goals and Lists for 2018

Every year I give myself some bookish goals to accomplish. The first goal is to read a certain number of books, each year I've been steadily increasing my reading goal and ideally I should set it at 150 books, but reading 140 books last year was a bit of a stretch so I'm modestly setting my minimum goal at 100. If I end up reading 150 books, it would be great, but I'm not going to push myself to read more than I can handle.

The second goal is to read some books that I've been procrastinating on. This year I'm hoping to finish a lot of series that I have started, but haven't finished. I usually don't have the best track record with sticking to these lists, and I almost didn't make one for this year, but I decided to give it another try. I especially hope to stick to this list, because these are books that I actually see myself reading soon.

1. Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore - I have been trying to read this book for ages. This book has been sitting on my nightstand to read for a month now, it even has my Christmas themed Hermione Granger bookmark in it. I've heard really great things about it and I'm planning on reading it next.

2. The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan - This is the final book in the Magnus Chase trilogy. I really liked the first two books in this series, I don't love it as much as Riordan's other series, but it's still really good. I've bought this book on it's release date and still haven't come close to picking it up.

3. The Invasion of the Tearling and The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen - These are the last two books in the Queen of the Tearling trilogy. I read the first book last year, and I unfortunately never got around to finishing the other books.

4.  The Inquisition and The Battlemage by Taran Matharu - These are the last two books in the Summoner Series and a prequel novel is going to be released this year. I've been on the fence about continuing this series for a while, because I thought the first book was average. But since I already own these books, I'm going to try and give it another try.

5. Love Charms and Other Catastrophes by Kimberly Karalius - I read the first book in this series in 2015, and I really need to stop procrastinating on this book so I can complete this duology.

6. The Farmer's War by Elise Kova - This is the final book in the Golden Guard trilogy, which is a prequel series to one of my all time favorites the Air Awakens series. I really have no excuse for not reading this book yet because it's so short (132 pages)!

And the final list is my most anticipated releases for 2018! There are so many books that I'm looking forward to coming out this year. Here are some of them... 

Links (left to right): 01. 02. 03. 04. 05. 06. 07. 08. 09. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 

And those are only the books with covers released, I'm so excited for the A Court of Frost and Starlight and Throne of Glass #7 by Sarah J. Maas. I seriously don't know what to do with myself when the last ToG book comes out, because it's one of my all time favorite series (second only to Harry Potter, of course). And then there's the sequel to Warcross and the sequel to Renegades. On the Come Up by Angie Thomas sounds fantastic, and What If It's Us by Becky Albertali and Adam Silvera is sure to be amazing. And maybe this year J. K. Rowling will finally bless us with the fourth Cormoran Strike book, because it has been over two years since that ending and I need to know what happens! I could seriously go on, because there are so many good books being released this year, and I hope I can read them all. - Jessica

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Litjoy Magical Crate: Year 3

I recently received the new Lit Joy Magical Edition crate, which is a one time special edition crate and each edition focuses on the events of a particular Harry Potter book. This is the third crate which focuses on the Prisoner of Azkaban. I previously shared the first and second crates on my blog. I look forward to the release of these boxes each time they're announced, because they are the most creatively put together boxes I've received. This box had 14 items and 12 are exclusive to this crate (so it is well worth the $75 price tag), and it was so hard to pick my favorite items, but here are some of them:

I've wanted a bookmark from My Bookmark for ages, and I was so happy when I heard that one was included in this crate. The shop usually designs 3D foot bookmarks, but this design features hands holding up Sirius' prison sign. The box also features a book sleeve from Sweet Sequels, that mimics the cover of the Monster Book of Monsters. I constantly use the sleeve included in the last box, so I was happy that I have another one. I also love that the backside is made of a furry fabric, so it acts like the spine of the book.

I loved the Dementor Repellant Kit, which features a lip plumper from Literary Apothecary Shop, a patronus pin designed by Sarah Condradsen, and of course chocolate. I love how clever each item is to the kit. I also loved the copy of Sirius' letter to Harry and the Buckbeak feather that was included.

The bookmarks from Nerdy Girl Designs are adorable, I especially love the Fat Lady portrait. One of my all time favorite from this box is the tote bag featuring art from the Imaginative Illustrator. I absolutely love the design and I can't wait to use it. The box also featured a set of Marauder's portraits by Rob Bruno (sorry I didn't really want to take a full photo of the Wormtail one). 

My other all time favorite item is this Hogsmead candle from Wick and Fable. The candle spells amazing and I love that it sparkles while it burns. I honestly really loved this crate, and I'm already anticipating the fourth one. - Jessica