Thursday, December 31, 2015

Favorite Books of 2015



2015 was a really good reading year for me, I met my goal of reading 120 books. A majority of those books are ones that I loved and just three books of them were books that I hated. If you're interested in the books that I've read this year, I've blogged about all of the books and I've added them all to my Goodreads account. So here are the top 10 books I read this year:

1. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz - This books is a coming of age story that revolves around best friends Aristotle (Ari for short) and Dante. This book is just absolutely beautiful and I have a hard time putting into words how much I love it. The writing is so beautiful and the story develops to a perfect ending, I was sobbing by the time it was over. This is a book that I knew I was going to love as soon as I picked it up, the story just called to me so much and it is one of my favorite books of all time.

2. Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas - This is a fantasy series following Celaena, a captured assassin, who is trying to regain her freedom. I cheated a little bit on this one and had to include the whole series, because it rekindled my love for fantasy books. I love everything about this series, from the characters to the world building. I have developed such a strong emotional attachment to the stories and the characters. Everything about the story is so vast, and I can't wait to see how this series continues.

3 & 4. For Darkness Shows the Stars and Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund - This is a dystopian series, that is the hardest series to describe because the world is so unique and more complex than anything I've ever read. These books are inspired by Jane Austen's Persuasion and Emma Orczy's The Scarlet Pimpernickle, neither of which I've read but I fully intend to because I'm interested in how these books separate from their source material. Peterfreund's writing in these books is beautiful, and the story development was crafted so well. I really fell in love with the story, and the two female protagonist are high on my list of all time favorite female characters.

5. Vicious by V.E. Schwab - This book follows two friends, Victor and Eli, after they discover how to give themselves supernatural abilities. This book is very different from what I usually read, and I absolutely was blown away by the story. It's got an amazing cast of characters, the story is incredible and just drew me in and I really loved it. But really the main reason why this book is on this list is the lasting affects that it has had on me. I read this book in May, and I still think about some of the ideals of human society that the author raises in this book.

6. The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson - This book is the second in the Remnant Chronicles. I enjoyed the first book in the series, but this books was so much better and I absolutely loved it. The development and the writing was so well done in this book, and everything is building up into a climax that I can't wait to read when the last book comes out in August. One of the things that I really love about this series (and this book) is that it has the potential for a love triangle, but the author ignores it. I highly, highly recommend this series because it has some of the best plot twists that I've read, and the main character is one of the strongest/coolest female characters.

7. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff - This book is a collection of files that documents a colonization after their planet is invaded and they are forced to escape. I really love how the story is told entirely through emails, transcripts, and documents, and how it challenges way that stories can be told. The story, political intrigue, and the characters are so well written and the story telling didn't hinder my ability to form an emotional attachment to the characters. This is the first book in a trilogy and I can't wait for the next two books to be released.

8. I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson - This book is told between twins, Noah and Jude, over three years as they have had a falling out and each hold a half of their story. I absolutely love how this book was written in alternating perspectives and how the each of the twins side of the story intertwined perfectly with the other. The ending came together so well, and I will admit that it came together a little to perfectly, but I absolutely loved it.

9. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell - This story follows Simon Snow, who is enrolled in a wizard school meant to echo the Harry Potter series. I had high hopes for this book, when I learned that Rowell was writing about the characters that she had introduced in her novel Fangirl, and I was not disappointed in the slightest. I loved the world and the characters that Rowell developed and that I was able to separate them from their source materials. I absolutely love Simon and Baz's relationship, Rowell had me fangirling so much over those two. I have loved everything that Rainbow Rowell has written, but this one is my absolute favorite.

10. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson - This book follows Taylor and her family, as they learn that her father has one last summer to live, and she has to confront the mistakes that she made in the past. This book surprised me so much, because I usually don't expect contemporary novels to affect me as much as this one did. I don't know what I expected from the pretty, summery cover, but I did not expect to be sobbing by the end of it. I really loved the family elements and the journey that Taylor went through from the beginning of the book to the end.

And those are my top 10 favorite books that I read this year. I previously blogged about my top five books that I had read in the first half of the year back in August, and it's interested to see how these two lists compare.  And it's interesting to see how my reading tastes have changed from the beginning of the year, I started off reading a lot of contemporary and my tastes have shifted over to primarily fantasy. I have a lot of high hopes for 2016 in terms of reading, there's so many books that I have not read on my shelf, there's a ton of books that I'm looking forward to being published, and so many books that I have yet to discover yet. Next year is going to be a busy one between school and work but I hope to read at least 75 books (so fingers crossed!) - Jessica

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Holiday Snapshots


The holiday season this year has just flown by and I'm not ready for it to end. Although I'm looking forward to Christmas tomorrow, I'm not ready to stop listening to Christmas music. - Jessica

P.S. I added more tunes to my Christmas playlist here!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Trail of Lights 2015


Going to the Trail of Lights every year has been my favorite Christmas tradition since I was a child, and every year I love to share my experience on here. Texas has had an extremely warm winter this year, and going to the trail in just a long sleeve shirt was really weird because I'm so used to bundling up and carrying hot chocolate the whole way through. Even though the weather was really warm, it was so easy to get into the Christmas spirit with all of the lights and carols playing. This year there were several changes to the trail, that I think really enhanced this year's experience. Here are my favorite shots I took this year:


Happy Holidays - Jessica

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Books I Read in November


November was an okay reading month for me, I read a total of 9 books, which is a pretty good amount considering I didn't have a lot of time to read. My reading month can pretty much be summarized by a lot of J.K. Rowling and Maggie Stiefvater books, since I read three books by both of them. Here are the books that I read and some of my thoughts on them:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Illustrated Edition) by J.K. Rowling & Jim Kay - Bloomsbury and Scholastic are releasing one illustrated editions of the whole Harry Potter series for the next seven years. This is the first book, and I have been looking forward to the release for so long. Jim Kay's illustrations are absolutely gorgeous and I really love his interpretations of the story. I absolutely love the different experience that I got while reading this edition and the fact that the illustrated editions are going to open up the world of Harry Potter to a whole new generation. I honestly can't wait for the rest of the series to be released,

Very Good Lives - J.K. Rowling - This is J.K. Rowling's Harvard commencement speech in book form and I listened along to her speech while reading this book. I found Rowling's speech very inspiration when I first heard it and I really enjoyed what the illustrations brought to the story. Overall this was a really quick and enjoyable read.

Winter by Marissa Meyer - This is the final installment of the Lunar Chronicles, which is a series that I absolutely love and I have been looking forward to the release of this book since I finished Cress last year. This book did not disappoint, I loved it so much. Even though this book is over 800 pages, I breezed through it in two days. I did have a very small issue with one of the plot points of the ending, but overall this series wrapped so well.

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith - This is the third book in the Cormoran Stike series written by J.K. Rowling under a pseudonym. I really have enjoyed this series so far, the stories are entertaining and I've developed an attachment to the main characters. I liked the plot of this book, better than the second book (which might be my least favorite of the series), and I enjoyed the mystery in this as well. I'm really curious to see where J.K. Rowling is taking these characters, because of the massive cliffhanger this one left off on.

Pretending to Be Erica by Michelle Painchaud - This book follows Violet as she pretends to be Erica, a girl from a rich family who was kidnapped a decade before. I was drawn to this book because of the premise and I went into this book with pretty high hopes and in the end I was a little disappointed with how it was executed. This book was well written, although the story dragged in some places, but I was really expecting more from the plot. I did end up liking the ending and how everything came together in the end.

The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell - This book follows Sora, a Japanese teenager, after he is diagnosed with ALS and how he develops friendships online. I really enjoyed reading this book, and managed to read through it pretty fast. The story was beautiful written and at times tore at my heart. I really enjoyed the modern Japanese setting, which is something I've never read before. I did have a couple of problems one was with Sora and his friends first meeting and I found it unrealistic how they met up in real life after talking to each other a couple of times online. I also wasn't a huge fan of how the story wrapped up, but overall this was a fantastic read.

The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves, and Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater - This series follows Blue and the Raven Boys (Gansey, Adam, Noah, and Ronan) as they search for an ancient king. I'm really enjoying this series, and how vast the story is. The story and the characters are so well developed, and there is a hint of a romance in the second and third books that I absolutely love. Blue is one of my favorite, strong female characters, and some of the things that she says to the boys are golden. I am looking forward to the last book, The Raven King, which is due to come out in April of next year.

And those are the books that I read in November. I've already got a stack of books that I plan to read this month as I am 8 books away from by goal of reading 120 books this year. As always, feel free to follow me on Goodreads to see my reviews on these books and I see my progress this month. - Jessica

Monday, November 30, 2015

November Snapshots


1 & 2. I really love the new trend of adult coloring books and I also love that Scholastics jumped on the wagon is releasing Harry Potter coloring books. I've only managed to work on two so far, a lot of the designs look hard but they're really pretty and I can't wait to do all of them. 


3. My car loaded up after my trip to Ikea! 4. And my bookshelves! I previously posted them early this month, but I love them so much and I wanted to share them again.  


5. I obviously had to get the vinyl edition of Pentatonix's new album to complete my collection. I am aware that I have an obsession with them...


6. And these are the newest editions to my bookmark collection. They're all from Happy Hello Art on Etsy and I've purchased from that shop several times and I've loved everything I've received. I'm especially in love with Luna and Dorian, I've been getting a lot of uses out of them. 

- Jessica

Friday, November 27, 2015

It's Beginning to Sound a Lot Like Christmas


Thanksgiving has come and gone and now it's officially time to listen to Christmas songs! I've been listening to a little bit of Christmas music since after Halloween, but now I'm ready to go all out. I've always loved Christmas music but for the past two years I've been obsessed with Pentatonix's versions, and I've been waiting practically all year to be able to listen to them again. In preparation I got the deluxe edition and the vinyl of That's Christmas To Me (even though I already own the standard edition... I know I have a Pentatonix obsession). I'm honestly so excited for this season and I put together a playlist of some of my favorite Christmas songs which you can listen to here or down below. - Jessica



Saturday, November 14, 2015

Bookshelves


Since around April of this year, I've been talking a lot about getting new bookshelves. I had dreams of tall white bookshelves and I would start planning on how I would arrange them. And this week, I finally had the chance to go to Ikea and get them. I got two Billy units, a wide and a skinny one. I managed to avoid a major mishaps while building them and only walked away with a couple of small cuts, so overall they were pretty easy to build. I really love how they ended up turning out, and the fact that I don't have to look at the huge stack of books that were piling up to my waist anymore.


Obviously the first thing that I had to put up on the shelves were my Harry Potter books. And because they're my favorite books, and because I own multiple copies of each book they got there own shelf. They shelf next to it houses my Harry Potter with the Gryffindor sword, my overflow J.K. Rowling/Harry Potter books, and also my two Jane Austen. I've been eyeing the Vintage Classic editions of Jane Austen's books, and I've slowly been adding two my collection, so far I have Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility.


My Sarah J. Maas books also got there own shelf and I'm a little obsessed with how perfect they all fit on the shelf. And I know that eventually they won't all fit perfectly on this shelf for long because she's not done writing either series, but for now I'm in love with it. 


The shelf directly underneath my Harry Potter books houses my favorite YA Contemporaries and I love how colorful and pretty this shelf is.

And that's a brief overview of my new bookshelves. Eventually I want to do a tour of my bookshelves, once I find a way to organize them a bit more. These shelves are brand new and they're already almost full, I know eventually I'm going to need another shelf because I can't stop buying more books. - Jessica

EDIT: Check out my updated bookshelves here!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Books I Read In October


October was a pretty decent reading month for me, I didn't have a whole lot of reading time toward the end of the month but I still managed to read a total of 11 books. Here are the books I read and my thought on them:

Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell - Sophie is an orphan, who was found in a cello case after being involved in a ship wreck, but years later she believes her mother is still alive and goes on a quest to find her. This is a middle grade book and the style and writing reminded me a lot of the Series of Unfortunate Events books. It's a book that I wish had been out when I was a younger, because I would have loved it then. I love that Sophie didn't feel pressured to be a "proper girl" during her time, and insisted on learning to play the cello and wearing pants. I also love how her guardian, Charles, allowed it and I really liked their dynamic. Even though I loved aspects of this book, I was a little unsatisfied with the ending and I wish there had been an extra chapter or an epilogue.  I still really enjoyed reading this book now, I loved the whimsical feeling I got while reading it.

Sway by Kat Spears - This book revolves around Jesse, or "Sway," a high school student who is hired by the football captain to make a girl fall in love with him. The narration of this book reminded me a lot of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, because they both have really blunt and funny narrators. I really enjoyed the plot of this book and the cast of characters. I felt that the romance aspect could have been developed a little better, but it came together in the end. Overall this was a really enjoyable read, and I think a lot of people will resonate with it's message.

Between the Notes by Sharon Huss Roat - This book revolves around Ivy and her family after they move from their upper class neighborhood to a neighborhood with a bad reputation. I absolutely loved this book, I became so engulfed in the story and read it in one sitting. I really loved Ivy's character, and I really enjoyed reading about her connection to music. I also really enjoyed the romance aspect of this book, and it is one of the few books that has a love triangle that didn't annoy me. There were some aspects of this book that I felt were underdeveloped, especially Ivy's family, I felt like the writer only explored the surface of their characters. But overall I absolutely loved the story and the message.

Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs - This is the last installment of the Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children trilogy. This book was a really satisfying end to the trilogy, over the course of the series I developed and attachment to the characters and I really enjoyed how everything came together in the end. Overall I really liked how the story developed over the course of the series, and I'm interesting to see if the author writes more about this universe.

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell - This book follows Simon Snow, a character introduced in Rowell's Fangirl. In that book, Cath is obsessed with the Simon Snow books (a series meant to parallel Harry Potter), and throughout the story there are little snippets of the fictional books and snippets of Cath's fan fictions about the characters. This book is Rowell's story of the characters, and initially while reading it, I picked up on some of the similarities between it and Harry Potter but this story is so different. Simon is an orphan, who discover's that he's a wizard is prophesied to defeat an evil wizard, but he's an unlikely hero and he has trouble controlling his magic. I absolutely loved EVERYTHING about this book. I developed a huge emotional attachment to the characters, and I became engulfed in the story. The world that Rowell created in this book is so fascinating, and I loved the idea that spells can be popular phrases and that words are the true source of magic. And the romance between Simon and Baz, I completely understand why Cath writes fan fiction about them, because I ship them so hard. I'd absolutely would love for Rowell to write more books set in this world, because I feel that there's so much more that she could tell. This is absolutely my favorite of Rainbow Rowell's book and I'm definitely going to be rereading it soon.

Starry Night by Isabel Gillies - This story follows Wren after she meets and boy and feels that her whole life has changed. This was a really interesting read for me, I liked it but there were a lot of moments that frustrated me. I wasn't a huge fan of the writing, and Wren did some things that made me cringe. The story was a little slow, but about half way through I did get into and I was satisfied with the ending and the message that I got out of it.

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales - This book follows Elise, who is an outsider until she discovers her niche at a nightclub and becomes a popular DJ. I would like to mention right off the bat that this book has major suicidal triggers. Through out this book Elise did some immature things (like Wren in Starry Night) that bothered me, and because of that I had trouble getting into this book initially. Some aspects of this book that I really enjoyed were the music aspects, Elise's journey, and the romantic relationship was really realistic and different from most YA relationships. Overall this was an enjoyable read, and I'm planning on reading more of Sales books in the future.

A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston - This is a retelling of One Thousand and One Nights, where Lo-Melkhiin has married and killed over 300 girls, and to save her sister the main character tricks Lo-Melkhiin her instead. I really enjoyed reading this book, and it felt more like a traditional fairy tale then a majority of the retellings that I've read. I was really liked the magical element of the story, and I felt that was really well developed. One of the things that I found really interested was that the only character to really have a name is Lo-Melkhiin, even the narrator didn't have a name throughout the story, and I just felt that was so unique to this book. As much as I enjoyed this book I felt that the ending (before the epilogue) was rushed and could have been developed more.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness - This book follows Mikey and his friends during the last couple of weeks of their senior year, while "the chosen ones" are trying to save the world. I was really intrigued by the concept of this story and how it brings the idea that everybody's lives are complicated. I really liked the satirical take to the hero's story and how it was told in short little paragraphs at the beginning of each chapter, and how they intertwined with the main storyline. This book was really different than what I expected it would be and I ended up really enjoying it. While reading this I did wish for more background development and world building, because it is such an interesting concept. This is the first Patrick Ness book that I've read, and I'm really looking forward to reading more of his book soon.

The Diviners by Libba Bray - This is the first book in a paranormal series, that takes place in New York City during the 1920's. This book follows several characters who all have "secret powers," and are involved in solving a series of murders. I really enjoyed the setting of this book, and reading about the slang and trends during the 1920's. This book was pretty slow paced, but I enjoyed how the story developed and I liked the characters and their development. I also really liked how this book is a combination of paranormal fantasy, historical fiction, and mystery in one, it was such an interesting combination but I felt that it really worked for this novel. I really enjoyed this book, I think that it's a great start to a series and I'm looking forward to reading the second book and seeing how this story continues to develop.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff - This is the first book in a trilogy and is told entirely through files (emails, transcrips, documents, ect.). This book primarily follows Kady and Ezra, on the day they break up their planet is invaded and how they have to survive afterwards. This book was absolutely amazing! It was cleverly told, terrified me, and just completely hooked me from the beginning. I loved how the files told the story and how visually stunning this book is. The science fiction element of this book absolutely scared me, and I can't stop thinking about how technology could one day turn on humanity. And I absolutely loved the romance in this book, it was so well done and developed. I just absolutely loved everything this book and I can't wait for the rest of the series to come out.

I also managed to read about half of the illustrated edition of the first Harry Potter book, but I'll share my opinions on it during my November reads post. The last book in the Lunar Chronicals, Winter by Marrisa Meyer comes out on Tuesday and I'm already prepared to read it in one sitting, I've just been waiting for it for so long. I've got a pile of other books that I'm planning to read this month and I'll be updating my Goodreads account as a I read them if you'd like to view my progress for the month. - Jessica

Saturday, October 31, 2015

October Snapshots


1. Hammocking with the corgis. // 2. Iced tea and a cannoli from Mozart's Cafe // 3. New shoes. 


4 & 5. The two most important purchases of the month: the illustrated edition of the first Harry Potter book and Pentatonix's new album. Both of them have brought me to tears (in a good way!) // 6 & 7. I've never been a much of a bookmark person until I discovered these adorable bookmarks from HappyHelloCo on Etsy. I loved them so much that I already ordered the companion sets for Celaena and Fayre from that shop! - Jessica


Monday, October 26, 2015

House Playlists


I have recently developed a love for making and listening to playlists, recently I've seen a ton of Harry Potter related ones and decided to try my had at making some. I originally made the Gryffindor playlist to listen to for myself, but I had so much fun making it that I decided to do the rest of the houses. For these playlists I decided to pick songs that I though matched the characteristics of each house but also songs that I think that would be playing in their common rooms. 


Listen | Tracks:

1. Walk the Moon - We Are the Kids // 2. Fall Out Boy - Young Volcanoes // 3. Of Monsters and Men - King And Lionheart // 4. Fall Out Boy - The Phoenix // 5. Paramore - Last Hope // 6. Coldplay - Violet Hill // 7. Lana Del Rey - Born To Die // 8. Florence and the Machine - Howl // 9. Lights - Speeding // 10. San Fermin - Jackrabbit // 11. Walk the Moon - Anna Sun // 12. VersaEmerge - Fire (Aim You Arrows High) // 13. Pentatonix - New Year's Day


Listen | Tracks:

1. Halsey - Castle // 2. Panic! At The Disco - Let's Kill Tonight // 3. Fall Out Boy - Disloyal Order of Water Buffalos // 4. Paramore - Ignorance // 5. Lorde - Glory And Gore // 6. Pentatonix - Cracked // 7. Walk the Moon - Up 2 U // 8. Pentatonix - Natural Disaster // 9. Fall Out Boy - Dance Dance // 10. VersaEmerge - Fixed At Zero // 11. Bastille - Bad Blood // 12. Imagine Dragons - Radioactive // 13. The Naked and Famous - Punching In A Dream


Listen | Tracks:

1. Of Monsters and Men - From Finner // 2. Coldplay - Strawberry Swing // 3. The Lumineers - Morning Song // 4. Lana Del Rey - Black Beauty // 5. Florence and the Machine - Between Two Lungs // 6. Florence and the Machine - Long & Lost // 7. San Fermin - Emily // 8. The Civil Wars - From This Valley // 9. Panic! At The Disco - Northern Downpour // 10. Coldplay - Swallowed In the Sea // 11. Lorde - Team // 12. Freelance Whales - We Could Be Friends // 13. Freelance Whales - Generator ^ Second Floor


Listen | Tracks:

1. Mumford and Sons - Roll Away Your Stone // 2. Of Monsters and Men - Black Water // 3. Paramore - Misguided Ghosts // 4. Penatonix - Take Me Home // 5. Florence and the Machine - Shake It Off (Acoustic) // 6. Lights - From All Sides // 7. San Fermin - Philosopher // 8. Lights - Oil and Water // 9. Walk the Moon - Iscariot // 10. The Civil Wars - Dust to Dust // 11. Panic! At The Disco - The End Of All Things // 12. VersaEmerge - Up There // 13. Ed Sheeran - I See Fire // 14. Fleet Foxes - White Winter Hymnal

I had a lot of fun making this post, from picking the songs and making the album covers. This was my first time making playlists on Spotify, so I didn't pay attention as much attention to song order but I think the idea's that I had for each one are there. Credits (X)

- Jessica 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Instax Diaries #5


I shot through another pack on film on my Lomo'instant camera so that means it's time for another Instax post. I experimented a bit with the close up lens attachment, I really loved the results and I need to buy more film so that I can experiment with it more. A couple days ago Lomography announced the new Lomo'Instant Wide camera and I have been drooling over the features. I will most likely try to sell my old 210 and preorder the white edition with the lens. I really want the ability to have more exposure adjustments, the ability for multiple exposures, and the remote control lens cap is such a cool feature.


-Jessica

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Throne Of Glass Series Review

You could rattle the stars," she whispered. "You could do anything, if only you dared. And deep down, you know it, too. That’s what scares you most.” 
― ElenaThrone of Glass
Throne of Glass is a fantasy series by Sarah J. Maas, which takes place in a world where magic has disappeared. It is a planned series of 6 books, 4 books and a prequel book have already been published. The first novel starts with the main character, Celaena, an assassin who is trying to earn her freedom by competing against 23 other killers to be the King's Champion. These books are full of well developed characters, amazing world building and stories, romance, and so many twists and turns. I absolutely loved every second of reading this series. I fell in love with the characters and stories, and I had so much to say about these books so I decided to do a full review. So here are my thoughts and opinions on the Throne of Glass series:

The Assassin's Blade - This is a bind up of five prequel novellas. The author recommends that this be read before reading the first book, but I read it after reading Throne of Glass and that's the order that I would personally recommend. This is a slow read compared to the other books in the series. I enjoyed some of the stories more than the others. This provides a lot of insight into Celaena's character, and I loved all the details about her relationship with Sam. These stories also include a lot of important characters and details that are referenced throughout the series.

And basically everything from here on out is spoilers, so proceed with caution...

Throne of Glass - Pretty much right off the bat, I was hooked by this series. I really loved the main characters, and I found the premise really interesting. I found the competition so important, Celaena is fighting against 23 guys who immediately write her off because she's a woman and I was so happy when she would prove them wrong. I shipped Celaena and Dorian so much while reading this, they are my favorite relationship in this series and I know that they probably aren't going to be endgame but as long as I get more of their friendship I'll be okay. Overall I think this book is my favorite in the series, this book is such a solid base and I love how the characters, story, and the fantasy elements develop through out the whole series.

Crown of Midnight - I didn't love this books as much as rest of the series, but I still really enjoyed it. Nehemia's plot during this book really angered and saddened me, because she was such a fantastic character and I still think she could have accomplished so much. I wasn't a huge fan of Celaena and Chaol's relationship, and that's maybe because I was not a huge Chaol fan to begin with and his actions bothered me in this book. I had a sneaking suspicion that Celaena was secretly Aelin, just because of her reaction when Chaol first brought her up. But that did not stop my heart from racing from reading the last couple of pages (I actually finished reading this book after midnight and couldn't fall asleep for an hour because I was so worked up over the ending).

Heir of Fire - I really enjoyed how the story expanded in this book along with the introduction of some new characters. I really liked the introduction of Rowen, and his relationship with Celaena. Rowen and Celaena's friendship became one of my favorite of the series and I really love how they understand and help each other. I also liked the introduction of Aedion, I really enjoyed the similarities between him and Aelin, especially how they both would defy the king. It took me a while to get into Manon and the witches storyline, but I ended up really liking her character after she claimed Abraxos as her wyvern. This book overall did take a while for me to get into because of the change of setting and how the narrations was split between more characters. I like the contrast between Celaena's character at the beginning of the novel, where she is hiding her true identity and seeing her absolutely defeated, to the end of the novel, where she is embracing her identity and she's realized her full power. I loved Dorian's character development during this novel, one of my favorite moment of this books was when he stood up for himself and Celaena against Chaol. I also felt that his relationship with Sorscha was so sweet, and I think they could have been really great together.

Queen of Shadows - This book kept me on my toes, and I shed some tears while reading it. Each chapter that Dorian had left me in tears, he's my favorite character and I was so scared for what would happen to him throughout the book. I'm really concerned for his mental state after this book, I hope he'll be okay because I think he'll make a fantastic king. Aelin's plan was so well thought out and I was blown away by how everything came together. I was a little disappointed that the author chose to go with the romantic route for Rowen and Celaena. I think they function better as friends, but I don't hate them together (I'm still wishing that Celaena and Dorian will somehow pull through). I absolutely loved the reintroduction of Lysandra, and I love how her and Celaena absolutely hated each other during the prequel stories, but how they ended up becoming friends. Female friendships like theirs are rare in YA literature, and I can't wait to see how the author continues to develop their friendship. The ending to this book was so satisfying, and I'm really happy that it did not end on a cliffhanger because my heart might not have taken it. There are still events that took place near the end of this novel that I'm not sure what the author is going to do with them, but I anxiously awaiting for the last two books of the series.
“Let's go rattle the stars.” 
― Aelin GalathnyiusQueen of Shadows
Alright so that's most of my thoughts on the series that I had to get out. I highly recommend this series, it's one of my favorites behind Harry Potter. The last two books are scheduled to come out in 2016 and 2017 respectively. It's such a long to wait, but I have so much faith that it will be worth it because I don't think that Sarah J. Maas' writing can disapoint me. - Jessica

Friday, October 2, 2015

Books I Read In September


September was a really good month for me in terms of reading, I ended up reading a total of 12 books. Almost half of those books are from the Throne of Glass series, and those books are pretty giant (the latest one is 650 pages). Most of the books I read this month are fantasy novels, and I rediscovered my love for this genre. I'm now officially obsessed with Sarah J. Maas, I read all of her books this month and I am going to read everything she puts out in the future. So here are the books that I read, and some-what-spoiler-free thoughts I have on them:

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King - This book centers around a girl, Astrid, as she deals with her family and comes to terms with her sexuality. I really enjoyed reading this book, it was beautifully written and Astrid is such an interesting narrator. I'm still a little on the fence about how I felt about the passengers stories through out the novel, I found a majority of them disinteresting and confusing. Astrid was easily my favorite part of this novel, and I really loved her characterization.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas - This is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, that centers around Fayre after she kills a wolf and a beast demands that she must pay for it. I am so happy that I finally picked up this book, because it was so good. Through out reading this book I forgot that it was a retelling, because the story just felt so unique. I think that can be contributed to Maas writing because she knows how to write action, romance, and characters so well. I'm really looking forward to the rest of the series coming out, because this book was so good but also because I'm a little scared of what Maas is going to next.

Half Bad and Half Wild by Sally Green - This book is set in a modern society where witches secretly live and are classified by there blood. The main character, Nathan, was born to a white, "good" witch and his father is the "evilest," black witch. I found the premise of this book really interesting, and I liked the first book. It was well written, but there were parts of the story that I didn't find interesting. The second book, on the other hand, I liked way more than the first. I really liked where the story was going during the second book and I found that I had a better understanding of the characters. What I really liked through out this series was Nathan's relationship with other characters, especially his brother, Gabriel, and his father. Overall I've enjoyed this series so far and I'm looking forward for the final book.

Legend: Graphic Novel by Marie Lu, Leigh Dragoon, and Kaari - This is the graphic novel adaption to the first book in the Legend series. I had previously read the series last month and I absolutely loved it. I really liked the art style but a lot of the original content was cut and as a result I felt the story lost a lot of it's pacing and development. I think this is a really cool addition for fans of the Legend series but I wouldn't recommend it to anybody who hasn't already read the first book. This was my first foray into reading graphic novels and I really hope to read more in the future.

Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa - This book centers around three friends, Jeremy, Mira and Sebby. The thing that really intrigued me about this books is told by three friends and they are each told in a different point of view. I've never read that before, and it's really interesting to jump between chapters and have the point of view switch from first to second to third. I really liked how this book touched upon some series subjects and how it handled diversity. There were points in this book that I thought were just weird, but I did ended up really enjoying the characters and the ending.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman - This story follows Tristran Thorn as he ventures into a fairy tale world to retrieve a fallen star. I really liked how this book felt like a fairy tale at times but there were some really obvious adult moments to the story. This book had some slow moments, but overall it was an enjoyable read.

Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas - I'll be posting a full review for this series next week. But I will say now that I absolutely loved this series and I can't believe it took me so long to read it. 


And those are the books I read in September. I've got a lot of unread books to work through (because I have a book buying problem, here's the evidence), and so many new books are coming out this month that I'm looking forward to, particularly Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (cough J.K.Rowling cough) and Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. As always, feel free to follow me on Goodreads to see my reviews on these books and I see my progress this month. - Jessica

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September Snapshots


1. How awesome are these mirrors? 


2 & 3. Thai restaurants and fortune cookies. 


6.  This past weekend I went to the Texas Teen Book Festival and it was my third time going. I look forward to the TTBF every year, because they always have great authors. This year I got to meet some of my favorite authors like Jenny Han and Morgan Matson and I got a TON of books signed. Another highlight from the TTBF was that I entered a raffle and got a bag of FREE BOOKS! // 7. These are most of the books I got this month. I went a little overboard with the book buying this month and bought the whole Throne of Glass series, a ton of books from Book Outlet, and some I bought from the TTBF. I've got a lot of reading to do now... // 8. This month I started reading the Throne of Glass series and I absolutely loved it. I'll be doing a full review soon on the whole series because I have a lot of feelings about these books. - Jessica