Thursday, June 30, 2016

Favorite Books I've Read in 2016 (So Far!)

So we are at the end of June and that means that we are officially more than halfway through the year. So far this year I have read 76 books, and I'm really surprised by that amount because it surpasses the goal that I set for myself earlier this year. So here are my top five books I've read so far this year...

1. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas - This is the second book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy. I really enjoyed the first book in this trilogy, but I was a little hesitant towards how some of the plot lines had ended and I wasn't sure how I would like them in this book. I absolutely love the direction that Maas took this book, I think that some of the plot points were unexpected but I really enjoyed the story development. One of my favorite things about this book is the character development, particularly with Feyre and Rhysand, it was just so well done. This book was constantly surprising me and I love when books do that.

2. The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski - This is the first book in the Winner's Trilogy, which centers around a well respected general's daughter, Kestrel, after she purchases a slave. I breezed through this whole trilogy a couple months ago and I really loved it. I feel this book is so unique, it's reads like a fantasy novel but there aren't any fantastical elements. I found Kestrel's character really refreshing, she's a strong female character who is not a fighter, she instead relies on her brain as her main weapon. This book is pretty romance heavy but I absolutely loved that element of the story.

3. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson - This book follows Andie, who has her whole summer planned out and then due to her father's political scandal her life is turned upside down and unexpected things happen to her. I loved and read all of Morgan Matson's previously published books and I knew that I would love this book, but I think it might be my favorite of hers. I really loved the characters in this book, and the character development that Andie and the other characters go through. I really loved the relationships in this book, the relationships among the group of friends, family, and romances were really well written.

4. The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan - This is the third book in The Heroes of Olympus series. I debated over which Rick Riordan book I would put on this list, because I have read 10 so far this year and I loved all of them. It was between this one and The Titan's Curse, but I ultimately went with this book because I didn't want to include rereads. I absolutely love how this series merges Greek and Roman mythology and I loved that in this book a bunch of characters came together and the story seamed to be progressing more.

5. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare - This is the last book in The Infernal Devices trilogy. I finally jumped on the bandwagon this year and started reading the Shadowhunter books, and while I enjoyed The Mortal Instruments series, I didn't love it. Even though I didn't love TMI, I absolutely love this trilogy and it's characters. This book in particular had me sobbing so much, the story was beautifully done.

So those are my favorite books that I read during the first half of 2016. I've got a lot more books to read and a lot of new releases on my radar for the last half of the year. And since I've surpassed the reading goal that I set at the beginning of the year, I'm thinking of challenging myself to read 140 books this year, so fingers crossed! - Jessica

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

June Snapshots

1. I once again expanded my collection of Happy Hello bookmarks. I added Percy and Annabeth from the Percy Jackson series/Heroes of Olympus series, a corgi, and Simon and Baz from Carry On. // 2. This is quite possibly my favorite first chapter sentence ever, from chapter 8 of The Son of Neptune. // 3. It's kind of obvious that The Heroes of Olympus series took over my life this month. While reading The Blood of Olympus, I came across a scene where Percy was eating blue pancakes and I was really inspired to make blue, blueberry waffles. 

4. USA vs Argentina. My mom bought tickets for the semifinal COPA America game several months ago, and my family was hoping that we would either see the USA or Argentina and we lucked out and got to see both! We were rooting for the USA but even though they lost we still had a good time, and it was really cool to see the number one team in the world right now. 

5. I finally had time to spin my Hamilton soundtrack! After watching the Tony Awards earlier this month, I've been listening to broadway recordings a lot. 

6 & 7. Summer refreshments: Starbucks Granitas & watermelon snow cone. - Jessica

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Instax Diaries #7

I've been going through quite a bit of Instax film lately, trying to get the hang of the Lomo'Instant Wide and experimenting with double exposures. So here's some of my resent shots and I'd like to get back into the swing of shooting film regularly and I prefer to shoot with my instant cameras because I like to see the results immediately. 


- Jessica

Friday, June 10, 2016

Summer Playlist

I've been out of school for a couple of weeks now and it's incredibly hot outside Honestly summer for me right now is seeking refuge from the heat by staying indoors and reading and listening to music. So here are some of the songs that remind me of summer, and these are songs that I love to scream the lyrics to while driving. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Books I Read In May

This May I read a total of 12 books, 4 of which were rereads and then 3 of which were on my most anticipated releases of this year. Now that I'm on summer break I have definitely started reading more, because I somehow have to make up for the book buying binge I went on last month. So here are the books that I read and some of my opinions on them:

Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay - This book follows two different perspectives of the same girl, in one perspective she has struggled with a the consequences of an accident that left the right side of her face scared, and in the other she didn't have that accident. I enjoyed this story and the idea is really unique, but I did have some problems with the pacing and ending. This story is told in alternating perspectives and I found that this story jumped around a lot, this isn't a very long book but I feel that it could have been longer. There were aspects of this book that I really enjoyed like the different perspectives of certain character and the character development.

Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay - This books is a Sleeping Beauty retelling but draws elements from various other fairy tale stories. I found this book a little disappointing, I read Staecy Jay's other fairy tale retelling, Of Beast and Beauty, earlier this year and absolutely loved it, and Princess of Thorns doesn't compare. It took me a really long time to get into the story and I found that certain aspects of the plot weren't explained well. I did enjoy this book as the story progressed and I did like the character development but I did expect more from reading this.

The Crown by Kiera Cass - This is the 5th and final installment of the Selections Series. I really enjoyed this ending, this series has had it's ups and downs but I think it ended on a high note. I enjoyed the story and character developments and I left this book feeling really satisfied with the series.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas - This is the second book in Maas' Beauty and the Beast retelling/Fae trilogy. This book almost destroyed me, I loved it so much. I absolutely love the character development and the direction that this story is headed. I really just love everything about Sarah J. Maas' writing and I'm anxiously looking forward to the final installment of this trilogy.

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson - This book follows Andie, who has her whole summer planned out and then due to her father's political scandal her life is turned upside down and unexpected things happen to her. I love Morgan Matson's books, I think she writes some of the best YA contemporaries and this one did not disappoint. I really loved the stories and the characters, especially Clark (he might have beaten Henry from Second Chance Summer as my favorite of Matson's male characters). This book had everything that I could have possibly wanted and it was just a perfect summer read.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan - This series follows, Percy after he learns that he is the son of Poseidon. This is another reread for me this year, I read these books so long ago that I had forgotten a lot of plot points. I really enjoyed rereading this series, it's such a fun and extremely complex and unique twist to classic Greek Mythology. I'm hoping to finish off reading the sequel series this month and the rest of Riordan's books this year.

Falling Kingdoms and Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes - These are the first two books in a fantasy series that centers around four characters from neighboring kingdoms that are on the brink of war. I'm liking this series so far, I enjoy the characters and I'm interested to see how the world continues to develop because I feel that the first two books were more of a set up for the rest of the series. I will definitely be continuing on with the series this month.

And those are all the books I read last month and my thoughts on them. I have a lot of books I want to read this month, especially the Heroes of Olympus Series. - Jessica