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

Thursday, April 20, 2017


Why do puppies have to get big so fast? Fawkes has grown so much since I got him, he's now 7 months old and I can't deal with how fast he's growing. I wanted to take some pictures of him in bluebonnets because these photos of McCoy and Hazel are some of my favorites of them. But with how busy school has been, by the time I got around to taking him out, there wasn't a whole lot of good bluebonnet patches. Plus with how hot it has been getting, every time I tried to place him in front of some bluebonnets he would run to the shade. So here are the photos I managed to get of him...

His derp face gets me so much in the last one. I really need to start taking more photos of him and the other corgs and get back into sharing photos on the corgi blog. I've also been debating lately on setting up an Instagram account for posting photos of Fawkes only, but we will have to see if I can keep one up. - Jessica

Monday, April 17, 2017

Favorite Posts (Part I)

Everyone once and a while I like to browse through old posts, it's a great way to reminisce and sometimes cringe at some of my old photography. I've been in a bit of a blogging stump lately and I wanted to start a new series where I revist some of my favorite posts.

Cyanotypes - I really miss taking darkroom and developing my own photos and prints. One of my favorite classes that I shared on my blog was when we made cyanotypes. One day I'll make cyanotype prints again!

Thank You Harry - My Harry Potter wall is one of my favorite parts of my room and I loved writing about my experience with Harry Potter and a little bit about how it's impacted my life.

Instax Diaries #4 - Instant film is pretty much the only film I shoot now a days, because of how convenient it is. I love each time when I have taken enough instant shots to be able to share them. This post in particular features some of my all time favorite shots I ever taken on Instax film.

Bookshelves (Part 1 and Part 2) - Along with my Harry Potter wall, my bookshelves are another favorite part of my room. And I love looking through my blog and seeing the evolution of my shelves, to how I use to organize everything and especially the volume at which my collection has grown in a relatively short span of time (most of my collection is from the last two years). I'm also really proud that these are two of the most viewed posts on my blog.

December Unboxings - I have developed an obsession with subscription boxes lately and last December I received three (Owlcrate, the Wizarding World Loot Crate, and Litjoy Crate). I had so much opening these boxes and sharing some of the items in them. I also had so much fun taking these photos and editing them. I hope to do some more unboxing posts in the future.

- Jessica

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Books I Read in March

I had a good reading month, I managed to read 12 books total and 6 of those books were of the seven I planned to read during spring break (I didn't get to Caraval). Even though I read a ton in March, I'm still behind on my reading goal... So here are the books I read and some of my thoughts and opinions on them.

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab - This is the last book in the Shades of Magic Trilogy. I loved this book, this whole trilogy is one of my favorites. I love the character and story developments. The world that Schwab has created in this series is beautiful and so complex. I'm very sad that this trilogy has ended but Schwab has hinted that she might return to this world again.

Stranger Than Fanfiction by Chris Colfer - This book follows four friends, who have bonded over a TV show, that go on a road trip with one of the actors from that show. I'm a huge Chris Colfer fan, I really loved his last YA book, Struck by Lightning, and his middle grade series, but I was really skeptical about the plot of this book. I had enough good things about this book, so I decided to give this a try. I actually ended up liking this book, it was very character driven and I really enjoyed that aspect.

Been Here All Along by Sandy Hall - This book is about best friend/neighbors, Gideon and Kyle, as they realize they like each other as more than friends. This was a cute and very quick read. I did have some problems with the main female character, especially her characterization, but overall I liked this book.

At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson - This book follows Ozzie after his boyfriend disappears because the universe is shrinking. Last year, I read We Are The Ants by Hutchinson and it is one of my all time favorite books, so going into reading this I had really high expectations and they were met. I absolutely loved this book, this book is so beautiful and the story is so incredibly moving and profound.

We Are Okay by Nina Lacour - This book follows Marin, who after her grandfather dies, she moves across the country and tries to forget her old life and friends. This was another quick read, that I enjoyed this month. It is very character driven, but there's mystery elements that I think added to the story.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling - This was a reread for me, since both the new edition with added content and the audiobook with Eddie Redmayne were released. I really loved the new content and I especially loved Redmayne's narration. Redmayne brought so much of Newt's character to this book, so that it was more than just reading a textbook. Although I was disappointed that the new hardcovers removed Harry, Ron and Hermione's commentary from the original edition.

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamine Alire Sáenz - This book follows an Sal and his friends as they navigate their lives, from getting ready to go to college and experiencing death. This is another book that I had a lot of high expectations for, because Sáenz wrote one of my all time favorite books, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, and my expectations were met with this one. I loved this book, I loved the writing and how the plot relied heavily on the characters and their development.  

By Your Side by Kasie West - This book follows Autumn, who finds herself locked in a library during a long weekend with her school's resident bad boy. This was another quick and cute read. I really enjoy Kasie West's writing, and I overall really liked this book.

The Wish Granter by C.J. Redwine - This is a Rumplestiltskin retelling and the second book in a series of standalone retellings. I absolutely loved the first book, The Shadow Queen, and I was really disappointed by this book. I found the plot of this book to be too drawn out, I didn't really care for the main characters or the instalove.

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare - This is the first book in Cassandra Clare's new series set in the Shadowhunter universe that is set 5 years after The Mortal Instruments. I absolutely loved this book, I love the characters and the mystery elements involving the story. One of my main issues with The Mortal Instruments series was that I didn't particularly care for the main characters, and I did not have the same issue with this book, I absolutely love both Emma and Julian, especially how they developed and both their relationship developed. I can't wait to read the sequel, Lord of Shadowswhen it comes out next month.

Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamine Alire Sáenz - This book follows Zach, an 18 year old, who is in rehab, instead of high school and he doesn't remember why. As with all the books I've read by Sáenz so far, I loved the writing. I really liked the main character and how so much of this book is faced on the relationships he builds with other people.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas - This is the first book in a Beauty and the Beast retelling, where Feyre is a hunter who is taken from her family for killing a faerie. This was another reread as I'm getting read for the third book in the first trilogy to come out next month. This was an interesting experience for me, because I absolutely loved this book the first time I read it. This time I didn't love it as much because my perspective of the world and some of it's characters has changed so much after reading the second book. I still absolutely loved this series, it's one of my favorites, and I can't wait to continue on with my reread.

And those were all the books I read in March. My school schedule has gotten worse in the past couple of weeks, so I'm probably not going to be able to blog or read as much as I would like, but I'm going to try and cram in as much as possible. - Jessica

Friday, March 31, 2017

March Snapshots

1. I've blogged a bit before about how obsessed I am with Happy Hello Art, I added these bookmarks to my collection this month. I don't really know what to do with myself at this point because I have more than 50 bookmarks from that shop. This time I got (from left to right) Peter and Lara Jean from To All the Boys I've Loved Before (in preparation for the last book that comes out soon), another Celaena from Throne of Glass, quidditch Harry, and the trio from Legend of Korra.  /// 2. Celaena hanging out with me while I read the best part of Lady Midnight. At this point I have like 6 different Celaena bookmarks, but I relate to this bookmark as a college student who doesn't sleep and lives off coffee.

3 & 4. Fawkes' first big outing, I took him for a walk around the state capitol, Zilker, and then Auditorium shores. - Jessica

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Lazy Spring Break Days (Vol. 2)

Last year I made a post entitled, Lazy Spring Break Days, and it is one of my favorite posts for its spontaneous feel. This year I was really excited to make a second edition, and just lie in bed all day not doing much. So here's how I spent my day:

As I said in my last post, I am going to try and read as much as I can during this break. I'm currently making my way through The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamine Alire Sáenz, but I did take a little break from reading that book when my new edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them came in. I did a quick listen through on the audiobook, and I love these new editions. 
I love to color when I listen to audiobooks, and I specifically bought the Lunar Chronicles coloring book to use during spring break. When I wasn't listening to Fantastic Beasts, I listened to Ed Sheeran's new album on repeat. - Jessica 

Friday, March 10, 2017

My Overly Ambitious TBR for Spring Break

I haven't been a lot of time lately to just sit and read and since I'm officially on spring break for the next 10 days, I just want to do that. I want to read at least 5 books over this break, but I somehow managed to pick 7 books for this list. There's also books that aren't on this list that I'm also going to be read, like the new edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them that comes out on Tuesday. So I have a really ambitious TBR for Spring Break, but that's okay because Goodreads keeps reminding me that I'm behind on my reading challenge. So here are the books I want to read over the next 10 days:
  1. At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson
  2. The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamine Alire Sáenz
  3. The Wish Granter by C.J. Redwine
  4. We Are Okay by Nina Lacour
  5. Caraval by Stephanie Garber
  6. By Your Side by Kasie West
  7. Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamine Alire Sáenz
So those are the books I'd like to read. I'm definitely hoping to get to the first five on the list, and the last two are kind of bonus books. I'm optimistic about my ability to read all of these, but if I don't it won't be the end of the world. - Jessica

Monday, March 6, 2017

Books I Read in February

I mentioned in my last couple of post that I had a really busy month between homework and school, and I didn't have a lot of time to carve out and read, so I only managed to read 7 books. Here are the books I read and some of my thoughts and opinions on them:

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake - This is the first book in a duology, that follows triplet princesses, who have to kill each other to become queen. I was so excited when I first heard the plot of this book and I couldn't wait to read it, but I think I set my expectations too high and I didn't enjoy this book as I anticipated. I really enjoyed the plot, but I felt that there was too much focus on the romances in this book and not on the characters or their story. I will still pick up the sequel when it comes out in September, but I won't make it a priority.

King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard - This is the third book in the Red Queen series. I absolutely love this series, the first book was riddled with cliches but I absolutely fell in love with the story, and this series has evolved so much from the first book. I really loved this installment and I enjoyed the plot and character development. I can't wait for the last book to come out next year, but I'm a little terrified at what the author is going to do with this series.

Midnight Thief and Daughter of Dusk by Livia Blackburn - This series follows Kyra, a thief, who joins a group of assassins, in an effort to undo the political injustice her town faces. I liked this duology, it was a pretty quick read through and I especially liked the characters.

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab - This is the second book in the Shades of Magic trilogy. I absolutely loved the first book in this series, but I read it almost two years ago and getting back into this world was a little difficult but once I did, I remembered why I loved it so much. I loved how this book focused more on character development, compared to the world building and action packed first book. I also got through half of the last book in February, and I've since then finished it, and I loved it as well.

Twilight: Life and Death by Stephenie Meyer - This is the gender-bent version of Twilight, that Meyer published for the book's tenth anniversary. I was once a massive Twilight fan, I was eleven when I read the first book and it was one of my first foray into YA literature, and the series played a pretty large role in my life for about 3 years. I recently watched the first film (for the first time in years) and I had a really strong desire to read this. I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed this, I originally felt that this book was going to be awful, but I think Meyer pulled off the gender switch really well. I had forgotten how addictive these books can be, and I'm really tempted to reread the series.

The Crown's Dog by Elise Kova - This is the first book, in the prequel trilogy to the Air Awakens series. I liked this book but it had a lot to live up to, since the Air Awakens series is one of my favorites. This book was really short and felt more like a novella than a novel, and I wish that this had provided more backstory and development to these characters. I still really enjoyed this, even though I had a couple of problems with it, and I plan on reading the second book this month.

So those are all the books I read in February. I'm hoping to have more time to read this month especially since spring break is coming up. I'm planning on doing a readathon and read at least 5 books, I'll be sharing which books I'm hoping to get to later this week. - Jessica

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February Snapshots (Books and Vinyl Edition)

So with the amount of school work I had to do this month, it's pretty understandable that I didn't want to take pictures of any of it. So I ended up just taking photos of my books and the vinyls I've been listening to lately. This month, I did manage to finally rearrange my Harry Potter shelf and I cleaned up my shelves yesterday. I'm freaking out a little because I'm almost out of space, but I can't stop buying books. 

Here's the music I've been listening to lately. A lot of Little Mix and a lot of Broadway tunes. I also finally got a chance to see Newsies last week, when it was broadcasted in cinemas and I loved it, I wish they would do that with all musicals after they close.

Anyways as I said in my last post, February wasn't the best month for me and I think my creativity suffered a little bit. At this point, I'm just waiting for spring break. - Jessica

Sunday, February 19, 2017


At least once during the semester, I always get overloaded with schoolwork and I don't really have the motivation to blog as much. It's a little scary that all this is happening towards the beginning of the semester, but my goal is to graduate in December and I'm going to have to power through (maybe one day I'll make a post about how I stay sane in college). But anyways moving on, here's what has been happening recently between school and work...
  • I've been trying to read as much as possible (in my little free time) and stay on track of my reading goal. Right now, I just started A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab.
  • I'm still one of those nerds who still plays Pokemon Go and the app has again consumed my life now that Gen II has come out. And just in case you were wondering, I'm still trying to catch two Pokemon from Gen I (Areodactyl and Lapras).
  • I finally saw La La Land the other day but there are still a handful of other movies that I need to see as well. 
  • My family got another corgi puppy (pictured above), her name is Luna and she's really my dad's dog. 
So here's what has been happening in my life lately. I've got a fairly light load of coursework this week and I'm hoping on catching up on blogging. - Jessica 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Books I Read in January

I had a really good reading month in January, I managed to read 13 books and a graphic novel. So here are the books I read and some of my opinions on them:

Uprooted by Naomi Novik - This is a fantasy novel, set in a place protected by a magician, named the Dragon, who in return for protecting the villages, picks a girl every ten years to serve him. Our main character, is unexpectedly picked by the Dragon, thinking all her life that her best friend would be picked. I did not like this book, I really didn't enjoy the writing, the characters, and the story. This book just became a struggle for me to read, and I went through a bit of a reading slump while I made my way through it. This was a disapoint read because I had seen a lot of good things about it, but this book was not for me.

Passenger and Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken - This is a duology following, Etta, a girl who only wants to play violin but her whole life is thrown upside down when she is introduced to her family's time travel roots and she is then thrown in the center of a time travel war. I really enjoyed this duology, the characters were so interesting and really opened my eyes to the different prejudices they faced during the historical times they lived in (for example, Nick is a free man who was born during the American revolution). These books were very character driven and I loved those elements.

Windwitch by Susan Denard - This is the second book of the Witchlands series. I absolutely loved the first book, Truthwitch, and I couldn't wait to read this one. This book takes place right where Truthwitch left off, and this book was very character development driven. Not a whole lot happened concerning the overall plot of the series, but as a reader I learned so much more about these characters that I love. I can't wait for the next book to come out, because I really love this series.

Books 1-4 in A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket - This series follows the Baudelair sibling, who have recently been orphaned in a fire, as they try to evade Count Olaf, who is after their family's fortune. This was one of my favorite series when I was growing up, and I wanted to reread the first four books in anticipation for the new Netflix series. I hadn't reread these books since I was young and I had forgotten so much of the plot. I loved revisiting these characters, and I love the writing. I ended up binge reading these, and they are so short that it's easy to read one in less than an hour and a half, but they are a little repetitive. I hope to finish this reread soon, because I love these books as much as I did when I was young.

The Lost and Found by Katrina Leno - This book follows online pen pals, who met during a support group, as they both embark on separate road trips to meet each other. I really enjoyed this book, especially the various relationships surrounding this book. I was initially drawn to this book because it's set in my hometown, and I hadn't read anything set where I live before, it's both cool and weird to read a book set in a fictionalized place of the world you live.

History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera - This book follows Griffin after his best friend and ex-boyfriend, Theo, has just died in an accident, and he remembers the history they shared and the present that he lives in without Theo. This book was an emotional whirlwind and I really enjoyed these characters' story. The story alternates between the past and present, and I loved how those two were weaved together. Adam Silvera has an amazing ability to write moving and profound novels, and I look forward to more releases from him.

Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst - This is a fantasy novel, centered around Princess Dennaleia, who is betrothed to marry a prince of another kingdom where her magical ability is considered illegal, and she starts to develop romantic feelings for the prince's sister. I really liked this book, but I think I went into it with too high of expectations. I really liked the world that this was set in, and how sexuality is normalized, and the romance within this story was really well done. I would have liked to see more world building and expanding on the magic system, I also wanted to see a little more character development, but overall this book was pretty well written.

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab - This book is set in a world fighting monsters, following Kate and August, who are on opposite sides of a divided city. I'm a pretty big Victoria Schwab fan, and although I find her adult fiction books better written, I really enjoyed this YA book. I really loved how Kate and August formed an unlikely friendship, and how they interacted. I'm really looking forward to the sequel, which comes out in June.

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi - This book follows Maya, who has been shunned her whole life because of a horoscope that promised a marriage of death, but she finds herself as queen of a strange world and married to a man of power. I loved the inspiration that Greek myth and Indian folklore had on this book. I absolutely loved the first half of the book, and then the second half had some strange plot points that I couldn't entirely follow, but still enjoyed. I really enjoyed this book, and I ended up reading it in a day.

Wires and Nerves, Vol. 1 by Marissa Meyer and Douglas Holgate - This is the first in a graphic novel series, that is a sequel to The Lunar Chronicles, and follows Iko. I love The Lunar Chronicles, it's one of my favorite series and I love how the story was continued into this graphic novel. I love how the characters and the story were well translated and I can't wait for Vol. 2 to be released.

And those are all the books I read last month. There's a lot of books that I'm looking forward to coming out in February and I hope I'll be able to get to all of them. - Jessica

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January Snapshots

1 & 2. Fawkes already knows how to model.

3. Unintentionally matching bookmarks with hardbacks. // 4. Currently reading: The Star-Touched Queen with Lia from Happy Hello Art.

4. Thank you Book Outlet for having the new UK Harry Potter boxset in paperback for super cheap. I have to organize my HP shelf for these to fit, but I really couldn't help myself when I saw these.

5. Added this Kallax unit from Ikea, so I could have more storage for my LPs. - Jessica

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Bookish Goals and Lists For 2017

For the past couple of years, all of my New Year's resolutions have been book related, including the various books I want to read and the number of books I want to read during the year. Last year I gave myself the initial goal of reading 70 books and then I bumped it up to 130, because I ended up having more reading time than I expected. This year, I'm setting my reading challenge at 140 books and I'm hoping to stick with it but due to school this year, I might have to change it. Over the past three years I've been slowly increasing my reading goal by 10 books and I'm slowly working my way to reading 150 books in a year.

While last year I made a list of the specific books I wanted to read last year, and I didn't do the best job of completing it. Even though I didn't get to read all the books on that list, it was still fun to compile and reflect on those books at the end of the year. But I also making these type of lists because I find it very satisfying to cross a book off of my TBR list. So here are the books that have been lying on my shelves that I want to get to in 2017:

1. More Middle Grade - This first goal is pretty general, but I just finished rereading the first four books in A Series of Unfortunate Events and I was reminded of how much I love the genre. I'm hoping to finally get to The Spiderwick Chronicles, which was one my list last year, and there's still a ton of Rick Riordan books that I've been wanting to read.

2. Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst - This is a fantasy novel, centered around Princess Dennaleia, who is betrothed to marry a prince of another kingdom where her magical ability is considered illegal, and she starts to develop romantic feelings for the prince's sister. This book has been on my radar for a while, and I have been dying to read it. The plot sounds so intriguing and I absolutely love reading books with diversity in them.

3. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare - This is the first book in Clare's new trilogy set in the Shadowhunter universe. I finally read The Mortal Instruments series and The Infernal Devices trilogy last year in the span of a month and enjoyed them, but by the time that Lady Midnight was published, I was a little burnt out from that world and so I never felt like picking up this book. I definitely want to get to this book this year, especially with the sequel coming out in May.

4. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie - I was obsessed with the Disney movie when I was a little kid (I would watch it almost every day). I somehow have never read the actual book, and I hoping to finally read it this year.

5. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake - This is a fantasy novel, centered around triplet princesses who have to kill each other for the crown. This is another book that has been on my radar for a while, but I didn't get to read it last year. I've heard great things about this book and I'm hoping to get to it before the sequel is released this year.

6. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab - This is the second book in the Shades of Magic Trilogy, I read the first book almost two years ago and absolutely loved it, and I have no excuse for not picking up this book yet. The last book comes out next month and I'm meeting the author in March, so I have to read this book before then.

7. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline - This is a dystopian novel set in a world where people spend time actually living in video games. I have heard nothing but good things about this book, so I'm hoping to pick up this book soon.

Along with all the books that I finally want to read in 2017, there are also a TON of new releases. Here are some of the releases I'm most looking forward to:

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

And those are just some of the books coming out in 2017 that I'm looking forward to, they're mostly to books coming out during the first half of the year and only the ones that have official covers released. I'm already feeling accomplished because I've read three of the four books on this list that have already been published. So I've obviously got a lot of reading I plan on doing this year and so little time. - Jessica