Thursday, August 31, 2017

August Snapshots

1. August was a busy reading month for me. I had to catch up and read 6 Harry Potter books to meet my personal deadline of finishing the books before September 1st (the exact day the epilogue in HP7 takes place). I'm so close to finishing the last book and I have loved revisiting this series. I need to make sure that six years don't elapse before my next reread. /// 2. Sunset hitting my shelves. I really want to reorganize my shelves soon.

3. Quick photo opt of Fawkes. He turns a year next month, he's growing up way to fast.

4. I added the After Laughter vinyl and cassette to my collection, because this record is so good. I'm also seeing Paramore again at the end of next month and so these will be on repeat until then. /// 5. Ed Sheeran concert. It was my third time seeing Ed live and every single time I feel the urge to buy a loop pedal. - Jessica

Monday, August 21, 2017

Thoughts While Rereading Harry Potter

I've mentioned lately how I've slowly been making my way through rereading the Harry Potter series. I wanted to reread the series this summer for a number of reasons; it's the 20th anniversary of the publication of the first book, I haven't read the series in its entirety since 2011, and the events of the epilogue take place next month. Rereading the series is an absolute joy because I still love it as much as the first time, plus there are so many details that I had forgotten about the books. I'm not entirely done with rereading the series but I've had so many thoughts about the reread that I wanted to share...
  • I've been splitting my time between reading physical copies of the books and listening to the audiobooks. I'm listening to the American editions and Jim Dale does a great job, but some of his voices for the characters and pronunciations is not how I hear them in my head. 
  • There are so many elements that I wish would have been in the movies: McGonagall's sass towards Umbridge, Luna Lovegood's quidditch commentary in book 6, the Marauder's backstory...
  • I don't understand why Snape was allowed to treat his students so terribly and bully them, he's really no better than Umbridge. 
  • GOF was my favorite as a kid and it still is (but it competes with POA some of the time)
  • I never noticed how prominent the foreshadowing for horcruxes is in all of the books, I noticed it especially in GOF.
  • Just the level of details that JKR put into each book is astonishing. 
  • Even the foreshadowing for the prophesy in PS/SS that comes up again in OOTP. 
  • And the character development is amazing (Draco, Neville...).
  • McGonagall has become my favorite character of this reread. I always admired her as a character but she is a total hero. Just everything about her in OOTP is amazing. (Hermione is still my fave of all time though).
  • The Marauder's storyline is still my favorite side plot in the novels, and if JKR ever decides to write their story, I would be the happiest person alive. 
  • Harry James Potter. He's put through so much in the novels and he doesn't deserve any of them. 
  • The part in COS where Tom states how Harry and him look similar freaked me out. It's crazy how they are both so similar and so different. 
  • Dumbledore's sense of humor is his best quality, and it is severely lacking in the movies. 
  • I'm always torn about liking Dumledore's character. I think the had Harry's best intentions in mind but I don't know if he went about them the right way, especially how he treated Harry's life like it was a game. 
  • Any time Fantastic Beasts is mentioned I get really excited. I love reading about the creatures now that I've seen them on screen. 
  • I wish we could have gotten more of Harry and Sirius' interactions. Their interactions have been some of my favorite moment in the reread as they had such a close connection.
  • When I was reading the series as a kid, I never noticed how much injustice there is in the Wizarding World. Especially when it comes to creatures and half creatures. I've had this picture of the Wizarding World and Hogwarts as a utopia, but seeing it in this light has made the world feel even more real to me. 
Hopefully some of my rambling made sense. I just really love reading my favorite series and I wanted to share some of my thoughts. - Jessica 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Favorite Books of 2017 (So Far)

This year has been moving so fast and it hit me really hard that this year is already more than halfway over. For the past couple of years, I've shared my favorite books of the first half of the year and it's interesting for me to see if those books make it to my end of the year list. Here are my top five books I read this year so far (in no particular order)!

1. A Court of War and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
2. Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare
3. Geekerella by Ashley Poston
4. At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson
5. The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamine Alire Sáenz

It was really hard to narrow down to these five books, because I've read some really fantastic books this year. I'm slowly catching up to my reading goal on Goodreads and I'm really optimistic that I'm going to be able to complete 140 books this year. - Jessica

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Books I Read In July

I'm really proud of myself, because despite being really busy (I got a new job!) in the month of July I read 12 books. I again listened to a ton of audiobooks, and that element covered 7 of the books I read. So here are the books I read in the month of July and some of my thoughts and opinions on them:

The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock - This book follows four teenagers, living in Alaska during the 1970's. I really enjoyed reading this book, and I loved the perspective of the setting and I feel like I learned a lot about Alaska Purchase. I also really liked all of the characters and I really liked how there stories were interconnected.

Spindle by E.K. Johnston - This is a Sleeping Beauty retelling, and the stand alone sequel to A Thousand Nights. This is the second disappointing sequel in a stand alone fairy tale retelling series, the first being The Wish Granter. I found the overall goal and plot of this book confusing and I couldn't stand the romance element. I disliked this book so much that I wasn't able to finish this book, I had a hundred pages left before I gave up and skimmed the ending.  

The Alchemist of Loom and The Dragons of Nova by Elise Kova - These are the first two books in the Loom Trilogy, which is a fantasy series with steampunk inspirations. I really enjoyed the first two books in this series, I ultimately love Ari and Cvareh's chapters more than the other characters, but I love where the story is headed. I can't wait for the last book to be published later this year.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns Trilogy by Rae Carson - This book follows Elisa, a God-blessed princess, who is married off to a neighboring kingdom in an effort to protect her. I really liked this whole series, and I found the strength of this series to be the character development. I think Elisa grew so much as a character and I really liked reading about her journey.

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson - This book follows Taylor and her family as they head to their families' summer home to experience one last summer, after her dad is diagnosed with terminal cancer. This is a reread for me of one of my favorite YA contemporaries. I loved reading this book just as much, the second time around.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber - This book follows sisters, Scarlett and Tella, as they journey to the world of Caraval to participate in a game, with the winner being granted a wish. I found this book really intriguing, the plot has so many twists and turns and I really enjoyed anticipating what the author would do next.

Worlds Collide by Chris Colfer - This is the final book in The Land of Stories series. This is a series that I have been following since the first book came out six years ago, and it was bittersweet to read this book, because I didn't want the story to end, but the last 3 books have built up to this ending. I really enjoyed how this series ended and I love how this book left off for the possibility of a spin off series.

When It's Real by Erin Watt - This book follows Oakley Ford, a troubled pop star who has to fake date the ordinary teenage, Vaughn, to rehabilitate his public image. Erin Watt's books tend to be filled with cliches and they can be predictable, but they are so addicting. I had some problems with the plot of this book, but it was a really light, quick, and fun read.

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee - This is a historical fiction book that follows Monty, his best friend and crush, and his sister as their tour across Europe leads them into a dangerous political plot. I was so excited to read this book once I heard that it was a historical fiction book with LGBTQ elements. I really enjoyed the narration, but the main character was a little to much for me.

And those are all the books I finished, I'm still slowly making my way through my Harry Potter reread. I'm only on the second book, but I plan on spending the next couple of weeks before I head back to school focusing on them. - Jessica