May Book Haul

This month I swore I wasn’t going to buy anymore books until I had read some of the ones on my shelves…. well, we all know how well those sort of promises go.

First, I took my aunt to Goodwill and amused myself by browsing their book section while my fussy great-aunt shopped for shoes.

Ended up buying a few. (Sorry for the blurry photo. This pile refused to focus.)

And then Cait from A Page with a View (follower her on tumblr, view her blog, or friend her on GoodReads, she’s awesome) was selling some of her books for wicked cheap and I scored some nice metallic additions of the His Dark Materials trilogy (which I’m planning a re-read of in October because oh my God he’s writing a new book I’m so excited), and my first owned copy of The Book Thief.  Once again, thank you so much, Cait.

And since I’d already broken the promise I made myself, I decided to go all out.  I got the paperback copies of The Wrath and the Dawn and The Rose and the Dagger at Wal-Mart for pretty cheap.  Then I was at Target looking at video games for my fiancee’s birthday next month and found some good deals on some hardcovers, as well as the cutest Harry Potter magnetic bookmarks.

So there’s what I added to my library in May. June is my birthday month, so I won’t buy anything but will hopefully get some good books anyway.

What new books did you guys pick up this month?

Writer Wednesday

It has been more than a month since I did my first Writer Wednesday, so I figure this post is past due.

I didn’t complete many of my goals.  I started a World Building Notebook for Maiden Voyages, but I haven’t been able to establish a map that I’m happy with.  I have made a list of all my current WIPs, but I haven’t established a timeline for finishing them.

If the last month has taught me anything, it is that I need to figure out how to manage my time better.  I’m hoping that there’s a light at the end of my current health problems, which would certainly help.  I don’t have a lot of free time right now because I have to spend so much time sleeping.  That’s sort of an excuse; I’m trying to get better about making excuses for my lack of progress, but at the same time I don’t want to hurt myself by pushing beyond what I have the spoons to handle.  Right now, that just isn’t much.

I don’t want to talk about that; this post isn’t about my health. It is about my writing.  So, let me talk about that.

Continue reading “Writer Wednesday”

The YA “Genre”

Before I started this blog, and before I posted my first review, I read a lot of other book blogs and their reviews.  I studied the way others had laid out their reviews, formatting and structure, what information they did or did not include, and decided what I liked and what I didn’t like and how I wanted to format my own reviews.

One of the things I was doing was listing a “Target Audience”.  And after doing a few reviews, I realized that this was not actually helpful.  Or rather, its not helpful to say the target audience is “young adult”.

Because that can mean anything.  Serafina and the Black Cloak is “young adult”.  Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, and Bridge to Terabithia are all “young adult”.  So are John Green, Sarah Dessen, and Colleen Hoover’s work.  So are Six of Crows, A Court of Thorns and Roses, and other darker works.  But these books don’t have the same target audience.

If you take just the Harry Potter books themselves, Sorcerer’s Stone was intended for a completely different audience than the Deathly Hallows.  Sorcerer’s Stone was obviously written for younger kids, the 8-12 year olds.  The later books, however, are really not meant to be read by kids younger than thirteen.  But you’ve got to shelve them all together.

Harry Potter really did change literature as we know it.  Before the Harry Potter books, there wasn’t a young adult section in bookstores or libraries.  There was the fiction section, intended for older readers, and the children’s section.  Perks of Being a Wall Flower, Catcher in the Rye, and other coming-of-age novels were shelved with the regular fiction books.  But, Harry Potter was something new.  It was being read and enjoyed by audiences on both sides of the spectrum, and encouraging other writers to write towards this middle-ground audience.  Other books, predominately fantasy, began to make their way into a tiny section amongst the children’s books that was called Young Adult.

I remember this section appearing at the back of my local Borders bookstore.  There wasn’t a lot to it, but it slowly grew. And grew. And grew.  Young Adult is no longer as easily defined as it once was.  There are books intended for middle schoolers being shelved beside books for high schoolers, beside books written and intended for twenty-somethings and college students.

YA is not a genre.  It is no longer a productive term.  It no longer describes anything specific, no more than the term “genre fiction” actually describes anything.  As literature grows and changes, so should the terms and categories we use to describe it.

To that point, I don’t think I’m going to use the term “YA” anymore.  At least, not in my reviews.  I’ve already changed my formatting to instead list genre (romance, fantasy, scifi, contemporary, whatever) and then an age group, based on my personal impressions of the book’s tone and content.

I hope this will be more useful to prospective buyers and readers.

July Book Haul, and the Cursed Child Midnight Release Party

I don’t buy books often, but when I do I tend to go all out.  A few weeks ago, I placed an order on ThriftBooks and its been slowly trickling in, usually one book at a time.  I finally got all of the books from that order, and here they are:

wp-1469994121995.jpgThriftBooks is a great place to get cheap, good quality used books.  I didn’t spend more than $4 on any of these, and got free shipping.  Plus, with ThriftBooks, you get $5 back for every $50 you spend.

In addition to these books, I spent last night at the midnight release party for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child… And, having spent five hours in a bookstore, ended up buying MORE books! Because I have no self-restraint when it comes to books, and boyfriend let me go by myself. I promised him I wouldn’t buy a new set of the original seven HP books, and I did technically adhere to that promise.

Continue reading “July Book Haul, and the Cursed Child Midnight Release Party”

2016 Mid-Point Questionnaire

Technically, since this blog just began, I probably shouldn’t be doing this, but am doing so anyway because it looks like fun.

Best Book You’ve Read in 2016

This is easy!  I’m definitely going to have to go with A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah Maas.  It really blew me out of the water.

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Best Sequel You’ve Read in 2016

I don’t want to list the same book twice in a row, so I’m going to go with The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen.  It’s interesting, original, and really added a lot to its predecessor.

New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To

There’s actually a lot of candidates for this one.  As I Darken is definitely on my list, and I’m also seeing a lot of really good things about This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab.

Most Anticipated Book for the Second Half of the Year

Crooked Kingdom.  I mean, Fate of the Tearling comes out in November and I’ve definitely been waiting on that one longer, but Crooked Kingdom.  I fell fast and hard for Kaz, Inej, and the crew.  I need more.

Biggest Disappointment

I don’t even know if I’m even going to be able to finish Siege and Storm; reading it is like pulling teeth, which supremely sucks since I enjoyed Shadow and Bone and fucking loved Six of Crows.  Prudence was also a big let down.

Biggest Surprise

I guess it can’t really be helped.  A Court of Mist and Fury will just have to be on this list twice.  I was not expecting the book I got, at all.  I was really apprehensive going into the sequel, and so wowed with what I got.

Favorite New Author

Leigh Bardugo is obviously very talented, but Siege and Storm makes me wanna beat my head into something.  So I’ll go with either Sarah Maas or Erika Johansen.  Both gave me fantasy series that were phenomenal.

Newest Fictional Crush

Rhysand, obviously.  He was everything I wanted in a love interest and more.

Newest Favorite Character

Can I just say the entire Six of Crows ensemble?  Is that cheating?  I loved Kaz, Inej, and Mattias a lot.  Jesper and Weylan were just adorable and I ship it like crazy now.

Book that Made You Cry

I’m not really one to cry from reading?  I think if I was prone to that kind of thing, though, Landline by Rainbow Rowell would have done it.

Book That Made You Happy

Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens’ Agenda.  Reading it was a lot of fun, and the romance at the end was just so cute and fluffy.

Favorite Book to Film Adaption

I haven’t seen the BFG movie yet, but I’m going to say the BFG movie anyway.  Otherwise, I thought that The Giver movie did a really good job at capturing the essence of the book.  I know it came out a few years ago, but it was new to Netflix this summer.

Favorite Post You’ve Done So Far

Skipping, since none of my posts are even a month old.

Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year

I’m planning a trip to B&N at the end of the month.  I really like the cover of The Distance Between Lost and Found, which I picked up at Target on a whim and yet still haven’t read.

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What Book Do You Need to Read by the End of the Year

I have a ton of them, but I really want to get The Girl on the Train read before I see the movie.

TBR in August 2016

 

So I updated my Currently Reading list on GoodReads (I never got around to reading Graceling or The Iron King, which both needed to be returned to the library today), and decided while I was at it I’d let everyone know what I’m picked up at the library and am planning on reading in August.

(In no particular order)

    1. The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
      One of the girls I work with has recommended this to me with high praise.  Since we have a lot of the same taste in books, I asked to be put on the wait-list for it at the library and was told I could pick it up today.  I’ve heard crazy mixed reviews; it seems to be one of those books you either love or hate.
    2. The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury
      I’ve heard excellent things about this book, but mostly I picked it up on a whim.
    3. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
      I’ve been meaning to read this for such a long time, and finally went ahead and checked it out.  From what I understand from the synopsis, it is very different from what I usually read but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  I’ve heard great things about Patrick Ness.
    4. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
      I’m being super optimistic that I will like The Raven Boys (which is the next book I’m reading for July) and decided to go ahead and grab the sequel, since the library had it in.
    5. The Falconer by Elizabeth May
      Another book that I’ve heard excellent things about.  Someone told me this was for fans of Tamora Pierce’s Tortall Universe, and yes.  I’m a huge fan of those books.
    6. Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White
      I really want to read Kiersten White’s As I Darken but my library hasn’t gotten a copy in yet.  I noticed that they had this one, though, and decided to go with it.  I quick Google search gave me really conflicting reviews, with some people saying its written with elegance and wit and others bemoaning a lack of finesse and a hastily finished ending.  I’ve never read anything by the author, and hope I’m not disappointed.
    7. The Archived by Victoria Schwab
      This book has just such an interesting premise.  At this point, its hard to be truly unique and creative, and I’ve heard this story is unlike anything else out there.
    8. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
      I’m torn between actually wanting to read this book or not, but I checked it out and we’ll see how it goes.  The covers are intriguing, but the synopsis reveals absolutely nothing about the actual book and I don’t know what to expect or what this book is actually about.  But, it keeps popping up in all the rec lists that I see so I’ll give it a go.
    9. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
      I don’t want to burn myself out too much, reading just fantasy.  Despite it being my favorite genre, I can get tired of it.  So, I picked up a few contemporary authors I’ve heard a lot about but never read.
    10. This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
      This would be another of those contemporary books.  I have a friend that told me it was a crime against YA fiction that I’ve never read anything by Sarah Dessen.  I am still pretty iffy about reading this one, but I did promise her I’d try at least one book by Dessen this year.
    11. Sabriel by Garth Nix
      I’ve had this book on my TBR list for over a decade.  I loved Garth Nix’s Seventh Tower series when I was in middle school and always meant to read more of his work, yet somehow just… didn’t.  So I finally grabbed this off the shelf and sternly told myself I WILL read it.
    12. The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
      Another book that came as a recommendation from my coworker who recently finished reading it herself.  She texted me just a few days ago that she’d returned it to the library and that I needed to pick it up ASAP.  I did, and I’m sure I’ll have to endure her gripping at me to finish it all month.
    13. The Selection by Keira Cass
      I have mixed feelings about reading this book.  I hope that I like it, but I have a really bad feeling that I’m not going to.  I’m not expecting much, and my reluctance will probably push this book off to last.
    14. Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway
      The third contemporary novel I picked up.  I read a fantastic review of it by GoodReads user Emily May and decided that I just really needed to read it.  Unlike the other two books I picked up, this one isn’t a romance.
    15. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
      October is nearly here, and I’m starting to crave darker, creepier books.  I hope this one delivers.
    16. Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout
      I have a lot of Armentrout’s books on my TBR list and deciding where to start was really hard.  In the end, the library had Obsidian and did not have Half-Blood so they made the choice for me.

So, yeah, that’s a lot of books and I can’t actually promise that I will make it to all of them.  I still, after all, have eleven books to read in July and the month is more than halfway over.

If you’ve read any of the books on my list and have strong opinions to share, please do!  I started this blog as a way to find and talk with book lovers.  Please don’t be afraid to speak up.

Its been a few days….

Work has picked up, so I haven’t had as much free time this last week to read.  I’m also focusing on completing a writing challenge this month.  Still, I recently finished Throne of Glass so hopefully I’ll be able to finish the review for that either today or tomorrow

I’ve also been thinking about what kinds of things I can be doing on this blog besides reviews.  I like Tuesday Top Ten.  I’m thinking about something like Friday Favorites to discuss my favorite books, authors, and tropes?  But that wouldn’t be every Friday.  Author spotlights maybe?  I’m not sure.  Still looking for ideas.  Still feel like I’m flying blind here.

 

 

Currently Reading: Siege and Storm
Books Read This Year: 69