Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September Recap + October Stuff

Goodbye September! Hello October, my favorite month of the year! 

(Okay, I'm not saying hello just yet. At the time of writing and posting this, I still have about two and half hours left in September.)

September Recap

Reading Wise
It was a nice reading month! The Young Elites and Losing Hope were by far my favorite books of the month. Terrier and The Mirror King were pretty great as well. 



How I Did on My Goals
  • Reach an 88% ratio in Netgalley. I WILL do it this time.
Haha, nope. My ratio started out as 83%, went down a bit, and now it's at 83% again.
  • Read as many review copies and ARCs as I can. (This is a goal for every month.)
I read eight! I also DNFed another and made some progress in three others (that I'm currently reading).
  • Actually go through with some of my discussion post (or other blogging) ideas. I abandon too many of them (I think one of my abandoned ideas is about my habit to abandon ideas).
  • Explore the blogosphere more. This means checking my Bloglovin' feed, commenting back, commenting randomly, sharing other bloggers posts, getting to know other bloggers, etc. 
I kinda did this. I did some commenting. I also joined a Pinterest group board to help me keep in the habit of at least reading posts. 
  • Read at least one other Mistborn book.
Didn't happen. :(
  • Do not add a bigger number of review copies to my TBR than the number of review copies I finish (or DNF) this month.
I finished (or DNFed) nine review copies, and added twelve new review copies to my TBR this month. However, two of the ARCs I read/DNFed were ones I added to my TBR this month. One of the books I added to my TBR is technically not on it yet (I'm reviewing a book for a blog tour, but haven't received it yet). Also, I'm in the middle of three e-ARCs. So . . . I say I reached this goal. ☺

October Stuff

Goals
  • End the month with a higher Netgalley ratio than I have at this moment (83%).
  • Don not add a larger number of review copies to my TBR than the number of books (including finished copies) I read or DNF this month.
  • Work on balancing blogging, school, club officer stuff, tv shows, socializing, etc. Stay organized, too.
  • Keep my reading log up to date. I just started keeping track of what I read each day in a notebook and I want to stick to it.
  • Post some more lists (List Love).
  • Explore the blogosphere more than I did last month. (This mainly refers to reading and commenting on blog posts.)
What I'm Looking Forward To This Month
  • First of all, my birthday is on October 19th! I plan to have something fun on my blog that day.
  • I'm going to be participating in this thing called the BFF Blog Hop. I'll have a fun post and giveaway for that.
  • So many tv shows!! I'm really interested in a lot right now. I'm definitely going to keep up with How to Get Away with Murder and Scream Queens. Project Runway and America's Next Top Model still have a bit left to go, so I'm going to be watching those every week. I also want to try Heroes Reborn and Blood and Oil.
  • I'm going to Seattle for a conference right before my birthday! It'll be my first time going to Washington.
  • A busy month. I'm not joking about this. I just spent the last three (almost four) months without that much to do, and I really like having a lot of stuff to keep my busy now that I'm back in school.
Six Books I'm the Most Likely to Read
There are soooo many books I want to read this month, but I know I won't even get to half of them. These are ones I want to get to the most, though.

How did September go for you? What are you looking forward to in October?

Mini Review Round Up ~ Your Voice is All I Hear, Walk on Earth a Stranger, and His Work of Art

Your Voice is All I Hear by Leah Sheier

Series: standalone
Genre: YA contemporary
Publication Date: September 1st, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Goodreads Description
I was the one he trusted. I was the one he loved, the only one who believed him, even when his own mother had locked him up and thrown away the key.

And now, I was going to pass down the white tiled hallway, knock on his doctor’s office door, slam his secret notebook on her desk and make her read it, make her understand what he was hiding, make her see what only I had seen.


April won’t let Jonah go without a fight.

He’s her boyfriend—her best friend. She’ll do anything to keep him safe. But as Jonah slips into a dark depression, trying to escape the traumatic past that haunts him, April is torn. To protect Jonah, she risks losing everything: family, friends, an opportunity to attend a prestigious music school. How much must she sacrifice? And will her voice be loud enough to drown out the dissenters—and the ones in his head? 
I became interested in it because of the cover, but the description made it sound like a book I would really like reading.
Source: I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I'm going to keep this short because I honestly have no idea how to review Your Voice is All I Hear. It took me a really, really long time to power through this one (about a month). Throughout the entire time I was reading it, I was in a please-get-all-sad-books-away-from-me reading mood (and just a sad mood in general). That time affected how connected I was to the story, but it didn't affect the impact it had on me. This contemporary was both incredibly heartbreaking and eye opening . Part of it had to do with the fact that I had never read a book with such a big focus on schizophrenia. The effects it had on Jonah and every single person in his life kinda just . . . punched me in the gut. The other part had to do with April. She was so young and fell so deeply for Jonah so quickly. She held on very tightly to him and the idea of their relationship--it felt like too desperate of a grasp that she was trying to keep on their relationship. It took her a long time to understand what was going on and to loosen that grasp a little. I don't really understand why, but characters that go through all that make me unbearably sad. Between both of those parts (the schizophrenia focus and April), this book was sure tough to get through during a time when the only books I was in the mood for were ones that made me escape reality.

Overall, Your Voice is All I Hear is a definitely must read for readers that like to read books featuring mental illness. If you intend to read this one, prepare for an emotional, eye opening read.

2015 challenges this book counts towards:
Netgalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge
Dive into Diversity

Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

Series: The Gold Seer #1
Genre: YA historical fiction/fantasy
Publication Date: September 22nd, 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Goodreads Description: 
The first book in a new trilogy from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Rae Carson. A young woman with the magical ability to sense the presence of gold must flee her home, taking her on a sweeping and dangerous journey across Gold Rush–era America.

Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety? Rae Carson, author of the acclaimed Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, dazzles with this new fantasy that subverts both our own history and familiar fantasy tropes.

Walk on Earth a Stranger, the first book in this new trilogy, introduces—as only Rae Carson can—a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance. Includes a map and author’s note on historical research. 
I thought this one looked really cool. Plus, I've heard really good things about Rae Carson's books.
Source: I received an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Walk on Earth a Stranger was a slower historical fiction with some fantasy elements. A lot of features a lot of travel and struggles of the journey to California during the Gold Rush. There was sickness, hunger, heat, heavy loads, injuries, hunting, missing people, religion, different ethnicities, family, childbirth, death—there was constantly a new issue popping up. The main character (Leah/Lee) faced a lot of personal struggles, too. She didn’t want to feel like a piece of property—something to be owned—but hated having to lie about her identity. Her character was my favorite thing about this book. Not much else (besides the struggles of the travel) stood out to me. I don’t have much to say, which is disappointing. I still liked what I read as a whole, but as for specifics like character growth, other characters, themes, plot, etc. . . . I just wasn’t as impressed as I wanted to be. Overall, Walk on Earth a Stranger was okay. I’ll probably read the sequel because I’m curious, but I don’t feel like I absolutely MUST read the rest of the series.


2015 challenges this book counts towards:
Netgalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge

His Work of Art by Shannyn Shroeder

Series: Hot & Nerdy #4
Genre: NA contemporary
Publication Date: October 27th, 2015
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Goodreads Description: 
Reese Carter is definitely not your average college girl. She'd prefer to spend Saturday nights playing Hero's Crusade than attending a wild frat party on campus. When she bands together with Adam, fellow comic enthusiast and illustrator, it appears that Reese has formed a dream team sure to propel her writing into the comic hall of fame.

Adam Hayes has never met a girl like Reese. She's sassy, smart, and loves talking comics, although he can't see why she'd choose DC over Marvel. He's thrilled to finally put his artistic chops to use in their upcoming comic project. But. this relationship is strictly professional. Or so he tells himself. When the two combine forces, they churn out magic in more ways than they had planned; they never expected to develop a steamy romantic sub-plot of their own...
It looked like a really cute novella, and when I requested it on Netgalley, I was looking for great looking New Adult books to read.
Source: I received an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I'm conflicted. I'm a sucker for romance, so the great chemistry the two characters had when lust was involved (or when they were in the middle of an argument) was a big plus for me. It makes me reluctant to say I didn't like this novella, but it really was the only good part. (That's a lie. I liked that the characters were working on a comic, but that could've been done so much better.)The rest of the story was so flat--so underdeveloped--so the few good scenes (the romantic/lust filled ones) didn't seem to fit in. The plot was weak and cliche. There seemed to be more attention given to getting through the events than building great characters and bonds, so they ended up falling short. The idea of the story was entertaining, but it didn't turn out that way. And lastly, there didn't seem to be much of any real emotion. Other than the moments of lust or anger, which only happened a couple times, the characters didn't seem to be feeling much of anything. That especially was very disappointing.


Overall, His Work of Art is a sweet looking novella that could've been executed so much better. If you're looking for an outstanding NA novella, I suggest looking for a different one to read.


2015 challenges this book counts towards:
Netgalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (66) ~ A Colorful Thriller

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

What am I waiting on?

Shade Me by Jennifer Brown
January 19th, 2016 from Katherine Tegen Books

Goodreads description:
Nikki Kill does not see the world like everyone else. In her eyes, happiness is pink, sadness is a mixture of brown and green, and lies are gray. Thanks to a rare phenomenon called synesthesia, Nikki’s senses overlap, in a way that both comforts and overwhelms her.

Always an outsider, just one ‘D’ shy of flunking out, Nikki’s life is on the fast track to nowhere until the night a mysterious call lights her phone up bright orange—the color of emergencies. It’s the local hospital. They need Nikki to identify a Jane Doe who is barely hanging on to life after a horrible attack.

The victim is Peyton Hollis, a popular girl from Nikki’s school who Nikki hardly knows. One thing is clear: Someone wants Peyton dead. But why? And why was Nikki’s cell the only number in Peyton’s phone?

As she tries to decipher the strange kaleidoscope of clues, Nikki finds herself thrust into the dark, glittering world of the ultra-rich Hollis family, and drawn towards Peyton’s handsome, never-do-well older brother Dru. While Nikki’s colors seem to help her unravel the puzzle, what she can’t see is that she may be falling into a trap. The only truth she can be sure of is that death is a deep, pulsing crimson.

Shade Me is award-winning author Jennifer Brown’s first book in a thrilling suspense series about Nikki Kill.
Why am I waiting on it?
I'm. So. Excited. Jennifer Brown (a fantastic author) writing a thriller/suspense (a genre I love) featuring a character with synesthesia (something I read in one other book a really long time and have been wanting more of)? Sign me up, please! I just hope that everything is handled well and the story is exciting. 

That's my WoW this week! What's yours?

Bookish Serendipity Co. Launch ~ Staying Organized As A Blogger And Entrepreneur



Who loves Etsy? Handmade bookish jewelry? Organization? Well, you'll probably love what's included in this post! Jessica @ Bookish Serendipity just launched her Etsy shop yesterday and she's running a blog tour in celebration. I'm so excited to share one of her guest posts, as well as some info about her shop, to you all today. She has some pretty good organization tips.☺

Enjoy the post!

bsclaunch

First of all, thank you so much to Kaitlin for letting me stop by her blog today! I'm a teen blogger and entrepreneur (as well as high school student!) and today I'm going to be talking about staying organized and juggling all the different roles you may be playing. Everyone who has ever run a blog knows that it is a lot of work, from replying to comments to writing content to taking photos to networking, and more. Sometimes it even reminds you of running a business and since starting Bookish Serendipity Co, my business where I sell affordable jewelry and accessories inspired by books, I can definitely confirm that this is true. 

With so much going on, how do manage everything without going crazy? One word: organization. Here are a few tips and methods that work for me: 

1. Keep everything separate 

I have specific areas for my blog work, my jewelry-making, and my schoolwork. All of my blog posts can easily be drafted and saved on my Wordpress account, and the only physical objects I use for blogging are my props and camera, which are kept in a labelled box unless I'm using them. Jewelry-making is a lot messier, and I usually have my crafting space covered in wires and beads and chains. Still, I have one desk that I use for jewelry-making and nothing else, so that things won't get mixed up with another project. 

2. Checklists are your friend 

I'm one of those people who are obsessed with organizers and schedules, and they work really well for me. Each week, I write myself a to-do list of little things that need to be done by Saturday, and work to accomplish those goals. The tasks can be anything like: · Brainstorm for next month's newsletter· Write two blog posts· Photograph 3 jewelry pieces· Order additional mailing supplies. 

I've found this to be tremendously helpful, as well as rewarding when I finally finish the tasks. 

3. Plan ahead 

When I first decided that I wanted to start Bookish Serendipity Co, one of the first things I did was write a plan for the business, both short-term (2015 goals) and long-term (where I want to take Bookish Serendipity Co in the future). 

It's also important to be prepared in case to worst (or best) case scenario happens. It's unlikely, but what if? Even if that particular scenario doesn't happen, being prepared helps with any little bumps along the road.

If there is anything that blogging and running Bookish Serendipity Co has taught me so far, it's the importance of organization and planning. Being organized helps quickly resolve any potential problems, and makes everything about my different roles so much more enjoyable. Basically: it rocks! 

Bonus: I'm offering extra bonus freebies to the first 25 customers at Bookish Serendipity Co. I'm actually going to have a hard time sending these freebies out, because I love them so much. Good luck!


clicktoshop




You also want to know about the jewelry, right?

Here are some of the items Jessica is selling! Their prices range from $10 to $12 (US dollars). Below are two of the necklaces in her shop right now. There are a lot of others, including ones inspired by Red Queen, Shadow and Bone, Rook, Cinder, and Cruel Beauty.

And here are the earrings! They're inspired by The Fault in Our Stars and Throne of Glass

About Jessica Bernt

Jessica is a reader, blogger, and entrepreneur. She runs the store Bookish Serendipity Co. on Etsy, where she sells affordable literary-inspired jewelry and accessories for book lovers. Jessica lives in Canada with her family, dog, and a never-ending TBR pile.

About Bookish Serendipity Co.

At Bookish Serendipity Co, you can find a variety of jewelry pieces and accessories inspired by books that are both affordable and beautiful. Bookish Serendipity Co is run by me, a teen blogger and entrepreneur. All pieces are handmade for you, perfect for everyday wear. Looking to share your passion for books with the world? Bookish Serendipity Co is for you.

Links

Shop / Twitter / Pinterest / Blog / Email

How do you stay organized? What do you think of Jessica's Etsy shop?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Review ~ Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Series: Six of Crows #1
Genre: YA contemporary
Publication Date: September 29th, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Goodreads Description: 
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first. 
It's Leigh Bardugo. Why wouldn't I have read it?
Source: I was gifted an ARC! Thank you to Montana.☺

Six of Crows was so much FUN. I loved the heistiness of it (you know, the feel of heists). It reminded me of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. It sometimes felt like the Grisha version of it!

The twists were great. Some build up for a long time. Some appear out of nowhere. Some are even staged to fool the reader, though the characters planned events to turn that way. This made the book even more fun to read.

I was already familiar with the Grisha world, but I must say I loved being in it again and learning more about it! It's a rich and well developed world can captivate most of its readers.

The romance was amazing, yet . . . there really wasn't any actual romance. It was more like the seeds of it--the development of interest, connection, and chemistry. I found three shippable couples in this book. THREE. I'm rooting for Inez and Kaz the most, though. The other two can fail and I wouldn't be quite as torn up about it.

The characters were by far my favorite part. Each had his or her own reasons to be in on the heist. Each had his or her own struggles and goals as well.

The six big characters listed individually:

  • I absolutely LOVED Kaz. He was the one I was the most eager to see grow. I liked his challenges the most.
  • Inez was my favorite! I loved her chapters the most. She was an interesting character and I always worried about more than anyone else. Plus, I liked seeing Kaz from her chapters--seeing what she thought of him. 
  • Jesper was a joker. I really liked his commentary. His struggles intrigued me.
  • Matthias infuriated me so much!! He was great, but he also took has the longest way to go for me. I loved him just like all the the rest, but he still upset me.
  • Nina was a pretty fun character! I loved her lively personality.
  • My least favorite of all of the six was Wylan. He just didn't stand out to me very much. I actually almost forgot to include him in this list. Whoops.
Overall, Six of Crows was an amazing book. It's also a very memorable one. Certain scenes made a huge impression! I can remember a lot of what happened, which made me love the book so much more. This is a definite must read for fantasy fans. Pick it up! Buy the incredibly awesome hardcover or borrow it from your local library. You won't regret it.


2015 challenges this book counts towards:
105 Challenge
Flights of Fantasy

SST ~ Brianna Shrum Compares Peter Pan and James Hook

Sunday Street Team is organized by Nori @ ReadWriteLove28. SST is a like a cross between a blog tour and street team for a couple different titles each month. As the title suggests, the posts go up on Sundays!

Go here to learn more about SST.


One of the featured authors for September is Brianna Shrum! Her book, Never Never, is a Peter Pan retelling--with a twist. It's about James Hook! 

I asked Brianna to compare Peter Pan and James Hook because I love asking about characters, especially when they're too seemingly opposites. Hopefully you like reading her post. I found it interesting to read.☺

Oooh, this is such an interesting question. I think my first instinct here is to say that they’re complete opposites, and that’s true in a way. James is a man, after all, and Peter is this perpetual boy. Plus, they hate each other with every fiber of their beings. But I think that the best, the deepest rivalries often stem from the hero and villain having something terribly in common in their core.
Ultimately, who they are is defined by this: they both grew up without a childhood. Peter never really grew up at all, staying in this phase of boyhood forever, and James (at least in this incarnation of the story) had his violently robbed from him. So both characters live in this world without parents, without authority or boundaries, without reality, even. So they wind up people who do things for themselves, think of themselves first (after all, no one else ever has), and let themselves be completely ruled by their emotions. Neither of them has ever really had to live otherwise.
Both Peter and James are driven, single-mindedly, for their own interests in everything they do, every relationship they have, and they both feel deeply, passionately. Both of them live hard and fast, and utterly opposed to one another. It’s that old unstoppable force meets an immovable object thing, I guess. (This is a bit of an issue since their spirits have such commonality, but their goals are the opposite: Pan wants to bend the world to be his, to create this home for himself, and James just wants to go back to old one.)
They are two sides of the same coin, I think, Pan and Hook. Living off the same core, but unable to ever really see eye to eye.

Title: Never Never
Author: Brianna Shrum
Publication Date: September 22nd, 2015
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press

Goodreads Description: 
James Hook is a child who only wants to grow up.

When he meets Peter Pan, a boy who loves to pretend and is intent on never becoming a man, James decides he could try being a child—at least briefly. James joins Peter Pan on a holiday to Neverland, a place of adventure created by children’s dreams, but Neverland is not for the faint of heart. Soon James finds himself longing for home, determined that he is destined to be a man. But Peter refuses to take him back, leaving James trapped in a world just beyond the one he loves. A world where children are to never grow up.

But grow up he does.

And thus begins the epic adventure of a Lost Boy and a Pirate.

This story isn’t about Peter Pan; it’s about the boy whose life he stole. It’s about a man in a world that hates men. It’s about the feared Captain James Hook and his passionate quest to kill the Pan, an impossible feat in a magical land where everyone loves Peter Pan.

Except one.
add to goodreads

Brianna Shrum lives in Colorado with her high-school-sweetheart turned husband and her two little boys. She's been writing since she could scrawl letters, and has worked with teens since she graduated out of teenager-hood, either in the writing classes she taught, or working with the youth group. Brianna digs all things YA, all things geeky, superhero-y, gamery, magical, and strange.

Her debut YA, Never Never, releases in September of this year. Her second YA, How to Make Out, releases in Fall 2016. She'd totally love to connect with you, so come say hi on her website or Twitter!

Visit her Website at briannashrum.com
Follow her on Twitter @briannashrum

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (83) ~ Apparently I Wanted NA Books

This is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we share what books we have recently added to our physical or virtual shelves. I like to use the meme to also give a recap of the week's posts.
PRINT
Carol Riggs had a book signing at my local bookstore! That makes her the second author I've met in person.☺ 


EBOOKS

Freebies

For Review
(There's a lot of hand holding going on in this post. :D)

Thank you to Abigail Strom, Dahlia Adler, Sourcebooks Fire, Paper Lantern Lit, and Netgalley for these review copies!

#OTSPSecretSister
Thank you to Stephanie @ Reading is Better with Cupcakes for these super cute items! My favorite thing is the Alice in Wonderland notebook, which I'm kinda obsessed with. I'm making it a reading notebook (with a reading log in the front and TBR lists in the back). It's proving to be very useful.☺

Posts

Life
My break is almost over. :( I'm actually looking forward to a more structured schedule because I've been feeling very scattered without one lately. But . . . you know. I going back to homework.

That's it for me this week! How about you? How has your week been?