Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Swoon-Worthy Books I Have Yet to Read

Books that bring all the swoons can never do me wrong. For this week's Top Ten Tuesday, I decided to stalk all my friends on Goodreads and find their favorite cutesy, romantic, smushy, and/or lovey-dovey reads I haven't picked up yet. If there are other books you'd like to add to this list, please let me know! I want to joyfully flail and be giddy with you all :p

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
Everyone who has read this says it's exactly like Prince William and Kate Middleton's story, and I'm all for it. SIGN ME UP.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
I'm not sure what to say about this one because I know that it's sad and I might cry buckets. But it might be really sweet and romantic? The deathly combination ...

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
"Oliver is British" *stops reading summary and adds to list*

Play On by Michelle Smith
After reading First & Then by Emma Mills, I have been a sucker for stories that pair sports and romance together. I hope this book is a grand slam! (Yes, I did just say that. Okay I'm done.)

Just One Day by Gayle Forman
It sounds a bit crazy that someone would ditch her plans to travel with a guy she literally just met, but crazy is fun ... and I like fun.

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Regan, from Peruse Project: "I AM GUSHING FROM THE CUTENESS" (Goodreads)

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
I feel like the time for talking about this book has long passed, but I'm still fairly interested in reading it! One of the things I can appreciate already is the emphasis on family.

Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
I read a chapter or two right before summer began (last year) and thought the main character was a bit too childish. To all my friends in their twenties: is this worth a read? I really want to like it.

Not in the Script by Amy Finnegan
Amy is one of the sweetest human beings ever, I can't believe I haven't read this one yet. I can totally picture this as a Disney Channel Original Movie!
What is the swooniest book you've read? (And if you want a challenge — what is the swooniest *non-contemporary* book you've read? I know all of my picks are set in the real world, so what's something different?)

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan (book review)

Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan (Reign of Shadows #1)

Young Adult // Genre(s)Fantasy, Romance
Publication Date: February 9, 2016
Publisher: HarperCollins (HarperTeen)
Format: ARC* // 292 pages
Rating: 2.5 stars

To be completely honest, this book left me scratching my head. I literally finished the last sentence and said, "WHAT. THE. HECK." It took me a while to get into it, due to the slow beginning and unremarkable writing, and then the ending takes the story into a whole, different territory ...

Luna, the forgotten princess of Relhok, has been hiding in an isolated tower with her two guardians after her parents are killed and the world becomes covered in darkness. After an encounter with a mysterious boy named Fowler, trouble arrives. Now, Luna must leave the tower and fight to stay alive.

Despite her circumstances, Luna is brave and headstrong — but perhaps too much for her own good? She has been sheltered her whole life and while she knows how dangerous it is outside, she still makes a lot of foolish decisions. In contrast, Fowler is very guarded and contemplative. Past experiences hold him back, and he refuses to let his emotions guide him. I like the idea of two very different people connecting with each other, but I'm not convinced of their "chemistry." Fowler spends half the book ignoring her, and then he wants to kiss her? How does that make any sense?!

Another issue I had with Reign of Shadows was the quick dismissal of some secondary characters. Many of them crossed paths with both Luna and Fowler, but there was no significance (as we know of so far) in their interactions. All may be revealed in book two, but I don't think it helps to keep so much a mystery. This is why I felt so confused at the end — something crazy happens but I didn't know the characters enough to care.

I will admit that it got interesting in the last half (and strangely enough, it left me curious and wanting more!) but there are plenty of other books I'd recommend over this one.

* Thank you to my dear friend Alia at HarperCollins for sending me this book! I am so very thankful :)

Monday, February 1, 2016

January 2016 Recap

January was a rough month for a number of reasons, but I can happily say that I'm okay now and can look forward to all the things that are happening in February. For the past couple of months, I've felt like I am just waiting for a new job so my life can continue on. Luckily, I made it to the second interview for a position at a company I'm really interested in! I was told that I'd hear back by early next week at the latest, so I'm crossing my fingers for this opportunity :)

There were a couple of days that weren't terrible though, so I am really thankful I can one day look back at this month and think of only the good things.

  • Spending New Year's Eve at Disneyland — it's really not something I would recommend (there were SO many people) but it was fun to count down and celebrate right after riding Hyperspace Mountain.
  • Attending NightLife — California's Academy of Sciences holds an event every Thursday night for those over 21, so I decided to join a couple of my friends going on the 7th. We got to watch a show at the Planetarium, observe jellyfish, and experience San Francisco's two biggest earthquakes in a simulator.
  • Making minestrone — I know this one is kind of silly, but minestrone's my favorite soup and I couldn't not add it. My boyfriend came over to cook for my family again and we followed a Food Network recipe! It smelled so good and was delicious too.
  • LA Dance Magic (LADM) — My boyfriend's sister is a dancer, so we decided to support her and watch her compete! I am probably the world's most terrible dancer, so I'm always excited to attend these things. And by that, I mean watching people do things I 100% cannot do :p

Favorites: First & Then by Emma Mills, The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

Books read in January: 6
Pages read in January: 1,959

Seriously ... I'm Kidding is the first audiobook I have ever listened to, and I found it to be just okay. I'm generally a fan of Ellen DeGeneres and her show (though not a huge one) but it wasn't what I was expecting. First & Then and Reign of Shadows reviews are coming very soon (sorry for not posting any in January!) so you can look forward to that. But spoiler alert: I LOVED FIRST & THEN SO MUCH.

Poison Princess was another I listened to on audiobook, and it was pretty bad. I was cringing the whole way through. Thankfully, I smartened up after reading PP and chose a book I knew I would love — and that, I did. I flew through The Winner's Crime. It was beautifully written but a painful read. Do not read when you are emotional.

Lumberjanes, Vol. 2: Friendship to the Max
I wasn't sure how I felt about this series after reading the first volume, but Friendship to the Max was fairly enjoyable. Whereas the first one left me in a bit of confusion, this one tied up a lot of loose ends. I would highly recommend reading the first and second volumes back-to-back, since it feels like the same story arc. There wasn't anything I disliked, but there wasn't much I liked either. The best thing going for this series is the emphasis on friendship, which is displayed very well in all the characters.

Alex + Ada, Vol. 2
A guy's grandma buys him a girl robot to use and fall in love with — how strange is that? But what makes it interesting is that Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn explore the idea of robots being more than just robots. What would happen if they could think for themselves? The art is nice but not spectacular, and I felt there were parts when I was just waiting for things to happen. I will, however, finish the series (I think the third volume is the last, anyway.) It'll be interesting because there's still a lot more to the story.

  • First book purchased this year = Truthwitch. I wanted to go and get it signed at the PassTruth tour event in my city, but I had previous obligations and wasn't able to attend. Still, I'm happy knowing that most readers love it so I'll get around to it one day!
  • I won a Twitter giveaway (hosted by Sarah from What Sarah Read) and won these cute little CRAFTEDVAN BOOKMARKS!!!
  • Sense & Sensibility ended up at my door because 1) it plays a part in First & Then by Emma Mills, and 2) it's a read-along book in March for Reads with Friends :)

I meant to start the year off strong, but I didn't post anything aside from my bookish + blogging goals for the year. Yikes. But coming soon: Love-a-Thon (!!!), at least two reviews, and videos!

  • New Girl — If you need a great show to watch, please start New Girl. You will thank me later. I've loved it since it first aired, but I stopped after season three for no reason. Netflix has now released the entire fourth season, so you know ... I binge-watched that. Of course. I love all the quirky characters, and it is a show I can (and will) watch over and over again.
  • All I Ask by Adele — I love a good song accompanied by the piano. Part of the reason I keep listening to this one is because it's fun to sing, but also THAT KEY CHANGE. And just how perfectly it builds.
  • Star Wars — Yes, yes. I've finally taken the time to watch the Star Wars movies. I still have yet to watch Episode III, but they've all been great. Baby Anakin is so cute (no, Google autocorrect, I meant so with three o's. It's supposed to be "SOOO" instead of so, okay?) and Jar Jar Binks is WEIRD!!!
  • And now that we're talking about Star Wars, I have a lot of feelings about this Star Wars in 99 Seconds video. Jon Cozart is already my obsession all year round, so him + this song = everything.

Books I'm looking forward to this month:
  • Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys — a story that takes place during World War II
  • Starflight by Melissa Landers — a space opera? I'm not sure about the opera part but I'm all about space right now so it doesn't matter to me, I'll read it anyway
  • The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine — a Snow White retelling
  • The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury — an Aladdin retelling (that Sarah from What Sarah Read already read and LOVED!)
  • Amulet, Book 7: Firelight by Kazu Kibuishi — another addition to an amazing fantasy graphic novel series
Okay guys, I'm done talking in type so it's your turn — what was your favorite book this past month? Did you buy any new releases? HOW MANY OF YOU WATCH NEW GIRL?! What are you planning to read in February?

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

6 Bookish + Blogging Goals for 2016

If you know anything about me, you'll know that keeping resolutions is the number one thing I cannot do. I think I've finally realized it's probably because I don't go much into detail about exactly what it is I want to accomplish. So today, I've come up with six solid goals that are realistic and achievable. Here's to hoping this year is different!

1. Read 70 books from my shelf.
I've been back and forth so many times about setting a number vs. just reading as little or as much as I want, but my boyfriend has recently agreed to read The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss with me if I commit to finishing 70 of the unread books on my shelf this year. He doesn't read at all, so this is something I'm going to have to say yes to!

2. Choose books I am 100% interested in.
Even though I've set a number goal, I still want to be selective with what I read. There is a lot of pressure to read popular books, newly-released books, debut books, etc. but I would like to ignore it and simply enjoy what I pick up. After all, isn't that the point of reading?

3. Continue to document what I read in my book journal.
I love to keep track of my favorite quotes and passages for the books I read, and this year will be no different. I'd like to add something new though — when I complete each book, I want to jot down my immediate reactions.

4. Review every book I read.
Whether it's a post on this blog or just a couple of sentences on Goodreads, I want to make sure I'm sharing my opinion and not just providing a star rating. I have issues explaining how I feel, so I want to challenge myself to think and write more.

5. Refrain from participating in reading challenges.
This one may sound a little weird, but I know my reading habits. There are a lot of books I want to read (I'm sure you feel the same way) and I want to keep my options open. I think this would be fun for me in the future, but it would be way too stressful for me right now :(

6. Start a favorites page.
I've read a good amount of books in the past two years, so I want to share the ones I especially love. I've been playing around with the formatting, but I'm not sure how I would like to present it yet!

So there are my goals! Now I'd like to know — what is one bookish/blogging resolution you want to focus on this year, and what are the steps you will take to achieve it?
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