Posted in General Information

Hogwarts House Recommendations #1: GRYFFINDOR!

Hello!

I’ve been wanting to do a series of recommendations based off the Hogwarts houses for a while now, and I’m finally ready to start! Since I am a Gryffindor, I thought it only fitting that I start with giving some recommendations to fellow Gryffindors. Of course, you don’t have to be a Gryffindor to love these books, but I think you might especially love them if you are a Gryffindor. According to Harry Potter Wiki, “The Gryffindor house emphasises the traits of courage as well as “daring, nerve, and chivalry,” and thus its members are generally regarded as brave, though sometimes to the point of recklessness. They can also be short-tempered.” Here are five books that either embody these traits, or have characters who I strongly relate to Gryffindor, and that I think all Gryffindors will love (or at least thoroughly enjoy). ūüôā

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A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue¬†by Mackenzie Lee

Henry Montague (Monty), our main character in this book, is undoubtedly a Gryffindor in my mind. He is rebellious, challenges authority, and defies the social conventions that surround him. On top of it all, much of this book deals with some pretty heavy topics, mostly revolving on Monty becoming brave enough to face his demons, both interior and exterior.

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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Here we have another book where the characters embody the traits of a true Gryffindor. All of our main characters – Liesel, Mama, Papa, Max, and Rudy, all show the bravery, courage, and daring that I associate with Gryffindors. The way these characters are brave enough to defy the Nazi government, standing up for what they believe in, even if it’s just in small, subtle ways, earns this book a spot on this list. Plus, I’m a Gryffindor, and this may be my favorite book of all time.

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Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

This one is a bit more abstract. I associate this book with Gryffindor not as much because of the characters (who I actually feel align more with Hufflepuff), but rather with the overall message of the book itself. This book is about taking chances and risks; it’s about going for what you want no matter what. It’s about never letting anything get in the way of your happiness, and to always be brave enough to chase your dreams.

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Again, this one is more about the overall message of the book. However, I also feel like our main character, Starr, is a Gryffindor as well. She’s brave, strong, and proud. Despite everything the world has thrown at her, she isn’t afraid to stand up for what she believes in. She’s not afraid to fight for what’s right, even when it seems like the whole world is working against her.

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History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

Ok, so this is a bit of a bonus one, because I have it on here for a different reason than all the other books. Our two main characters (who are boyfriends) are named Griffin, and Theodore. So, their ship name? You got it. It’s Griffin-dore. Of course I had to put is on this list. On top of that, I think Griffin is pretty brave. Throughout the book he must face the reality of Theo’s death, and you have to be pretty brave to do that, especially when you’re mostly on your own.

 

Do you agree with my choices? What books do you associate with Gryffindor? Tell me in the comments!

-Sky

Posted in Monthly TBR

TBR: Booktube-a-thon!

Hello!

So this is the first year that I’m participating in Booktube-a-thon, and I am SO excited. If you’ve never heard of Booktube-a-thon, it’s a week-long readathon hosted by Ariel Bissett over on YouTube. ¬†You can check out the information for this readathon here, but this year it’s happening from July 24-30.

There are seven challenges that go along with the overall goal of reading as much as you can during the week, so I’m basing my TBR around these challenges. Since I’m going to be working next week I’m not entirely sure how much time I’m going to have to read, but I’m shooting for all seven challenges! Here’s my TBR for my first ever Booktube-a-thon!

1. Read a book with a person on the cover 

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I am so excited to read this one. I’ve heard such amazing things about it, and it’s #ownvoices rep, so it’s even more awesome.

2. Read a hyped book

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I’ve been meaning to read this book for the past few months, and it’s definitely hyped on Booktube and in PLENTY of blogs as well. So, I’m hoping to pick it up during the week.

3. Finish a book in 1 day. 

For this one, I’m not actually sure which book I’m going to read. I’m definitely going to make this one an audiobook, so I can listen to it while I’m at work (yes, I have an awesome job where I can listen to music/podcasts/audiobooks). An 8-hour work day is a great opportunity to get through an ~8 hour audiobook, so I just have to pick which one I wan to listen to.

4. Read about a character who is very different from you. 

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I’m really excited to read this book, not least because our main character, Rishi, is definitely very different from me.

5. Read a book completely outside. 

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This is a non-fiction book about an amazing and brilliant doctor who died at a young age due to stage four lung cancer. He wrote this book, and was unable to finish it before he died. I feel like this is a really good book to complete this challenge; I can just read it outside and take the time to appreciate the world around me, and not take it all for granted.

6. Read a cover-buy book. 

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This one wasn’t technically a cover-buy, since I mostly bought it because I read and loved Nicola Yoon’s first book,¬†Everything Everything, but I picked this one because the cover is absolutely gorgeous, and¬†Everything Everything¬†was mostly a cover-buy.

7. Read 7 books. 

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So, to complete all seven challenges, I had to pick one more book. Yes, I am WAY behind in reading this, I know. So, that’s why I’m hoping to read it during this readathon. I know I’m probably going to fly through it, and it’s time I caught up with this series.

 

Are you going to participate in Booktube-a-thon? What books are you going to read? Would anyone be interested in doing a 24-hour readathon with me during the week?  Let me know in the comments!

-Sky

Posted in Discussion

Discussion: Disappointing Finales

Hello!

So, I’m sure we’ve all read series that made us fall in love with them, only to completely disappoint us by the last book. There are a bunch that I’ve read over the past few years, but the most recent one for me is definitely¬†The Chronicles of Narnia.

The first few books in the series are so magical and innocent. As a child I completely fell in love with the world of Narnia, especially since I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe before I read Harry Potter. I was so envious of the Pevensies, and their magical land where they could be kings and queens.

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Then, the last two books happened. There was such a huge shift in the tone and the message of the books, and it was impossible to ignore the incredibly racist and sexist undertones running through the narrative. I was so confused. Where did all my innocent babies go?

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I think the only way I can cope is to pretend the last two books don’t exist. I’ll stick with¬†The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe¬†and¬†Prince Caspian,¬†thanks. You can’t make me face reality, nope! Narnia is fine, and you can’t convince me otherwise.¬†I’ll just go hide in my wonderful little fantasy world, now. Bye!

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What do you do when a series disappoints you? Have you read all of The Chronicles of Narnia? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

-Sky

 

Posted in book review

Review: How to Be Happy

9781925240344-how-to-be-happy-by-david-burtonHow to Be Happy: A memoir of love, sex, and teenage confusion by David Burton

Release Date: August 25, 2015

Publisher: Text Publishing

Themes: memoir, coming-of-age, sex, sexuality, growing up, mental health

My Rating:¬†‚ėÖ‚ėÖ

Goodreads Summary:¬†A funny, sad and serious memoir, ‘How to Be Happy’ is David Burton’s story of his turbulent life at high school and beyond. Feeling out of place and convinced that he is not normal, David has a rocky start. He longs to have a girlfriend, but his first ‘date’ is a disaster. There’s the catastrophe of the school swimming carnival – David is not sporty – and friendships that take devastating turns. Then he finds some solace in drama classes with the creation of ‘Crazy Dave’, and he builds a life where everything is fine. But everything is not fine.¬†And, at the centre of it all, trying desperately to work it all out, is the real David.¬†‘How to Be Happy’ tackles depression, friendship, sexual identity, suicide, academic pressure, love and adolescent confusion. It’s a brave and honest account of one young man’s search for a happy, true and meaningful life that will resonate with readers young and old.

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My Review

I received this book as an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.¬†I’m going to have a really hard time reviewing this one. But first, I want to say that this book has some ¬†MAJOR Trigger Warnings for – depression, suicide, attempted suicide, and self-harm.¬†

I don’t really feel like it’s my place to judge a person’s life, and I’m not going to review this as though it were fiction. I’m not going to talk about my opinions on how the author lived his life, and as this is a memoir, that means this review is going to be pretty short, and probably not like most of my other reviews.

I had a pretty hard time reading this book. It just wasn’t for me. I prefer my memoirs to be light, occasionally funny, and relatable. This is not that book. This is a relatively non-analytical re-telling of Burton’s life that relates some incredibly difficult and hard times in his life. While I don’t mind this in fiction, something about reading a really depressing memoir just made me ask, “Why am I doing this to myself?” Honestly, I have enough depression in my own life, and I felt myself re-hashing all of my own life choices as I was reading. Similar to¬†More Happy Than Not, while this book discusses some very important things, it just wasn’t an enjoyable reading experience for me.

On top of that, I wasn’t a huge fan of the writing style. Much of the memoir felt pretty choppy and disjointed, even though it followed a (mostly) chronological timeline. Plus, while this book definitely doesn’t claim in any way to actually be advice on “how to be happy”, I felt that a lot of Burton’s commentary got lost. There was a bunch of commentary right in the beginning and right at the end, and I wish it had been mixed a little bit more into the middle.

Overall, I can see how some people would enjoy this, and get a lot out of it, but I think I’m just not the right person. His story wasn’t relatable, and due to that it made it really hard to empathize with him and his writing.

-Sky

Posted in Book Tag

Book Tag: 4th of July

Hello!

Happy 4th of July/Independence Day to all my fellow Americans out there! Bring on the patriotism! (and fireworks)

I found this tag, and it seemed fun, plus it’s pretty short so I can get through it pretty quickly and get a post up today in time for my dinner/game night with neighbors. (We’re going to have so much food and I am SO ready) So, without further ado, here’s the tag!

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1.¬†Show off a red book, a white book, and a blue book you’ve read.¬†

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The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

I love all three of these books for such different reasons, and they all hold special places in my heart. If you haven’t read all three of these, I’m not sure what you’re doing with your life.

2. Favorite rag-tag group of revolutionaries. 

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All my babies from¬†The Darkest Minds¬†trilogy. But especially Zu… Zu is mine and she will not be hurt and if you touch her I will end you. Leave my babies in peace. They deserve it.

3. A book that takes place in one of the 13 original colonies. 

51yd0qrsr6l-_sx328_bo1204203200_Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda¬†is one of my favorite contemporaries of all time, so how could I not choose it for this one? It’s set in Georgia.

4. A book that takes place in England. 

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I’m wayyy overdue for a reread of this trilogy. I’ve only read it once, and that was almost five years ago. Set in London, this book follows my absolute favorite characters from the Cassandra Clare’s books.

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5. Fireworks – A book that ends with a bang!

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…… I may have been a little too literal for this one…. *coughs*

6. Show off 3 books on your TBR (one red, one white, one blue)

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A Feast for Crows by George RR Martin, A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab, Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy

Do I get bonus points because¬†Ramona Blue¬†has all 3? I’ve been meaning to read the first two books on this list for AGES, and¬†Ramona Blue is a recent discovery that I am soooo incredibly excited for. I’m hoping to get to all of these really soon.

 

How are you celebrating 4th of July? What book are you currently reading? Let me know in the comments!

-Sky

Posted in Monthly Wrap-Up

June/Mid Year Wrap-up!

Hello!

We are officially halfway through 2017. What a year it has been so far, both in my personal life and just in the world in general. We could all really use some good news these days. Since I started summer classes in June, it wasn’t my best reading month. I only read 5 books, but I that’s sort of what I was expecting. Taking four summer classes = very little reading time. Plus, I was also bingeing season 3 of Jane the Virgin, so reading wasn’t quite the priority it usually is.

On a side note, I’m not going to be doing a TBR this month, because I haven’t been very good at sticking to them recently, so I’m just going to go by mood for a while and see how that goes.

Here are the books I read in June –

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Me Talk Pretty One Day¬†by David Sedaris:¬†‚ėÖ‚ėÖ‚ėÖ‚ėÖ¬†I’ve been meaning to read this book since a friend recommended it to me 4 years ago. I ended up really enjoying it, though not quite as much as I’d expected. While a lot of the stories were funny and relatable, a few just didn’t strike me as particularly interesting.

The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis (counting this as 3 books Рeven though I read the bind-up)

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by CS Lewis:¬†‚ėÖ‚ėÖ‚ėÖ‚ėÖ¬†I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for the Pevensies, and this is pretty much the last we see of them. I did enjoy this book more than I was expecting it to, but it definitely isn’t a favorite in the series for me.

The Silver Chair¬†by CS Lewis:¬†‚ėÖ‚ėÖ¬†This is where the series got weird. This book wasn’t terrible or anything, but without the Pevensies, I just wasn’t nearly as invested in the story. Plus, this book definitely wasn’t shy about hitting me over the head with the Christian references (which I don’t always mind, but it was so un-subtly done that it got REALLY annoying really fast).

The Last Battle¬†by CS Lewis:¬†‚ėÖ‚ėÖ¬†This book was such a let-down for me. Not only did the “Christian ideal” get¬†wayyyy¬†too complicated and annoying, but the whole tone of the series seriously shifted. There was a lot of (not so) subtle racist and sexist language (the villains are called “Darkies” and are led by a monkey king), and Susan is basically labelled a whore for “growing up”. Definitely not what I wanted in a finale for this series.

Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls¬†by David Sedaris:¬†‚ėÖ‚ėÖ‚ėÖ‚ėÖ¬†I needed an audiobook to listen to, and I decided to pick this one up, since I was already reading¬†Me Talk Pretty One ¬†Day. I actually think I enjoyed this one a little more, and I think it’s because I was actually listening to him read his own stories. My mom listened to a couple chapters with me and they had us in tears from laughing. Sedaris is so good at telling his stories, and I’d love to read more in the future.

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2017 Yearly Goals Update

So, as some of you probably know, I set some goals for myself at the beginning of the year. Since we’re halfway through 2017, I wanted to check back in with myself and see how I’m doing.

My reading goals –

Goodreads Challenge:¬†55/104 (4 books ahead of schedule) YAY! I’m actually ahead on this goal. I was worried that such a high goal might not be attainable for me, but so far it hasn’t proved too difficult!

12 Books/Series I have to read in 2017:¬†5/12 (Technically at the end of June it was 4, but I finished one today so I’m counting it for this list, just not in my wrap-up)¬†I am Malala, Gemma Doyle trilogy, The Diviners, A Thousand Splendid Suns, The Chronicles of Narnia.¬†I’m a little bit behind on this, but I’m still determined to get through this list this year if it kills me. These books have been on my TBR for wayyyy too long.

12 Classics I¬†have to read in 2017:¬†4/12¬†The¬†Bell Jar, The Scarlet Letter, Anna Karenina, Sense and Sensibility.¬† I’m not quite as far as I’d like to be on this list, but I’ve gotten through¬†Anna Karenina, which is a huge accomplishment for me considering how big it is. Plus, the rest of the books on my list aren’t nearly as long, so I’m still pretty confident I can make it.

My blogging goals –

2 posts per week:¬†HA! I’m hilarious. Yeah, this one hasn’t happened. I’ve definitely gotten better, but not even close to 2 per week… More like 2 per month. I’ll get there eventually.

More reviews:¬†Well, I’m actually not sure about this one. I definitely feel like I’ve posted more reviews, though not as many as I’d initially wanted to. On the other hand, I feel like my reviews have become a lot more nuanced, and I’m a lot more comfortable with the formatting and process. So, maybe not better quantity, but definitely better quality.

Discussion posts;¬†Again, still not as many as I would have liked, but I’m definitely getting better. I’m starting to find more topics that interest me, and I feel like I’m learning more about how I form my opinions, and why I think the way I do in terms of what I read.

 

How are you doing on all your 2017 goals? Are you on track? If not, I believe in you! Let me know in the comments!

-Sky

Posted in Book Tag

Book Tag: Avatar – The Last Air Bender

Hello!

Avatar: The Last Airbender was one of my favorite shows when I was little, and the amazing characters still stick with me today. When I saw A Clockwork Reader do this tag,  I got so excited. Bringing one of my favorite childhood tv shows to the world of books. The way this tag works is twelve questions, 3 for each nation/element in the show (water, earth, fire, air). So, without further ado, the tag!

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1. Sokka and Katara – Best sibling relationship

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Jude and Noah’s relationship has it’s ups and downs, but that makes it that much stronger. I haven’t read a lot of books with good sibling relationships, but this is definitely one that’s stuck with me over the years. The book has beautiful writing, and you get so attached to these two as you go through their story.

2. Yue: Favorite star-crossed lovers

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Nikolai and Vika¬†from¬†The Crown’s Game

These two have such an interesting relationship. From the very beginning, they are pitted against each other, and they know only one of them is going to get out of this competition alive. Still, they find a way to connect with each other, in a way that wasn’t insta-lovey. I also loved how their characters developed over the course of the duology.

3. Blood-bending: Book with a disturbing/unsettling topic

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This duology is amazing, but it’s premise, the idea that Hitler’s forces and the Axis powers won WWII is deeply unsettling. I can’t imagine what horrors would have taken place in that world.

 

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4. Toph: Character whose strength surprised you/the characters in the book

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5. The Tales of Ba Sing Se: Best short story/poem collection

25453426Through the Dark¬†is definitely the best novella collection I’ve read to date, though I definitely need to read more. I don’t read many short stories or poetry, so I had to go with a novella bind up for this one, and¬†Through the Dark¬†is by far my favorite.

6. Kyoshi Warriors: Best warrior character

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Manon, from¬†Throne of Glass.¬†I love that she just doesn’t take any crap from anyone, but she also has a soft spot for her wyvern. Once she lets you in, you’re in. But, if she hates you, you better watch yourself.

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7. Zuko: Best redemption arc/redemption arc that should have happened

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The Darkling from Shadow and Bone. UGH I want a redemption arc so badly. I had so much hope at the beginning of this series, and just. Nope.

8. Iroh: Wisest character

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I honestly loved Brimstone so much when I first read these books. He’s so wise and sassy, and such an amazing parental figure for Karou. I want so much more Brimstone in my life!

9. Azula: Best downfall

I had to go with The Darkling again for this one. It just came so far out of left field for me, and that was the first time I’d read a book that does this. It was so infuriating but also really interesting and exciting.

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10. Appa: Favorite fictional animal/pet

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Hedwig… Beautiful, beautiful owl. If you don’t love Hedwig and her sass I don’t know what’s wrong with you. Fiercely loyal and proud. Such a good companion for our little baby Harry. Too good for this world…

11. Aang: purest cinnamon roll

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Is there any character more pure than “Little Buddy”? I mean seriously. He was so sweet, so gentle. I could also put Zu in this category of cute cinnamon rolls, but Jude won out…. Because reasons.

12. Avatar State: a stubborn character/character that struggles with letting go

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Yeah… I don’t think there are many characters that are more stubborn than Aelin from¬†Throne of Glass. Tell her not to do something? Too bad, she’s probably already done it.

 

Did you watch Avatar: The Last Airbender as a kid? Who was your favorite character? Mine was always Katara. Tell me in the comments!

-Sky