December (and 2017!) Wrap-Up!

Hello!

2017 has come to a close, and it’s time to enter a new (and hopefully better) year. 2017 wasn’t great for me personally or on the global scale, but I will say that this was by far the best reading year of my life – both when measured by quantity and quality. Since this post is going to be longer than a typical wrap-up, I’m not going to talk about every book I read in December, but I’ll have the ratings. After I go through those books, I’ll review all of my reading and blogging goals, so stay tuned!

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December Reading Wrap-Up

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The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock: ★★★★

Dance With Dragons by George RR Martin: ★★★ So much of this felt unnecessary, and I’m honestly not sure I’m going to continue with the series.

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds: ★★★★

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the princess saves herself in this one by amanda lovelace: ★★★★★

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson: ★★★★★ I loved this way more than I thought I would, and I want more.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman: ★★★★ I aspire to this level of grumpiness.

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The Luxe by Anna Godbersen: ★★★★

Rumors by Anna Godbersen: ★★★

Paintbrush by Hannah Bucchin: ★★★★ I did a review for this one! You can read it here.

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Envy by Anna Godbersen: ★★★ 

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard: ★★★★ You can read my full review of this here.

Splendor by Anna Godbersen: ★★★

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1984 by George Orwell: ★★★ I probably would have enjoyed this more had it not felt like non-fiction.

American Panda by Gloria Chao: ★★★★ I will have a review of this up soon so keep an eye out!

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C Dao: I’m not going to put a rating on this one, because I haven’t actually finished it yet, but I will definitely finish it today if it kills me.

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2017 Reading and Blogging Wrap-Up

Reading Goals

2017 Goodreads Reading Goal: 159/100-125 books (if I finish Forest) I’m super proud of myself for having to RAISE my goal (from 100 to 125) and then still massively exceeding it

12 Classics to read in 201712/12

12 Books/Series to read in 201712/12

Buddy Reads (monthly) with Clara: HA nope. We basically didn’t even try with this one but our schedules are so different anyway that this would have been almost impossible. We will probably buddy read a few books next year, but I’m definitely not going to make it a concrete goal.

Blogging Goals

Two Posts per Week: I definitely didn’t complete this goal entirely, but I’m really proud of how much more consistent I’ve gotten over the past year. I also think I’ve finally found a system I want to try next year to help me plan out my posts in advance.

Music Posts: I thought at the beginning of this year I wanted to try and incorporate my love of music into this blog by talking about the music I was listening to, but I think I found an even better way –

If You Like That… Try This!: I really love making these posts, because they incorporate my love of music with my love of books. I would love to do more of these in the future, so let me know if you like them, too!

Reviews: I did get super behind on my ARCs around the middle of this year, but I did eventually catch up and I’m pretty proud of some of the reviews I wrote this year.

Discussion Posts: I didn’t set a particular number of posts that I wanted to do this year, but I didn’t do as many as I wanted to. I’d definitely like to do more discussions in the future.

Overall, 2017 was an amazing reading year for me. What books did you read? Did you meet all of your reading and blogging goals? Tell me in the comments!

Happy New Year!!!!

-Sky

 

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November (& NaNoWriMo) Wrap-up!

Hello!

November is over, and that means it’s finally the Christmas season! (aka my favorite time of year). I’m so excited to break out the Christmas decorations and music. I’m also 100% ready for this semester to be over. I have one class that’s an absolute nightmare, and I can’t wait to be done with it. I didn’t have quite as good of a reading month in November as I thought I would, but I still read a good amount of books.

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This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis: ★★★ I had really high expectations for this one, as both of the Mindy McGinnis books I’ve read before this one made it onto my all-time-favorites list, so I think that was part of the reason this disappointed me. I really liked what this book was trying to do, but I ended up having a really hard time suspending my disbelief and connecting to the main character.

Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray:  ★★★★★  I definitely loved this book more than the first, mostly because there was so much character development. I’m a sucker for a rag-tag group of outcasts, what can I say. I can’t wait to read Before the Devil Breaks You, and I just want all these characters to have happy endings. 

Into the Bright Unknown by Rae Carson:  ★★★★★  I had incredibly high expectations for this one, and it did not disappoint. I love that this series really calls attention to narratives in history other than the straight and white, and there were some great lines that called out privilege and overstepping boundaries. On top of that, the plot was amazing and I fell even more in love with the characters. The perfect end to this trilogy.

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Dear Martin Nic Stone: ★★★★★ I don’t actually have words for how much I loved this book. If you haven’t read this yet, I don’t know what you’re doing with your life. I did a Twitter thread of my thoughts if you’d like some more coherent words.

I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo: ★★★★★ Around the middle of this month I really wanted to read a cute, fluffy contemporary, and wow was this the perfect book. It was really reminiscent of the Lara Jean series, and I almost wish this was a series, too, so I could get more of these adorkable characters. (PS Flailure is the name of my new autobiography)

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley: ★★★ It has been so long since I’ve read a classic dystopian like this, and now I know why. I think this genre just isn’t for me. I’ve tried a few, and while I absolutely love The Giver (which is YA), I’m really not a fan of this book or books like Animal Farm. This book wasn’t horrible, but I didn’t really enjoy it either.

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Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire: ★★★★ I loved this book, though not quite as much as the first. Like the first, I wanted this to be longer. I feel like we skimmed over a lot of the development that made Jacqueline and Jillian think the way they did in their fantasy world, and I wish we’d seen more of that growth and change.

Iron Cast by Destiny Soria: ★★★★★ If you like The Diviners, you will LOVE this book. I wish this was a series because I finished it and never wanted it to end. I loved all of the characters, and the descriptions of the illusions that Corinne and Ada made were so beautiful and real. It felt really nostalgic of my high school, where we really made music for this exact reason – to make people feel things and to paint beautiful pictures with the music we played.

The Princess Mutiny by LJ Surrage: ★★★★★ I really enjoyed this book, but I sort of wish it could be split up into a series, because I felt that it was trying to pack a bit too much into too few pages. You can read my full review here.

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NaNoWriMo 

Well, I ended up getting super duper busy this month with school stuff, so this kind of flew out the window. I did write a little over 10,000 words this month, which I’m incredibly proud of. The fact that I wrote anything at all is mind-boggling to me. I didn’t ever think I’d have the courage to start writing something, let alone in such a short amount of time. I’d like to do NaNoWriMo again in the future, but I think I’d enjoy it more if I wasn’t on the first draft of my work. I really feel like I need time when I’m writing a first draft to think about where I want it to go. I think I’m just too much of a perfectionist.

What did you read this month? What was your favorite book? What do you want to read in December? Did you do NaNoWriMo? Let me know in the comments!

October Wrap-up and NaNoWriMo???

Hello!

I’ve returned! October was midterms month so blogging kind of fell by the wayside. Oops. I’m back though! (I hope.) I’m going to start off with my wrap-up, and stay tuned for some NaNoWriMo news at the end! Despite midterm hell, I actually had an amazing reading month, so this is going to be a long one. Bear with me.

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There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins: ★★★★ I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would, because I literally never read horror books. You can read my full review of this here.

Kaleidoscope Song by Fox Benwell: I don’t have much to say about this one at the moment, because I haven’t even decided what I’m going to rate it yet. Stay tuned for a full review of this coming… eventually?

The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, and Maureen Johnson: ★★★★ Most of these stories were just ok, but I love Magnus and his sass, and I loved listening to this audiobook. The narrator’s brought him to life in such a fun way, and I got a lot of nostalgic feelings after jumping back into the Shadowhunter world.

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Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy: ★★★★ I really enjoyed this book. It was refreshing to read a contemporary with a fat main character, but there wasn’t anything about this book that blew me away.

Between the World and Me by Ta Nehisi Coates: ★★★★★ Listening to the audiobook for this is definitely the right way to read this book. The author reads it, so he’s reading his own letters to his son and it adds so much more emotion and truth to the words he’s put to paper. A beautiful, beautiful book.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: ★★★★ I was pleasantly surprised by this. I love the show Penny Dreadful, and my favorite character in that show is based on the original monster. I loved finally getting the real story, and this is definitely one that I would love to analyze in a literature class.

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Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng: ★★★★ It took me a while to get into this one, and there wasn’t a whole lot of plot. However, the character studies done throughout this book were fascinating, and I loved how the past interwove with the present, filling in the puzzle pieces one at a time.

The Miserable Mill by Lemony Snicket: ★★★ I think I would have liked this one more had I reread it before I watched the Netflix series, but it was done so well that I ended up being a little disappointed while reading it. Still a quick, fun read though.

The Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket: ★★★★★ This might be my favorite book in the series. I loved all of the new characters, and it was nice to finally get some answers.

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The Ersatz Elevator by Lemony Snicket: ★★★★ This one was so much fun to read. I loved getting to see what was “in” and “out”, but parsley soda sounds absolutely DISGUSTING.

The Vile Village by Lemony Snicket: ★★★ I think this one is my least favorite in the series. For some reason, it couldn’t hold my attention, and I ended up switching over to the audiobook so that I could multitask and do something else.

The Hostile Hospital by Lemony Snicket: ★★★★ This is the first book that actually, genuinely scared me. I’m not particularly squeamish or anything, but this is the first time that these books took a very dark turn and things went downhill very quickly.

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The Carnivorous Carnival by Lemony Snicket: ★★★★ The series continued to get darker with this one, and I absolutely loved it. I finished this one at 1 in the morning because I wasn’t able to put it down. I had to finish it before I went to bed.

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman: ★★★★ I’m not going to say too much about this one, because I am going to do a review soon, but this book was beautiful and painful and painfully relatable. It gave me a lot of feelings.

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust: ★★★★ I don’t know how many of you know – but I did NOT like Fairest by Marissa Meyer. This book felt like everything I had wanted from that book and at the same time felt like a Maleficent retelling. I really loved both Mina and Lynet. They were such interesting and complex characters, and their stories were achingly beautiful.

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The Slippery Slope by Lemony Snicket: ★★★★★ This book was amazing. I loved all of the character development that we got to see, and I loved learning more about what was actually happening in this series.

The Grim Grotto by Lemony Snicket: ★★★★★ ASOUE just gets better and better. I absolutely flew through this book, and I couldn’t wait to continue on to the final books in this series.

Dear Ijeawele or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: ★★★★★ This is the second work by Adichie that I’ve read, and it was everything I wanted from a letter written on how to raise a child to be a feminist. I loved Adichie’s commentary on a mother and father’s role in raising their child, and how being a girl comes with its own challenges that doesn’t necessarily come with being a boy.

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The Penultimate Peril by Lemony Snicket: ★★★★★ Again, this series kept getting better and better. This is another favorite of mine, and it made me way more emotional than I was expecting.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer: ★ Welcome to the literal most unpopular opinion ever. I DNF’d Mara Dyer. The initial premise sounded really interesting, and I went into it wanting to like it. But OH MY LORD. Do I hate Noah Shaw. How does anyone like him? He was so pretentious and rude and horrible. Wow. Ok. I’m calm it’s fine. But WOW do I hate him.

The End by Lemony Snicket: ★★★★★  I am so happy that I finally finished this series, and this ending did not disappoint. I wish we had gotten a little bit more closure, but I think this end fit the series very well.

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A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess: ★★★★ I went into this a little bit skeptical, after having read some negative reviews, but I ended up enjoying it. I can see where people drew parallels to other series, but the only thing that bothered me was the “scars hurting when danger is near” plot point. I loved all of the characters, and the plot was surprisingly fast-paced.

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If you’ve made it all the way down here, congratulations. You are one dedicated blog reader. So, NaNoWriMo 2017 has officially begun, and I am participating for the first time EVER! I’m writing a contemporary young adult fiction novel that is loosely based on a character from Adam Silvera’s More Happy Than Not. It’s going to be very emotional and I am ready.

I’m planning on doing weekly writing updates here (hopefully every Tuesday, but let’s be real scheduling is not my forte), where I’ll talk about my word count, the planning and writing process, and probably just general freak outs over how off schedule I’m bound to become. Hopefully it will be entertaining for y’all!

-Sky

September Wrap-Up

Hello!

Another month come and gone in 2017. I can’t believe it’s almost over. I’m only a month into school and I’m already ready for it to be over. Taking six classes was not a very smart idea, but what are you going to do? Considering how busy I’ve been I’ve had a surprisingly good reading month.

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A Tyranny of Petticoats edited by Jessica Spotswood: ★★★★ As with all anthologies I read, these stories were pretty hit or miss for me. There were some that I absolutely loved, but most were just ok. The biggest issue that I saw was a lot of the stories seemed like they should have been full novels, and didn’t fit in such a small amount of pages.

The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett: ★★★★ Pratchett was unable to finish this book before he passed away, and it showed. It was still an amazing book, but it definitely needed more polishing to really live up to the expectations I had after reading I Shall Wear Midnight.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman: ★★★ This one was alright, but it says something that it took me almost 2 months to read it. I’ve noticed a trend with Gaiman’s adult books – I don’t connect with the characters and the plot isn’t great, but the writing itself makes it (mostly) worth it.

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Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys: ★★★ While this one was enjoyable, it’s definitely my least favorite Sepetys book. I loved most of the characters, but the plot and the writing didn’t seem to match the depth and quality of the characters. It could be confusing at times, and I also don’t feel like much happened until the last 1/4 of the book.

On the Fence by Kasie West: ★★★★★ I wasn’t expecting this book to make me so emotional. I’ve also discovered I love reading books that have good sibling relationships. I really appreciated that this was a contemporary that focused a lot on family relationships in addition to the romance.

The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord: ★★★★★ I’m just over here dead on the floor devoid of all feeling because this book destroyed me. Don’t mind me. Emery Lord is definitely a new favorite author, and this book is the perfect example of a contemporary that is sweet and adorable but will also leave your heart shattered on the ground.

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The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco: ★★ This was a DNF at 32%. I put off reading this book for MONTHS because I’d seen some negative reviews, and unfortunately it was with good reason. The writing was much too flowery, and I didn’t really connect with any of the characters. You can read my full review here.

The Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown: ★★★ I definitely want to read more books about witches in the future, but unfortunately that was the most interesting this about this book. The writing was good, but nothing special, and the plot could sometimes be confusing. You can read my full review here.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë: ★★★★ The best way I can describe this is that it is a combination of The Great Gatsby and Anna Karenina. The characters are mostly horrible people, and not all that relatable, but you end up fascinated by them anyway. My biggest complaint was I wasn’t a huge fan of the multiple POVs outside the main characters – I wish we’d gotten to read directly from Heathcliff and Cathy’s perspectives.

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Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller: ★★★★ After reading some negative reviews of this book, I was a little nervous going into it. I ended up getting hooked from the very first chapter, and loved it all the way to the end. You can read my full review here.

Mr 60% by Clete Barrett Smith: ★★★★ I picked this one up completely on a whim, and despite it being less than 200 pages, it packed a powerful punch. I was very emotional after finishing this. My full review for this will be up soon – stay tuned!

Satellite by Lee Davidson: ★ DNF at p 60. I am so disappointed in this book. I wanted to love it so much, but within the first few pages I could tell I wouldn’t. Sixty pages in I gave up because every sentence had some form of cliché, YA trope, or harmful stereotype and I was just done. I have better things to do than read books that irk me so much.

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A Feast for Crows by George RR Martin: ★★★★ Definitely my least favorite book thus far, but still enjoyable. I found myself falling in love with both Jaime and Brienne’s chapters, but Cersei and all the secondary characters just couldn’t hold my attention. The fourth star here is honestly added mostly because of the last five or six chapters which really intensified the plot.

Odd and True by Cat Winters: ★★★★ Cat Winters’s books are always a pleasant surprise for me. They’re never quite what I’m expecting, but I love them all the more for that. I went in expecting a creepy horror/monster hunt, and got one of the most dynamic and beautiful family relationships I’ve ever read. My full review for this will be up soon – so stay tuned!

The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket: ★★★★ Finally getting around to re/reading this series, and I’ll be continuing on next month to finish it. I love Violet, Klaus, and Sunny and all their adventure. Lemony Snicket’s writing is amazing, and listening to this on audiobook was a joy.

 

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The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket: ★★★★ The first time I read this, I gave it 3 stars, but this time it got bumped up to four. I forgot how much I loved Uncle Monty, and I wish there were more of him.

The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket: ★★★★ So far I think this is my favorite of the series. The grammar references and play-on-words made my English-major brain very happy. I also loved Aunt Josephine and how ridiculous she is.

What books did you read this month? Have you read ASOUE? If so – which was your favorite? Tell me in the comments!

-Sky

August Wrap-Up

Hello!

This year is flying by and it’s honestly a bit terrifying. I wasn’t sure how good of a reading month August was going to be, since I started school this week and also moved. However, I managed to read 19 books this month! I’m honestly so proud of myself. I also have to give Clara (whom I’m sure you all know at this point) most of the credit for this. We did The Great Exchange of 2017 this month, and we each swapped 15 books, so her books make up about half of my wrap-up this month! So let’s jump right in, shall we?

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Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash: ★★★★ I knew after the end of Booktube-a-thon that if I picked up something big or complicated (like ACOWAR, which was my original plan) I would fall into a reading slump. This was the perfect quick pick-me-up that I was able to read in one sitting, with a sweet and cute story. My only complaint was the art was a little simple and I couldn’t always distinguish characters.

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray: ★★★ The satire and parody aspects of this book were absolutely fabulous. It just got extremely weird at points, and about halfway through the book the humor just got a little bit too repetitive for me. I really appreciate what this book was trying to do, it just wasn’t for me.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han: ★★★★★ I have no idea why it took me so long to pick up this book. Literally no idea. Because I loved it so much. It was so cute, and the romance was perfect. I especially loved seeing a girl who is so close with her sisters, since I’m an only child and I’ve never really had that.

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PS I Still Love You by Jenny Han: ★★★★★ I didn’t like this one quite as much as the first, but it was still absolutely perfect. I loved the character development, as well as the development of the romance. I’m so bummed I didn’t pick these books up sooner. They’re so cute and sweet.

The Inconceivable Life of Quinn by Marianna Baer: ★ I haven’t rated a book 1 star in ages, so that’s really a testament to how much I hated it. The writing was incredibly confusing, and the last-minute addition of magical realism just felt like a cop-out, rather than tackling some of the deeper topics that could have been explored. You can read my full review here.

Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson: ★★★ This book is one of the classics that I wanted to read this year, so now I can check it off the list. It surprised me – I was expecting to fall in love with the adventure in this story, but I ended up loving the characters a whole lot more. The plot sort of fell to the wayside, but the characters were interesting.

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Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín: ★★★ I actually think I liked the movie of this a little bit better than the book. The writing was a little dry and bland for me, and it made the book seem to drag on a little bit.

Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman: ★★★★ I knew I was going to enjoy this book going into it, and it did not disappoint. I also appreciated that it wasn’t just a simple romance that we usually see in contemporaries. Every character was very well developed.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire: ★★★★★ I’ve been meaning to read this book for ages. I loved it so much, not least because our main character is asexual. ON PAGE NAMED as asexual. And it made me so happy. We really need more books like this because it had such a good discussion of different sexualities and genders, and it wasn’t even a contemporary.

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Always and Forever Lara Jean by Jenny Han: ★★★★★ I don’t think this series could have ended any more perfectly. It was everything I didn’t know I wanted in a contemporary series, and more. These books are probably going end up on my all-time favorites shelf.

*from here on out are all the books that I borrowed from Clara*

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett: ★★★★ Clara’s been trying to get me to read Terry Pratchett for over a year. And I finally did it! (I hope you’re happy, Clara). This book was so good. I loved the writing, especially the little foot notes. I definitely would have loved this more if I’d read it when I was younger (I think it’s technically middle grade) but it was still a fantastic, magical read.

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West: ★★★★★ Again, another author that Clara has been pushing me to read for over a year. This one did not disappoint. Like Lara Jean, I really loved how this book blended familial relationships with romance, and I thought the discussion of class-relations was also interesting.

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A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett: ★★★★ I liked this book even better than the first. Pratchett expanded the world beautifully, and I loved all of the new characters. Plus, the Nac Mac Feels are just pure awesomeness no matter what.

Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett: ★★★★ This one is probably my least favorite of the four that I read, but I still really enjoyed it. My biggest complaint about this one is I felt like Pratchett was trying to make his transition into YA with this one, and the way he did that (through the romance) still felt a little bit juvenile.

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki: ★★★★ Wow. What an emotional roller-coaster this was. I loved the writing, and reading from both Ruth’s and Nao’s perspectives was so interesting. I loved how Ozeki blended the past with the present. I have really mixed feelings about the ending, though, which is why I knocked off a star.

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I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett: ★★★★★ This one is absolutely an all-time-favorite. I can’t really even explain why I loved it so much. It was just that perfect. Tiffany has grown up so much, and I’m so proud of her. Just. Perfect.

The Chance You Won’t Return by Annie Cardi: ★★★★ This one was fascinating. I’ve never read a book quite like this, but it gave me some very strong Next to Normal vibes, since they both center around a girl whose mother suffers from mental illness. The ending felt a little bit rushed to me, but I still really enjoyed it.

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig: ★★★★ I knew I was going to enjoy this one, and I absolutely did. It lived up to my expectations completely, but I wish it had exceeded them. I also got some pretty strong Passenger vibes from this, but it was definitely still its own entity and story.

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The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord: ★★★★★ (note for Clara: I hope you’re happy, and YES I will read The Names They Gave Us when I finish your books. I promise) Another author that Clara has been trying to get me to read for wayyyy too long. I really don’t have much of an excuse, other than lack of these books in Barnes and Noble. But, I finally read it. I loved it so much. It destroyed my soul, but I loved every minute of it.

What books did you read this month? Do you swap books with friends? Tell me in the comments!

-Sky

 

Booktube-a-thon/July Wrap-up!

Hello!

As you all know, I participated in my first Booktube-a-thon this year. It was an incredible week, and I’m thoroughly proud of myself. July is always my best reading month of the year, and this July was no exception. Including the books I read for BTAT, I managed to read a whopping 21 books this month!

First off – BOOKTUBE-A-THON! 

So, were 7 challenges for BTAT, and I completed all 7, though my initial TBR got a bit shuffled around. For the sake of brevity, I’m going to just list the books that completed each challenge, and then I’ll do my mini-reviews in the actual July wrap-up below.

1. Read a book with a person on the cover – 

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour (307 pages)

2. Read a hyped book – 

A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab (398 pages)

3. Read a book in one day – 

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews (295 pages)

4. Read a book with a character who is very different from yourself – 

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (378 pages)

5. Read a book completely outside – 

Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor (100 pages)

6. Read a cover-buy book – 

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (344 pages)

7. Read 7 books – 

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen (374 pages), Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld (I only finished this one, reading the last 217 pages) , When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (234 pages)

Final Stats

Books read: 9 (Yes, nine. I have never been more proud of myself)

Pages Read: 2,361

Challenges completed: 7/7

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July Wrap-Up

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The Diviners by Libba Bray: ★★★★ This book was really good. I loved all the characters, though the plot was a little slow. I can’t wait to continue on with this series. 

How to Be Happy by David Burton: ★★ I really wanted to like this book, but I just couldn’t relate and connect to Burton’s story. You can read my full review here.

The Odyssey by Homer: ★★ I liked The Iliad, but this one had almost no redeeming qualities. Odysseus was such an awful human, and I spent the entire book feeling terrible for his wife, who was so loyal to such a bastard of a man. 

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The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman: ★★★★ This book wasn’t really what I was expecting, but I enjoyed it all the more for that. The weird anti-religion vibe wasn’t all that appealing, though. 

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson: ★★★★ This one is definitely a new favorite. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a contemporary, plus dogs. Could it get any better than that? 

The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman: ★★★★ I didn’t like this one quite as much as the first, but at the same time, I loved how the series was progressing. The world-building got much more interesting, and I loved all the new characters. 

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Style by Chelsea M Cameron:  ★★★★ This book was the perfect f/f contemporary. It was cute and sweet, but I also loved that it was a bit more of a slow-burn romance. I also LOVE that the title is the ship name (Stella/Kyle) of our main characters. 

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee:  ★★★ If I could give this book all the stars I would. I knew I was going to love it, but OH MY WORD did I love this book. I don’t actually have words. 

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens:  ★★★★ I wasn’t expecting this book to give me so many emotions. While it took me a while to actually figure out what was going on, once I figured it out, I really enjoyed it. 

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie: ★★★★ I absolutely loved listening to this one on audiobook. Alexie’s deadpan delivery of Junior’s narration was hilarious, and I think I liked this book a lot more because of it. 

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate: ★★★ Another new favorite. This book was so relatable, and I loved the diversity. You can read my full review here

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews: ★★★★ This book has been on my TBR for literal years. YEARS. I’m so glad I finally read it. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it, but I ended up really appreciating that this wasn’t the typical *teen cancer* book. 

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When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon: ★★★★ This book was so cute, and I loved reading about an Indian character. Perfect for the BTAT challenge. I wish there had been a little more focus on the technological aspects, though. 

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon: ★★★★ Ok. I was not expecting this book to be as emotional as it was. I can tell I’m going to be thinking about this one for a LONG time. The only reason I took off a star is it took me about 100 pages to really get invested in the story and characters. 

Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor: ★★★ I knew this was going to be cute, and it was EXACTLY what I needed. The perfect break after reading the emotional disaster that was Sun is Also a Star. Why can’t all books be this adorable? 

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The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen: ★★★★ Sarah Dessen’s books are always the perfect blend of light-fluffy contemporary and more emotional drama. I loved the exploration of grief and familial relationships. Plus, the romance was so cute. 

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour: ★★★★ I have a cousin that works in the film industry, and I loved reading about the intricacies that go into making films. I also loved the slow-burn romance. It’s refreshing to read a contemporary that doesn’t feature an insta-love story. 

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld: ★★★ I really wanted to like this one more, but I found it really hard to become attached to Lizzie and Darcy. There stories felt extremely shallow and surface-level for a 600-page book. I feel like their characters could have been explored much more thoroughly, and this book ended up being very meh as a result. 

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A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab: ★★★ My first ever VE Schwab book was amazing. I read this book in 2 sittings, and absolutely flew through it. While it is a little more like 4.5 stars, I decided to round up because I didn’t have any major problems with this book. 

Dracula by Bram Stoker: ★★★★ I wasn’t expecting to like this book as much as I did, but after the first few chapters, I ended up getting sucked into the story. It’s incredible to think that this was written over 100 years ago. It felt far ahead of its time. 

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi: ★★★ I feel really bad for not loving this book, but honestly it just wasn’t all that amazing to me. The writing didn’t feel particularly original or special, and it really bothered me that there weren’t chapters. It made the book feel like it was dragging on forever. 

 

What books did you read this month? Did you participate in Booktube-a-thon? Let me know in the comments! 

-Sky

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: ★★★★ 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 – even though I read the bind-up)

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by CS Lewis: ★★★★ 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: ★★ 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: ★★ 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: ★★★★ 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