Saturday, September 16, 2017

September Wrap Up #2

Hello lovelies! How are you all? I, personally, have kinda been floating between being very happy and very lonely. Overall things are good, though, and I don't want to take that for granted and dwell on the bad. I actually just moved back to school last Saturday, so it's officially been one week here! So far I've been enjoying all my classes immensely and even though they've packed my schedule with homework it's all homework I'm capable of doing and not stressing me out unduly. This homework has, though, kept me from Instagram. Yes, you read that right, I'm back on Instagram! Link here. I'm trying to post every other day or so but I got out of the habit recently. Tonight I'll be posting something, though, so stay tuned. On a similar note I'm so excited to make a HUGE announcement...

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I'm officially studying abroad starting in January! That's right, in less than four months I'll be living in London. It's just shy of six months that I'll be there but I couldn't be more excited for the experience. I've talked about how I've been hoping for this to work out for a while but now it's real and let me tell you a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I'll be talking more about the school, and the process for applying to study abroad and what I'm doing to prepare, in a post coming out later this month. These are going to be a monthly posts chronicling my journey towards London, and then once I'm there, I'll have a special monthly wrap up going over my time there. If you've been reading this blog for a while you probably remember College Journey posts (yes... sorry that those kinda disappeared...) and you can consider these study abroad posts a sort of companion posts to those.

Okay, enough about me, onto the regular programming:

Finished
13 Minutes (review coming September 26th)

Currently Reading
I'm in the midst of The Broken Kingdoms, book two in the Inheritance Trilogy by NK Jemisin. It's really, really good, I just haven't had the time to read that I'm used to. I plan to snuggle in tonight and devour as much as I can. After this I actually have a bit of a deviation before I pick up another novel: I'll be reading a writing magazine that I received and then catching up on some comics I've put off for too long. Then, hopefully before the next wrap up, I'll be reading Outlander. Yes, this seems like it came out of nowhere, but the past few days I've just been hit with a bug that is telling me I MUST read this book and watch the TV series.

Reviews

Can't Wait Wednesday

Discussions & Other Posts

Upcoming Posts
Music Monday
13 Minutes Review
Can't Wait Wednesday
Preparing to Study Abroad

So, yeah, it's been a bit of a light posting schedule but I have to balance my sanity. What have you been reading lately? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Discussion: Do Bestselling Authors Keep Extending Their Series' Indefinitely & Is it a Bad Thing?

This has definitely been a hot button issue for years. Normally it's a complaint heard from people who aren't fans of a particular series or author and just want them to move on from whatever book/series/world that they hated in the first place. I first heard the complaint when Cassandra Clare announced she would be continuing her Shadowhunter books beyond Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices. More recently, though, I've seen the same complaint attached to JK Rowling and Sarah J Maas, and to some extent, Rick Riordan. I'll be talking about all these authors and their books in this post.

In the case of Cassandra Clare there has always been a lot of hate and tension around her name alongside the adoration of her fanbase. Regarding the author herself I sit somewhere in the middle, mostly because some of the hate I've seen lobbed her way has been absolutely awful and no one deserves the bullshit she gets (similar to Sarah J Maas, but more on that in a bit). Also, a lot of the hate that isn't series related I've never seen actually backed up except for stories of stories. I didn't do extensive research but I have looked into it. I'm not calling anyone a liar but I'm not convinced she's an awful person. But beyond all that, people dislike her books. That's totally legit and absolutely fine! I get it; the Shadowhunter Chronicles are definitely not for everyone. I grew up reading them and I loved them since I turned the first page of City of Bones. They're one of those series that I can go back to and read whenever I like and feel better. Often times these readers, who didn't like the series, are the ones I see raising the call for Cassandra Clare to stop writing Shadowhunter books. She's a hack! She's doing it for the money! She doesn't care about [insert character name here]! I can go on. Let's take them in order: she's a hack. I don't think so; I really like the books still and I think they actually get better as time goes on. I'm still as attached to her characters as I always have been. She's doing it for the money: are you thick? Of course she fucking is, it's her job to be an author. Don't be daft asshats; as much as writing comes from the heart and soul it is a job and there are investments that must be made. If she likes writing Shadowhunter books and people like reading Shadowhunter books and they're making her money than she should continue writing them. She doesn't care about [insert character name here]: again, are you thick? She wrote the character, of course she cares about them. I write (I haven't published anything yet but I still consider myself an author) and let me tell you that you don't ever stop caring about your characters once you create them.

A lot of similar complaints (actually, some pretty identical complaints) have been lodged against Sarah J Maas. It's a bit of different horse because Sarah J Maas has also been the brunt of a lot of complaints saying she doesn't include enough diversity in her books (and yeah I do agree, but I think she's getting better, at least she's taking small steps). But recently it's become a pretty big thing with her where people have been complaining about her extending her series' on forever. Here's how: a Chaol novella she was writing turned into a full-fledged novel that came out before the penultimate novel did, and said final TOG book has been pushed back even further now. Also, her ACOTAR series is getting some novella's and novels set in the world, with the first novella coming out in Spring 2018 (I believe). Again, both of these series are huge money makers (but you see my argument for why that's FINE to write for money, above). Now, ACOTAR kinda wrapped up, so I am curious to see exactly where the next installments continue, but I'm excited. Just like I'm excited whenever a new Shadowhunter book comes out. Both of these authors and their series keep me engaged and I love reading them and I don't mind giving these authors my money. When the books stop being interesting I'll stop reading them, and that's that. I think that's a pretty understandable thing. But, is it a bad thing creatively? For not just the authors but also the landscape of genre books?

Let's look at JK Rowling here. I love her. I love Harry Potter. I think a lot of people will stand with me and those statements. But was Cursed Child really needed? I don't think so; I thought it was pretty bad and didn't even sort of live up to what I was expecting. And then there's Fantastic Beasts. I liked the movie well enough and I'm looking forward to the rest of the movies, but, again, I don't think they were super necessary. It's not as if JK hasn't been writing other things (I still haven't read those other things but I PLAN to) and it's not as if she isn't one of the wealthiest people (and most generous!) in the world, so I don't think she's doing more Harry Potter for a quick paycheck. I think it's more of the case that she wasn't quite ready to give up the world just yet. I get that, but I do think that's problematic. Sometimes there are stories left in worlds to tell and sometimes you have to force them to be there and sometimes you don't need to tell either type. 

I have a similar view of Rick Riordan's more recent books. I haven't read anything since finishing Heroes of Olympus and I had several issues with those books. I have heard really good things about the newer series' and plan to read those actually pretty soon because I do want to. But with HoO it just felt very forced and it didn't live up to PJO. For a long time I've wanted to see him write something different (but still MG because I don't really enjoy his adult books). HOWEVER I think in a brilliant move from the publishing industry, Rick is getting his own little imprint, Rick Riordan Presents. Next year they'll be publishing three books. The really great thing about this imprint? It's going to be POC authors writing about the mythologies from their own backgrounds. I CAN'T WAIT. I'm sure Rick will continue to write PJO-esque books but also, I feel like he could branch out now and write other things as the spirit of PJO will continue onward.

So the question I've been trying to get to; is it toxic for authors and the industry to just keep pushing out books from bestselling series? I think... yes. It is. Look at James Patterson: his books have gotten worse with time and while he has huge name recognition I don't think he's as big as he was even five years ago. The publishing industry has a hard time moving past certain books and thus has a hard time looking for new books that could be completely different but also brilliant! For authors I don't think it's as toxic because it is their world and their stories and they're still using their creative mind. As a writer myself, though, I've had times where I've pushed a story and it's come out shit and I've lost that creativity for a while. But that's definitely on an individual basis and I don't know any of these authors personally so how could I say?

For readers, though, I don't think it's a bad thing that authors continue to write great series long after they once thought they would end. Wouldn't you rather get more books in a series you love? Let me know what you think about this topic in the comments down below!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
NK Jemisin

I originally picked this book up several years ago at the library and closed it after less than two chapters. It wasn't the kind of book I was ready to read when I grabbed it the first time, but I've been finding that a lot of the novels I didn't like before I'm liking now, so I thought I would give it a try. I'm so glad I trusted my judgement and didn't wait a moment longer because I think this may be one of my absolute favorite books.

First of all, the premise of this book is amazing. The world of this book revolves around the religion in that the gods take on physical bodies and are very active. There are three main gods- but one, Itempas, is in charge: he killed his sister-god and punished his brother-god, sending him to the earth and forcing him into a mortal shell to serve as a weapon along side three of their children. Let me tell you- that description does not even do this premise justice! Nor does it do the characters of the gods justice (more on that in a moment). While the world itself is not explored at large, and the lack of a map is definitely a negative (you know I love maps), but I didn't feel the need to see the wider world. It wasn't as relevant, or as interesting, as what was happening in the city of Sky and what was happening with Yeine. I will say that it did get confusing early on with all the gods (there aren't that many but introductions were a tad messy) and the countries/continents being named and many of the seemingly sounding the same in my head. I did sort all this out once I got into the plot proper but it was definitely something that came off as initially confusing. I didn't, however, think it took away from the book as a whole.

If you know me you know I value characters higher than any other aspect of a book. Characters are the heart and soul of any story and when I find a book with characters I can both connect to and obsess over then I know I've found a good book. And, yes, this is definitely one of those books. I loved everyone! Okay, not everyone, but Yeine, Nahadoth, Sieh, and T'vril were MVPs the whole time. All of them have made it into favorite character slots that I keep in my heart (does that make sense??). Besides raving about them for the rest of this review, though, I must go on. I want to touch lightly on the aspect of sex in this book- there's a bit of it, and it's fairly kinky, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Now, it's not erotica, but it is erotic, and that's definitely something to warn readers of.

What really clinches this as a good book is the prose. It's very simple but also very beautiful. Certainly it's not everyone's taste, and the story itself feels a little jarring once you jump in (but that's on purpose I promise and it turns out to be a very neat trick in the end) but I was completely charmed by it. While it's definitely an epic fantasy book it also reads like some high-brow literary fiction (which is not a bad thing in my opinion). 
TL; DR? Simple but pretty prose, paired with amazing, multi-faceted characters, and a unique world, equals one of the best books I read this year and I wish I hadn't waited so long.
Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle.
N. K. Jemisin lives and works in New York City.










Cover linked to Goodreads; cover, book description, and author bio taken from Goodreads.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Illustrated Edition

I'm switching over from Waiting on Wednesday's to Can't Wait Wednesday, a meme hosted by Wishful Endings. The idea is basically the same, but it looks like the official hosts of Breaking the Spine have shut down the meme so it's time to move on. Description and cover image taken from Goodreads.

An essential companion to the Harry Potter novels, now fully illustrated!
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Newt Scamander's classic compendium of magical creatures, has delighted generations of wizarding readers. With this beautiful, large-scale new edition illustrated in full color, Muggles too will have the chance to discover where the Runespoor lives, what the Puffskein eats, and why shiny objects should always be kept away from the Niffler.
Proceeds from the sale of this book will go to Comic Relief and J.K. Rowling's international charity, Lumos, which will do magic beyond the powers of any wizard. If you feel that this is insufficient reason to part with your money, one can only hope that passing wizards feel more charitable if they see you being attacked by a Manticore.
Why I'm Waiting
I mean how can I not be excited for this? Really words defy me at the moment. Yes, I will be collecting both editions of this book because they're both equally stunning.

The illustrated edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them releases November 7, 2017

Friday, September 8, 2017

Like This? Read That

The title of this post is pretty self explanatory, but basically I'll try to connect books I've read (and loved) lately with popular pop culture in an attempt to brainwash get more people to read books I've enjoyed.

First up is Truthwitch/Windwitch.
These books are perfect if you enjoy Game of Thrones- the TV show, not the books. I love A Song of Ice and Fire, and while I enjoy the show I do have some issues with it. HOWEVER now that you're probably waiting for the next season to (eventually) get here this is the perfect series for you to pick up. The Witchlands have a bunch of plot lines, with unique characters, and fantastic twists. I still feel like the series in the process of setting up a lot of even more major plot lines but I'm ready for the long haul with these fantastic reads.

Now I know another series people are patiently waiting on is Throne of Glass, and yeah I know Chaol's book is right around the corner but I know not everyone is satisfied with that and people really want to see the conclusion of Celaena's story (which was recently pushed back even more). If you're a fan of the first two books I recommend picking up the Graceling trilogy, but most specifically the third and final book Bitterblue.
You don't need to read this series in any particular order and can pick up this one first, last, or second (really it doesn't matter). There are a lot of similar plot devices used in this book as in Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight. I also think Graceling main character, Katsa, reminds me quite a bit of Celaena. Fire, the middle book in the series, is much more like the ACOTAR books if you're interested in picking it up.

I've been a huge fan of Cassandra Clare for a while and my favorite series of hers is easily Infernal Devices. It's definitely got the only good love triangle I've ever read probably because Will, Jem, and Tessa are all completely in love with each other. If you're interested in a book that has a similar dynamic I recommend The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue.
Now, it doesn't have the steampunk element at all, but the time periods are similar and Monty and Percy remind me a bunch of Will and Jem. AND they're actually, canonically gay and bi in this book so I don't have to be over here fighting people saying Will and Jem aren't (seriously; fight me).

I just finished reading 13 Minutes and while it's not my normal genre I was swept away by this book. It was so good! It was dark and moody and had me both freaked out and unable to step away from the book.
I've seen it compared to Mean Girls but I would say this is nothing like that. Honestly it's more like Gone Girl, but I've never actually read that book or seen that movie, I've just read an in-depth synopsis. Really I would recommend this book if you enjoyed 13 Reasons Why (and not just because they both have the number 13 in the title). They're both dark dramas with a high school at their center, and they also both deal with very adult themes.

Those are my recommendations for now! Have you read any of these books? Any you would recommend if you enjoyed these? Are you now curious about picking any of these up? Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

September Wrap Up #1

I know it's a bit early in the month to really have a proper wrap up, but I haven't done one since early August so I think there's a fair bit to cover today. In my personal life, I'm finally done with work (for the summer) and I feel Free! It's great to not have to worry about setting an alarm, or planning my meals around my shifts, though this does mean I go into Mega Budget Mode (which isn't too bad but it's not always comfortable). Yeah this also means less books to buy, BUT I do have several preorders that will be sustaining my buying need I'm sure.

And by the way, happy September! I know it's not technically fall yet, but this is the month where I officially start treating it like it is- fall colors, clothing, candles, playlists, tea. All the great things I love about this season! I've currently got the Wood Wick Fireside candle burning from Yankee Candles and people it is my new favorite candle. It's heavenly! The leaves are also starting to change out here and the weather has in general been cool enough to wear sweaters.

Okay, enough about me, let's get onto the wrap up:

Finished
and a reread of Crown of Midnight

Currently Reading
Right now I'm in the middle of 13 Minutes, a book I was only passing excited for but can barely put down. This is an ARC for a book out in early October so the review won't be out until the end of the month but believe me I'll be hyping this one before that. Once I finish 13 Minutes I'm going to read The Inheritance Trilogy by NK Jemisin. I know this is three separate books but I bought the bind up so I'm thinking I may read them back to back.

 Reviews

Can't Wait Wednesday

Discussions & Tags

Music Monday

Posts

Upcoming Posts
Like This? Read That
Can't Wait Wednesday: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Discussion

I know it seems like posting looks a bit light these coming weeks... and it is. Partly because I just finished a reread (I'm not going to review it) and I'm currently reading an ARC (so the review will be schedule closer to its release) so there aren't any reviews to post and I don't want to pad down the blog with other things as much anymore. Also partly because I'll be going back to school in about a week which means my time is going to be getting shorter and I don't want to overload myself right off the bat.

I do want to point out that my Ready Player One review has a different look to it and this is the new reviewing format I'm going to be going with for now. I love how it looks! It feels more professional and it's more aesthetically the look I've been trying to go for lately. I hope you all like it as well.

Normally I end a wrap up here, but I was watching Youtube and someone did a video talking about the top five books they hope to get to this season. I thought I'd borrow that idea and share the next five books I hope to get to (not necessarily my top five). Because I've been trying hard not to restrict myself with a hard and fast reading schedule these very well may change.


Thanks for reading! I hope you all have a wonderful week(s) and enjoy the weather (if you can). 

Friday, September 1, 2017

Mystery Blogger Award


A huge thank you to Lauren @ Always Me for nominating me for this awesome award. She's definitely one of the best bloggers out there and I know I say this a lot, but what are you waiting for? Go follow her! This award was created by Okoto Enigmas Blog. Onward with the tag:

The Rules:
1. Put the award logo/image on your blog.
Which, by the way, if you click the About Me page above you'll find all the awards I've been nominated for (don't mind the shameless self-promotion).
2. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
3. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.
4. List the rules.
5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
6. Share a link to your best post(s).
7. Answer the 5 questions set to you by the person who nominated you.
8. Nominated 10-20 people.
9. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with at least one weird or funny question.
10. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.

3 Things About Myself:

(1) I wear glasses. This is one of those facts where I just kind of take it for granted that I always have my glasses on, but you guys never get to see my face so how would you know?

(2) I recently ate at Wahlburgers (they don't have any near me, sadly) and often think about how good their onion strings are. They seriously may be considered my new favorite food.

(3) Autumn is my favorite season and now that it's right around the corner I couldn't be more excited.

My Best Post:

While there are a lot of posts I've made that I really like I'm going to go with my recent review of Ready Player One because it's a new design for the way I'm doing reviews. Not only did it turn out as nicely as I hoped but it feels more professional.

My Answers to Lauren's Questions:

 1. What has been your favorite read of 2017 so far, and why?
A: The Kingkiller Chronicles! Both The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear have changed my life. I've talked a lot lately about how important these two books are to me but I can't express enough how wonderfully written they are, too. Even if you're not a huge fan of fantasy you should add these to your TBR.

2. Dream cast your answer to number 1.
A: Okay this is kind of impossible and, I'm sorry Lauren, but I don't think I can even attempt this. I honestly have no idea because, even though there's going to be a movie and tv series, I can't picture anyone in these roles. They're too real as it is. I will say that Lin Manuel-Miranda doing the music for this series is the best decision since Hamilton, though, and no fan could ask for anything better.

3. What upcoming book to movie or tv adaptation are you looking forward to the most?
A: Can I say Kingkiller Chronicles again? I'm gonna say Kingkiller Chronicles again. Not only a movie and tv series in the works, but also a video game!

4. If you could attend a dinner party with any five writers, actors, and/or musicians, living or dead, who would be on your guest list?
A: Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Charles Dickens, and David Tennant.

5. Would you prefer to bring your favorite fictional characters into the real world, or would you rather be fictional with them?
A: For some reason I hate the idea of being fictional so I'd take them out of their books and into the real world. (Thank goodness you didn't make me choose who I'd take out because that list is endless).

I Nominate:


My Questions For My Nominees:

1. What is your favorite candle (or, if you can't choose, the one you've burned most recently; or if you don't like candles, your favorite scent in general)?

2. Do you have a pet and are they named after a character? If yes, why; if no, what literary name would you give a pet?

3. If you had to be from any planet, real or imaginary, which planet and why?

4. What's your favorite season of the year and why? Bonus points: what things remind you of that season?

5. If you could adapt any one book or series perfectly (regardless of whether it's been adapted before) which would you choose?

This was a bunch of fun thank you so much for nominating me Lauren!