Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Are Reading Slumps Good?

I've been pretty absent from my blog this month, and I don't really have much of an excuse. I've had summer vacation! I should have all the time in the world! And yet my reading and blogging has been about as inconsistent as during the school year. Why? The dreaded reading slump, and the inevitable (for me, at least) subsequent blogging slump.

I haven't finished a book since the first few days of this month. I've tried to pick up a few others, but I just can't get into them. And I kind of miss reading, but I also kind of don't. It's one of those reading slumps - when everything else you do kind of fills in your life so there's not exactly a hole in your life where reading used to be.

But this reading slump really hasn't been a bad thing! I've relaxed in other ways. I've watched a ton of Netflix. I've done a lot of organizing. I've spent time with friends. I've read so many things online that aren't books - I feel like trying to keep up with the news should count towards my Goodreads challenge.

I also feel like when I do start reading again, I'll look at the books I read with a somewhat fresher mind. I love just going from one book to the next, but after a while, it can get tiring. And I don't think it's fair on books that I might love to read them when I'm just tired of reading in general. If I can wait a week and love it again, I'm going to do that.

I used to hate reading slumps. I still don't like that I feel like I'm getting behind on my reading, but I'm starting to accept that reading slumps are sometimes good for me. It's a kind of balance that I'm not so good at consciously doing, so I guess this is my subconscious checking in on me. I definitely don't like the blogging slumps, though - a big part of that problem is that I'm still really bad at planning my posts in advance, which is something I can definitely work on.

Personally, my reading slump looks like it's coming to an end. A couple of my library holds came in, and I'm actually really excited about getting to them, so I think I'll try to start them in the next few days. But if I don't feel like going past the first few chapters, I won't push it. I know I'll always come back to reading eventually.

Do you ever like your reading slumps? How long did your last one take to get over? Do your reading slumps affect your blogging? Let's discuss in the comments!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Ten Series I've Been Meaning to Start

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme: Top Ten Series I've Been Meaning to Start But Haven't.

Well, that was a totally accidental two-week blog hiatus. Whoops! But I'm back! Hopefully more regularly...again.

Anyway, this week's theme was really fun! I think we all have those series that have been sitting on our lists for far too long. Because starting a series is a commitment! If you like it, you're in for the long haul! And then that's essentially more books on your TBR, so basically you read a book and the result is you add more books to your TBR and that's not productive at all so why bother? But they're worth it in the end. Here are ten series I should really start sometime soon.

MARA DYER by Michelle Hodkin: I think I'm the last person to read this series. I've heard kind of mixed things about the ending, so I've adjusted my expectations appropriately, but I still really want to read it.

LORD OF THE RINGS by J.R.R. Tolkien: So technically, I've started this series, but considering I've never finished the first book, I think it still counts. I've tried so many times! But I always get distracted a couple hundred pages in. I'll do it eventually.

FALLING KINGDOMS by Morgan Rhodes: I've heard so many good things about this series! I really want to catch up before the last book is released, and I have a lot to get through, so I need to start soon. I've been telling myself that for a few months, though, and I still haven't!

THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY by Douglas Adams: This is totally different from what I normally read, but it's a classic, and I've had a bunch of people recommend it to me, so I really want to give it a try! But again, I haven't.

MAGNUS CHASE AND THE GODS OF ASGARD by Rick Riordan: I kind of have a reason for this one! I hadn't actually finished the Heroes of Olympus series until earlier this year, and I want to read all of Rick Riordan's books in order. But now I have no excuse, so I have to get on this.

THE LYNBURN LEGACY by Sarah Rees Brennan: I haven't heard anything about this series in ages - probably because the first book was published five years ago - but it's been sitting on my list for so long and it looks so interesting and I don't know why I haven't read it yet.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT by Edmund Morris: This one is actually nonfiction - a three-part biography of Theodore Roosevelt. I already have the first two parts, and I've wanted to read them, but they're just so huge!

SNOW LIKE ASHES by Sara Raasch: I bought a Kindle copy of the first book about six months ago with the thought "I'll definitely start this series now." Nope! Still haven't. I'm kind of glad I waited, because I think I'll want to read the whole series at once, but waiting this long? I'm a little ashamed.

SHADES OF MAGIC by V.E. Schwab: Anything else I've said about feeling ashamed in this post pales in comparison to my shame at not having read this yet. It's literally been on my monthly TBR every month since last September! And I still haven't read it. I need to get on this.

THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING by Erika Johansen: I was supposed to read this last year, but I never got around to it, and it's kind of slipped to the back of my list. I don't want to forget about it, though!

What are some series you haven't gotten around to yet? Do we have any in common? Are there any of these that you can't believe I haven't read yet? Tell me in the comments!

Friday, June 2, 2017

My Favorite #OwnVoices Queer Books

Happy Pride Month! I know a lot of people are making plans to read more LGBT+ books this month, and while that's great, we also need to make sure we're supporting #ownvoices books instead of just books about queer characters written by allocishet authors. Ava @ Bookishness and Tea wrote a really great Twitter thread about this a few days ago, and it inspired me to make this post of my favorite #ownvoices queer books.

What is #ownvoices? #ownvoices is a hashtag created by author Corinne Duyvis, and it applies to books where the protagonist and the author share a marginalized identity.

IF I WAS YOUR GIRL by Meredith Russo: This book was so good that I read it in one sitting! Amanda is such a great main character, and I also really liked that she's out at the beginning of the book - I'm pretty sure that all of the other books with trans main characters I've read so far are about coming out.

AS I DESCENDED by Robin Talley: This book was exceptionally creepy. I'm actually a little too scared of it to really commit to rereading it. I was sold from when I first saw the premise: Macbeth, but queer girls in a modern-day boarding school. Nail-biting-ly suspenseful.

ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE by Benjamin Alire Sáenz: Okay, so you've probably seen this book everywhere, but it's still worth mentioning! The writing is incredible, the plot is good, and it's a book that I think will appeal to pretty much any YA reader.

EVERYTHING LEADS TO YOU by Nina LaCour: This is such a cute book! It's light and mostly fluffy in a way that queer books don't usually get to be. I talk about how I want more happy queer books literally all the time, and this is one of the ones I pull out as an already-published example. I really need to reread this one.

RAMONA BLUE by Julie Murphy: I just finished this a few week ago, and I'm so happy I read it in time to include it on this list! I know it got a lot of backlash when it was first announced by people worried it would be bad representation, but trust me: it's great. It explores how sexuality can be fluid for some people, and some people start out identifying one way and end up with something different.

WILLFUL MACHINES by Tim Floreen: This is a really good book that I've hardly seen any hype about! It's sci-fi, which I don't read a ton of, but it was a really interesting look at the idea of artificial intelligence.

What are some of your favorite #ownvoices queer books? What are some books on your Pride Month TBRs? Tell me in the comments!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May Wrap-Up

It's summer! I finally have time to read and blog again! And sleep. Sleep is good, and I definitely was not doing enough of it during finals. It's been so long since I wrote a wrap-up intro that wasn't just school-busy-chaos that I feel like I've forgotten how. But it's been a pretty exciting month, so I have a lot to share! (None of this has anything to do with books, though, so if that's what you want to see just go ahead and scroll past.)

I've already kind of said the first thing: I finished my first year of college! I love my school and my classes, but it's so relaxing to know that I don't have to do any more of that for three months. (Well, most of it. I probably have an online extension of my work study job for about a month, but the details are still getting worked out, and I won't complain about earning money.)

Then, literally the weekend after finals, I did a half marathon! I spent a lot of time walking, but considering I've been dealing with an on-and-off migraine for the past five months that made a small but noticeable appearance that morning, I'm pretty thrilled that I finished. It was my seventh half marathon, which is still kind of hard to believe.

And finally, I turned 19! I'm now somehow even more of an adult. I woke up to an email from Thriftbooks with a birthday 20%-off coupon, and really, that means it was automatically a good day.


SOMEONE ELSE'S SUMMER by Rachel Bateman: This book had a lot of promise, but I think my expectations were a bit too high. I didn't have any strong negative feelings about it, but I also didn't particularly enjoy it. It's a quick summery read (though a little darker at times than most), which was nice. My mini-review is included here.

THE NAMES THEY GAVE US by Emery Lord: This book might have destroyed me a little bit. It was so good! I love all of Emery Lord's books, so that wasn't a surprise, but it even surpassed my expectations. I can't recommend it enough. My full review is here.

ONE OF US IS LYING by Karen M. McManus: I don't normally go for mysteries, but this one was intriguing! It definitely kept me interested until the end. I had my problems with it, but they weren't major. My full review is here.

DUELS & DECEPTION by Cindy Anstey: This was a cute, quick read! I don't think I've read anything quite like it - it's like if you took the typical light, happy contemporary and made it historical fiction instead. My mini-review is included here.

WELCOME HOME by Eric Smith: I had somewhat mixed feelings about this anthology. As with any anthology, there were a few stand-out stories that I loved, and a bunch of others that were good, but not exceptional. There were so many stories, though, and they were all really short. I'll post a more detailed review closer to release.

THE THING WITH FEATHERS by McCall Hoyle: I don't think I've ever read a book where the main character has epilepsy! Yay for more representation! This was really good, and it was a pretty quick read, but I wanted a bit more from it. Again, I'll post a more detailed review closer to release. ½

BEFORE THE AWAKENING by Greg Rucka: This might not have been as good as the movie, but I'm still glad I read it! It gave me more insight into the three main characters of the new Star Wars trilogy, and it made me even more excited for The Last Jedi this December!

RAMONA BLUE by Julie Murphy: I was a bit apprehensive about this book at first, but I'm really glad that I decided to take a chance on it. I loved Ramona from the beginning, and I cared so much about the other characters. And wow, what an ending!

THE STRANGE AND BEAUTIFUL SORROWS OF AVA LAVENDER by Leslye Walton: I have such mixed feelings about this book. It was gorgeously written, and very creative, and I definitely want more books like it, but at the same time, I didn't love it.

10 THINGS I CAN SEE FROM HERE by Carrie Mac: I have a lot of (good) things to say about this book that I haven't quite been able to put into words yet. It's a really good book on its own, but what really made me love it is that it's amazing representation of a main character with an anxiety disorder. I highly recommend it.

Reread this month:
  • CLOCKWORK ANGEL by Cassandra Clare (The Infernal Devices #1): I've been meaning to reread this series for a while now, and I'm finally getting around to it! I'm rereading them all via audiobook, which is fun. This one is so much better than I remembered, and I liked it a lot more than I did the first time around! I finished it really quickly. first read: ; reread:
  • CLOCKWORK PRINCE by Cassandra Clare (The Infernal Devices #2): This was my favorite one in the series the first time I read it! It was a tiny bit disappointing this time because I remembered all of the best parts, so I didn't enjoy it quite as much, but I definitely remember why I loved it so much. first read: ; reread: (but not changing Goodreads rating since it was just a matter of lack of suspense)
  • Total books: 10 new, 2 rereads
  • Longest book: not counting rereads, Ramona Blue (432 pages); counting rereads, Clockwork Prince (502 pages)
  • Shortest book: Before the Awakening, 216 pages
  • Favorite book: The Names They Gave Us
  • Least favorite book: Someone Else's Summer

Backlist Reader Challenge: 2 this month, overall 16/60 (Before the Awakening, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender)

Read it Again, Sam Challenge: 1 this month, overall 16/16+ (Clockwork Angel) - I'm finished! I'm definitely going to keep rereading, though.

2017 Debut Author Challenge: 2 this month, overall 7/12 (One of Us is Lying, The Thing with Feathers)

2017 Series Enders Challenge: 0 this month, overall 3/5-10


2017 Discussion Challenge: 0 this month, overall 3/11-20 (I'm so behind! Summer will be good to catch up.
How's the past month been? If you're in school, are you on summer break yet? Have you been reading more? Tell me in the comments!