Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November Wrap-Up

Where did November go? It seems like Halloween was only a couple of weeks ago! And I didn't read a lot, either - sure, 7 books is pretty good, but 2 were read-in-one-sitting picture books. I'm definitely going to do better next month.

Frankly, I can't think of anything that happened in my life in November that was exciting enough to share. Thanksgiving happened - my favorite holiday! I went to my aunt and uncle's house, since going all the way across the country for such a short break would have been more chaotic than anything else. And my aunt is an amazing cook, which made Thanksgiving dinner perfect.

I'm also busy preparing for finals - I can't believe my first semester is almost over! Everything started going by so quickly in September, and it hasn't slowed down. Maybe that's why I haven't been reading as much. It doesn't really feel like I'm spending as much time not reading, when it's really a lot more. But I did read some! Here's what I got around to:


THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS by Marieke Nijkamp: I was really expecting a lot more from this book. It's about such a powerful subject and I heard so many people praise it so highly that I thought it would really blow me away. It didn't.

BLOOD FOR BLOOD by Ryan Graudin (Wolf by Wolf #2): I had such high expectations for this book, after absolutely loving Wolf by Wolf, and for the most part, they were met! It was a really exciting book, an I never quite knew where it was going next. However, I think a lot of what I loved about the first book was the idea of the motorcycle race, and since this was set after it ended, I didn't get that.

EVERYTHING I NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED FROM A DISNEY LITTLE GOLDEN BOOK by Diane Muldrow: Definitely wasn't expecting to read this, but it was right there in the store and I just had to. It was so cute and inspirational! Now I want to buy a copy so that I can just read the whole thing whenever I need something to brighten my day.

EVERYTHING I NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED FROM A STAR WARS LITTLE GOLDEN BOOK by Geof Smith: I think you can guess where and when I read this book, based on the last one. Again, so cute and inspirational! Parts of this one didn't seem quite as smooth, since a lot of parts in Star Wars movies are a little dark for a Little Golden Book, but I still really liked it.

A MILLION WORLDS WITH YOU by Claudia Gray (Firebird #3): I'm so sad that this series is over! It's been one of my absolute favorite trilogies of all time, and I'm so glad that I got to follow along as the books came out. Each of these can be easily devoured in one sitting, and while I didn't get to do that with this one, I still flew through it. The plot of this book didn't allow for quite as much worldbuilding as the first two, but it was so exciting that I hardly cared!

LIKE A RIVER GLORIOUS by Rae Carson (Gold Seer Trilogy #2): This was so exciting! It was pretty similar to the first book in premise, but very different in situation, which was an interesting balance. I think it worked pretty well! There are so many things that I love about this book, but I can't talk about any of them because spoilers! And I absolutely can't wait for book three next year. Just pick up this series already.

EMMA by Jane Austen: As of the time this post goes up, I technically haven't finished this book yet, but I'm including it here because I'm going to finish it before December starts if it kills me. Besides, I already know what I'm going to say: I was bored to tears. I just didn't care. I ended up skimming large sections of it because I just couldn't bring myself to DNF a Jane Austen novel. I have no idea why it was like this - I love every other Austen book I've read - but this was just so unbelievably boring!

  • Total books: 7
  • Longest book: Blood for Blood, 481 pages
  • Shortest book: the two Little Golden Books, 96 pages each
  • Favorite book: A Million Worlds With You
  • Least favorite book: Emma
  • Diverse reads: 4 (This Is Where It Ends, Blood for Blood, A Million Worlds With You, Like a River Glorious)
  • Comics/Graphic Novels/Picture Books: 2 (the two Little Golden Books)
What did you do in November? Did you have Thanksgiving? What was your favorite book you read? Tell me in the comments!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Underrated Books Gift Guide: If They Liked This...

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme: holiday gift guide freebie!

I'm sure that every bookworm likes to get books for the holidays....just not the same books all the time. There are certain YA books that are hyped beyond belief, and I can easily imagine someone getting 4 copies of Divergent or Six of Crows.

There are so many amazing books out there - why not gift a book that goes a bit more under the radar? Sure, it might be a bit of a risk if you don't know that there are tens of thousands of people who've already loved it, but you might just find a hidden gem that your bookish friend will thank you for forever. (And, of course, you're more than welcome to use this as a guide for gifts to yourself.)

If they liked THE DIVINERS, get them IRON CAST
Why? Both revolve around a diverse group of people with powers in the 1920s (or nearly) solving some kind of mystery.

Why? They're both quick, happy contemporaries centered around queer guys that are also diverse in a bunch of other ways.

Why? They both take ageless concepts (like love and death) and turn them into characters, all against a historical backdrop.

Why? Both are sci-fi books that revolve around interesting questions, and both have gay protagonists.

Why? Very similar (and hilarious) narration styles, and really great main characters. (And this goes for any Maureen Johnson book - I just chose what I think is most popular.)

Why? Heists! And characters who have spent their whole lives training for them.

Why? The amazing atmosphere! Mostly normal, but slightly creepy and incredibly intriguing.

Why? Families with magic and a creepy land full of mysteries and excitement. And lots of fighting evil creatures!

If they liked PAPER TOWNS, get them THE LAND OF 10,000 MADONNAS
Why? A group of teenagers going on some kind of mission inspired by an absent friend, traveling and learning things about said friend along the way

If they liked LEVIATHAN, get them FRONT LINES
Why? Each imagines one of the World Wars with a twist, and they're both told from multiple perspectives. 

Have you started buying holiday presents yet? Or do you tend to wait until the last minute? Was this helpful? Tell me in the comments!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Ten Books I'm Grateful For

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is a Thanksgiving freebie!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It has the best balance of being important without being overwhelming, it's at the perfect time of year, and, of course, it has the best food. And I love the idea of the holiday: taking time to check back in with yourself and the world around you, looking for the things that help you be the best you can be and recognizing them.

I'm not usually all that vocal about what I'm grateful for, at least not all at once like at Thanksgiving. I generally opt for more of a quiet reflection. But sometimes, like now, I want to share. These are some books (and series) that have really changed my life for the better, and I owe so much to them. I'm so grateful for them, and I want to share that.

I'm grateful for DISCWORLD for showing me new ways to look at old problems, and for showing me that a bit of humor doesn't make a book any less serious.

I'm grateful for HAWKEYE: MY LIFE AS A WEAPON for introducing me to the world of comic books (and getting me absolutely hooked).

I'm grateful to CALVIN AND HOBBES for managing to be both fantastically new and wonderfully familiar every time I go back to it.

I'm grateful for CODE NAME VERITY for making me feel things that, before I read it, I didn't know books could make me feel. 

I'm grateful for RICK RIORDAN'S MYTHOLOGY BOOKS (especially Percy Jackson) for getting me interested in mythology in such a fun way. 

I'm grateful for SIMON VS THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA for never failing to make me happy. I reread this after the election and I was happier than I'd been for a week. It's magical.

I'm grateful for ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND for inspiring me to do impossible things.

I'm grateful to WHERE SHE WENT for giving me the kind of deep, instant connection to a book that I never knew I wanted. 

I'm grateful for AMERICAN GIRL for starting my love of history, inspiring me to always try to learn more, and making me want to be the best person I can be.

And finally, I'm grateful for HARRY POTTER for being one of the biggest influences on my life. I could write a whole blog post about my gratefulness for this series, but I think I'll leave it at that.

What books are you grateful for? What's your favorite part of Thanksgiving? Tell me in the comments!