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Month: January 2017

all the buddy reads

all the buddy reads

Buddy reading books is one of the things that interested me about the blogosphere and Goodreads. Where I live, there aren’t really any book clubs that I’ve been able to participate in or anything. There are some of course at the libraries, but they tend to be geared towards an older crowd and on days that I’m not available. I’ve always wanted to discuss books with other people and just never really have had the chance. Even on Goodreads, the groups I used to be in didn’t really provide a lot of discussion. Thankfully, that has COMPLETELY changed in 2017.

January is almost over and I’ve been able to participate in like 3 buddy read/book discussions! I also have like another 3 set up! It’s been so nice reading all these books with people and discussing them! I’ve been able to expand my understanding of these books and get more out of what I’ve been reading and it’s been so nice. My one concern with all these buddy reads is the amount. I worry that I will burn myself out on them and will fall back into a wicked reading slump. It took so long to get out of one last year that I don’t want it to happen again! How do you balance buddy reads with your own personal reads and not overwhelming your schedule?

One issue I also have is that I am a mood reader so what may sound good 2 weeks ago may not necessarily be what I want to read NOW. It’s a hard balance! So far I’ve been able to balance it pretty well. For every buddy read book, I’m trying to read like two or three in between. There are also books I’m signed up to buddy read that I kind of don’t want to wait. I just want to read them now! I just have to keep that momentum up so that I don’t lose interest in particular books. I’m also trying to limit myself to no more than three buddy reads a month and I hope that it works out.

Overall, I’m glad I’m taking more of an active approach to my reading. I feel like I’m getting more out of it and I’m able to better understand what I’m reading. As a result, I’ve definitely been reading a lot more adult fiction. That’s been nice as well. I’m such a big young adult reader that sometimes it’s nice to challenge myself a little bit with the slightly more difficult books. I like the variety I’ve been getting and all that. I’ve also been able to knock off some harder challenge topics as a result as well! Gotta love when it all comes together and what not!

By Your Side by Kasie West

By Your Side by Kasie West

By Your Side by Kasie WestBy Your Side by Kasie West
Published by HarperCollins on January 31st 2017
Source: edelweiss
three-stars
When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

I received this book for free from edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I have always seen so many amazing things about Kasie West books, but haven’t read one yet. Well, that finally changed! By Your Side is about this girl, Autumn, and how she gets locked into the library with Dax, the bad boy no one knows much about.

Let me start with the obvious. This book is not a serious book. It is a fluffy, feel good book that does touch on certain topics, but it does not go deep. It was super adorable, but pretty cliche for me. It is a great book to read in between harder/longer novels. That said, I did like it. I thought it was fun and I didn’t really struggle getting through it. I wasn’t a huge fan of the ending though. It felt a bit flat and abrupt and didn’t quite flow with the rest of the story. I’ve read other novels where there is an open ending, but it still flows with the rest of the story. That’s not quite what happened here.

I really appreciated the nod to mental illness and self care. As someone who suffers from anxiety myself, anytime there is a fairly realistic view of it in literature (especially young adult books), I can’t help but to love that book a little more. I liked that it showed kind of two sides of it. It showed how Autumn was dealing with it (which was not always the smartest) and how Dax really noticed what she was doing and tried to help her. He really cared for her and really tried to make sure she was taking care of her mental health.

Dax was definitely my favorite character. I liked how he approached things and his choices made sense and you really did get the feeling that he cared for Autumn. I also really liked Dallin, which is not a very popular opinion. He really cared for his friend Jeff and it shows. It’s very much like a guy in high school. Jeff bugged me though. One of the things I didn’t like was the whole almost love triangle thing. Jeff was annoying and I really didn’t see why there was such a struggle for her to realize who was better for her.

Another thing I just wasn’t entirely a fan of was how she got locked in the library and how she ended up getting out. I’m sorry, but how can people claim to be such good friends and not realize someone was missing? Also, how could it have taken them almost 3 days to finally see the news about what happened? How did the library staff not thoroughly check to see that everyone is gone? How are there not motion sensor alarms that would have noticed people moving around the locked/closed building? The whole concept was a bit far fetched.

Overall, I enjoyed the story. It was nice and easy and fun and fluffy. I’ll definitely seek more out by Kasie West, but I hope this wouldn’t be considered her best. I feel like there’s so much potential for her as an author so I’m hoping I enjoy her other novels even more!

the YouTube black hole

the YouTube black hole

So this isn’t quite book related, but it’s something I want to talk about so here I am! I used to always hear about people who would watch all the YouTube and I never really understood it. How can someone waste so much time watching silly videos online?! Well, I get it guys. There is so much content on that site that it is so easy to just fall into the black hole that is YouTube. I am now OBSESSED. I watch quite a few videos everyday now! (sorry mobile data & wifi)

I am a pretty random person. I also have a weird habit with picking. It’s definitely an OCD behavior for me and it’s been a struggle to keep it under control. One thing I discovered that helped is popping videos (sorry if this is TMI). Thus, my foray into YouTube began! Then I started watching dog rescue videos and things just kind of spiraled from there. Thanks to YouTube, I discovered blind bag figurines (like Funko Mystery Minis) and I am now obsessed with those as well! There is just something so exciting about seeing what figurines people are getting and the excitement from when they get a rare one.

From there, I started watching vlogs and the such. Then I discovered peel-off masks! Those videos transitioned into beauty videos in general. From there I discovered my lifestyle channels which turned into bullet journals and now budgeting. Basically, if there is something I’m curious about or want to learn more about or anything really I go to YouTube.

Oddly, the one thing I haven’t quite ventured into is BookTube. I am not really a fan of reading reviews before I read a book so I don’t even really read reviews online or blogs. I don’t want someone else’s opinion affect what I may think going into a book. I am curious about BookTubers, but I don’t really want to watch channels that are heavy on reviews since that’s not really content that I would enjoy.

Do you guys have any good recommendations on channels? (book related or not) What are your favorite kinds of videos to watch?

The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages

The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages

The Green Glass Sea by Ellen KlagesThe Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages
Published by Penguin on October 19th 2006
four-stars
It is 1943, and 11-year-old Dewey Kerrigan is traveling west on a train to live with her scientist father—but no one, not her father nor the military guardians who accompany her, will tell her exactly where he is. When she reaches Los Alamos, New Mexico, she learns why: he's working on a top secret government program. Over the next few years, Dewey gets to know eminent scientists, starts tinkering with her own mechanical projects, becomes friends with a budding artist who is as much of a misfit as she is—and, all the while, has no idea how the Manhattan Project is about to change the world. This book's fresh prose and fascinating subject are like nothing you've read before.

This is one of those books that I purely picked up because of where it takes place. I am born and raised in New Mexico and anytime I come across a book that features New Mexico, I of course have to pick it up. I’m actually really glad that I did with this one! This book takes place in Los Alamos at the time of them building the atomic bombs. While that is the setting and the time frame, the focus was definitely on Suze and Dewey growing up.

Dewey is a little girl genius and I loved her. She was pretty unique and definitely true to herself. She embraced the things that she enjoyed and didn’t entirely care about what others thought of her. She had a strong relationship with her dad and he really seemed to support her in her adventures of building all these things and learning and what not. I did feel really bad for her though. She had to go through some tough situations, but I’m glad that she was able to really overcome them.

Suze was a little bit of a bad egg when we first meet her. I think that once she starts spending more time with Dewey she really comes into her own and grows as a person. She starts to open up a bit more and that was nice to see. I liked that her intelligence was in a different form than Dewey. It shows that there is more than just one kind of intelligence. I really liked her mom as well. She was super nice and smart and was really there for both Suze and Dewey. Yay for smart women! I also liked that she played a bit of a moral role in the things that were happening amidst the adults (with building ‘The Gadget’).

I can’t help but wonder how accurate this is. I can only imagine being in this military encampment where no one can really talk about what’s going on. I feel like some of the adults probably had an idea of what was going on, but certainly none of the kids did. Even the adults though didn’t quite understand the ramifications of their actions. Suze’s mom tried to be that voice of reason, but no one really paid much attention to her in regards to that. I also don’t think they understood the impact this type of bomb could have. A few days later they decide to go the bomb site! I wonder how many of the workers and what not dealt with the side effects of radiation years later. This is definitely a topic I will try to read more about. My interest is piqued!

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. I’m happy that there is a sequel (which I already own) since I do want to see more of Dewey and Suze and their family. I definitely recommend this to anyone interested in historical fiction and smart women and this time frame.

Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang

Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang

Falling Into Place by Amy ZhangFalling into Place by Amy Zhang
Published by Harper Collins on September 9th 2014
Source: edelweiss
three-stars
On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road.

Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly told by an unexpected and surprising narrator, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn’t understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn’t understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect? Amy Zhang’s haunting and universal story will appeal to fans of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman, and Jay Asher.

I received this book for free from edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I had seen this pop up on numerous lists of really good books to read, especially in regards to its subject matter (suicide). For some reason, I just never picked it up to read! I’m glad I finally decided to do so! I liked this book and it was definitely a unique read. It’s format was different than anything I’ve read and the story line was definitely nonlinear.

Liz is hard person to like when we first meet her. Throughout the novel we see all these bad things she’s done and how they’ve affected her (not just the victims). I could see her struggles, but I never really understood why she decided to commit suicide. It never really connected for me. I did enjoy seeing her kind of realize what she had done and actually feeling guilty over them. I wish there was just more of a connection between her actions and how she’s portrayed in the novel. Having her be somewhat disconnected didn’t really help the story.

It was interesting seeing her two best friends as well, Kenny and Julia. They definitely reacted differently than each other in regards to what was happening. It was sad to see how Liz affected them and basically helped them on their paths of destruction. I’m hoping that if there were to be a sequel that they would all be on a path of recovery after all this. I’m also super curious about Liam and how he’ll fit into Liz’s life in the future. I actually really liked him.

One of the things that I’m still not sure about is who was the narrator. I think it was like an imaginary friend or a young/innocent version of Liz. At times the story flowed, but there were times where the narrator made things just seem off. The story didn’t quite flow the way the rest of the story did in those moments. I did enjoy the nonlinear aspect of the plot, but I wish it didn’t jump around quite as much. I also enjoyed the physics parts, but I wish it was more of a focus. When it was included, I feel like it really worked.

Overall, I enjoyed this. For being a book about such an emotional topic, I expected to have a more emotional response. I didn’t find it spectacular, but I am definitely intrigued to read more by this author.

The Prey by Tom Isbell

The Prey by Tom Isbell

The Prey by Tom IsbellThe Prey by Tom Isbell
Published by Harper Collins on January 20th 2015
Source: edelweiss
three-stars
The Maze Runner meets The Hunger Games in this heart-pounding trilogy. Orphaned teens, soon to be hunted for sport, must flee their resettlement camps in their fight for survival and a better life. For in the Republic of the True America, it's always hunting season. Riveting action, intense romance, and gripping emotion make this fast-paced adventure a standout debut.

After a radiation blast burned most of the Earth to a crisp, the new government established settlement camps for the survivors. At the camp, these sixteen-year-old "LTs," are eager to graduate as part of the Rite. Until they learn the dark truth: "LTs" doesn't stand for lieutenants but for Less Thans, feared by society and raised to be hunted for sport. They escape and join forces with the Sisters, twin girls who've suffered their own haunting fate. Together they seek the fabled New Territory, with sadistic hunters hot on their trail. Secrets are revealed, allegiances are made, and lives are at stake. As unlikely Book and fearless Hope lead their quest for freedom, these teens must find the best in themselves to fight the worst in their enemies.

I received this book for free from edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I’m honestly not sure what it was about this book that made me want to read it. Something must have grabbed my attention since I requested it for review! Well, it is now over a year later and I finally read it! I enjoyed this book, but I wouldn’t say that I loved it. I also don’t think I’ll read the rest of the series. That said, I can see this appealing to a lot of people so definitely give it a shot!

So first off, there was a lot that happened in this. There were times where it felt like one thing too many. There were times when I thought things were wrapping up and the end was near only for something else to happen. With the type of story it did make sense for things to just happen a lot, but it would’ve been nice for there to be a bit of a breather (not so much for the characters since that wouldn’t have made sense for their story, but definitely for the reader). A lot of the moments were really sad as well. I can only imagine what kind of mental head space these kids are in after everything they’ve gone through. I wish the book would touch on that a bit more.

The romance was probably the main issue I had with this story. I think it was pretty unnecessary. Anytime the romance would kind of become the focus, I would definitely lose interest and want to start skimming. The almost love triangle did not help either. I wish the focus was more on the characters and their backstory and how they are handling it all and getting along and all that jazz.

I did like Cat and his backstory. He would be an interesting character to learn more about. Dozer really bugged. I liked how they were all able to really group together and be a team to get where they needed to. As far as why they didn’t see if it was a place worth bringing everyone else to even gathering supplies before going back, I have no idea. That was a really weird decision for them to all make. It was a quick read at least.

Overall, it was an alright book. I can see some people really loving it and others not liking it at all. Definitely give it a try if you like survival stories with romance and a dystopian landscape!

642 Things to Write About | Prompt 001

642 Things to Write About | Prompt 001

For Christmas, my husband and I received a book called 642 Things to Write About. I’ve always struggled with my writing so I was pretty excited to receive it. My husband was pretty indifferent so I just hijacked it for myself. lol I decided to share my experience with this book and what I write here on my blog (which is seriously terrifying). I’m not sure how often I’ll write or how often I’ll share here, but I am aiming for a personal goal to respond to at least 2 prompts a week. I want to try to dedicate at least 5 minutes to each prompt as well. Some of what I write may not make sense; it may be prose, it may be a poem, who knows!

Here goes nothing!

 

what can happen in a second

a breath
a flicker of hope

a heartbeat
a new life

the beat of a hummingbird’s wings
a raindrop hitting a windowpane

an exhale
heartbreak

a lifetime