Sunday, May 21, 2017

YOU SHOULD BE READING... HEROES OF OLYMPUS

I recently finished reading Mark of Athena and now I'm questioning what in the world took me so long to get into the Heroes of Olympus series. When I first picked up The Lost Hero, it took me so long to get into. I started reading The Lost Hero (according to Goodreads) on March 16th, 2015 and finished it January 30th, 2017 - that's almost two years!
The thing is, I picked this series up immediately after finishing the Percy Jackson series, and I can see now how bad an idea that was. The Lost Hero doesn't follow Percy (I mean the series does, eventually... but SPOILERS! but completely new characters. Going right into Heroes of Olympus after the Percy Jackson series left me wanting the other characters back but only in the last chapter of The Last Olympian where they're safe and happy.
So after distancing myself and getting over my unfinished business with The Lost Hero, I jumped back in and I'm absolutely loving it. So this post is for the people who've read Percy Jackson and haven't moved on to Heroes of Olympus yet. Here's why you should be reading Heroes of Olympus:
Cool New Characters!
These characters are freaking awesome, y'all. As individuals (through what I've read so far) they have such unique personalities and diverse backgrounds. (I'm struggling with what to say and what not to say because of the set up of this series and I can't decide what is spoilers and what is not.) There's a lot of characters and they're all super cool with their own unique talents and personal history. Plus, if you know me, you know how much I love lots of characters all together so I can watch (or read, rather) their dynamics!
Greek and Roman Gods! 
I can't say much but you need to know how much the godly world (is that the right term?) expands with these books. It's so cool learning more about the Greek gods and their stories, as well as their Roman counterparts! More gods, more fun! ... sort of. As much as the gods took a part in the Percy Jackson series, that was Percy's story. In the Heroes of Olympus, the gods really play a huge part in this series and it's freaking awesome.
Percy and Annabeth are literally the ultimate and the only OTP
I mean, this sort of speaks for itself but I just can't get over how healthy their relationship is. #GOALS #Percabeth
Life lessons!
I love that these characters are a bit older than those in the Percy Jackson series, and it's really fun to read their coming-of-age journeys and the lessons they learn. Yeah, they're monster-fighting demigods, but there's some real world shit in there, which is great for everyone, children and adults alike! The Percy Jackson series obviously has lessons as well, but I feel like this one is packed with many different characters, each having to take their own path and learn about themselves.
Rick Riordan is awesome!
If anything, I just want you to read Heroes of Olympus so you'll support Rick Riordan. His writing is fun, but he's also amazing with fans and their concerns. He's just a cool guy that cares about people. He also is doing his own imprint with Disney-Hyperion to publish stories that have other types of mythology that he doesn't feel qualified to write about.
Do you have to read the Percy Jackson series?
Now that we've addressed how awesome Heroes of Olympus is, you might be considering reading it without having read the Percy Jackson series. I'm here to tell you that you should read it - because it's fun and you get to love the characters in that series and know all the background stuff. However, you could always look up the wiki or something and spoil yourself to be able to read Heroes of Olympus. The Percy Jackson series is necessary for back story, but I suppose you could skip it if you really wanted to.
That's that! You need to go read this series now! Go forth and read!

I'm thinking of making "You Should Be Reading" a series of some sort on my blog, and I've got plans for other series/books for the future, so make sure to look out for it. This was really fun to put together, so I'm looking forward to doing more!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Let's (Not) Talk About My Goodreads Goal

Above is my Goodreads reading challenge as of April 15th. Real Talk: I have more books in my TBR pile then I've set my Goodreads goal to. And I don't care.
The bottom line is, I've stopped forcing myself to read books. I get questions a lot IRL about being an english major and if that has changed my perspective on reading. Overall: no, it hasn't. I still read trashy books and enjoy them despite them having (somewhat) no literary value. I notice things like tropes more but that doesn't undermine the book's value or hinder my enjoyment. What has changed is how frequent I'm reading.
All. Freaking. Year. I force myself to read boring theory readings for class, and slunk through the first few chapters of classics before I can enjoy them, or take 30 minutes to read a 14 line sonnet because I don't process it the first time around...
So once winter break, reading week, and the four months of summer break begin, I can't force myself to read. I won't force myself to read.
I read two books in January, one of which was for class. I read one book in February. The one book I read in March was a play for class. And so far in April I've only read - you guessed it - one book.
Which puts me 9 books behind schedule if I want to read 50 books this year.
And since when did we start forcing ourselves to read? My answer is booktube. Obviously booktube and book blogs really inspire me to read. They introduce me to new books: books I wouldn't pick up on my own, etc. I think booktube, specifically, is really showy. If you're new, I did booktube for a while and am currently taking an extended hiatus. Some booktubers will read 10+ books a week, and I think if that's a natural inclination to read a lot, that's great! Sometimes I do read that many books. However, I rarely read that many books, and when I was doing booktube regularly, I felt an immense pressure to read a lot because I felt that reading a lot meant producing more content.
So I won't be pressuring myself to read anymore, and I won't be pressuring myself to finish books anymore. I mean, if I was cataloging all the books I've started lately, my Goodreads "currently reading" shelf would have at least 6 books on it.

In 2014 I read 63/50 books.
In 2015 I read 72/70 books.
In 2016 I read 41/50 books.
2016 was my first year of university and I'm pretty sure it's only been getting more difficult since. If I don't hit my 50 book goal this year, I'm not too sure what I'll set it to next year. For now, though, I'm stopping the madness of scrambling to finish books and quickly pick up another one. It's just not worth it. I would struggle over what to rate each book, when it came to review time, I could barely remember plot points. And what was it all for? I mean, I wouldn't have read the books if I wasn't interested in them, but it felt like I was doing it all to say I'd read the books. There is a video on my youtube channel kind of talking about feeling pressured to read. I also work at a book store and feel the pressure because of that as well, but I have my awesome co-workers to back me up there. On the internet, you're kind of alone.
So even though we're already in April, I want to promise myself that this year, I will stop forcing myself to read, and just enjoy the books I'm reading.
When and if I decide to go back to booktube, I'm not going to read just so I have content.
I'm going to stop worrying about what my Goodreads shelves and goal look like, and just enjoy reading.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Review: QUEENS OF GEEK by Jen Wilde

So I haven't worked on my TBR from my last post AT ALL... big surprise, eh?
But I'm home for the summer (sort of, I still have to write 2 exams and revise an essay) and that means I'm back at my "home" store. So I perused the ARC shelf in the staff room and found QUEENS OF GEEK. Now I heard a little bit about this one on the book twitters, but when I read the description all I could think was *ew lame concept* but I took the ARC anyways and thought *oh MAYBE I'll read it.*
I ended up reading the whole thing in a few hours today and it's exactly what I needed. I've been finding it difficult to pick up a book and actually read it since the semester ended. Which is very, very frustrating because I finally have time to read and suddenly I can't???
Anyways, here's my little review/rave/why you should also read this book. Quick warning: I use the word, or some variation of the word nerd a lot and it's not meant to be offensive or malicious at all. I consider myself quite the nerd!
First of all it follows our two main characters Charlie and Taylor - two best-friends and nerds. They're going to their first con with their other best friend and nerd, Jamie.
Charlie is a popular vlogger (I think she has 3 million subscribers?) and recently starred in an Australian indie film that got really big. She's Chinese-Australian, and openly bisexual. She recently broke it off with Reese Ryan, her co-star, after he cheated on her. Now, they have to do press together at SupaCon - the nerd convention that Charlie has treated Taylor and Jamie to because they're about to graduate from high school.
Taylor has anxiety, she's on the autism spectrum, and she's curvy/fat/plus-sized/whatever you wanna call it. She's got a good Tumblr/Twitter following and is really excited that she might get to meet her favourite author (Skyler Atkins) at SupaCon. She even cosplays as the main character of Skylar Atkins' book series (there's also a movie franchise). It's obvious from the start that Jamie has a thing for Taylor and you basically will ship it right away.
Speaking of ships, because it's a con, there are other YouTubers there other than Charlie, like this girl Alyssa Huntington - you will also ship them immediately.
So there are the basics down.

  • Diverse cast of characters with relatable attributes? Check!
  • Nerdy kids running around at a nerdy convention? Check! 
  • The promise of not one, but two, love stories? Check!  

So yeah, the concept itself is not the most relatable. No one I know has a youtube and movie star for a best friend that can fly them from Australia to the States for a convention, but I digress, because the characters and the things they go through are so relatable.
I didn't relate to Charlie that much - I'm straight. But I did love the confidence in herself, and the way that's shaken up through her break up with Reese is relatable (not a spoiler! they break up before the book starts!). I found Taylor more relatable, because I have a panic disorder, I'm a nerd, and I'm also curvy/fat/plus-sized/whatever you wanna call it. I definitely have overcome a lot of the self-hatred that comes along with being plus-sized, and I loved that this book sort of covers Taylor at a point in her life where she's also kinda past that. Mind you, I am older than her, but I also really came to terms with my body in my last year of high school, so that was great to read about.
I also found it really cool how Wilde focused a lot on how much the internet really helps people with social anxiety. My panic disorder isn't triggered by anything social, but the way she was able to describe anxiety and panic attacks was just so relatable and well done. Not everyone experiences anxiety the same way, but I thought it was very well portrayed.
I also loved that Jamie was so understanding of it. No spoilers, but there's one scene that really stood out where Taylor was upset for a reason I won't disclose, and Jamie goes to comfort her by hugging her, and she tells him that she doesn't want to be touched. He completely understands and backs off. Now I don't know a lot about autism spectrum disorder, so her not wanting to be touched could have something to do with that, but I also think that can link up with anxiety and it was great to see an honest portrayal of a friend helping a friend and being respectful about it.
Another thing I found funny was that when it was a bit trope-y and cheesey sometimes the characters acknowledged it? IDK how to explain that without spoilers but it was very meta and unexpected.
Overall, you should read this book. On Goodreads I gave it a 4/5 stars and I think I'll stick with that. It wasn't a 5 star for me, but it could be a 4.5. I don't know, star ratings are hard.
Have you read it? Let me know what you thought!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Thank-goodness-the-semester-is-ending-I'm-almost-free-TBR

Since my semester is almost over, and because I'm drowning in a pile of research and essay writing, I wanted to keep this simple. Here's the stuff I want to read when my work dies down!
Thank-goodness-the-semester-is-ending-I'm-almost-free-TBR

1. Difficult Women, Roxane Gay 
This one came out quite a while ago in January, and I bought it almost right away. I've read a few chapters of Gay's Bad Feminist for various classes in uni and I really enjoy her writing and point of view. Difficult Women is a serious of short fiction follow various women with various identity leading various lives. I love anything with a strong point of view, specifically one that I haven't read a lot of or experienced myself. I'm also a sucker for a good short fiction collection. After I'm done this, I'd love to go back and read Bad Feminist through, and I'm really excited for Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Gay coming out in June.
2. One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter, Scaachi Koul
This came out at the beginning of March and I picked it up a few days ago. I've had it on my list for quite a while after reading many, many articles outlining books 'I need to watch out for in 2017.' This was on many of them, specifically those highlighting women or women of colour. It's a collection of essays by Koul discussing her life in Canada as an Indian woman. Again, I love a good point of view, and this is giving a great one.
3. Crown of Wishes, Roshani Chokshi
I read The Star-Touched Queen a while back and absolutely flew through it. I gave it a moderate rating, but overall I enjoyed it for what it was. The Indian folklore vibes are really cool and the romance was excellent. So I'm pretty excited to jump into this one, although I am a bit disappointed that this is written as a stand-alone/companion novel. I want to know so badly what is going to happen after the end of TSTQ and I'm not even sure if there's an actual sequel in the works. Anyways, I enjoyed the world, so I'm excited to read this.
If you follow me on Goodreads, I'm also "currently" reading The Empress of a Thousand Skies, Do Not Say We Have Nothing, and The Opposite of Loneliness. The truth is, I'm always reading so many books because I have a short attention span. I would like to finished Empress of a Thousand Skies before going onto the other books, but we'll see.
What are you reading right now?

Friday, March 3, 2017

Hi, Hello.

Is this thing still working?
I know.
I know I've done this multiple times. However, this little thing is great to have when you have no time for literally anything else. I'm at the point where I barely have a social life, sometimes I forget to eat, and the other day I almost fainted before a midterm. So I'm doing alright.
I tweeted today that I'm going to take an extended hiatus from booktube/youtube - and there are many, many reasons that aren't "having no time." Before mid-term season began and the impending end of my second year as an undergrad came upon me, I had plenty of time to make videos. But I didn't.
If you've been on the bookternet at all lately, you'll know how much of a shit show it is. And I'm not saying that to start so-called "drama," I'm saying because I know you think it too. Don't get me wrong, I love the bookternet and booktube. I've met really great people who have as much (or more) passion for books than I do, and I've found it's a really great place for me. But things can get sour fast as people continue to put their opinions out there - wether they're advocating for more diversity in novels (yay!), or complaining that gay people aren't realistic (what??? I mean, let's get this straight. I live in a house of 6 people, including me. 5 of out those 6 people are part of the LGBT+ community. What was that about straight people being a majority, again?).
In a community that advocates to for accepting other's opinions, it's really frustrating to see people putting (not dumb) ideas out there and watching them get aggressive responses.
So I needed a break. And this one is specifically from booktube. Back in December, I did the same thing for about 2 months, but I have a feeling this one might be a bit longer.
MOVING ON...
Here's what I've got planned. I want to be able to do casual reviews. I respect other book bloggers so much for all the work and graphics and structure for their book reviews, but yo' girl is too lazy. I'd love to put some gifs in here or there, but you may have to give me some time while I figure that out, as it's been quite a while since I've played around with coding.
I'd also love to talk about my program: it's ups, downs, etc. The stuff I read and learn. Mostly because it's what I want to talk about, it's what I'm passionate about. English is what I study and I want to talk about it!
If you don't follow me on instagram, I do have a bookstagram, and I'd like to kind of combine them. Not only to match my aesthetic, but too also get you some cool photos and do stuff like wrap-ups, tbrs. Basically what I was doing on booktube, just in a format where I can do it in my pjs with no makeup on.
Speaking of aesthetic though, if anyone does/knows anyone/anything about web design, hit me up, because this blog is more like a blahg.
.
.
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get it?
Alright, so that's what I've got for you. Casual, honest reviews. Chats about new books, old books. And once an a while an English major chat wether it be "over-reading" into books, or the history of literature critics.
So if you wanna follow along, you can follow me on bloglovin' if that is your follow method of choice. You can also get email updates when I post new posts.
I'd like to close this off with a song I've been listening to a lot - I figure it's a fun way to do this! This is Not Today by BTS. Kpop isn't always my genre of choice, but I do enjoy it! https://open.spotify.com/track/7KlTFTpy7dXLzr2NtLkvG6

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

TBR Midnight Musings

My life has been CRAY (as the kids say) lately, and I just sorta felt like writing a blog post about my bookish life.
I recently unhauled a crap-ton of books.  Some because I read them and don't care to own them anymore, some because I'm just not interested anymore. Let's just say I always hope books are the easiest to let go of when I'm "not interested" anymore. I can't imagine what would happen if I said the same about uni, or anything else in my life, for that matter. Anyways, most of these books that I unhauled are still currently sitting in a massive pile in my room, as if I haven't already decided I don't want them in my life anymore. Some of them I know I want to sell, like the 4 hardcover Selection books I tried so hard to get my hands on in the first place. I also have the first two books of The 5th Wave trilogy and the first two books in the Starbound trilogy all in hardcover, so I'd like some cash for those as well. My problem here is that where I live, good used bookstore are few and far between. None of them are worth selling books to because the store credit isn't worth it. It's kinda sad to say, and I wish it weren't true because indie books stores deserve more business and more credit for what they do.
Meanwhile, try as hard as I may, my TBR pile keeps on growing. I'm not sure how, exactly, it just keeps happening! My problem is that I work at a bookstore and employee discounts are dangerous. I tried to find a way around this the other day when I decided I wanted to impulsively read The Star-Touched Queen. Instead of buying the book I went onto my e-reader and downloaded a free chapter sampler. Well then it ended on a cliff hanger and before I could really figure out how interested I was in the story and it's characters, I went ahead and bought the whole e-book. I still finished it, and for now I'm glad I bought it in e-book form. But did I really need it? No. I'm just an impulsive reader, and I always have been.
Which is probably why I've found myself running after my Goodreads goal all year. As I become an adult, my tastes are changing, but I'm also more educated, and not just because I'm an english major, but because of life experiences. And speaking of english major (do I say it enough? don't worry, my eyes are rolling on your behalf) I have so. many. books to read. I decided it'd be fun to take a fantasy course, and so, the other day I got the list of books I need. THE ENTIRE LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY was on the list. But Emily, you're a nerd, you've already read them! Well, I'm sorry you've been deceived, because I have to admit that I am a fake nerd. I haven't read the books, nor seen the movies.
So anyways. Books, amiright?

*this post was typed frantically after an 8-hour work day and was not edited or revised, please excuse any typos.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Cram-a-Thon TBR + Updates!

Hi all! 
So if you follow me on YouTube channel, you may have noticed it's been a while since I've posted video. It's mainly because being a first year in uni is CRAZY; I can't even imagine what else is in store for my next three and a half years here! Also, I've been under quite a bit of stress. I went through a little rough patch and honestly thought I wouldn't be able to post another video until the new year, which is not true but I definitely will have to wait until my exams are over to have time to post anything.
Something I do seem to have the chance to do is blog posts: so I'm starting this baby back up! I figure it's a great way to update my reading but not have to get all fancy for the camera or spend the time editing and uploading a video. Today, I wanted to talk about my Cram-a-Thon TBR pile!
If you don't know what cram-a-thon is, it was started by Whitney at whittynovels (who is an awesome human being) last year when she wanted to get more books read for her Goodreads goal. She sets challenges for the read-a-thon to help build a tbr, but you don't necessarily have to follow them, you can participate however you'd like! This year's end-of-year cram-a-thon is taking place December 19th-22nd. Unfortunately, I've got a 3 hour exam to write on the 20th, and then two 8-hour shifts the next days, but I'm pretty confident I can get more reading done than I have all December. (I've literally read nothing but class-required stuff all December.)
I've made up a very ambitious TBR for the short 2 weeks I have off from class, but I'm hoping to read as much as possible, and so I figured participating in the cram-a-thon might be worth it! I'm not really aiming for any challenges, but if I hit some in the process, it's not a bad thing!

1. Winter, Marissa Meyer
Now, I've already started this one. But there's no way with all the things I have planned and an exam that I will finish this before the read-a-thon begins. It completes the "finish a series" challenge, as it is the last book in The Lunar Chronicles series. Which is amazing, by the way. It's a series on retellings of several different fairytales but it's sci-fi and there's this weird evolved species of humans that live on the moon with an evil-tyrant queen ruling over them. It's really cool, really fun, and you will love the characters.


2. Saga Vol 5, Brian K Vaughn and Fiona Staples
This technically completes the challenge "read a graphic novel". It is the most recent trade of the Saga comic series that has been released. I love this series, though it's not for the youngings as there are scenes of nudity and *whispers* people doing the do. But it's so much fun, it's like Romeo and Juliet if they ran away... and had a baby... in space... and had many different people/alien species running after them. So much fun! I'm very excited to get to this!


3. Beyond the Night, Alexandra Bracken
This completes the challenge "read a book under 200 pages" as it is a novella published in a bind-up with the two other novellas that take place inside Bracken's The Darkest Minds world. I've noticed that her writing isn't for everyone, but personality I love it! It always provokes strong emotions in me, and I love it when a book can do that. The Darkest Minds series - if you didn't know already - follows teenagers in a dystopian world where a plague wiped out many others their age. However, since they survived, they developed different mind abilities. It's really cool and super road-trip-y. I've already read the whole series, including the other two novellas published, and I can't wait to read this last one!


4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J.K. Rowling
*hides under table* so I haven't finished the Harry Potter series. I know, I know, I've heard it many times. (trust me I work in a book store, there's nothing worse than your co-workers at a bookstore finding out you've never read Harry Potter.) But that story is for another time. Basically, this fifth book is the next one I have to read and I really enjoy the audiobooks narrated by Jim Dale. I may half-read half-listen to this one, since I do own the book (and I did read the fourth book without audiobook help). But this one is so long, and I like being able to multi-task during the boring parts. So audiobook it is! Not sure if I'll finish it during the read-a-thon since it is so long, but it's worth a start! If I were to finish, it would hit another challenge, "read an audiobook."


So that's all I've got in mind, and more than I think I've got time for, but I'm really gonna try to find! I hope you're all doing very well, let me know what you're reading by leaving me a comment, or shoot me a tweet!