Saturday, July 22, 2017

Booktube-a-thon TBR! #BTAT17

I love booktube-a-thon, it's the time of year where I actually hunker down and read books. My past experiences in booktube-a-thon have been extremely successful and I think it's due to literally everyone in the bookternet community participating. I find it's easier to get reading done when I log onto twitter and seeing how well everyone is doing, or participating in reading sprints. It's just a fun time. This year, I work almost every day during booktube-a-thon, so I plan on getting zero sleep if only it helps my goodreads goal for the year. *flashback to the post I wrote about not caring about my goodreads goal???*
I've never blogged during booktube-a-thon before, and I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet. I'm definitely going to post daily on my instagram. I find it's easiest to update my progress there because it's quick and easy and I can do it right at midnight for more accurate daily stats. I may do a mid-week update here, and then a wrap up, but we'll see.
[[If you want to see the videos on my youtube channel from past years I've participated here's the 2014 playlist, my 2015 TBR and Wrap-Up, and my 2016 TBR and Wrap-Up.]]
Anyway, every year there's a list of challenges for the booktube-a-thon to help build a tbr. I sort of use to to help myself but really I just pick books I want to read and hope it fits in with the challenges. The challenges this year are:
1. Read a book with a person on the cover.
2. Read a hyped book.
3. Finish a book in one day.
4. Read about a character different from you.
5. Finish a book completely outdoors.
6. Read a book you bought because of the cover.
7. Read seven books.
I recently went and watched my book hauls from 2014 and 2015 in an attempt to pair down my TBR pile BooksandLala style and discovered books from way back then that I still haven't read. So some of those I've worked into this TBR and others are just here cause I want to read them. A small disclaimer: I'm always picking a crap ton of books for this read-a-thon mostly because I'm a very indecisive person and every year I'm like, 'there's no way I'm going to read all of these.' I'm right, I don't read them all, because I usually end up reading books that were never supposed to be on the TBR in the first place. 
Anyways, here's my TBR for booktube-a-thon:
1. The Girl at  Midnight, Melissa Grey - I've had this book in my TBR pile since May 2015, so I think it's time. Also, I bought it cause I liked the cover! It's supposed to be a lot like Six of Crows, so i'm down.
2. Vicious, V.E. Schwab - I've had this one in my TBR pile since December 2014! That is absolutely insane. Also, it's not too long, and I think I might be able to read it in one day. This is about two arch nemesis who were once college roommates.
3. The Eleventh Doctor Vol. 1: After Life - I got this graphic novel trade last year for Christmas. I read the first issue of the series when it first came out, but didn't have the time to continue getting the issues. I'm excited to read the others, now! I'm hoping to read this on a nice day so I can read it all outside, completing another challenge.
4. The House of Hades and 5. The Blood of Olympus, Rick Riordan - I've read the first three books in this series, but I'd really love to finish the rest while it's still fresh in my mind and before I go back to school. They both have people on the cover and I would consider the series hyped so these two books complete two challenges!
6. No More Heroes, Michelle Kan - If you find this on goodreads, you'll notice it only has 13 ratings and 8 reviews. I heard about this book through twitter and I pretty sure it's self-published? Though I could be wrong. But the people I've seen talk about it on Twitter seem to really have enjoyed it and it's diverse characters. I liked the concept so I picked it up on my e-reader. This covers the 'read about a character different from you' challenge!
So that leaves room for one more book if I can manage it. But I'm going to leave it open so I can mood-read if I need to. I like having the opportunity to choose a book on the fly.
I'm not reading the booktube-a-thon buddy read, mainly because I don't want to be adding more books to my tbr. I've really been trying to actually read the books I already have, and I want this read-a-thon to help me do that. I actually plan on doing a big unhaul both on my tbr at home, and the ones I've left at my school-home very soon. It's just gotten ridiculous and I'd like less clutter in my life.
It feels sort of weird participating in booktube-a-thon but not actually being on booktube anymore 0 it makes me have an urge to vlog or something. Alas, not this year. Don't forget to follow my instagram to get nightly updates, and add me on goodreads to see how the books are going! 





Wednesday, July 19, 2017

YOU SHOULD BE READING... The Crown's Game

Alright alright alright! *Outkast Hey Ya plays in background*
I don't know if you've heard of this little duology called The Crown's Game... but you should be reading it. I'm currently reading The Crown's Fate, and I forgot how much I really enjoyed the first one. The Crown's Game really builds an intricate world, and The Crown's Fate really dives into it to build on it. Also, because of the building in the first, the characters feel more comfortable and grounded so the scenes play out really well and vividly.
The Crown's Game follow Pasha, heir to the throne; Nikolai, an orphaned enchanter being mentored by hard woman; and Vika, another enchanter being raised and mentored by her loving father. The Crown's Game (literally, a game) is about to begin to determine the new Imperial Enchanter. The Imperial Enchanter will serve the Crown and have more access to the world's magic - or rather, all of it, because the loser of the Crown's Game will also loose their life. And things get tricky because Nikolai and Pasha are best friends, and Vika starts to have feelings for the both of them, as they do for her... it's complicated. Usually I stay far, far, away from love triangles, but this one isn't horrible. It's more of like the love triangle in The Infernal Devices than Twilight, ya know?
Anyways, I'm running into the reasons here, so let's get on with it - here's why you should be reading The Crown's Game duology:

It takes place in 1825 Russia!
Look, Evelyn Skye has a degree in Russian literature and history, so she knows what she's doing. The descriptions are incredibly vivid, and the geography is so well laid out. But Emily, you're probably thinking, I thought this was a fantasy duology. To that, I say, yes. Yes it is. But it's an urban-type fantasy. It takes place in 1825 Magic-filled Russia. How could you say no to that?

Vika is a strong, independent woman who don't need no man!
Sorta. I mean, she's really in The Crown's Game for herself and her father. She's not anticipating to love Pasha and Nikolai the way she does. When she does develop feelings for them, she doesn't let it get in the way of herself. Vika is an awesome representation that you can care and love people and still be independent and a badass enchanter. We need more unselfish but badass, nevertheless, girls in YA. Put that on record.

A good love triangle? Is that possible?
Yes, yes it is. As I said above, this love triangle is more like the one Cassandra Clare builds in The Infernal Devices series. It's more of, I would say, a true love triangle, where each person in the love triangle as feelings towards the other two. Pasha and Nikolai have been friends their whole life and both form a friendship with Vika during the Crown's Game that turns into something more (for mostly one of them, no spoilers, though).These kind of love triangles are really powerful and really affective. Your emotions run so high when your reading and you don't want anyone to be disappointed, now that's the love triangle I love. 

Friends that don't let their love interest get in the way or their friendship! 
That's right, y'all! Pasha and Nikolai both have feelings for Vika and never let it get in the way of their friendship. They're vulnerable and honest with each other, and they have their own healthy friendship. I feel like intimacy with two male characters in a platonic relationship is rare, and I love seeing that with Pasha and Nikolai. Healthy female friendships are obviously important, and this book has them, but doesn't exactly showcase them. However, if you read this, you'll see in The Crown's Fate that Skye is extremely aware of friendships and Vika forms a friendship with another girl character that's healthy despite a conflict of interest.

A magic system that works! 
With all the fantasy books that are coming out, this one has a really well-thought-out magic system. It really builds in the second book, but the first provides a great base to build on top of. Everything is connected. There's a source and it makes sense the way magic can become stronger or weaker, and how much it's being used. That's the thing when you decide to use magic in your world, your characters may not fully understand how it works, but it's obvious if the other doesn't know how it works either, but this one was so well done *insert ok hand sign emoji here*.

So you're not going to know for sure until you actually read it, but that's why you should be reading this duology. I actually read The Crown's Game initially because I was co-running a teen book club at the store I work at. That was about a year ago and we're not doing it anymore, but I'm glad I got to find an awesome duology out of it.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Mid-Year Book Freakout TAG!

I'm freaking out so much that half the year is already gone and I haven't read as many books as I'd like that I've just about given up on doing NaNoWriMo this month. I've only read 18 books this year so far... 18 books! I'm hoping BookTube-a-Thon will help me catch up on that, but once school starts up in September again, I won't be reading much anymore. That's just the reality of it, I guess.
Anyways, I'm gonna do the mid-year book freakout tag to wrap up the... 18 books I've read so far.
Here we go!
1. Best book so far this year.
I really, really enjoyed Crown of Wishes. Not a lot of books have been 5/5 stars for me this year. So I'd have to say that, or Arcadia by Tom Stoppard. I read it for class back in March and enjoyed it a lot
more than I thought I would.
2. Best sequel so far this year.
Lord of Shadows was fantastic! I felt iffy about The Dark Artifices after Lady Midnight but Lord of Shadows felt really well put together. I enjoyed it a lot.
3. New release I haven't read, but want to. 
Too many - Difficult Women & Hunger by Roxane Gay, The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli, When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon, and many, many others.
4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year. 
Either Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo (a collection of fairytales and myths in the Grishaverse, which is a world I absolutely love) or Warcross by Marie Lu (all I know is this is about a hacker, so I'm sold. Also it's Marie Lu, who's an auto-buy author at this point.).
5. Biggest disappointment.
I haven't DNFed anything yet. But Empress of a Thousand Skies continues to sit on my currently-reading shelf half-read. It's just not as interesting as I had hoped. As for something I've read, Jesse's Girl by Miranda Kennelly was extremely mediocre.
6.  Biggest surprise. 
Public Relations by Katie Heaney and Arianna Rebolini [review] - I was expecting a typical drama-filled romance, but this had a lot more depth to it than I thought!
7. Favourite new author. (Debut or new to you.) 
After reading The Crown's Fate, I have to go with Evelyn Skye. Even though I read her stuff for the first time last year, this novel really has me excited for what she's going to put out next!
8. Newest fictional crush. 
Jason. Freaking. Grace.
9. Newest favourite character.
Mark Blackthorn really grew on me in Lord of Shadows.
10. Book that made me cry. 
I want to say A Court of Wings and Ruin, but oh lord, What to Say Next by Julie Baxbaum [review] so unexpectedly make me ugly cry. Oh! Also The Inexplicable Logic of my Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz... maybe I cry too much... moving on!
11. Book that made me happy. 
Again, What to Say Next - are you paying attention?
12. Favourite book to movie adaptation.
Not book-to-movie, but I started watching the second season of Shadowhunters and it's... dare I say, good?
13. Favourite review I've written. 
I really loved putting together my YOU SHOULD BE READING Heroes of Olympus post! I'm working on another right now!
14. Most beautiful book cover I've bought this year. 
The Inexplicable Logic of my Life - I haven't bought it yet, but I got an ARC and damn, that's a beautiful cover.
15. Books I want to read before the end of the year. 
It's quite a list, I must say, so here's just a few:

  • The House of Hades and The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
  • A Darker Shade of Magic Trilogy by V.E. Schwab
  • The Chemist by Stephanie Meyer
  • Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeline Thein
To keep up with all my reading, add me as a friend on goodreads and let me know my blog sent you! Remember, reading is supposed to be fun, it shouldn't stress us out, and we shouldn't be freaking out... even though we do anyway.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Review: What To Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

This novel was a very pleasant surprise. A co-worker recommended it me, thinking I would like it, and initially I was like 'oh yeah, sounds okay'. But after reading, I can see why she recommended it, and now I want to recommend it to all my friend who might like it, too.
What To Say Next is a duel POV novel following Kit, who's father died a month ago in a car accident, and David, who's still figuring high school out. Kit wants to get away from her friend's pitying stares and decides to sit at the table David sits at by himself everyday at lunch. It doesn't seem too complicated, accept there's a lot more going on in Kit's life then anyone realizes, and David was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome as a kid (though it's not a current term for the way his brain works, Buxbaum works in that now David would be placed on the Austim Spectrum). So it's a lot more than you think it is.
Kit is also Indian-American, (like David points in the novel, India-Indian, not Indigenous) which puts some awesome diversity into the mix.
After reading about Tiberius in Cassandra Clare's The Dark Artifices series, I loved reading from the POV of another character on the Autism Spectrum. It's not something we've really talked about in teen novels until very recently, and it's interesting to see the perspective of the world from someone like David and Ty.
Despite the heavy stuff going on, it's actually a pretty light-hearted novel. Yes, there were a few tears at the climax of the plot, but other than that, it touches on serious topics in an incredibly easy way to digest.
I respect this novel a lot. The writing was very well done, and though I get very weary about duel (or multiple) POVs in novels, this felt very smooth. It wasn't choppy between the POVs, the voices were distinct, and you weren't left waiting between the POVs if something dramatic was revealed. There were a few cliche moments, though I'm still waiting to find a teen novel that doesn't. But I really enjoyed the ending. The characters are incredibly well-rounded, as well.
Something else I really appreciated about this novel was the family dynamics. A lot of teen books try to avoid parents and families as much as possible because it takes away from the teen-adventuring. The parents that do show up tend to be incredibly relaxed and borderline non-existent. But in this novel, the parents genuinely care and support their kids, and there's an actual parent-child relationship with both authority and friendship. David's parents continually support him while he tries to figure out how to socialize and high school. His sister got on my nerves a little bit, but she obviously supports him whole-heartedly. Kit's mom also supports her unconditionally, and they have a really open relationship, and are pretty open about their feelings surrounding her Dad's death.
All in all, I'm giving this one a 4.5 stars. I don't think it'll necessarily be an all-time favourite, but I'm going to be recommending this to as many people as I can.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Pride Month Recs!

I was originally not going to do Pride Month recommendations. I am a LGBT+ Ally, but I'm not a member of the community, so it felt wrong to put a list together and claim that I had good recommendations. With June coming to a close, it felt wrong to not do anything, though. I've been pretty active on Twitter, retweeting as much as I can to support members of the community throughout the month, and in a last minute decision last night, I decide to put together a giveaway.
So over on Twitter (@emilyxspeaks) you can retweet my pinned tweet and be entered to win an LGBT book your choice! I wanted to give to the community, and give away a book to someone who may not have the best access to them or not know where to start.
So, in lieu of that, this post is going to be a few short list of LGBT books I love. To be specific, they're books that highlight the experience. There of plenty of books with LGBT characters that are fantasy, or they just skim over the fact that a character is gay, and that's awesome. But after reading this thread from Adam Silvera on Twitter, it can be confusing to recommend a book that just has a gay character on a list like this versus recommending a book that actually highlights the experiences people in the community go through. AND I'm going to tell you which letter in the LGBT+ acronym the book falls under, so as not to be confusing. It's a great thread, and you should check it out!
And if you don't want to read about my recs, I've got an on-going list of other's recs at the end of this post!

1. Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agendas, Becky Albertalli - G
It would be impossible to create a list like this without including Simon! This book made me laugh, cry, and helped me gain perspective! This novel follows Simon, who hasn't come out to his friends and family yet. He met a boy through a chat room online, and knows they go to the same high school, but they're not revealing their true identities to each other. Not until they're ready. But one of Simon's peers discovers the messages he's been sending back and forth and tries to use them to blackmail Simon into playing matchmaker. It's a great novel that touches on the boundaries of knowing someone who is gay, as well as the importance of diversity in general. 
2. Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy - L, B, & P
When the synopsis of this novel was first released into the world, there was a ton of backlash. I think the backlash of this novel says a lot about the biphobia that can occur.* This is about a girl who is certain in her identification as a lesbian, but when she starts having romantic and sexual feelings for her friend, Freddie, she questions her identity. This book highlights the fluidity of sexuality, and the difficulties of trying to define sexuality. Shelly at readsleeprepeat.org wrote a great goodreads review you should read. And recommended it in her own Pride month list
*If you want some great conversations about this, you should follow @TheBreeMae on Twitter and her account @QueerEnough!
3. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe - G 
This novel talks about so many things, but it mainly follow Aristotle and Dante as they come of age and discover their sexuality through their feelings for each other. If you've read this already, you'll know how much of an understatement that is, because it's so much more than that. If you haven't read this, you just need to. 
4. Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde - B 
This novel follows two best friends, one of who is a bisexual internet celebrity. This one is less a coming-of-age novel about her discovering her sexuality and more of a dealing-with-the-world novel about her already being confident with her sexuality. Different, but a good different! This novel, while it touches serious subjects, is also just fun, which doesn't happen enough in teen novels. I read this one after Riley (@rileymarie1196) kept raving about it, and she was right! 

That's where I'm gonna end this list, as those are the novels I can definitely recommend. I have a lot more LGBT reading to do, and I hope next June, my LGBT Goodreads shelf will be much, much longer. Also, I'm incredibly disappointed I have nothing to represent the T on my list. I haven't read them, but George by Alex Gino and If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo are novels that have been recommended to me many times. 
So here's other bloggers who've made lists you should check out: 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Review: Public Relations by Katie Heaney and Arianna Rebolini

PUBLIC RELATIONS came out back on May 9th, and I couldn't stop thinking about it after reading the back when discovering it on a table at work.
It follows twenty-six year-old Rose, who quickly moved up the ranks at a Public Relations company. Her company has recently taken on a contract with Archie Fox, who got famous on YouTube and quickly became a pop-sensation. But since, his fame has been dwindling and his public reputation... well, it sucks. When Rose finds herself in a meeting with Archie, it's her knowledge of young girls and the internet that makes her propose the idea of staging a relationship. While Archie and Raya (a cool, young, upcoming star - think Halsey, or Lorde) are staging their relationship via Rose's instructions, Rose and Archie find themselves spending a lot of time together.
This sounded totally up my alley. I'm obsessed with "elite" lifestyles, and, of course, sexy/edgy pop stars. The Harry Styles, boyband, concert-loving me ate up this plot.
I finished this novel in about 3 days and rated it a 4 out of 5 stars. I really enjoyed the plot and it's homage to young teenage fangirls. Rose consistently defends fangirls around her white-male coworkers, which I loved and appreciated. Fangirls don't get enough credit. They're the ones buying hundreds of dollars worth of concert tickets, albums, merch, and provide endless amounts of free promo through social media.
Rose is suuuuper relatable. Well, for anyone that's career driven, I guess. She's not had a ton of relationships (I feel like having a ton of romantic relationships has been the exception, not the rule), she lives with a roommate from craigslist, and she's moved up in her career simply because she's good at it. She's a strong character, though, and always ready to defend the people she needs to. I appreciate that.
At the beginning of the novel, Rose's relationship with her best friend (Harper) is very important, but as the novel continues and drama ensues, their relationship takes a backseat. What I loved is that this doesn't go unnoticed by our authors. Rose and Harper have to work at their friendship when their love interests start to come first. It's a great example of girl-friendships that fail because they feel their love lives are more important, and a great example of working past that and learning from it.
Let's break it down:

  • Sexy singer/celebrity? Check!
  • Relatable main character? Check!
  • Positive female friendship? Check!
  • A little bit of steamy romance? Check!

My biggest complaint with this novel is that the ending wasn't long enough. I felt it ended quite abruptly, and the romance-lover in me hated it - I need more time with my couple! I found the novel as a whole was a bit choppy as well. The scenes didn't flow together as smoothly as I'd like them to. However, I felt the interactions were well-written and genuine, and not cheesy. Sometimes with novels like this, I find that the author tries to put in all these cheesy lines and metaphors and it doesn't work with the tone of the novel - but that did not happen here (thank goodness)! It was also a bit predictable, but I sort of expected that from the synopsis.
This one is an easy recommendation for me. You'll love it if you loved AFTER (Anna Todd), KILL THE BOY BAND (Goldy Moldavsky)w, or WHATEVER LIFE THROWS AT YOU (Julie Cross). While your at it, if you loved this one and need some recommendations, I loved all of the above ^.

Next on the TBR: What to Say Next, by Julie Buxbaum

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