Monday, July 31, 2017

What I Read During Booktube-a-Thon | #BTAT17


My 3rd favourtie time of the year has come to an end: the booktube-a-thon! (Christmas is the 1st and fall is the 2nd.) Every year I've looked forward to the week in the summer where I can dedicate my time to reading, and every year I've succeed in doing just that. I didn't read as much this year as I thought I would, but I'd still consider this week successful.
Since I posted about my TBR for this week, I figured a wrap up was needed to let y'all know how it went.

The House of Hades (Rick Riordan)
Finished reading on day 2. 583 pages read. Rated 4.5/5 stars.
I loved seeing each character's journey in this novel. I've loved this series so much and this was no disappointment. No spoilers, but Percy and Annabeth's journey was incredibly unique, and I think Riordan did an amazing job creating practically a whole other world around them. The environment they found the
mselves in not only tested their development as characters, but also their relationship. I felt like this novel was really vital to Leo and Frank, as well. Their character development sky rocketed, and my feelings towards them went from neutral to love.
Challenges completed:
- read a hyped book
- read a book with a person on the cover
The Eleventh Doctor: After Life (Al Ewing, Rob Williams, Simon Fraser, & Gary Caldwell)
Finished reading on day 2. 128 pages read. 3/5 stars.
I really enjoyed this graphic novel in being in the Eleventh Doctor's world again. He holds a special place in my heart. This gave me mega Bad Wolf vibes, too. However, the art style wasn't my favourite, and it just sort of lacked something for me and fell flat. I'm not sure if I'll continue reading these yet.
Challenges completed:
- read a book in one day
- read a book completely outdoors
The Blood of Olympus (Rick Riordan)
Finished reading on day 3. 502 pages read. 5/5 stars.
I absolutely loved this conclusion to the series. It wasn't perfectly wrapped up in a bow, it had a rocky-ness to it - and I like that. To me, that's what makes a good conclusion. I liked not having Percy and Annabeth's point of views because at this point, we've been following them for so long, it was time to really see the other characters shine. And that set up for the Trials of Apollo series makes me want to read it so bad! I don't want to say too much, though - spoilers!
Challenges completed:
- read a book about someone completely different from you (they're half-human half-god! That aside, though, there's a lot of diverse characters, here.)
No More Heroes (Michelle Kan)
DNFed at 30%. About 83 pages in.
The premise of this novel really intrigues me. I love books about teenagers with powers getting themselves in trouble. But this didn't grab me the way I wanted it to; especially when I'm in the middle of a read-a-thon. The writing threw me off a bit - it told a lot of story and jumped between characters when it felt like the scene wasn't over yet. Too much was being hidden and I didn't get to know the characters as much as I want to 30% into a book. I would like to revisit it at some point to see how it plays out.
The Girl at Midnight (Melissa Grey)
Finished reading day 5. 357 pages. 5/5 stars.
This is one of my new favourite books. I loved the story, I loved the writing, I loved the world, I loved the characters. Everything felt so well thought out. I thought Echo was an awesome main character; she felt real and relatable. She had real emotions but was still a bad-ass. I feel like just this little wrap up post won't do it justice, so you may see it's own review post soon. If you liked Six of Crows or Daughter of Smoke and Bone, you're going to want to read this one. The trilogy is complete as well, so you can binge read it if you want. (Which I plan to do very soon.)
Challenges completed:
- read a book you bought because of the cover
All The Crooked Saints (Maggie Stiefvater)
Still reading, 158 pages read during booktube-a-thon (out of 311 pages).
This book comes out in October, but I got an ARC of it and knew I wanted to read it ASAP. I'm enjoying so far, but the only words that can explain this novel are: weird, interesting, magical realism. Like serious magical realism. It even follows Latin American characters (see Merriam-Webster). But this is not a read-a-thon appropriate book. It's so complicated that you have to read it slowly. It's a lot of narration too, so not a quick, nor a light read. But I am looking forward to continuing reading it!

That leaves just one challenge not completed: read seven books. Even if I had been able to finish No More Heroes and All The Crooked Saints, I wouldn't have completed this challenge. I did, however, read 1,840 pages this week. Which is the most I've read in a week all year. And now I'm only 2 books behind on my goodreads goal. So this week was a success for me.

If you want to see my past years doing booktube-a-thon, they're on my youtube channel:
2014 - playlist of daily videos
2015 - TBR - Wrap-Up
2016  - TBR - Wrap-Up

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.