Saturday, January 31, 2015

Nominated For: The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

Thank you, Captivated Reader for the nomination! I really love these question things. I know a lot of people use it / think of it as blog promotion, but I mostly just really enjoy reading some random questions about books and reading (or random things). It's all good and fun, though. (Even though they kind of stress me out a shit ton, anxiety).

Here are the rules for the The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award:

1. Thank the blogger that nominated you, and link back to their site.
2. Post the award's logo onto your blog.
3. Answer the 10 questions you've been asked.
4. Nominate 10 other bloggers and ask them 10 questions.

So here goes...

1. What book series have you read or are currently reading that you would recommend to other readers? 

I've read a lot of good things lately, but for something that isn't well know I'd go with Showa: A History of Japan, 1926-1939. It's about, obviously, the history of Japan in that time (there are more volumes that pick up after), and they're a comic-y art style to them (they're graphic novels). And, also, semi-biographical as the author, Shigeru Mitzuki, shows some stuff through his eyes or just shows his early childhood. Very interesting, but I know it wouldn't be for everyone.

2. Do you listen to audiobooks? If so, which one would you highly recommend?
Definitely sometimes. I find my attention does wander, though, sometimes. There have been a few that have sucked me in. The Name of the Wind audio is fantastic, as is the audio for The Knife of Never Letting Go. And then anything ever narrated by Wil Wheaton or Neil Gaiman is just fantastic.

3. What are you reading (or listening to) now?
So many things. I've got a few "slow burners" going on right now - Spook by Mary Roach and A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Spook is non-fiction and it's about the scientific take on some not so scientific things, I'm really loving it so far. And, for my first Dickens - I'm just really loving his writing so far, not being too far into the story.

And some others, but thought I'd mention those.

4. What's your favorite comfort food and/or beverage to enjoy while reading/listening to a book?
I don't normally eat while reading? Because it just distracts me too much. But for a comfort thing - tea. It's freezing right now where I live and I've been making quite a few cups a day as it is, and curling up with a fresh mug of tea to try and keep me little warmer is very nice.

5. What do you most enjoy about blogging?
Not my favorite, which will be next, but one I've been thinking about more recently: getting my thoughts out and organized about.... anything. I write a lot more for this then I post, but I do enjoy posting things. 

But, really, interacting with people - getting comments, leaving comments (I am getting better at this!), and just seeing what people are reading. I think I've mentioned it a few times now, but I just love seeing what people are up to reading wise - currently reading, finished recently. Enjoying, not enjoying. I just really love that, and then the conversations that ensure from that, and - book people are the best kind of people.

6. Which author would you most like to meet?
The authors I'd most like to meet are the ones I'd have no idea what to say to, besides probably sputtering at them and then asking them to sign my book or just whatever was at hand if it was a random run in. Probably, though: J.K. Rowling, Brandon Sanderson, John Scalzi to just name a few of my most recent, well and Rowling I mean obviously, but there are others I'd like to meet that I haven't. Or just meet some again.

7. What's your least favorite genre to read?
Oh god, I - fantasy? Probably? I think that's as vague as I can go with it. I love all types (oooh, but SciFi), and particularly high fantasy.

8. Where would you go on your dream vacation?
Right now? Somewhere where the windchill doesn't make it negative twenty degrees fahrenheit outside. Anywhere that is warmer then here. 

On a more serious not - Europe, Japan, Istanbul, Australia... But for a "dream vacation" that involves just doing whatever I wanted. I'd be fine going somewhere warm with a bag of books and a suitcase full of yoga pants/work out clothes and staying in a hotel with a gym (I really miss working out...).

9. Do you like novels with predictable and/or happy endings?
Romance novels - yes. If it fits the story or is believable - yes.

If it feels too suspiciously good or if it was all wrapped up too well or too easily - no. I've been a fan of some of the less then happy endings I've read, because they can be heartbreaking but at least they're more realistic.

10. What's your favorite color?
Well, probably black? But also... turquoise.

And now to nominate people.

My Nominees:
Amber @ Du Livre
Karsyn @ kakijokoja
Lyndsey @ MusingFiction
Julianne @ Outlandish Lit
Sarah @ Sarah Says Read

My Questions:
1. What are you currently reading? 
2. What book do you remember first reading for fun and enjoying? Or what book really got you into reading (for the first time, or again)?
3. Whose your favorite author? That you'd want to be best friends with? (I know, hard question).
4. What's your favorite on going TV show?
5. Favorite book of last month?
6. Are you a tea drinker? A coffee drinker? Or both/neither?
7. Do you need anything special to read? (Certain spot, drink, snack, noise level)
8. If you could be transported into any magical world... which one would you not want to end up in?
9. And which one would you want to end up in?
10. What's your favorite book cover you've seen of a 2015 release?

Side rant, you can ignore: [I really do appreciate when people nominate/tag me for these kinds of things. I love finding new blogs, though the other people the person tagged, and answering questions about books. However - this is one of the things that kicks my anxiety way up. Which is why I don't do it write away and get all flustered about who to tag, and always forget so many people - you, yes you, if you're thinking you'd have wanted me to tag you. I forgot, just do it, leave me comment. - Anyway. So that's why I apologized and said no pressure and stuff, because this kind of thing just whew. Saying that though - thank you so much for nominating me! I do honestly really appreciate it, never think I don't because of anxiety].

Monday, January 26, 2015

January 26th | Weekly Wrap Up #6

Another week over and done with, and more books read!

Reading: (finished this week and actively currently-reading)
Club Shadowlands (Masters of Shadowlands #1) by Cheris Sinclair (4/5)
This - surprised me. I bought it a short time ago, because it was cheap and I think someone recommended it (maybe? I'm... not sure, anymore). I, honestly, didn't expect much. At points, it was interestingly emotional, them figuring each other out, that's the kind of thing I like the most in romance books (especially with no bullshit).

Showa, The History of Japan, 1926-1939 by Shigeru Mizuki (5/5)
This book was incredible. I was surprised how much I liked this, I honestly wasn't sure after my completely impulse by, but it was definitely a surprisingly fantastic pick. Highly recommended if you like history. (I'm planning on doing a full review, but I haven't written it yet so we'll see what happens).

Warning: Contains Language by Neil Gaiman (5/5)
This - surprised me. It's from his early stuff and I did not expect it to be as dark as it was. I'm not sure why, Gaiman can be dark (one reason I like his books so much), but this audiobook still surprised me at points. I'd recommend it, though, to Gaiman fans who aren't surprised by darker things, different things. Fantastically read to you by Neil himself, who should narrate everything, in my opinion.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain (3.5/5)
I - enjoyed this, I'm considering do a full review of it and such, but we'll see. I rated it so low for a few reasons, and I wrote about it on my goodreads review that I wrote, quickly, right after finishing it. Basically: it was a slog and I knew a bit of it before reading it.

Ouran, Volume 8 by Bisco Hatori (5/5)
I'm so amused how out of order the anime did things, but there are definitely huge differences. However - I really enjoy the silly added stuff at the end, it's kind of fantastic.

Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor, Jim Di Bartolo (5/5)
Three short stories and I don't know which one I liked most. Possibly the last one? I definitely wanted a whole series based around that idea. And Laini's writing is gorgeous, as are Jim's illustrations. So very, very good. Highly recommended

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (5/5)
So, so incredible. Beautifully written and just so touching, I really loved it, highly recommended.

For currently reading - I started Spook by Mary Roach, but wasn't really feeling it. And, looking back at what I read this week, I might be a little burnt out on non-fiction. Also started The Coldest Girl in Cold Town, which I'm loving so far. Why did I wait so long to read this? Also want to get back into Saint City Sinner and finish it, and the next and last book in the series, because I started this books months ago and had to stop because the feelings.

I'm not really going to put anything else this week. I'm sorry, I know I'm kind of already failing at this thing these last two weeks. But this past week has been... stressful, bad stressful. For personal reasons, that I haven't actually talked about on any social medias yet.

Does anyone else have a problem talking about stuff on social media? I just am not sure how to get everything to 140 characters, so I normally just use it to talk about stuff I love, sometimes complains, and talk to friends. Anyway - my mom's mother passed away this past week. She'd been put into an assisted living place a couple years ago and, early last year, moved into a nursing home.

And now she's gone. And, it might sounds strange, but we're not having a funeral, or really anything, because she didn't want anything. Also, she donated her body to science so she's off already, literally on another adventure (this is how we keep talking about it. Our family might have a very morbid sense of humor, but at least we know she did as well).

So it's been a stressful, hard week, and will probably be for the next few weeks, regardless. And has been, actually, for other reasons. It never seems to be honestly calm around here. I hope you all had good weeks, or at least better then mine.

To get completely off topic and off of the sad things - what are you currently reading? (have I yet mentioned my slight addiction to seeing what people are reading/how they're feeling about it? It feels like research...)

On the blog:

Friday, January 23, 2015

2015 Challenges | The Books

Book Riot Read Harder Challenge (Book Riots blog post, the Goodreads group, my post) How the books/challenge match up is going to go - I'm going to put the title, author, and then the challenge it completes in parentheses. I am going to try and do more then one book for some of them, but I doubt for all, I'll mention that at the end of the year:

  • The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman (classic retelling)
  • The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami (originally published in another language)
  • Freakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark (about a person who identifies as LGBTQ+)
  • Above the Dreamless Dead edited by Chris Duffy (collection of poetry)
  • Club Shadowlands by Cheris Sinclair ("guilty pleasure" read)
  • Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff (graphic novel)
  • Warning: Contains Language by Neil Gaiman (audiobook)
  • The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black (YA novel)
  • The Melancholy of Mechagirl by Catherynne M. Valente (short story collection)
  • Rusty Nailed by Alice Clayton (romance novel)
  • Redeployment by Phil Klay (award winner from the last decade - national book award 2014)
  • March, Book One by John Lewis, + (author over 65)

Series Finished:
  • Dante Valentine series by Lilith Saintcrow (3.5/5)
  • The Years Quartet by Tiffany Reisz (5/5)
  • Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer (4/5)

Banned/Challenged Books Read: (only including ones I could find proof had been challenged/banned, and it's surprisingly hard to figure that out)

  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell

Popsugar's challenge (doing the same thing as the Read Harder challenge).
  • The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami (translated)
  • Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix (one word title)
  • Quiet by Susan Cain (nonfiction)
  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Carey (memoir)
  • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (made you cry)
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (banned book)
  • Not Otherwise Spcified by Hannah Moskowitz (set in high school)
  • Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer (trilogy)
  • Monstrous Affection edited by Kelly Link (short stories)
  • The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman, Chris Riddell (graphic novel)
  • Lock In by John Scalzi (set in the future)
  • The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks (500+ pages)
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (over 100 years old)
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell (suppose to read for school) (I did technically read it for school but since no one explained it to me, not joking our teacher didn't, I feel almost like i didn't)
  • Trees, Volume One by Warren Ellis, Jason Howard (based just on the cover)

2015 Challenges | BookRiot Read Harder (1)
2015 Challenges | Series & Banned Books (2)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Book Review: The Darkest Part of the Forest

Title: The Darkest Part of the Forest
Author: Holly Black
Genre: Young Adult - Fantasy
Rating: 5/5
Pages: 336
Publication Date: January 13th, 2014

Plot (goodreads):
Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

This book. I'm not quite sure what to say about it without flailing wildly. It definitely confirmed my love for Holly Black and makes me want to use gifs (which I've never done in a review before). And this, actually, inspired me to pick up her whole Curse Workers series, which I'd owned for a while but hadn't had the time to get to (and makes me itch to reread Tithe, because I think I'd like it more now).

Anyway, that's not what we're talking about. What we're talking about is The Darkest Part of the Forest. I love a faerie book, so when I learned this was one, I kind of immediately wanted to read it (which I did. I received a copy at a convention in August, LeakyCon, and started it as soon as I could - on the plane ride back).

I didn't finish it on the plane, but I was still in the mind set of: holy shit, I love it. And I ended up rereading it when it came out, going to the kick-off event of the book. And I'm glad I did, honestly, because it helped me write the rest of this review.

I loved the writing,  the characters, the atmosphere, the whole setting - the characters and that slight strangeness that should be felt in all books with fae (at least I feel). It's just strange and weird and... lovely. But I'm also saying that as someone who adores faerie books and, if you're not a fae person, this might not be the book for you. But - if you haven't tried any faerie books, you definitely should, and if you love them, well... I have a book for you.

You might of noticed I didn't really say much about the book, and that there isn't a lot given away by the plot itself - and I think that's the best way to go into this book. It surprised me, definitely, and I hadn't even heard that plot before I started it. Just knew it was about siblings and a faerie boy in a glass coffin - and I just loved that image itself. Of this faerie boy in the middle of the woods in a glass coffin scattered with leaves.

If you're curious about if you'll like the book or not, I definitely consider reading the first two pages or so, the description, because I adore it. I just finished rereading it a few days ago, and I already want to reread it again talking about it.

Now, before I hype the book more or fangirl more, I'm going to cut myself off. Faeries, brother and sister, strangeness, gorgeous writing.

If you've read it, however, I'd love to hear what you thought or your favorite scenes/such.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Can't Believe I've Never Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week is a freebie week, and I wasn't going to take part in it, but there are so many topics that've passed that I haven't been able to do. So, this week, I'm going to tell you about some books that I can't believe I haven't read yet.

  • The Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien - I honestly am slightly ashamed to have never read this, I own all of them (in more then one edition) and, obviously, I've seen the movies (probably too many times). I'd like to read them... soon, SOON. That's probably to be said about all of them.
  • Classics - I could go on and on about the classics I can't believe I haven't read yet, and I didn't want probably half the things on this list to be that. So, quickly, a few examples: 1984, more H.G. Wells, more Austen (I've only read Pride and Prejudice), any of Dicken's novels, and many, many more.
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - I know, I know. I can't believe I haven't read this either, but I don't like sobbing during books and I know that this book is going to cause that. I'll get to it, I will, I'm just not sure when?
  • more Stephen King - I've read a good few books by King (IT, Bag of Bones, Duma Key, Carrie, The Gunslinger, Dreamcatcher, more), but there are some that I really need to get it. Mostly, I'm specifically thinking of The Stand, because it's considered so highly and I'm mostly slightly scared of the 1,200 pages (I'd just jump right in and read the extended edition, it's the one I own). And I want to read it and have started it before, but it's slightly... daunting, very daunting.
  • Sabriel by Garth Nix (and the rest of the series, of course) - but it's been quite a few years that I've wanted to read them, but I haven't do it yet. I don't know why, I own all three and the prequel just came out, but I think I'd like to finish some series before starting more (even though I'm kind of itching to start this one).
  • The Sanderson books I have left. I don't have many, but I still can't believe I haven't read those I haven't gotten to yet. Firefight, Legion:Skin Deep, Elantris, The Allow of Law, Words of Radiance (I know, I know), and the last two Alcatraz books. Not many, at all, and it's not like I haven't been working my way through his work. On one hand - I want to have read them all because I love his books (also - cosmere theories). However, I don't want to be out of his books to read.
  • Abbadon's Gate by James S.A. Corey - I loved this series and I honestly can't believe that I haven't continued on to books three and four yet. I kind of want to reread one and two now, before continuing, because I want everything to be fresh in my mind (also - TV series, this year, I want it now).
  • Stone of Tears (Sword of Truth #2) by Terry Goodkind - I... haven't read this yet. I've read the first book twice but I haven't continued on, for some reason, and I really want to. I am also terrified to go past that part of their story. I don't know why, but I'm just scared. I mean there are over ten books in this series, too many things could happen.
  • Assassin's Apprentice (the Farseer Trilogy in general) - I've owned the first book for years and have never gotten to it. Now that I own the whole trilogy, I'm hoping that I can finally get to it. Books 2 and 3 get pretty hefty, but not too big. And I've heard fantastic things.
  • Gaiman - there aren't too much I haven't gotten to it, but I'm still surprised that I haven't gotten to it yet. Mostly, I'm talking about these few books: Neverwhere, The Graveyard Book, Anansi Boys, Smoke and Mirrors, and The Sandman series (I've read volume one, but haven't continued yet). Not too many of his to read, but I'm really looking forward to trying to get through them.
And there we go - there are, of course, hundreds of books that I haven't read yet that I'm surprised that I haven't gotten to. Although, any books I haven't read yet I go: why haven't I read that yet? WHY? Which is fine, but I want to read all the things. I believe it's a common problem among book lovers, but it definitely makes lists like this hard (why did I pick this?). I kind of just went with what popped into my head first - some of them are honestly why, other are just kind of not that surprising or continuations of series, but still.

So - what books can you not believe you haven't read to? Ones that everyone talks about or ones that have been on your shelves for so long they have their own specific place to sit?

Also, appropriately, a video just went up today called How to Bust TBR Guilt (book riot youtube channel).

Series Stuff (1) | All Finished Series (Through 2014)

I've been thinking about this for a while - about how there's so many questions about series. Which have you started? Which haven't you started? How many have you finished? Have you finished *insert popular series here*? And I was a little curious myself, I hadn't gone through and tallied everything, until now. Mostly because 2014 was such a good reading year for me that it made me even more excited to read and to talk about reading. First off, we're going to start with the series I've finished in this post (I was going to put it all of the information together, before realizing how freaking long the post would be.). I'm going to go by year, earliest to latest. (Also - I know there are probably some missing, I didn't always have Goodreads to keep a perfect track of everything. However, this is probably most of them).

Also, I'm going to put an overall series rating and I feel like I should put a disclaimer that some of these I finished many years ago, so it's fuzzy and I'm going off those fuzzy memories. I'd probably think a lot differently about quite a few of these series, giving how my reading taste has changed.
  • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling (5/5, 7 books. Still obsessed, of course, finished 2007)
  • Twilight series by Stephanie Meyers (2/5, 4 books. My eyes have been opened to how abusive this relationship is, but it did get me into reading YA, which I didn't seem to know about until this series, finished 2008)
  • Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya (5/5, 23 volumes. I devoured these after marathoning the show with some friends, who were obsessed. It was a - we're going down with this fandom and bringing you with us moment. And I'm currently surprised at how much this series affected me, I just reread it in 2014. It's funny, smart, strange, odd, quirky, heart-wrenching, and wonderful. Highly recommended. ?? - middle school)
  • Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (I almost forgot this one completely, somehow, but I'm sure there are others I have forgotten. Anyway - really enjoyed this series, did not enjoy the epilogue of 3. Finished 2010)
  • Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr (4/5, 5 books. I love faerie books and these are dark and the second is what pushed my tattoo love to a slight obsession. I want to reread these books, finished 2011)
  • Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan (5/5, 5 books. A ton of fun and I love these characters, probably the first series I marathoned straight through. Finished 2011).
  • Strangely Beautiful by Leanna Renee Hieber (5/5, 3 books. I love this series, I might be a bit biased, looking back, as I read book one after spending a good chunk of time with Leanna, but these books are beautifully written, from my memory, and now I want to reread them. Finished 2011)
  • Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (4/5, 3 books. Highly enjoyable and a lot of fun to read, and extremely interesting. I'd also love to reread this series. Finished 2011).
  • Midnighters by Scott Westerfeld (5/5, 3 books. I don't see a lot of people talking about this series, but I loved it and really want to reread it. It's a fantastic, somewhat strange, and bitterly sweet series. Finished 2011).
  • Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black, Tony DiTerlizzi (4/5, 5 books. Faeries, once again, and I marathoned this series during a read-a-thon, I believe, and it was a ton of fun. Finished 2013). (Also, did you notice a jump? Apparently I didn't finish any series in 2012? That's just embarrassing).
  • Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (4/5, 7 books. Knowing what I know now, I wouldn't enjoy this series as much. I gave most of them 5 stars, but reanalyzing what I remember, and seeing people talk about it... I had issues with the last book without thinking about it, they're just bigger now. It's still a good series, if you can ignore the heavy handed themes. Finished 2013)
  • Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch (5/5, 5 books. I'd kind of like to reread this one, I remember it being hilarious and a kind of ride of 'I have no idea what's going on but I like it?' But also figuring it out after just confusion at first. A good series, very funny and smart and great characters. Finished 2013)
And now are the series I finished in 2014, which will probably be the most amount of series I ever finish in a year because I'm still confused how this happened.
  • The Immortal Empire by Kate Locke (5/5, 3 books. Steampunk Victorian, with supernatural creatures of course. It was just - so good. And it's so pretty, the physical books but also the series. And I just kind of adore it).
  • Maus Duology by Art Speilgelman (5/5, 2 graphic novels. This is a different series then all of the ones on this post so far. This one is.... kind of awful? In an emotional way because it's draining and the art style probably isn't for everyone, but I really understood what he was trying to do. These graphic novels are incredibly sad, poignant, and just really, really good).
  • Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang (5/5, 2 graphic novels. About a time I haven't ever really read about, with some magical realism elements. Very good, strong, and almost hopelessly sad at points).
  • Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo (4/5, 3 books. Russian influenced high fantasy with enjoyable characters).
  • The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare (5/5. 3 books. Maybe my favorite series of the year? It surprised me. If you've read book one and felt a bit 'eh,' I'd suggest not stopping at one, book two is what picked up for me (and I waited between trying the first time and rereading, so I'm sure it was 'perfect time' kind of thing). That's what I did and I ended up loving this series. And this series hurts, you fall in love with these characters and, somehow, the way their emotions and emotional pain is described is just physically painful, you can feel their own pain. I loved it, no idea why because ow).
  • Zita the Spacegirl by Dan (4/5, 3 books. Another graphic novel series, but this one is very different. There's a girl who finds herself on an alien planet and shenanigans ensue. It's a lot of fun and the characters are fantastic, and definitely not just the humans).
  • The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare (4/5, 6 books. I was a little surprised by this series in the end. I started it before the third book had come out, which was painful, and then I reread the first four in 2014 before continuing on. And it's so stupid at points, I'm sorry but they are they all so... teenager-y at points with their decisions and complaining, but I, overall, ended up enjoying it. They're fun, even if sometimes I wanted to strangle them).
  • Anna and the French Kiss companion series by Stephanie Perkins (5/5, 3 books. I didn't expect to like these books because I've never been the biggest contemporary fan. Even though I've met the author and heard her read her embarrassing journal entries from when she was 17 to a room full of people. I ended up loving this series, Lola was probably my favorite, but I love this kind of thing, with other characters popping up).
  • Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (5/5, 3 books. I'm counting this as completed because it's the original trilogy, there are going to be two more trilogies in the same world, though. Anyway - fantastic series that will play with your emotions and wreck you. I highly recommend it).
  • Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan (5/5, 5 books. I think the only reason I wasn't disappointed by the last book was because Nico has been a favorite character I've always wanted to learn more about. Also - Soloangelo. Just read this series - doesn't really focus on the PJ characters, but they're there, and the new characters are pretty fantastic).
  • Curse Workers by Holly Black (5/5, 3 books. I read this series in like 7/8 hours and have no regrets. A fun, fantastic series - with characters with questionable morals, which I will fight anyone over who wishes they were moral).
  • Kylie Ryans by Caisey Quinn (2/5, 3 books. I'm kind of ashamed this is on the list. Not because it's a new adult series, but because of how much I didn't like the books but kept reading them. Why? Because I make bad decisions when I can't sleep at 4am and these are like 200 pages. I'd only recommend this series if you like the idea and don't mind characters not communicating about their feelings. It wasn't bad, I just wasn't really enjoying them? I don't know, I'm confused as well).
And those are all of the series I've finished so far, which doesn't feel like a lot, at the moment. 23 series - completed, some to be reread probably. I think I'm going to make two more posts in this kind of series thing, well that I have planned, I'll probably post an update at the end of the year of the series completed. Two more posts about (1) series I've started but haven't completed and then (2) about series I haven't even touched yet. I thought of doing another about series I won't be continuing with, but I'll just include them in the started one, make it much easier, I think, and hopefully more organized.

So series! What ones have you finished? Which ones overlap with mine? And - any series you'd like to complete ASAP? 

Monday, January 19, 2015

January 19th | Weekly Wrap Up #5

Another week flew by almost without me noticing, whew that was so strange. How did we get here already? I did some reading this month, definitely took a bit of a breather after the read-a-thon / read a bunch of manga.

I had stuff scheduled for this week that went up, while I kind of took a break? (I was actually really excited about all the posts, I just forgot that they were scheduled to go up). I was just feeling tired and a little blah. And so I didn't want to push myself into doing things - I needed a break after reading/blogging every day continuously for a week (not to mention how much blog post prep I did in the first few days of the new year, all of which is up by now. Which seems incredible to me, but I'm glad it's all up. And I hope if you missed anything - you'll check it out and maybe give me your thoughts/feelings).

Blogging in tiring, though. And sometimes stressful, though I definitely don't like to, and try not to, stress myself out about it. It's not a job, not really, I don't get payed anything (and I, actually, would rather just keep it this way), but it is something I'm always surprised at how much I love doing it - even if it's hard sometimes.

However - I feel like I should add there are going to be few weeks, hell months, like this past one. I'm not going to be someone who can continously get something up everevery week day. It's just not realistic for me (and I'm amazed by the people who do, I bow down to your brain power).

And now that I've rambled a bit about possible blog burn out, let's move forwards, shall we?

Reading: (finished this week and actively currently-reading)
I didn't end up reading a lot this week, very little even. But I did get a few things finished.

Dark Wolf Rising by Rhyannon Byrd (3/5)
It was... fun. I started it during Bout of Books, but didn't end up finishing it because it was on my kindle.

Ouran High School Host Club 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 by Bisco Hatori (5/5)
I might of read too many of these this week, taking a bit of a break from heavier books (I think The Way of Shadows kind of knocked me into a mini-slump/hangover kind of deal), but these are so good and so ridiculous.

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black (5/5)
A fantastic book, read. It was a reread for me, I read it in August of 2014, but it just came out and I wanted to read it again. Highly, highly recommended. The writing is gorgeous, the faeries that Holly Black writes always impress me. Go, read.

I'm also currently reading a few things! I started volume 8 of Ouran (shhh) and am trying for the second time to read Quiet (it's just so long, and at points very... I'm slogging, I like it, but it's a battle). Also reading Showa: A History of Japan, 1926 - 1939 which is really, really good so far, it's in a cartoon comic style and, as the title suggest, tells the history of Japan starting at the beginning of the Showa era.

Everything Else:
I've just started my rewatch of Robin Hood on Netflix because it's being taken on February 1st and I use to love that show when it was airing, and was upset it was canceled (might still be a bit annoyed), but I haven't seen season 1 probably since it aired and... Netflix.

I also started episode one of Madoka Magica, but I'm not sure I finished it? As you can see - it was not a very productive week for anything.

I've been watching some YouTube stuff (keeping up with a few peoples channels, but not many. RoosterTeeth/Achievement Hunter and some BookTubers, reading some blogs, but I haven't been keeping up with anything specifically. However, a few things.

However - SciFi fans! The Expanse TV show has a trailer now - a trailer. And good god I freaked out while watching it, I didn't know I was this excited about this. It made me want to immedaitely reread the first two books and then get to three and four. Still no official release date besides 2015, but I'm kind of hoping sooner rather then later, because I am so excited.

On the blog:

Friday, January 16, 2015

2015 Challenges | Series & Banned Books (2)

I'm kind of surprised I had to chop this up, but I didn't want to make the post too long. And this feels more manageable, so I can do separate posts for the challenges.

You may have noticed it says series up there. I'm not going to participate in any particular series challenge, not really, I'm just kind of challenging myself to finish series. I finished more then I ever thought possible in 2014, so I'm excited to see how many I could knock out (or just finish up) in 2015. I'd like to go for another 12, if possible, but since I have no idea what my reading life is going to look like at poits of this year I think I'll go with 6.

If I go over - fantastic. And if I don't, but still hit 6, then I'll still be happy with that. I own so many series that the whole thing is out and I own all of the books (normally a trilogy), and I'd like to be able to finish some of them. I really enjoy series, there are just so many of them (I have a plan to do a post all about that).

And then - the Banned Book challenge! I really enjoy banned books, I tend to read them without realizing they've been banned, however, I'd also like to try and go out of my way to read banned books, for obvious reasons. I don't think books should be banned, at all, but I think it could be much worse then it is.

This challenge is being run by Buckling Bookshelves and there are different levels, of course, that you can aim for. Not knowing how many books I read in 2014 would of counted makes this a little harder to pick, but considering some of my reading plans for next year I'm going to aim for trouble-maker, which is 3-5 banned/challenged books, I'd like to read a ton more and maybe I will, but I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself.

I mean, if I end up reread Harry Potter again then that'll be quite a few. There are others I have in mind, though, but I have no idea. (These are just some examples of what's on my mind now, I won't be sticking to this at all): His Dark Materials series, Lolita, 1984, Animal Farm - those are just some classics. I'd like to finish read something by Ellen Hopkins (all of her books, I think, have been banned/challenged at some point) and there are others that I'm sure I haven't even thought of as a 'banned book.'

I'll also, very casually, be using the popsugar 2015 reading challenge. It's more fun then anything else, some silly challenges (read a book that was published the year you were born, an author with the same initials as you, ect). And I actually know most things that could fit into these, and I wasn't going to include it in these lists, but I figured even if I was casually paying attention to it I thought I should mention it.

Do you have any plans to take part in either of these types of challenges? Or challenges at all? And whats your favorite "banned book?"

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Anticipated 2015 Releases

There was a Top Ten Tuesday for this topic in December, I believe, and I just was not prepared for it, but it made me realize how many books I'm looking forward to in 2015. So I wanted to share them, and I think there might be more then ten? (Definitely).

I'm going to not include sequels if I haven't read, at least, the first book in the series. So a lot of these will probably be standalones or the first book in a series, but I guess we can start with sequels.

  • Firefight (The Reckoners #2) by Brandon Sanderson - January 6th (pre-ordered, I'm ready, give it to me)
  • The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black - January 13th (alright, I've already read this. But I am going to a signing on the release day and would like to reread it then, since I read it in August)
  • The Shadow Cabinet (Shades of London #3) by Maureen Johnson - February 10th (I've still yet to read book 2 for some reason, but when this comes out I'll probably just marathon all three, rereading book 1)
  • Salt and Stone (Fire and Flood #2) by Victoria Scott  - March
  • Empire of Night (Age of Legends #2) by Kelly Armstrong - April 7th (really enjoyed book one so am looking forward to book 2)
  • Nemesis Games (The Expanse #5) by James S.A. Corey - June 2nd (I'm falling behind on this series, BUT I'm still super excited for this and hopefully I can read 3 and 4 before it comes out. Also - TV show starting next year? Hell yes)
  • Public Enemies (Immortal Games #2) by Ann Aguirre - August 4th 
  • The Rose Society (The Young Elites #2) by Marie Lu - October 6th (I read the first book very recently and I'm mostly excited for this book because, without spoilers, the first line of the synopsis makes me about 50% more excited then I had been).

By Month:
  • Trigger Warning: Short Fiction and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman - February 3rd (it's Gaiman, I didn't even know about this until I went to make this list, but I will definitely pick this up. Hopefully next year)
  • The Eterna Files by Leanna Renne Hieber  (This looks good and is her first release that's coming out in hardcover first, not just paperback, and I adore Leanna, have met her a few times, and I'd highly suggest checking out her books) - February 3rd
  • Red Queen (The Red Queen Trilogy #1) by Victoria Aveyard  - February 10th
  • A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Shwab (I got the excerpt from Netgalley and I need more, I need the whole thing. I'm so intrigued and interested and Victoria Schwab is very high up on my favorite authors list already) - February 24th
  • The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord - March 31st (read her debut novel, loved it. Excited for this one)
  • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir - April 28th
  • Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley - April 28th
  • The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn #1) by Renee Ahdieh - May 12th (this one sounds very interesting and different, haven't heard much about it yet, though. Still, I'm intrigued)
  • Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider - May 26th (it's Robyn, I love Robyn, end of story).
  • Armada by Ernest Cline - July 28th (yes, give it to me now. I loved his first novel, Ready Player One, I am ready for another one)
  • Percy Jackson Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan - August 18th
  • Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1) by Cassandra Clare - September (I'm still not sure about this? I'm not super interested in these characters, but I'll read it for Jem and Tessa, if they appear. And have no regrets)
  • The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1) by Rick Riordan - October 6th
  • Six of Crows (The Dregs #1) by Leigh Bardugo - October 8th (heard her read from this, need the rest of it, it sounds amazing)

None specific dates:
  • Tales from the Shadow Hunter Academy #1-10 by Cassie Clare and others - throughout 2015
  • Nightblood (Warbreaker #2) by Brandon Sanderson - apparently 2015? I don't know if this is true because I haven't seen anything about it, but... yes? Like yes please.
  • The Raven Cycle #4 by Maggie Stievfater (I don't think this has a title yet, right? Or a release date besides '2015.' But man am I excited for it).
  • Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink, Jeffrey Cranor (apparently 2015 for this. I'm super excited, so excited. WTNV in book form. I kind of hope it has strange illustrations, I'd be done, even, with them just using a bunch of different styles, but it might just be a book with only words. I'm fine, either way, I do like words)

The ones I'm most excited for are probably Firefight(and anything else Sanderson puts out in 2015, I will buy and read and love), A Darker Shade of Magic, Six of Crows, The Eterna Files, Raven Cycle #4, Welcome to Nightvale.

I'm really excited about all of them, but I don't know how many I'll end up pre-ordering or buying right away. I think I'm going to try and cut back on buying books during 2015. Of course, I said this last year so I'm sure sure how well this is going to go. I'm also sure I missed some. I tried to remember them all - the sequels, the new releases. And not letting myself add sequels for books I haven't read, was probably a good idea because I think this list would magically double in length.

What are you most looking forward to in 2015? (If you made a list, I'd love to see it, or just list a few of your most anticipated, I won't ask you to just pick one). And - do you think anything is missing from my list?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

2015 Challenges | BookRiot Read Harder (1)

I'm not going to put pressure on myself for any challenge, but I still like pushing myself to read more or places where I feel like I'm lacking. Not putting pressure means I'm not officially joining anything, posting about it here is enough of a declaration to keep me to it, but also enough I won't feel horrible if I don't complete them all. I tend to aim high and hope for the best, in all honesty, and even if I don't make it all the way to my ridiculous goal, I'll have gotten a lot done between.

I wanted to put all of the challenges into one post, all nice and tidy, but it would of been a post that'd been probably as long as I am tall (though, considering how short I am, I guess that doesn't mean much, but it would of been really freaking long. And some don't go the whole year or whatever. Parts. Doing it in parts).

First off, one you might heard about it, is the BookRiot Read Harder challenge. (Link to their post, which includes links if you're unsure about what something means or need a recommendation). (Also, while on the topic of BookRiot, I'd like to point out their post from last year about why setting challenges/goals is good).

  • A book written by someone when they were under the age of 25
  • A book written by someone when they were over the age of 65
  • A collection of short stories (either by one person or an anthology by many people)
  • A book published by an indie press
  • A book by or about someone that identifies as LGBTQ
  • A book by a person whose gender is different from your own
  • A book that takes place in Asia
  • A book by an author from Africa
  • A book that is by or about someone from an indigenous culture (Native Americans, Aboriginals, etc.)
  • A microhistory
  • A YA novel
  • A sci-fi novel
  • A romance novel
  • A National Book Award, Man Booker Prize or Pulitzer Prize winner from the last decade
  • A book that is a retelling of a classic story (fairytale, Shakespearian play, classic novel, etc.)
  • An audiobook
  • A collection of poetry
  • A book that someone else has recommended to you
  • A book that was originally published in another language
  • A graphic novel, a graphic memoir or a collection of comics of any kind (Hi, have you met Panels?)
  • A book that you would consider a guilty pleasure (Read, and then realize that good entertainment is nothing to feel guilty over)
  • A book published before 1850
  • A book published this year 
  • A self-improvement book (can be traditionally or non-traditionally considered “self-improvement”)
Some of these should be pretty easy for me to complete - specifically: a young adult book, romance, SciFi, graphic novel/such, published this year (I'm taking to mean 2015) - but others I know I might have trouble completing, I might not even complete all of them.

I had a huge rambling thing here about diversity and how I feel like it's important, but that I can't honestly say it's the first thing I think of when picking up a book. I cut it out. Why? Because I didn't feel like it helped anything. It isn't always the first thing I think of, when picking up a book, though, that part is true. I tend to be more interested in the story then the author and, even then, sometimes I just want a fluffy romance or a quick YA novel. I read by mood, completely, and it's been working for me if the last year is anything to by. 

However - diversity is important. Especially right now, it seems like. And I do want to read a lot of books by a large, diverse bunch of people. And I think this is a good way to try and remind myself of that, even if I don't hit all of them (I'm mostly eyeing the 'self-improvement' one, that might not happen. Unless Amy Poehler's new book counts). Actually, I have a surprising amount of ideas for them and am trying to compile a list on goodreads for possibilities (If you have any recommendation - books by people of color or LGBTQ+, or anything different, feel free to leave a comment or rec it to me on Goodreads).

I also always enjoy reading diverse books - a different culture is very intriguing to me, especially one that I'm not familiar with at all, or one I've just barely grazed the surface on. Or LGBTQ+ characters. I haven't read a lot of books with that and I'd really like to read more, it definitely can make the story more interesting (there are probably more problems to face, along with the normal ones).

Saying that, I am going to try and not buy all the books in 2015, so that'll hurt my ability a bit to branch out too much, though I do have quite a bit (at least I think, from what I expected, in all honesty).

So now I want to know - do you make it a priority to read diversely? Even as small a thing as your male/female ratio (that's something I payed attention to in 2014)? Are you considering myself taking on some of these challenges for yourself? Let me know! And let me know if you have any recommendations!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

2014 Blogging Year | 2015 Hopes

I started, quite randomly, blogging about books in 2011. It started with my and my friend Haley, who kind of bowed out a few month later (because of school/stress reasons). (She does, sometimes, make book videos). And now it's over three years later and here we are.

I struggled a lot with what the hell to do here pretty much straight through 2013. And I feel like 2014 is when I found my legs a little, not completely, but a little. I love writing about books and reading about people talking about books, commenting and getting comments, and so on. And I'm so glad that I kept going with this blog even when I was completely lost.

I definitely struggled the most in 2013, as you will be able to tell (stats will all be at the bottom). I didn't post a lot of things, didn't know what to post. I did read more, though, then I had previous years. And, then, when the new year came around I decided to just clamp down on myself. I pushed myself to make sure I read my feed of blogs and left comments (which I'm still pretty bad about, I second guess myself, but I'm getting better at), and then that I also kept up with my own blog.

Blogging is really hard for me sometimes. I have no idea what to say or I don't like how it's coming out or I'm scared to post some things. And I think that's completely normal struggles, but it put me off of blogging. Also, I stopped using my personal blogger blog, which I think was nice (anything I wanted to post there, I posted on my tumblr instead or just kind of journaled about it).

I do not blog in an efficient matter, I feel like this is important to say. I don't set aside posts or schedule way ahead (like some can, I'm jealous but mostly just highly impressed by people who can), and I actually kind of rarely sit down to write posts. I tend to binge write them for about the month (I tinker and fill in my wrap-up through-out, and I'm hoping to do the same with my weekly wrap ups this year, but that's for the goals section).

I don't review a lot of the books I read, which can be a problem for a book blogger. However - since I read so many books in 2014, I feel like I was never out of ideas for it (and there are, currently, books from 2014 that I didn't get to write full reviews of that I'd like to. I think all read in December).

I'd like to say one of my goals is to have a better schedule for writing posts, but I know myself well enough to know that'd have a negative reaction. So I'm just going to leave my slightly silly/ridiculous way of blogging and such. However, I do have other blogging goals for the year. Some of them are more just things to keep in mind, but still.

Weekly Wrap Ups -
I did two towards the end of 2014, just to kind of try it out. And I didn't quite like the just reading wrap up, but I thought it was fun to add other stuff. I don't quite know, yet, how you guys feel about them, but I think they're fun? They're also a lot of work, but I think this is the way I'm going to do the thing of mini-review/at least talk about more all the books I read.

More discussions/reviews - 
This is one of the ones to just keep in mind. I'm not going to push myself, but I tend to write discussion posts and then not post them because I second guess myself and worry and such, and I'd just like to do it and see what happens. And start some conversations with you guys. However, I'm not going to set a number or any other kind of push, because that'd make me not want to do it.
And then for reviews - I reviewed way more books in 2014 then in 2013, I'm going to count it up and put the stats at the bottom, but I'd still like to review more. Some people post full reviews for every book they read, which I'm not going to even try and do, but I'd like to review more and refine my voice/opinions/taste more.

Read-a-Thons/Challenges/Taking part -
I've never taken part in any yearly challenges in the blogging community, but I am this year! Technically only one for the year, but another that's for the new few months kind of thing. And, of course, you might know about my undying love for read-a-thons. I hope to participate in all three Bout of Books and I missed Dewey's 24-hour read-a-thon in October, sadly. And any others that come my way and look like fun. I love read-a-thons, I get a lot done. Maybe I should start taking part in the things that can come after - the review-a-thons.

Be more active -
This is always a goal for me, because I'm so bad at it. I wouldn't say I was shy, except when I don't know the people. And with text it can be hard to convey what you want to say without tone of voice or facial expressions, that kind of thing. But I always really enjoy commenting on posts and chatting with people in the comments of my posts (if you've ever left a comment - thank you! I think I'll always be at the point where I'm shocked and then a little brighter all day for it).

I think that's it, I don't want to set too many, but I felt like all of these would be things I'd be doing anyway and I wanted to mention them here. If you have a book blog - any plans of your own for 2015? Any that match up with mine? If you don't have a blog - does that all sound fun to you? I mean, I'm still going to do it all, but I'm interested and curious.

Stats By Year:
2011 - 34 total (started in August)
Month with most posts: October (12)

 - 83 total
Month with most posts: July (18)

2013 - 57
Reviews posted: 3 full book reviews, 1 series review (yes, for the whole year. I just went and checked and I did not know it was quite that low. I'm even more ashamed now).
Month with most posts: May (12)

2014 - 192
Reviews posted: 24 full book reviews, 18 mini review compilations, 4 series reviews (I'm not unhappy with it, because it's a lot better then I did in 2013. However, considering I read over 200 books, that is not a lot of reviews to show for it).
Month with most posts: May (23)

A year of comics/manga/graphic novels (2014)

This is going to be a post of all of the comics/manga/graphic novels (including single issue comics and trade paperbacks, everything with pictures as a way of storytelling) that I read in 2014, and I'm going to point out my complete favorites of the year. Though, I really loved a large portion of what I read this year for this media, and I'm already at the point of wanting to reread certain ones (or waiting impatiently for the series to continue).

I'm not new to any of these things - except single issues comics, I hadn't gotten into those before I discovered Midpoint Comics - but this year I feel like I really got into all of these things. I read a ton and I loved it, I also reread the first manga series, Fruits Basket, that introduced me to the genre (the anime almost dragged me into anime all those years ago. It's come back with a vengeance, I'm going to have to make a post about that, as well).

I'm going to start at the beginning and with that point - manga. I don't know what it is, but I've found myself really enjoying pretty much all the manga/anime I look into it. Which isn't a lot on the manga at all, but that's going to change in 2015 (hopefully. I might of gotten myself or Ouran High School Host Club boxset for Christmas, be jealous. Also - any recs, let me know).

In 2014 I read a good chunk of the Attack on Titan manga very early in the year. And I'm going to have to go back over it, I remember it, just not the small details and I like small details(I guess I could just watch the anime that looks kick-ass. I've seen the first few episodes. And now it's dubbed. However - does anyone else sometimes just put this on to work?) However, I do remember the kick-ass awesomeness - the gore, the plot twists, the characters. (The seriously ridiculous faces of the titans. If you read them, just look at the background titans, be amused and slightly confused).

Fruits Basket I'm not going to say much on, because it'd end with me just flailing. It's definitely part nostolagia at this point, but also - it's just so good. It's a slightly strange subject (but it's manga/anime. What do you expect?) And it's lovely and heartwarming and heartbreaking and I love it to pieces. And those characters.

Graphic Novels: 
I was going to start with comics, but I have realized how many of those I read, so we're saving that for the end. Graphic novels are a lot of fun and I definitely wish I could read more, more of all of these, honestly. With this one, I'm going to list all the ones I've read and then go from there - pinpointing my favorites and such.
  • American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (5/5)
  • Maus, Vol l by Art Spiegelman (5/5)
  • Maus, Vol ll by Art Spiegelman (5/5)
  • Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony (3/5)
  • Coffin Hill, Vol 1 by Caitlin Kittredgg (4/5)
  • Boxers (Boxers and Saints #1) by Gene Luen Yang (5/5)
  • Saints (Boxers and Saints #2) by Gene Luen Yang (5/5)
  • Zita the Spacegirl (Zita #1) by Ben Hatke (4/5)
  • Legends of Zita the Spacegirl (Zita #2) by Ben Hatke (5/5)
  • Return of Zita the Spacegirl (Zita #3) by Ben Hatke (5/5)
  • Clockwork Angel: Manga (#1) by Cassie Clare, HyeKyung Baek (4/5)
  • Clockwork Prince, Manga (#2) by Cassie Clare, HyeKyung Baek (5/5)
  • Clockwork Princess, Manga (#3) by Cassie Clare, HyeKyung Baek (5/5)
  • Sea of Monsters: Graphic Novel (#2) by Riordan and others (4/5)
  • The Arrival by Shaun Tan (5/5)
  • Through the Woods by Emily Caroll (4/5)
  • In Real Life by Cory Doctorow, Jen Wang (4/5)
Whew, alright. First off, I read three things by Gene Luen Yang and all were fantastic and slightly, if not very, heart-wrenching, and I recommend all of them. Maus was also like that, along with being fantastically told but also horribly real.

I don't have too much to say about most of these, in all honesty, you can see mostly what I thought by my ratings. If I had to pick a favorite graphic novel, though, it'd have to be The Arrival. It's a gorgeous book that has no words in it and is somehow still bittersweet. It's about a man immigrating to another country and then working to make it so his wife and child can follow him. With no words and full or gorgeous, gorgeous artwork.

Let's go into comics now. I really got into comics this year. I'm going to count "comics" as all single issues (of course) and trade paperbacks (collections of the single issues). I think I've separated them correctly, if anythings wrong, let me know. I'm going to talk about how I got so into comics this year first, list all the comics I read (with ratings), and then highlight my favorites.

And when I say I really got into comics this year, I really got into comics. Really, really. (I currently blame MidTown Comics).

I started reading single issues when I found I could not wait for the volumes of Hawkeye or the collection of The Wicked and the Divine. And I'm really glad I did, though I now have way too many unread ones. I highly recommend both series, Hawkeye is now complete and W+D if just barely getting started (and the first trade paperback just came out!)

All comics read:
  • Hawkeye, Vol 1: My Life as a Weapon by Matt Fraction, David Aja (5/5)
  • Hawkeye, Vol. 2: Little Hits by Matt Fraction, David Aja (5/5)
  • Young Avengers Vol. 1: Style > Substance by Kieron Gillen (5/5)
  • Saga, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan (5/5)
  • Saga Vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughan (5/5)
  • Saga, Vol. 3 by Brian K. Vaughan (5/5)
  • The Preacher: Book One by Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon (4/5)
  • The Walking Dead: Book One (3/5)
  • The Walking Dead: Book Two (3/5)
  • Locke and Key, Vol 1: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez (5/5)
  • Locke and Key, Vol 2: Head Games by Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez (5/5)
  • Locke and Key, Vol 3: Crown of Shadows by Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez (5/5)
  • Watchmen by Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons (4/5)
  • Sex Criminals, Vol 1 by Matt Fraction, Chip Zdarsky (5/5)
  • East of West, Volume 1: The Promise by Jonathan Hickman, Nick Dragotta (5/5)
  • East of West, Volume 2: We Are All One by Jonathan Hickman, Nick Dragotta (5/5)
  • East of West, Volume 3: There Is No Us by Jonathan Hickman, Nick Dragotta (5/5)
  • Sleepy Hollow #1 by Marguerite Bennett (?)
  • Chew, Volume 1: Taster's Choice by John Layman, Rob Guillory (4/5)
  • Captain Marvel, Volume 1: Higher, Further, Faster, More by Kelly Sue DeConnick, David López (4/5)
  • Ms. Marvel, Volume 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson (5/5)
  • Wytches #1 by Scott Snyder (5/5)
  • The Flash #1 by Francis Manapul (3/5)
  • Wayward #1 by Jim Zub, Steve Cummings, John Rauch (4/5)
  • Wayward #2 by Jim Zub, Steve Cummings, John Rauch (4/5)
  • The Wicked and The Divine #1 by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson (5/5)
  • Chew, Volume 2: International Flavor by John Layman, Rob Guillory (5/5)
  • Injustice: Gods Among Us #1 by Tom Taylor (3/5)
  • Hawkeye #12, #13, #15, #17. #19 & Volume Three: L.A. Women by Matt Fraction (5/5)
  • The Wicked and The Divine #2, #3, #4, #5 by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson (5/5)
  • Chew, Volume 3: Just Desserts by John Layman, Rob Guillory (5/5)
Holy shit, that is a lot of comics and trade paperbacks. As you can see, I only started getting into single issues at the end of the year (and I really enjoy the extra stuff at the back - the letters from fans, them answering things, the random essays sometimes. It's just fun).

If I had to pick one thing to recommend - I'd say Hawkeye. Read Hawkeye. It's complete now, it's Matt Fraction, who is fantastic, I don't know what else you need to know. 

And, of course, I loved Saga, as everyone else and their mother did. And Wicked and the Divine, like I mentioned. Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel were incredible. And also The Preacher, which I have a full review of, which is dark and strange and really good.

And the first three volumes of both Locke and Key and Chew were fantastic. Both dark, but the third volume of Locke and Key was the darkest and the best out of the three, in my opinion, and I'm excited to continue them. Chew is strange and gore-y and funny, and a ton of fun.

However, if I had to pick a favorite of the year, in comics - I'd have to go East of West. I have no idea why, but I still find myself thinking about that series. It's not over yet, but the first three volumes are out (as you can see, I marathoned them). They're fantastic and strange - a kind of western futuristic apocalyptic... adventure mess? I think that's what I'm going to call it, it doesn't really make sense, but it explains it a bit. It's fantastic and incredible and I highly, highly recommend it.

Monday, January 12, 2015

January 12th | Weekly Wrap Up #4

Week two of 2015 is over and done with! Which is strange to think, it still feels like just last week was 2013. Obviously, I do not have a good way of keeping track of time in a good way.

Reading: (finished this week and actively currently-reading)
Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff (3/5)
I liked it and originally rated it 4/5, but looking back - it was just fun, there was nothing really special about it. It was cute and I liked the art style (and Constantinople, anything set there, I will read. Though, I haven't found anything, I should look harder).

The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman (4/5)
Very - strange. I liked it, but it didn't feel like a Gaiman story? Normally when I read his stuff, I can hear his voice in my head (which sounds weird, but he has a very specific way of writing/talking). I still enjoyed it, though, and the art style was different, as well, maybe that's why threw me off so much. I don't know.

The Library of Unrequited Love by Sophie Divry (3/5)
I feel like I should of read this slower, even though I stopped myself halfway through. It was stream of consciousness, like? But more like being lectured by a slightly strange, rather stern and opinionated librarian. It was very strange, but I definitely enjoyed most of it. It was a strange concept and I feel like some parts of it lost stuff in - still, it was alright.

Ouran High School Host Club, Volume 1 & 2 by Bisco Hatori (5/5)
Ourannnnnnn. OURANNNN. There are some things that are made to be fangirled over - and this anime was one of them and so is the manga, so far. I'm so excited to read more, but I also don't want to burn through them in a few days? But I want more...

Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix (4/5)
I really liked this - creepy and weird and full of an impressive amount of torture methods (that last thing was actually a comment I made to my mom. I was like: I like the torture methods in this! Wait... Writer problems...?)

Wayward #3, #4, #5 by Jim Zub and others (5/5)
This series is fantastic, and I'm going to be impatiently waiting for it to start up again. The art is gorgeous, the characters have a fantastic sense of style and are all just as interesting, and the mythology used is incredible (and I'd highly recommend getting the single issues, even if you aren't normally one for them, primarily for the essays in the back about Japan mythology/culture that's used in the story).

The Wicked and the Divine #6 by Kieron Gillen (5/5)
I'm loving this series and am excited for this new story arc (and mildly terrified of what's to come).

East of West: The World & #16 by Jonathan Hickman (6/6)
I started by reading the first three trade paperbacks and now it's just started up again! The World was kind of like a refresher and the firm timeline of everything leading up to what started in this series (also backgrounds on the different power places and their leaders/political problems). And then #16 was a continuation of the story - and I remembered why I freaking love this comic to pieces. Also highly, highly recommended.

Lock In by John Scalzi (5/5)
Ah, Scalzi. I knew I was going to like this one, so I felt comfortable picking it up. (And, Wil Wheaton does the audio, if you're curious. Or Amber Benson. Win-win situation there). I'd suggest reading the prequel, I think it's available on Tor for free - you won't be lost, not reading it, but I liked having the extra background.

The Way of Shadows (Night Angel #1) by Brent Weeks (5/5)
This book has a really high rating on goodreads for a book I'd honestly never heard about before I saw someone talking about it on a forum and ended up buying it. It was good. It was really fucking good. It doesn't kick off with action o page one, but I didn't expect it to. I've heard people think it's slow? Definitely, for the first third or so - but as soon as the action picks up, there's not a quiet moment. And there's not really a standing still moment in the whole book. I adored it. It is definitely darker then some fantasies, though.

What I've Been Watching:
Both this and the blog posts might be a little far and few between at points, like this week, where I totally forgot to keep track/it was a read-a-thon and I was mostly reading. However, I have some things to share!

Book Riot I have a feeling is going to be seen about. I just found this video from October and it's making me think of a possible video about reading diversity. On Reading Diversely: Personal Observation

Learn ASL in 31 days: Day One - okay, this is super cool. I am really excited about trying to learn some ASL.

2015: The Great Captioning Project - this is a really good idea and, actually, kind of related to the video above!

And now Achievement Hunter / RoosterTeeth. Definitely not a group of people for the young children, but I think.... 14/16 up should be fine. However, if you're offended by strong language and such, just pass over this one. I recommend all their stuff, but this week/such: Let's Play - Mario Party 8 Goomba's Boardwalk Part 1 & Let's Play Minecraft - Episode 137 - Bingo

Blog Posts I've Liked:
Let's Speculate: When You Have the Worst Kind of Problem - as a mood reader, this speaks to me. It's a short little post, but SO TRUE. I can be indecisive, too.

Book Review: Easy - I keep hearing about this book recently. I think I"m going to check it out soon. (Soon a bit relative because of my book buying ban thing).

Because I Am A Girly-Girl... | #BookLooks (1) - this is a different idea and it looks like a ton of fun!

The Month of the Silvers: 10 Reasons why you should read the book - I own this book and I'm loving what I've seen so far of the month of this book thing that's happening. And I'm hoping I can read it very soon, this year soon.

On the blog:
(Day seven is going up today too!)

Bout of Books 12 | Day Seven Wrap-up and The End

I had so much fun this time around. Bout of Books is always a ton of fun, the twitter chats especially, but this time around there was a lot more making funs (and swapping of spreadsheets, because: #booknerdWIN. Guys. Seriously). Anyway, besides inside twitter jokes, I just had a lot of fun.

I didn't get as much reading done as I have previously or would of liked, but I've been expecting to slow down a bit after everything. And I'd like to read more book books this year and less comics/trades/graphic novels - you know. So I think I'm okay slowing a bit, though I'm still going to try and get through my backlog/keep up with favorite series.

I'm really, really trying to get through my physical TBR of way too many books. So I'm honestly trying to work on not buying books, but it's hard. So very hard. (Hello, my name is Casey. I haven't bought a book since December 31st - book buyers anonymous, anyone?)

Anyway - this isn't about the books I can't buy. It's about books I've already read. So shall we?

I didn't, actually, end up reading anything on the last day. I felt so hungover from the awesomeness that was The Way of Shadows, and I just wasn't feeling like reading. And I've learned, if I'm not feeling like reading, then not to push it, because it won't end well for anyone.

Total Number of Books Completed: 8

Total Number of Pages Read: 2, 310

Everything Read (Books/Comics/Unfinished):
Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff (3/5)
The Truth is the Cave in the Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman (4/5)
The Library of Unrequited Love by Sophie Divry (3/5)
Ouran High School Host Club, Volume 1 by Bisco Hatori (5/5)
Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix (4/5)
Ouran High School Host Clob, Volume 2 by Bisco Hatori (5/5)
Wayward #1, #2, #3, #4, #5 by Jim Zub (5/5)
Baltimore: The Wolf and The Apostle #1, #2 by Mike Mignola (3/5)
The Wicked and the Divine #6 by Kieron Gillen (5/5)
East of West #16 by Jonathan Hickman (5/5)
Lock In by John Scalzi (5/5)
The Way of Shadows (Night Angel #1) by Brent Weeks (5/5)

I wasn't, honestly, completely happy with everything I read this week. And not content matter, although there were some things that I ended up not enjoying as much as I expected. I just didn't read as much as I'd hoped, I wasn't in a reading mood for a lot of the week.

On the other hand, I did get some reading done and I read some really good thinks (The Way of Shadows, probably being the best). And I had a ton of fun on twitter, during the chats and in the normally hour or so after them.

I hope you all had a great week and a great reading week, whether you took part or not. What are you currently reading?

(And - Bout of Books 13 in May! See you there?)

Bout of Books blog
Kick-Off Post
Announcement Post
Day One Wrap-Up
Day Two Wrap-Up
Day Three Wrap-Up
Day Four Wrap-Up
Day Five Wrap-Up
Day Six Wrap-Up

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Bout of Books 12 | Day Six Wrap-Up

Day six! And I felt much better about today as my eyes definitely were feeling better and I was feeling more in the reading mood, which meant I got more reading done, of course.

Even though there was another chat this morning. Which was fun, as always. And, sadly, the last chat until the May read-a-thon. Now - onto the day in books and numbers.

Number of Books Completed Today: 2

Total Number of Books Completed: 8

Lock In by John Scalzi (finished - 160 pages)
The Way of Shadows (Night Angel #1) by Brent Weeks (finished - 457 pages)

Number of Pages Read: 617

Total Number of Pages Read: 2,310

I finished two 5 star books today! I have come to know I'm going to love Scalzi's work, even if I'm unsure at the very beginning - he'd normally captured me by the halfway point.

I'd never read anything by Brent Weeks before, though, and was a little unsure. His ratings on Goodreads are so impossibly high, I just wasn't sure what to expect. And holy shit I was not let down in anyway - fantastic read.

How did your Saturday go? And plans for the last day of the read-a-thon?

Bout of Books blog

Kick-Off Post
Announcement Post
Day One Wrap-Up
Day Two Wrap-Up
Day Three Wrap-Up
Day Four Wrap-Up
Day Five Wrap-Up

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Bout of Books 12 | Day Five Wrap-Up

Another day, more reading. Once again, I didn't read as much as I'd like. Life happens, I guess. But I'd officially like for my eye strain to go away because ow. Also for all life problems to go away, as well, that'd be great.

Number of Books Completed Today: 0

Total Number of Books Completed: 6

Lock In by John Scalzi (continued - 128 pages)

Baltimore: The Wolf and The Apostle #1, #2 by Mike Mignola (s&f - 60 pages)
The Wicked and the Divine #6 by Kieron Gillen (s&f - 32 pages)
East of West #16 by Jonathan Hickman (s&f - 31 pages)
Wayward #5 by Jim Zub (s&f - 30 pages)

Number of Pages Read: 281

Total Number of Pages Read: 1,693

Baltimore was... interesting? Strange, but interesting(also wasn't on GR, so I guestimated page count). However - all the rest of the single issues I read, I'd been waiting on and ugh, they were all so good. So freaking good. East of West is that, like, western futuristic setting? With the four horsemen of the apocalypse and it's fucking awesome (excuse the language, but I love this series). And you've probably heard of The Wicked and The Divine.

However - I haven't heard anyone talk about Wayward. Which takes place in modern Tokyo, where all the japanese mythological creatures seem to be... waking up? Coming out more to play? And this is one series I'd suggest getting the single issues, instead of the trade, and that's because the trade isn't going to include the essays that in the back of each issue about the mythological creatures and one about modern Japan school kids. It's all pretty awesome, the colors and everything are gorgeous, and I'll be impatiently waiting for it to start back up again now.

And I'm really enjoying Lock In, digging deeper into it and it's good. Of course, it's Scalzi.

Bout of Books blog

Kick-Off Post
Announcement Post
Day One Wrap-Up
Day Two Wrap-Up
Day Three Wrap-Up
Day Four Wrap-Up

Friday, January 9, 2015

Bout of Books 12 | Day Four Wrap-Up

Reading, and really doing anything, with eyestrain - is difficult. And it always surprises me with just how difficult. I should probably stop scrolling through my phone in the dark when I can't sleep. So I probably read the least I have all week, but I'm still really happy with what I read. I made progress in The Way of Shadows, and I'm really enjoying that book so far and I"m glad I picked it up.

Number of Books Completed Today: 0

Total Number of Books Completed: 6

Wayward #1, #2, #3, & #4 by Jim Zub and more  (started and completed all - about 100 pages)
The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks (continued - 146)
Lock In by John Scalzi (started - 50 pages)

Number of Pages Read: 296

Total Number of Pages Read: 1,412

I estimated for the comics, going by goodreads (which had page counts for 2/4), and I estimated low. I'm really liking that series so far, it's really good and very interesting. I'd suggest getting the single issues for the japan mythology essays in the back.

I'm really loving The Way of Shadows so far, it's just so good. And I'm not sure why? I was a little wary starting it, because I had kind of high hopes for it (because of the GR ratings), but I have not been disappointed so far, about 30% into it.

Hopefully, I can get a bit more read tomorrow! Also, I'm going between listening to Lock In and reading (Wil Wheaton narration. I love Amber Benson, but I love Wil's narration), because of eyes.

Bout of Books blog
Kick-Off Post
Announcement Post
Day One Wrap-Up
Day Two Wrap-Up
Day Three Wrap-Up

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Bout of Books 12 | Day Three Wrap-Up

Day three didn't start out too well - I'd been doing good with controlling my insomnia, but last night was not good for sleeping. And then, as soon as I was getting to sleep, I'm pretty sure there was a pterodactyl outside (or a trash truck, you know, whatever).

And then I woke up with a sore throat and had an almost headache lingering all day. Overall - not the best feeling of days. I did get some reading done, though.

Number of Books Completed Today: 1

Total Number of Books Completed: 6

Dark Wolf Rising by Rhyannon Byrd (started - 121 pages)
Ouran High School Host Club, Volume 2 by Bisco Hatori (started and finished - 192 pages)
The Way of Shadows (Night Angel #1) by Brent Weeks (started - 42 pages)

Number of Pages Read: 355

Total Number of Pages Read: 1,116

I started reading Dark Wolf Rising at four in the morning, about, and am not sure if I'll end up continuing it this read-a-thon, or at all. Ouran, ah Ouran, how I love thee and your ridiculous plots and characters so very much.

I'm barely into The Way of Shadows, but I'm really liking it so far. It might of been the smartest move to start a longer book during this read-a-thon, but I've been wanting to read this series (and his other one) for a long time now. And I'd been reading a lot of short books. Sometimes I just crave long fantasy books.

Bout of Books blog
Kick-Off Post
Announcement Post
Day One Wrap-Up
Day Two Wrap-Up