Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Hiatus | February 2015

It's been a while since I've made the conscious decision to not post things, but I've been feeling so stress, for no reason. It has been a stressful start to year. and I'm kind of hoping taking a break from everything for a little while will help me.

Saying that - there will stuff be stuff happening here, I'm just not going to worry if I do literally nothing. The bare bones I'm aiming for, during this hiatus, are to post weekly wrap ups/monthly. I think it's going to last the rest of February. Hopefully that'll be it, and I'll be back, but I have honestly no idea at this point. I hope I'll be able to do all the things I want for my weekly wrap ups, but we'll see, I might end up not, but I'm going to try.

It's just one of those times. Where I need to do nothing as much as possible, try and recharge all batteries and see how it goes.

And I've been going and going for quite a while with this and these posts. And I love doing it, I'm honestly a little surprised how much I've grown to love it, but I think I just need to recharge, breathe. I'd also like to move it, but I have no idea if that'll ever happen, let alone when. (wordpress scares me, I am not good at things).

Anyway - hopefully I'll still be around a little. And I hope the rest of your February is fantastic and full of books and happy things.

Monday, February 16, 2015

February 16th | Weekly Wrap Up #9

Whelp, this is going up a few minutes later then usual because I actually completely forgot about it, it's been a very strange, well, few weeks, I'd say. This weekend, and kind of week, has involved a lot of playing of the video games and not as much reading as should of happened. Although, there were a few good reading days, so I can't say it was a complete waste.

And since I forgot about this, I'm sorry to say that this is going to be a very shortened version of the usual.

Reading: (finished this week and actively currently-reading)
The Angel (Original Sinners / Red Years Quartet #2) by Tiffany Reisz (5/5)
I'm really loving this book - the characters are smart and funny and dynamic, and it's just a fun read. I really have no been doing so well with reading lightly, but this felt easy to read, where most of the stuff currently-reading is harder stuff is to read (or just slower).

The Prince (Original Sinners / Red Years Quartet #3) by Tiffany Reisz (5/5)
I really liked this one? For some reason, for all the shit that happened in those flashbacks, I think this one finally made me like Soren a little more? I'm not sure why...

The Mistress (Original Sinners / Red Years Quartet #4) by Tiffany Reisz (5/5)
I'm okay with how this ended, how it wound together - even though I'm still curious, I'd want to know even more. This series, these books, are definitely not for the faint of heart or squeamish (BDSM meaning there's a lot in here people might not enjoy / find triggering).

Refound the Sims 4, the last few days. I'm doing my own version of the legacy challenge kind of thing - less rules, for sure. And I'd forgotten that the game is actually just as fun, if not more, when you're not using cheats. And the multi-tasking thing is kind of awesome. I've also been listening to random things on audio, but it's harder to do when playing the Sims, then minecraft, because stress and organizing their lives and such.

On the blog:

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Book Review: The Way of Shadows (Night Angel Trilogy #1)

Title: The Way of Shadows (Night Angel Trilogy #1)
Author: Brent Weeks
Genre: high fantasy
Rating: 5/5
Page Count: 645
Publication Date: October 1st, 2008

Plot (from goodreads):
From New York Times Bestselling author Brent Weeks...
For Durzo Blint, assassination is an art-and he is the city's most accomplished artist.

For Azoth, survival is precarious. Something you never take for granted. As a guild rat, he's grown up in the slums, and learned to judge people quickly - and to take risks. Risks like apprenticing himself to Durzo Blint.

But to be accepted, Azoth must turn his back on his old life and embrace a new identity and name. As Kylar Stern, he must learn to navigate the assassins' world of dangerous politics and strange magics - and cultivate a flair for death.

I wasn't sure what to expect going into this book. I'd just heard amazing things, and seen and been surprised by how good the goodreads ratings were. I didn't actually read the synopsis, at least I don't remember doing so, I just knew it was fantasy and apparently it was amazing.

And I was completely blown away.

Even at the beginning, there was something that just kind of struck me as different about it, about what was happening. Some people might find the beginning slow, but I didn't notice it until I thought about it after. I just found myself really enjoying it. And I think that slower pace at the beginning, and then a specific turning point and shift in that pace - is deliberate. And I loved it.

Alright, I'm going to try to not just squeal wordlessly at you about how amazing this book was. I took a bit, I tried to gather my thoughts. And they're kind of gathered, kind of. Basically - high fantasty, with assassins - excuse me, wetboys - and it hurts and it's fantastic.

I'm not sure I want to say more then that? Probably just because I enjoyed it so much going in blind, and I'm also sure this is definitely not a book for everyone. I liked the way Brent Weeks wrote, though, and the characters as we learned more about them, the politics was also interesting, the world.

To wrap it all up - I loved this book, if my inability to really talk about it without falling into it's so good, so good wasn't a big hint. I loved the characters, the writing, the world. And I was surprised, honestly surprised, at how much I did. And would recommend this book, but I'm sure others might not like it as much as I did. Saying that, I'm simultaneously itching to continue the series and don't want to because I don't want it to be over.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

TBR Pile | Purging shelves (???) (2)

This is a post I started one night when I couldn't sleep, after seeing the tenth video about #0by16 and just being baffled at the idea. Saying that - I don't mean any harm. You can do whatever you want to do. And if you can do that - I am amazed by you and bow down to your better self control (way better then mine, you freaking go). But these are my thoughts on the manner, how I feel like I can't do that. However - it's also a discussion post, so I want to hear from you guys about what you think, if your opinion is different or similar. And I hope no one takes offense from this, because that's now how I mean it. It's more a meandering musing, that I actually had no idea what the outcome of it would be.

There's this strange thing that seems to be very prevalent in the Booktube community specifically (at least that's where I've seen it most), which I can understand to an extent, but don't understand fully. And it's trying to get your TBR shelf to 0. Maybe because it's literally impossible for me, but it just seems so... ridiculous? I don't mean it in any negative way towards anyone, if you can do that then I bow down to your restraint/abilities. I also might be asking you questions with suspicious eyes, but don't worry about it, I totally believe you're human.

I just don't think it's possible for me, maybe a better word is realistic. One: there are always new books coming out I'm going to want to read. Two: there will be always be books that've come out year ago I'm going to want to read. Three: sometimes I feel like I have nothing I want to read, with hundreds of unread books, I don't know what I'd do with less then 50 or 100.

Now this is definitely one of those personal preference things. At least I think so. And I bow down to anyone who can actually get their TBR to zero. But, personally, I'd feel like I was lying to myself.

I did recently, while reorganizing and logging books, pull a bunch off my shelves and put them into the: getting rid of pile. And there are always a few more I'm considering doing the same thing. However - there are a bunch I'm not doing that with and probably won't. I don't loose interest in books that easily, even if it isn't at the forefront. I keep a book if I think about reading it / the plot and get excited all over again. And I get excited about a lot of books.

This also might be a problem for me because I read everything - all the genres possible. New genre? Give me. I love books and I love trying new ones, dipping my toe into new subgenres or genres (though, I think I've tried all the main genres by now?). It's fun and I want to keep reading everything, not sticking to one genre (though I am known to go on genre binges, those still vary wildly in that, too).

Right now, there are 1,723 books on my "to read" shelf on Goodreads. I don't own all of those, mostly because some are literally impossible to own and I do have some restraint (ha. This is me lying to myself). But I think I feel comfortable saying I own a majority of them, more then 75% maybe. And that's not to mention the books I own that I've already read. Or the books I haven't read that aren't physical - ebook or audiobook, those are still TBR books. But here - I'm mostly talking about physical TBR.

It's a lot of books, almost a never-ending pile - but if I got rid of books I still really wanted to read then what would be point? I'd just have more trouble reading it, not owning it, or I'd have to just buy it again when I wanted to read it. Which sounds ridiculous to me.

However - seeing all this stuff about people going "I have so many books on my to read shelf - it's at like eighty five." My immediately reaction is - that's good, that's really good. I have hundreds of unread books, high hundreds. And, yes, even 85 take up a lot of space, and I totally understand that (it's all in relation to you. And I've kind of officially run out of space so I get it), but the thing is... it makes me feel guilty. Not owning the unread books, seeing people able to have such small TBR piles (physical ones). Which is ridiculous, because I've accepted it's always going to be out of control, but it still makes me feel bad, even when worded kindly.

I'm not going to apologize, though, for owning so many books I haven't read yet. They're just full of stories I'll get to experience. And, yes, I might be planning on picking through them again soon and stacking a bunch to the side to get ride of (somehow. There's a lot ARCs from 2012/2013 I'd like to get rid of as well), but I'm sick of feeling guilty for not being able to cull/purge my physical TBR pile.

It would feel like a lie, though, the biggest lie ever - if I have, like, a hundred books. Because I don't think I'd have the same sense of urgency I do now, to try and read these books, or the same sense of love of reading as I do being surrounded by books day to day. And, yes, sometimes the urgency is a problem, when I want to not stress about finishing a book, but most of the time it's just good. At least I think so.

Saying all this, I want to say it again - do whatever you want, I'm sorry if I've offended you or something else. I don't mean any harm, do whatever you want, it's not hurting anyone. But I'm curious on your perspective, especially if it's different.

So that brings me to the end. How do you deal with all the books you want to read? Physical, digital, whichever. And how many physical unread books do you have? Don't feel embarrassed whether the number is ten or over a thousand, no judgement here.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Love for Books Read-A-Thon | Reading Updates

The Love for Books read-a-thon is, obviously, happening over this week. And for this read-a-thon I'm going to do just one post for daily updates which I'll hopefully be able to update at night before going to sleep, but we'll see.

Love for Books read-a-thon is being run by Novel Heartbeat (the sign up post).

Monday, February 9th:
Books Finished: 0

Pages Read: 129

Books(read today):
East of West #17 (started and finished - 31 pages)
The Angel by Tiffany Reisz (started - 70 pages)
Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer (continued - 28 pages)

Obviously I was reading the Southern Reach Trilogy before. I'd finished the first book before this week and just started on the second one today, but I'm counting this whole thing as just one book. This might of been my worst day in a read a thon ever, or at least in a long time.

Tuesday, February 10th:
Books Finished: 1

Total Books Finished: 1

Pages Read: 346

Total Pages Read: 475

Books(read today):
The Angel by Tiffany Reisz (finished - 346 pages)

Wednesday, February 11th:
Books Finished: 0

Total Books Finished: 1

Pages Read: 300

Total Pages Read: 775

Books(read today):
The Prince by Tiffany Reisz (started - 300 pages)

I'm guessing a bit, because for some reason this one didn't have page numbers on the kindle, but the time remaining to end of books seems to normally be pretty good and i know my reading pace by now so I feel pretty comfortable saying that. Obviously I'm enjoying this series, but hopefully I can find my reading game again. I'm really starting to miss just reading, reading, reading.

Thursday, February 12th:
Books Finished: 2

Total Books Finished: 3

Pages Read: 580

Total Pages Read: 1,355

Books(read today):
The Prince by Tiffany Reisz (finished - 116 pages)
The Mistress by Tiffany Reisz (started and finished - 464 pages)

Friday, February 13th:
Sleeping didn't go well, so I didn't actually get any reading done, sadly. I was way too exhausted and still not really out of the slump, just needed a break in all. The weekend I will try and read more! I want to try and get through some of the Southern Reaches trilogy, but I'm mostly listening to it on audio.

I read nothing over the weekend. This was not a good read-a-thon for me, not a good week in all honesty. And I'm kind of sad it happened like this. But I think I might just need a break from everything.

It's been a long few weeks.

My sign up post
My kick off post

Monday, February 9, 2015

Love for Books Read-a-Thon | Kick-off

Today is the first day of the Love for Books read-a-thon, hosted by Novel Heartbeat. And runs from February 9th through the 15th. If you're interested, you can still sign up here (by the tenth to be eligible for the grand prize).

I don't have any real goals for this read-a-thon, since I've been in a kind of reading... slump? I don't really want to call it a slump, but I definitely having been reading a lot, at all, definitely not as much as I'd like to. And my TBR for February is ridiculous so I really need to get on it (I've already strayed off course).

However - I would like to finish at least something every day (novel, novella, short story, single issue comic - just something). And I have quite a few things I'm excited about reading or that I'd like to read this week. I'm going to give some examples, but it's definitely subject to change (could change 100%, it's never sure with me, honestly).

First, currently reading - I'd like to finish The Southern Reaches trilogy, which I've finished the first book of. And I'd also like to make some progress in Spook and A Tale of Two Cities, but those two I'm not going to try to finish since they're slower reads.

Other possibilites of things I might pick up:

  • Smoke and Mirrors OR Trigger Warnings by Neil Gaiman
  • Shadow's Edge and Beyond the Shadows by Brent Weeks (chunky, chunky fantasy, but I read book one during BoB 12 and these are two and three and I want to know what happens).
  • Kushiel's Dark (Phedre's Trilogy #1) by Jacqueline Carey (a reread, maybe a reread will help?)
  • Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater (maybe I am ready. I finally might be ready. I've read the first two books twice so far, maybe I should move on)
  • Showa, A History of Japan: 1939-1944 by Shigeru Mizuki 
  • The Angel (Red Years Quartet #2) by Tiffany Reisz
  • others, more. So many books are stacked around me waiting to be read. Way too many.
Looking at the list, I don't really have any light reads - in size or in content, maybe I should find something to slip in there to kind of brighten the mood. Any suggestions?

February 9th | Weekly Wrap Up #8

It was a very... strange week for me, actually. I didn't get a lot of reading done at all for the main part of the week. I finally connected all the things for my desktop so it was fully functioning (with speakers!!). For some reason, some things just take me forever. See - sending out packages to friends that I still haven't done and they were suppose to go out at Christmas. I'm an awful person. And I can't stop thinking about it, so it's gotten to the paralyzing anxiety phase.

Reading: (finished this week and actively currently-reading)
Monstrous Affections: An Anthology of Beastly Tales edited by Kelly Link, Gavin J, Grant (5/5)
A really fun anthology, I did a goodreads review of it. I don't think I'm going to post a full review here, since there isn't much else to say. Some of the stories were fantastic, some were just eh, but there were definitely more hits then misses.

Good Omens: BBC Radio 4 dramatization (5/5)
I was kind of waiting to savor the last few episodes of this. I listened to episodes one and two pretty much right away, because.... well because Good Omens, in all honesty. And loved them, and then just listened to the rest and loved those too. They're so good, freaking fantastic. And now all I can think is how much I really need to reread that book!

No Matter the Wreckage by Sarah Kay (5/5)
I love Sarah's poems, it's amazing and incredible. She's a spoken word poet, which I wrote a post about this week, but if you want a taste of her poetry -  Mrs. Ribeiro + Ted Talk (If I had a daughter / B is first) + Postcards + Speaker's Spotlight video
(Also:  Sarah Kay's and Phil Kaye's: "An Origin Story" "When Love Arrives")
I highly recommend it all.

And then for currently-reading. I'm currently reading a bind up of The Southern Reaches trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer, finally finished the first book (which is like 130 pages out of the 600). It's New Weird, I think it's the genre title - it's kind of has that Lovecraft feeling, and just overall weirdness. Also still currently reading Spook and A Tale of Two Cities. There's a read-a-thon this week, and I'm hoping that'll push me back into reading more then I have been the last few weeks.

What I've Been Watching:
One of the main reasons this week has just been... off, for me. Was because of this: Monty Oum Passes Away at 33 - The Know. RoosterTeeth animator (RT should be familiar if you've ever seen one of these weekly wrap ups from me. I adore what they do. And this was such a shock, an awful shock because he was so young and... it was just kind of rougher then I expected, probably because of it on top of the recent person loss, as well. Which sounds strange, I guess, but it's true). Now - onto... more uplifting things.

THE RETURN! Sims 3: Ex-Presidents DLC - Hank Green. Playing the Sims. I've been missing these gaming videos and I'm glad they're back. Speaking of Hank - I don't think I mentioned this vide: How to do ALL THE THINGS (ft. Hank Green).

Sword and Laser episode 204 - I've been kind of really enjoying watching the filming of S&L (SciFi/Fantasy book club. Goodreads).

And then some Booktuber monthly wrap ups, two of my favorites. SableCaught's and books and pieces.

Blog Posts I've Liked:
We Could Be Millionaries... if it weren't for books - good god. Even trying not to buy books, trying to have rules, I've still spent more money on books so far this year then I should have (I'll get better at resisting books as we go right? RIGHT?)

Top Ten Fantasy Books I Can't Believe I Haven't Read Yet - these kinds of list are (1) fun and (2) reassure me that I'm not the last person on the planet to not read certain books.

Review: Of Things Gone Astray by Janina Matthewson by Outlandish Lit - I admit I clicked on the review because that cover it gorgeous (go, look at it. Drool). And it sounds surprisingly good, whimsical and such.

It was a weird week, which is why there aren't as many links. I did rediscover my desktop computer, though (which I end to neglect because, let's be honest - my laptop is just easier. And it has all the things I love on it). However - I have put in quite a few hours on that desktop this week. Mostly play Minecraft, if we're being honest (or the Sims), but sometimes I just like playing something and listening to something. It's how I finished the dramatization of Good Omens and got myself into Annihilation / Southern Reach series.

It's also why there isn't as much stuff and why I haven't been as present on the internet, well the last few weeks have just been rough ones, so there's that as well. And double escaping through video game and audio might not be the best idea for productivity, but sometimes it's needed.

On the blog:

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Book Review: Freakboy

Titles: Freakboy
Author: Kristin Elizabeth Clark
Genre: contemporary
Rating: 5/5
Page Count: 448 (hardcover)
Publication Date: October 22nd, 2013

Plot (from goodreads):
From the outside, Brendan Chase seems to have it pretty easy. He’s a star wrestler, a video game aficionado, and a loving boyfriend to his seemingly perfect match, Vanessa. But on the inside, Brendan struggles to understand why his body feels so wrong—why he sometimes fantasizes having long hair, soft skin, and gentle curves. Is there even a name for guys like him? Guys who sometimes want to be girls? Or is Brendan just a freak?

In Freakboy's razor-sharp verse, Kristin Clark folds three narratives into one powerful story: Brendan trying to understand his sexual identity, Vanessa fighting to keep her and Brendan’s relationship alive, and Angel struggling to confront her demons.

This book is written in prose and about a transgender and a genderfluid (unconfirmed in so many words, but it's heavily implied they're genderfluid) characters. This book is - gorgeous written and heartbreaking, and just really well done. It also, saying that, wasn't devastating. It just felt realistic and honest and I'm so glad I read this book.

The only reason I was hesitant (besides not wanting to cry my eyes out), for a few seconds, was because the author isn't transgender herself. Not to say I think there's anything wrong with that, I just think people in that community can always write about that community better. However, reading up on why she wrote the book made me feel better about how I felt like it would go.

I discovered this book, surprisingly, by complete accident. I found it while absently going through bookoutlet (when I use to allow myself to do that). And it sounded interesting - the title, the cover, and so I decided why not? And I'm so glad I did.

This year I've talked about how I wanted to read more diverse and I found this book just before really getting into BookRiot and what they do, which made me really look at what I was reading. And I'm already planning on diving into other books about LGBTQ+ characters, so if you have any recommendations/suggestions, I'd seriously love to hear them.

And I definitely recommend this book - it's really incredible, the prose was really well done (saying that as someone who hasn't read a lot in prose), and just a fantastic story all around.

Friday, February 6, 2015

TBR Pile | Shame? (1)

Pile? More like mountain. I own a lot, lot of books that I haven't read. I stress shop and when I do I mostly stress buy books. (Amazon Prime makes it so easy, and sometimes the books are so cheap, and they're so pretty in a book store...)

Now when I say a lot, I mean way more then you're probably thinking. 2014 started with me wanting to buy less books, which is all find and dandy on paper, but hard to do when I was reading so much. I read over 270 books last year, and not to buy books just felt very strange to me. So this year is a kind reward system, for every how many books, I get to buy one.

I think this will work pretty good unless I go into a bookstore (sorry, Barnes and Noble, it's not you, it's me), because then I'll just start picking things up.

And, honestly, I don't see a problem with my multiple towering stacks of books that won't fit on my already overflowing shelves. Except for the fact that I've kind of run out of space to put books. Have mostly run out space, in all honesty. So trying to buy less, is probably a very good idea. And I know some people feel guilty with too many unread books on their shelves, and I try not to because guilty about books isn't a helpful emotion, but I do frequently feel overwhelmed. There's so many things I want to read, there's no way I can read them all in my lifetime, there's just not enough time.

I started this post a while ago and then there was a video I saw that reminded me of it again (BookRiot's How To Bust TBR Guilt video) and it definitely made me feel better. I've always gone back and forth, feeling immediately guilty whenever I saw a post or a video about someone having so few books, but I think I've reached the point where I'm past that (and have written a whole post based on that thought, that I'm going to post soon).

And the reason I wanted to post this, because I'm curious. If you're reading this, I'm sure you're a reader, and I'm wondering your thoughts. Do you feel TBR shame/guilt? Or do you have only... ten, eighty, two hundred books and are trying to get it lower? Or have you, also, given up on feeling guilt about something you shouldn't feel guilt about?

(I want to add again, a little disclaimer. That I don't mean any harm for this, I don't mean to push anything onto you, you can do whatever you want).

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Love for Books Read-A-Thon Sign Up! (February 9th -15th)

The Love for Books read-a-thon is run by Novel Heartbeat. And it's, as it says in the title, running from midnight on the ninth, through the fifth, and I was excited to see a read-a-thon going on that seemed pretty low key and fun.

I've had a weird start to my February reading month. And, as I type this, am actually just not feeling super great (mentally, physically), but books count as medicine, right? That's how that works? In all seriousness, I am kind of hoping that relaxing and de-stressing will make me feel better (does the reading help lower stress thing work if what you're feeling stressed about is reading? Does that question make sense?).

Anyway, besides me rambling, there aren't many rules for this read-a-thon (second year it's running!). If you want to be eligible for the grand prize thing, you need to be signed up on the sign up linky by the 10th (of February, of course). And - for social media fun: #LfBReadathon.

I have no idea what I'll be reading, because I'm just feeling off reading wise. However - I'm hoping to be more page and time oriented, then book number. A lot of the books I want to read this month (or just soon) are chunksters, and so I don't want to shove in smaller books just to shove in smaller books.

And my last read-a-thon didn't go as well as they normally go for me, so I'd like to get at least 2k pages read, hopefully more, but 2k is doable and not too stressful. Also to read some single issues I'm behind on (I'm still working on what to count on goodreads, but I don't think it'll be all of them, just a few series).

I'm rambling again, goodness I get chatty when I'm just writing up posts without any thought about what to put. Are you planning on participating in this read-a-thon? Or in any other read-a-thons this month? Let me know!

(I'll be posting a kick-off post that, I think, I might just make my update post so we don't make it too complicated this time around, I might split it into two if it gets too long).

Sign Up Post

Edit: When this first went up it said the eighth, but it was suppose to be the ninth (I was wondering why it was eight days instead of seven). Whoops! Fixed now (I think).

Book Review: The Shining Girls

Title: The Shining Girls
Author: Lauren Beukes
Genre: Horror, SciFi (time travel)
Rating: 5/5
Page Count: 375
Publication Date: June 4th, 2013

Plot (from Goodreads):

The future is not as loud as war, but it is relentless. It has a terrible fury all its own."

Harper Curtis is a killer who stepped out of the past. Kirby Mazrachi is the girl who was never meant to have a future.

Kirby is the last shining girl, one of the bright young women, burning with potential, whose lives Harper is destined to snuff out after he stumbles on a House in Depression-era Chicago that opens on to other times.

At the urging of the House, Harper inserts himself into the lives of the shining girls, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. He's the ultimate hunter, vanishing into another time after each murder, untraceable-until one of his victims survives.

Determined to bring her would-be killer to justice, Kirby joins the Chicago Sun-Times to work with the ex-homicide reporter, Dan Velasquez, who covered her case. Soon Kirby finds herself closing in on the impossible truth . . .

THE SHINING GIRLS is a masterful twist on the serial killer tale: a violent quantum leap featuring a memorable and appealing heroine in pursuit of a deadly criminal.

I really loved this book and I'm not entirely sure why, but we are going to find out. I first heard about this book sitting in a room full of book bloggers at BEA and 'time traveling serial killer' made me perk up a little. I'm a sucker for both of those things - in the same book? I will buy that immediately.

The funny this is - is that I did. And then preceded not to read it for over a year. Why? Who the hell knows, honestly, it's just sometimes how these things work out.

Now let me preface the rest of this review with this: since I'm a sucker for these two plot devices, I feel like my opinion is definitely biased. If you don't like time travel or serial killers (POV chapters from his perspective) or if you're not a fan of gore or random character studies or random, heavily researched historical things - this might not be the book for you. However, if that sounds interesting to you - continue on.

This book is a little confusing at first. The chapters have a name and a date, which is the perfect way to do it, but for the first 100 pages or so I was more trying to figure out who was who, who was still alive, and what the hell year they were in. Saying that - it was a lot of fun, figuring it out. And after about 100/150 pages, I had it straight enough in my head that I could plow through the rest of the book in one sitting (which I did).

There's so many POV chapters and so many different people, it's weird to think of this in classic terms as whose the main character? and I did not think of it in those terms until the very end, but by then it's obvious. Kirby is a strange main character to have, but also maybe the perfect one - she was attacked by Harper (our killer) and is now trying to figure out what happened, who he is, and if he's attacked anyone else. And all of her chapters tend to have a dark quirk of humor - that her and Dan have, that I really enjoyed.

Before I go off on another rambling tangent, I'm going to reign it in. This book is weird and is definitely not going to be everyones cup of tea. And, looking back, I had more small problems then I thought. However - I really, really loved it, in all, it was a very enjoyable book. And I was honestly surprised at the obvious research that had to go into some parts, and impressed.

Overall, I'd probably only recommend this to people who like serial killer books and who don't mind, or enjoy, getting tossed around in time by a slightly magical (?) house. I've always found serial killer things fascinating - and there's something that's strange to say - but the psychology behind it is interesting and that is probably very high on the list of why I liked this book so much.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Spoken Word & Slam Poetry | How I Found it (+ some recommendations)

I, randomly, find myself on YouTube going through way too many spoken word, and slam, poems. And I really love both, in all honestly. I didn't really realize how much I loved poetry until very recently, the last few months, and I honestly think spoken poetry is my favorite. Even if I'm reading a collection, or just a poem, I have to read it out loud. I can't just - read it in my head, it doesn't feel quite right.

And I'm not sure what I wanted to say about this, I'm just kind of winging this post, but I wanted to talk about it. And wanted to see if anyone had any recommendations. There's so much out there, and I've found places to start, but I have no idea where to go from here. Or if other people share my love / slight obsession.

And I also wanted to share what I'd found, because maybe you hadn't discovered it and are going to end up loving them. Poetry is definitely not normally light, at least I haven't found any, but some of it is just incredible and it's so good.

So I'm going to just talk about some of my favorites - Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye, first off, who I ran across completely by accident. And, funnily enough, I found their poem together, first - An Origin Story. I'd highly suggest listening to it, it's about friends, best friends, and it's... surprising how much I understand finding weird coincidences. And it's one of my favorites, because it's so much fun. I'm going to link everything down below that I can.

I feel like I'm just getting into it and the lines feel blurry, for me, on the line between slam poetry and just spoken word poetry, but I'm throwing a bunch of links to poems below that I love. There's another by both Sarah and Phil, and then a bunch of Sarah's. Why only hers? Because I keep listening to them over and over, as soon as I can stop listening to all of these over and over, I'll move onto finding more.

The most important of the ones below... is kind of hard to say, they're all important. However - Transcript of Civil Rights is super important and explains something that's so complicated, in four minutes. These two girls are kick-ass. I actually found this through tumblr, completely on accident, and it made me a cry the first time through (a lot of these did).

They're all important, I just kind of want to end it here so you can go and watch all of those.

But there's one more thing I want to talk about - the poems I never thought of as spoken word poetry, that I just thought of as a poem being read out loud. And - I might have one of these almost memorized. You guys might have heard of the lovely, talented Neil Gaiman. I had a lot of trouble finding good recordings of both, but - The Day the Saucers Came. However - I can't find a good recording online of The Faery Reel, which is my favorite and I love it so much. (It's on the audiobook of his collection called Fragile Things, which I highly recommend all around). I'm so angry I can't find a good one - there are videos of other people reading it, or some awful live recordings of Neil. Anyway - I love that poem, just save up an audible credit and splurge. I mean, it's Gaiman, right? (Dammit. I even looked for sound bites, I'm so sorry I can't find it. It's in plain text here, but it's not quite as lovely. He even says himself it demands to be read aloud).

Finally, before you go and listen to all of those, I want to know if you enjoy poetry (of any kind)? Have you tried it since the weird forced dissection that happened in school? If you have tried it - what did you think of it? Do you have any favorites? (Spoken, slam, just words on a page, well screen, I'd love to read/hear any of it).

(Also, I want to add this is just a small tip of the iceberg, kind of thing. I really wanted to write this post before I got further into spoken word and/or slam. So I'm probably missing a lot of good stuff, but all I've found as been good so far).

Some Favorites: (from above and more) (warning: feeling and tears, grab some tissues)
Sarah Kay's and Phil Kaye's: "An Origin Story" "When Love Arrives"
Sarah Kay: Mrs. Ribeiro + Ted Talk (If I had a daughter / B is first) + Postcards + Speaker's Spotlight video
Shanita Jackson and Dakota Oder poem's Transcript of Civil Rights
"Bitch" Slam Poem
Ethan Smith's "A Letter to the Girl I Use to Be"
Aaron Burstein's "Social Anxiety at 130bpm"
Sierra DeMulder's "The Tampon Poem" (girls, it's funny but also not)
Dominique Christina's "The Period Poem"
Lily Myers, Zach Goldberg, and Evan Okun - "We Made It"
Rape Poem
(Not a complete list of what I've listened to and loved, but the ones I've made sure to save. Why do I never save things when it's late at night?)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

January 2015 | Monthly Wrap Up

I'm not entirely sure on how this monthly wrap-up thing is going to work, since I'm doing weekly wrap-ups with mini-reviews of everything I read (all the links are below, for everything I did this month on the blog). And I considered just not doing monthly wrap ups, but I like them. I like the idea of fully wrapping up each much, kind of in a bow.

So I'm going to keep doing them, unless I feel like they getting too repetitive or I have nothing else to add.
  • The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami (5/5)
  • The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman, Chris Rissell (5/5)
  • Above the Dreamless Dead: World War 1 in Poetry and Comics edited by Chris Duffy (5/5)
  • Freakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark (5/5)
  • 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 Club, 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)
  • Dark Work Rising by Rhyannon Byrd (3/5)
  • Ouran High School Host Club, Volume 3 by Bisco Hatori (5/5)
  • Ouran High School Host Club, Volume 4 by Bisco Hatori (5/5)
  • Ouran, Volume 5 by Bisco Hatori (5/5)
  • Ouran, Volume 6 by Bisco Hatori (5/5)
  • Ouran, Volume 7 by Bisco Hatori (5/5)
  • The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black (5/5)
  • Club Shadowlands (Masters of the Shadowlands #1) by Cherise Sinclair (4/5)
  • Showa: A History of Japan, 1926-1939 by Shigeru Mizuki (5/5)
  • Warning: Contains Language by Neil Gaiman (5/5)
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain (3.5/5)
  • Ouran, Volume 8 by Bisco Hatori (5/5)
  • Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor, Jim Di Bartolo (5/5)
  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (5/5)
  • Saint City Sinners (Dante Valentine #4) by Lilith Saintcrow (3/5)
  • Wicked Lovely (Wicked Lovely #1) by Melissa Marr (5/5)
  • To Hell and Back (Dante Valentine #5) by Lilith Saintcrow (4/5)

I read a lot more this month then I expected - and simultaneously felt like this month went by fast and slow, which isn't normally how I feel (I tend to always feel like a month/day flew by). I like this better, though, it feels like I actually accomplished something, even though I'm not sure what that was.

Besides reading a shit ton of books and starting a writing project without planning any of it before hand (I'm not normally a pantser, this is terrifying). I also, surprisingly, have read some non-fiction and have finished my first series, already reread my first book of the year, well rereading two actually. And got more into the Ouran manga, which I'm glad for - it's a little ridiculous and silly, but I love it for that.

I'm going to end up be keeping track of everything I read in a spreadsheet (thanks to conversations after Bout of Books this month with some lovely book people about said spreadsheets - #booknerdWIN). And, I don't know if you want to know what I'm doing, but I think I'm going to end up linking them most months, anyway.

I have one spreadsheet about the books I've read in 2015 - taken from this BookRiot post. I'm also keeping track of the books I've bought. And I've technically only broken my read 5 (sometimes 3) before I buy once - because of a lovely indie bookstore - but I'm not counting ebooks towards that, or preorders. Which is probably not the correct way to do it, but whatever - I'm just doing it. (Please don't judge me. I feel like I need to say: Hello, my name is Casey, I'm a book buying addict. I haven't bought any books in over a week!) Books bought 2015 spreadsheet.

Anyway - I think that's all I've got to say, just because I feel like this post is getting way too long. But first - I want to just point out some of the books I read that were my favorites of the month. Ouran, East of West #16, Freakboy, Above the Dreamless Dead, Lock In, The Way of Shadows, The Darkest Part of the Forest, Lips Touch: Three Times, Brown Girl Dreaming, Wicked Lovely, Showa: A History of Japan, 1926 - 1939.

And that's just the ones that I'd want to absolutely recommend to people, for other people to know about because they're incredible. I read a surprising amount of books this month, and a surprising amount of really good ones.

And, lastly I promise, there are the books I started and didn't finish by the end of the month: Spook by Mary Roach (oh man, I'm loving it so far) and The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black (why did I wait so long? Why haven't I finished this yet?) I also signed up for a month trial of Oyster just on the 29th, and ended up spending way too long having fun with it. If you're interested LINK (disclaimer: I get a little bit of money from that link, but also if you don't want to go past the free trial, I always forget, I've learned to just put a reminder in my phone calendar).

I hope you had a good month, in general or related to reading, and a good start to the year. And - I hope February is better.

On the Blog:
December Wrap-Up
2015 Reading Resolutions
January - March TBR | TBR Double Dog Dare
2014 Favorites | The Books
Bookish Bingo | 2015 New Year (Sign-Up Post)
2014 | Reading Wrap-Up
2015 | All the Books
Kick-Off Post (My Announcement Post)*
January 5th | Weekly Wrap Up #3
Day One Wrap-Up*
Day Two Wrap-Up
Day Three Wrap-Up
Day Four Wrap-Up
Day Five Wrap-Up
Day Six Wrap-Up

* all Bout of Book 12, of course

Monday, February 2, 2015

February 2nd | Weekly Wrap Up #7

Technically the first week of February, but really just the last week of January. I can't believe it's already a month into the New Year, even though it felt like a long month. Let's get into it right away so I don't make this post any longer.

Reading: (finished this week and actively currently-reading)
Saint City Sinners (Dante Valentine #5) by Lilith Saintcrow (3/5)
I'm determine to finish this series, I need to know how it ends. And I enjoy these books I read them, but as they go on - I get more annoyed with the characters, less caring about the plot. Though, some of the deaths so far have hit me hard (this book in particular). No spoilers, though. And I am enjoying this series, this is second to last of it, and then onto her Jill Kismet series, which I'm really excited for.

Wicked Lovely (Wicked Lovely #1) by Melissa Marr (5/5)
A reread of an old faerie favorite. I hadn't thought I missed this series, this world, these characters - but I definitely do. (Goodreads mini-review). If you like faeries, darker but also young adult, a great series.

To Hell and Back (Dante Valentine #5) by Lilith Saintcrow (4/5)
And... I don't know what I expected from this series finale, but I was surprised at how much I needed to know what the hell was going to happen.

Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black (5/5)
Holly Black's writing is just phenomenal, I really love it, and as I read more of her books she's becoming one of my favorites. My goodreads review (short, sweet, written right after I finished it), says about the same thing and talks about how I'd want to see this book as a 'webseries' type thing.

Currently reading a surprising number of things - I think I'll be taking my time on both Spook and A Tale of Two Cities, just because they're both that type of slower reads (for different reasons). And No Matter the Wreckage by Sarah Kay - a collection of her poetry, a post about that kind of thing should go up soon.

What I've Been Watching:
Can't Put It Down, Have to Put It Down - I really liked this video, because I have this problem a lot with certain books and I need to just accept it. Mostly non-fiction, but also just heavier topics or more complex writing.

How Orwell Wants Us To Write - this was a little confusing, and reenforced the thing that I need to seriously read some Orwell, but it was super interesting (and not confusing as soon as I found my feet).

Thoughts From the Edge - Ah, Hank Green. Sometimes, most of the time, I think Hank is my favorite Green brother. This video enforced that a bit (don't look at me like that, I adore John and his books, of course, but Hank can do all the things, guys, that's a skill I am in awe of).

Hello! (Wake Up Date #8) - Ah, Lauren. Lauren is great, this is one of her most recents and I love these little "wake up date" videos that she does.

My Writing Process - Datev is a person I found through Alli Speed and such, and this video kind of does pretty much explain how writing things works. (Stop trying and it'll come?)

The Pubert Situation - this is an Achievement Hunter / RoosterTeeth... thing. It's just little 'animated adventures' of some silly things that occur. I always laugh when I hear this audio. So - if you're looking for a silly laugh (also Addam's Family related title).

Have I mentioned Agent Carter here yet? Because HOLY AGENT CARTER, it's so very good so far. You really need to watch it, just give it a try. I bought a season pass on iTunes because of reasons. Also, I'm only like three episodes into the show The Librarians, but I'm really liking it so far.

Blog Posts I've Liked(seriously no order):
Fresh Batch (New Releases February 1st - 7th) - I might really like these kinds of things too much, I find it so interesting what's coming out. I guess it'd incredible I don't preorder, or buy, more new releases then I do.

Quick Thoughts: Poison Study - I've had this book on my TBR pile for years, at this point. And I've only ever heard vague reviews about it (I've sure others have passed through subscription feeds just unseen for one reason or another), but this made me actually think I might get to this one soon (not February, though, that month is chock full already).

Am I Still A Blogger? - This was interesting to me, especially as someone whose trying and trying to comment more, when that just isn't something I've always done (and I feel awful for). It's an anxiety thing for me, personally. And this post just kind of hit some things.

I got nominated for a thing! (Thank you!) And I did it! And nominated/tagged more people (Does anyone know why here it's 'nominated'? I think it stresses me out more then just saying 'tag').

I've realized as I put the finishing touches on this post (as I do the post, stop lying to yourself, Casey) that I didn't post... anything this week. I'm not sure how that happened. I guess I forgot I didn't have anything scheduled. Do you do that? Apparently I do that now.

Anyway - it's been a strange week. I didn't read much, having to push myself at points through the last two Dante Valentine books. However - that's one series for the year done! Huzzah! Hopefully, I'll be putting up a series review, but we'll see how it works out.

Honestly, it's been kind of a weird week overall. It definitely proved to myself, though, that if I'm not just doing one thing after another, I'm not going to get anything done.

I don't think I'm going to post a separate TBR for February, though I do have an actual plan for the month where I normally don't, but maybe if it goes well I'll do a March one. So many plans and ideas and things to do, books to read, posts to write.

This week I've got a few things going up: January Wrap Up, a post about spoken word (and slam) poetry, a review, and then another discussion type post that is rambly and I wrote very late at night but I still wanted to put up because I think it makes sense and I like it.

So I will see you then. What did you read or discover this week? Have you read/seen anything I mentioned? Let me know!

On the blog: