Sunday, July 24, 2016

Slumps & Updates

Hey, guys! It's been a really long time (almost two months!) since I posted on this blog, and that has been for a variety of reasons.

I finished up my year of school, and next year I'm going to be an upperclassman in High School, which is crazy, exciting, and terrifying all at the same time. I'm not really sure what I want to do with my life yet, which is a bit nerve-wracking since I've always hoped to be certain of what degree to pursue and what college to attend, etc. etc. but! I know I'm still young, and I still have plenty of time to pick those things out and change my mind.

I've also been a little bit busy this summer: my family has gone camping twice, which was nice. The second time we went with our neighbors and it rained a lot, so we mainly played card games and board games. (The brothers attempted to canoe in the rain and came back soaked - I'm glad I elected to stay behind!) We also played lots of the game 'Mafia', which if you haven't played before, trust me, it's very fun, especially with lots of people involved.

Mostly, the reason I haven't been posting recently, though, is because of the thing every bookworm dreads: the Reading Slump. I was fine in June and May (apparently I read 13 books in those two months, stats taken from Goodreads). But it's currently a week until July ends, and I have yet to finish one book.

It's a shame, because my current read, Illuminae is not bad at all. In fact, it's quite good and it's been on my TBR for a long time. The thing is, I just never feel the motivation to pick it up, and when I do, I stare at the words on the page without actually comprehending them. Not just for Illuminae, but for every book I try, this happens.

In addition to Reading Slump, I've been experiencing terrible Writer's Block. And, it being Camp NaNoWriMo at the moment, this has been even more discouraging. My goal was 30,000 and I've barely written 12,000. I haven't given up yet, though! Even if I don't make it, it's okay to lose once in awhile, and I think it's important that I not be too hard on myself.

So, that's been where I've been at for the past couple of months! I hope to be posting more this summer and into next school year, and hopefully I can rid of the nasty Writer's and Readers Block I've been experiencing!

Until next time, happy reading!


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Armchair BEA: Day Two, Book Covers, Progress

And... it's Day Two of the Armchair BEA ReadaThon, hosted annually in correlation with the BEA events, which are this year in Chicago. I had a pretty good reading day today. Got a lot of reading done during school, since we had a substitute who didn't really have any lesson plans... I digress.

Progress:

Currently Reading: The Enchantress, by Michael Scott
Pages Read Today: 144
Total Pages Read: 259
Thoughts: So I finished The Warlock, and moved right along to the final book in this series. It makes me so sad for some reason to be finishing up this series for the second time... I haven't read this last book since the month it originally came out, and I sort of grew up with these books. I will reread them again someday, I'm sure!

Blogging Prompt:

How often do you judge a book by it's cover? Do you like your covers to match, or is that not really a concern?

I must confess... I judge books by their covers quite often. But hey! It's worked out at least once. The only reason I picked up The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima was because it was cheap and I liked the cover (it was the foreign edition). And that turned out to be one of my favorite books!

As for if the covers have to match -- it used to matter a lot less to me than it does now. Before I started blogging and getting into the book internet place... I didn't care if my shelves matched or if the covers were the same. I didn't even care about owning books, I often just checked them out from the library. Now, I do care if they are the same. They have to match otherwise it just doesn't seem right to me.

There was a second part to today's prompt, asking about blog branding and stuff, but I've never put much thought into that! Maybe I should?

Photo:
A book cover you love or think reflects the book inside.
Sorry for the poor quality on this one (and lighting)! This is the novelization based off of my favorite movie, My Neighbor Totoro. I love the artwork on this cover, I think it is absolutely adorable.
 
--
 
I had another great reading day today! I can't believe I've already finished a book. Granted, I started it before the ReadaThon began, but I am still happy with my progress. I've also read 26 pages of this next book, and anything more I read shall be included in tomorrow's update. I hope everyone has a very good day today. Or evening, since I'm getting this up late (again).
 
Until tomorrow, happy reading!


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Armchair BEA: Day One, Diversity, Armchair + Progress

So, Day One of the Armchair BEA readathon is pretty close to finishing up. I had a pretty good reading day today. I didn't have too much homework, so I decided to read a little more than I normally would on a school day.

Progress:

Currently Reading: The Warlock, by Michael Scott
Pages Read Today: 115
Total Pages Read: 115
Thoughts: I'm going to read some more tonight, so that isn't really a final tally, but I'll add whatever else I read tonight into tomorrow's total, or maybe update this post tomorrow with an official end count. (Update from the future: I just added in here.) I think I did pretty good today, although I was in a bit of a funk today, so I'm afraid I didn't have the most enjoyable reading experience. There are some plot holes and some phrases are repeated a lot. However, I still am enjoying this a lot! It brings back memories.

Blogging Prompt:

Today's Prompt: Discussing which voices we hear in books, which we need more of, and which may be portrayed negatively or stereotypically.

Diversity in books is so important because everyone needs someone to identify with, and if a book character can be that someone who helps you along, then it could change your life forever. I think all the representation we already see is magnificent and making leaps and bounds of progress. However, there's a few characters that I would love to see more of:

  • Characters with anxiety/social anxiety: Okay, so I'm biased. But I would love to see a character who is anxious (or struggles with a similar mental illness) go on an adventure and help defeat the big bad. I always am a little sad when the only character who seems even a little scared is the stereotypical jittery sidekick. I would like to read about a hero/ine in that role, instead. Someone who suffers from panic attacks but still proves that they can be brave!
  • Asexual, pansexual, and/or transgender characters: I don't think I've ever read about an asexual, pansexual, or transgender character in a book, and I think that they are very underrepresented.  
  • Blind, deaf, or mute characters: I think I've read a couple of characters who are blind, deaf, or mute, but not many. Especially mute characters. I would love to have them in the lead for once.
  • Characters with a stutter: So, having a mute character reminded me of characters with a stutter! I don't see them hardly ever. I'm not sure if this counts as "diverse" but I'm going to count it anyway?
  • Native American character: Again, never read about one as the main character,
     
    although I'm sure they're out there. But having a Native American character who is not stereotypical or portrayed negatively would be awesome and it would make me so happy.

Snapshot:

Today's photo prompt: Favorite ReadaThon reading spot! #myarmchair

 
This is my kinda old armchair! It belonged to my Grandma, and now it belongs to me. I like to read in it because it reminds me of her. (I apologize for the mess in the background...I really need to tidy up around here.)
 
 
--
 

I hope you all had a great first day of this ReadaThon, if you are participating. If not, I hope you had a great day otherwise, and I will (hopefully) see you again tomorrow with a new update. Until next time, happy reading!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Armchair BEA: Introduction Questions + TBR

Hello, everybody! Today, I am excited to say that I will be participating in the 2016 Armchair BEA! This is an event for all the bloggers/booktubers/etc. who are unfortunately unable to attend Book Expo America this year. It's a ReadaThon that takes place from May 11, 2016 to May 15, 2016.

Today, there were some questions on their blog to answer in order to introduce oneself a little. The entirety of the "first group" is to be answered, while only 4-5 of the second group are meant to be answered. Without futher ado, here are some of my answers!


Group 1:

1. What is the name you prefer to use?

Emma.

2.  How long have you been a book blogger?

I can't quite remember... I think since Summer 2013?

3. Have you participated in ABEA before?

No, this is my first time!

Group 2:

1.  Do you have a favorite book? If you cannot choose a favorite book of all time, pick your favorite book today - just this second. Remember that favorites are allowed to change if something affects you deeply enough.

Unlike some (most?) people, I know exactly what to say when someone asks me for my favorite book: "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien. This is my most cherished book. I love everything about it - Bilbo Baggins is the fictional character I relate the most to out of every book, movie, or TV show. I love Tolkien's writing style in this, the little bits of humor, the characterization, the fizzy, happy feeling that fills me whenever I so much as read the opening sentence. This will never change as my favorite book, I know that already!

2.  What is your favorite genre and why?

Fantasy is by far my favorite genre. To be specific, High/Epic Fantasies, especially if there are multiple books in the series! I love the magic, and how it transports me to another world when I want to escape this one. There is such variation in Fantasy, and I love the creativity that the authors always put into their work

3.  How do you arrange your bookshelves? Is there a rhyme or reason? Or not at all?

It's kind of (mostly) random - I arrange by height, author/series, and the most recent books I bought!

4. What book are you most excited for on your TBR? What are you most intimidated by?

Now, for the TBR that I promised in the title of this post.

  •  The Warlock by Michael Scott - Currently reading this one, I'm a little ways through, but still have hundreds of pages to go. I'm excited for this!

  • The Enchantress  by Michael Scott - Aww, the last book in the series. I'm going to be so sad to be finishing up my reread of this series, since I like it so much! Hopefully I'll finish this during the ReadAThon, though I doubt I will...

  • Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare - For class. Not going to read all of it, but totally going to count what I do end up reading of it. Haha.

After that, if I finish those, no clue what I'll pick up! I'm excited about all of them, but I think The Enchantress" is my most anticipated.

5. If you could choose three characters to have lunch with, who would they be and why?

Ooh, this is a good question to be sure! I think I'd have to invite Bilbo Baggins, of course. Hobbits make the best tea, and we could talk about his adventures and maybe some books, since we both enjoy reading.
Luna Lovegood would be my second choice, as she is such a dreamer, and I would love to just learn so much about her and what's going on in her head. I'm sure she'd have many interesting factoids for me.

The last character I would love to have tea with is Mr. Tumnus from the Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. These books were part of my childhood, and being able to talk with an actual faun would just be too cool. Again, he seems great at making tea.
--

This was my introduction and TBR, if you are also participating then you could link to your own post, if not you can tell me your answers, if you want! Have a great day!

 

Monday, May 2, 2016

May TBR | 2016

This is the second month in a row that I've done a TBR post! But I already have quite a clear plan of what I am hoping to start/finish reading this month. So without further ado, here are the books I want to read in May!

--

I'm hoping to (re)read The Sorceress, The Necromancer, The Warlock, and The Enchantress by Michael Scott this month. These are books 3-6 of the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series, which was a childhood favorite of mine. Now that I'm closer to the age of the protaganists, I wanted to read it again with new eyes! I read the first two books last month, and I'm anxious to finish up my second time reading this series.

Next, I want to pick up Truthwitch by Susan Dennard. I currently have this one out from the library, so I'm definitely hoping to read it before I have to return it! This is a YA High Fantasy following two girls with powers? I think? It was really hyped after BEA last year, and this year when it came out, it seemed many people enjoyed it. So, hopefully, I will too!

I also have out from the library Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, a historical fiction novel set around a really bad marine accident that took place near the time of the second World War. I've heard nothing but great things about it and I've been wanting to read more Historical Fiction, so I checked this one out.

For school, I have to read Taming the Shrew by William Shakespeare which I am (gasp) actually looking forward to. Though I haven't read much by Shakespeare, I've enjoyed what I have read, so this is one that I am going to try to power through (because the language can be super confusing, to me).

Lastly, if I manage to get to it, I want to read (or at least start reading) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling. This is one of my favorite Harry Potter books, and I was hoping to get to it in April, but sadly that didn't happen. This month, though! *crosses fingers*

--
I'm going to be really busy with school in May, because it's almost the end of the school year, which means preparations/last big push before finals, and of course, AP Testing. Which I dread. A lot. Wish my luck.

Until next time, happy reading!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

April Wrap-Up | 2016

I read a pretty good amount of books this month! It didn't even come close to how many I read last month, and the enjoyment level for me unfortunately dropped slightly, but that's alright.
 
In the end, I read 7 books. Here are the titles, a short overview of my thoughts, a link to my longer Goodreads reviews, and a rating out of 5 stars for each!
 
--
 

The Alchemyst by Michael Scott : A childhood favorite of mine that I was so happy to read again! I see this getting so many bad reviews, but I still really liked it. Yes, it does have its flaws, and I may be a bit biased due to the part it played in my growing up and my love for books, but I still love the world-building and the action-packed plot! Such a fun adventure.
3.5*'s / Goodreads Review

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman : This book follows a teenager who has a mental illness called Schizophrenia. I didn't know too much about this topic going into it, but as a teenager who has to deal with mental illness, I was really interested to read this book and really grateful that it exists. It was very eye-opening. But it just made me feel weird and uncomfortable when I read it, and I know that was partly the point, but I never really looked forward to reading it and it took me awhile to read despite the shortness. I still really appreciate it though. It's also becoming a movie!
3*'s / Goodreads Review

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson : After finishing one emotionally heavy book, I just head straight into another one because that's a good idea. Eep. This book wasn't quite as high on emotions as I was expecting it to be, especially since I have been through a similar situation to the protagonist. It still was very emotional though, and I liked the main character and the small town setting. The themes of family and friendship within this book were amazing as well!
4*'s / Goodreads Review

The Brothers K by David James Duncan : This was a family saga set in the 1960's to around the Vietnam War. I had to read this book for school, so I don't think it's much of a surprise that I found it quite tedious at points. The character development was so interesting and I definitely felt sorry for the characters. Sometimes I forgot they weren't real!
3*'s / Goodreads Review

Ingenue by Jillian Larkin : I loved the first book, so I was pretty excited to pick this one up. It's set in the 1920's (which is my FAVORITE time period. More YA needs to be set in the 1920's, please!) and has flapper girls and speakeasies and jazz music and drama and it's just so much fun. Is it the most well-written book ever? No. And I probably enjoyed this more than I logically should have. But I personally really liked it.
4*'s / Goodreads Review

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury : This is an Aladdin retelling following the point of view of the Jinni, who in this interpretation is a girl named Zahra. And oh gosh, I did adore this book. It was so fabulous, and Zahra was such a great main character. ALSO it had a band of lady assassins/protectors. The setting was super cool and the world-building done really well. I just loved it!
5*'s / Goodreads Review

The Magician by Michael Scott : The second book in "The Alchemyst" series. We get introduced to a new villain, whom I like much more than the other villain (s). He's just great. Also, I love how morally gray every single character is in this book (I don't even trust one of the main characters at this point). I can't wait to finish up my reread of this six-book series.
3.75*'s / Goodreads Review

--

My favorite book this month was clearly the Forbidden Wish! Though I also had a lot of fun rereading The Alchemyst and The Magician. I would love to know your favorite book from April, if you had one.

Until next time, happy reading! 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon: Closing Survey

About 5 hours after the Readathon ended, and here I am with my little wrap-up post as well as the closing survey!

Closing Survey
  1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
    Hours 20-23 just because I was trying so hard not to fall asleep (I ended up falling asleep).
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
    The Invention of Hugo Cabret is really fast because it's mostly pictures, so there's one that will help readers feel accomplished!
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
    I would really love it if cheerleading for blogs made a reappearance, but other than that, not really, I had a blast!
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
    As always, I love the hourly updates and mini-challenges, they always keep me very high energy and excited!
  5. How many books did you read?
    1.5 Books
  6. What were the names of the books you read?- The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury (340 pages)
    - The Magician by Michael Scott (first 200 pages)
     
  7. Which book did you enjoy most?
    The Forbidden Wish was really great!
  8. Which did you enjoy least?
    The Magician, but probably just because I read it so late at night (early in the morning).
  9. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?You can bet I will! This was so fun as always, and I got way more reading done than I ordinarily would have on a Saturday. Thanks to the staff for all of the hard work that they put into making this such an AWESOME event!

Some final stats...
Total Pages Read: 540
Total Time Read: 7 hours, 33 minutes
Total Blog Posts: 9
Total Mini-Challenges Participated In: 2

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon: Hour 23

I managed to power through another hour, but I think that that's a wrap for me today! I just can't keep my eyes open any longer. I'll be back in the morning with my wrap-up post and the final closing survey, though, so stay tuned!

Hour: A quarter past Hour 23
Currently Reading:
 
 
The Magician, by Michael Scott

Pages Read Since Last Update: 124
Total Pages Read: 540
Time Read Since Last Update: 1 hour, 37 minutes
Total Time Read: 7 hours, 33 minutes
Comments: This is a pretty good book so far, even if I've read only 200 pages. I'm kind of sad I wasn't able to make it to the finish line this year, but that's okay, I think I would've just fallen asleep anyway. I had a really fun time this Readathon, and I hope that if you participated, you did too! Lights out from me. See everyone in the morning.

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon: Hour 21

We're in the final stretch now, with the finish line in sight! I haven't done as much reading as I would have liked today, but that's okay, because I really enjoyed myself!

Hour: A bit after Hour 21
Currently Reading:
 
 
The Magician, by Michael Scott

Pages Read Since Last Update: 130
Total Pages Read: 416
Time Read Since Last Update: 1 hour, 43 minutes
Total Time Read: 5 hours, 56 minutes
Comments: I finally finished my first book of the Readathon! Victory is mine! The Forbidden Wish was really good and one of the best retellings I've read - I just enjoyed it, greatly. I did a bit of cheerleading and folding of laundry before moving on to my next book, though. I chose The Magician because it was a childhood favorite, and one of the challenges for this Readathon, proposed by Reading Rainbow (I loved that show as a kid, speaking of childhood favorites) was to read a book that first got you into reading! I also completed the Hour 21 Mini-Challenge of describing my ideal reading spot.
I did another Reading Sprint, but my eyes were just constantly drooping, and I was on the verge of sleep. I might change up the scenery a bit, but if the sleepiness persists, I think I'll just give in and go to bed, no shame in that!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon: Hour 18

So... I haven't read at all for the past three and a half hours. Oops? But now, I have another good 4-5 hours at least to finish my current read and hopefully start another one, which I'm looking forward to, whatever it is (haven't decided yet)!

I still haven't finished a book yet this Readathon, but I refuse to be deterred! I'm probably going to finish this later, or at least I hope I will, because I have less than 10 hours and I wanted to finish at least one book this Readathon.

Hour: Twenty minutes past Hour 18
Currently Reading:
 
The Forbidden Wish, by Jessica Khoury

Pages Read Since Last Update: 0
Total Pages Read: 286
Time Read Since Last Update: 0
Total Time Read: 4 hours, 13 minutes
Comments: Yeah, so instead of reading, I ate dinner of cheeseburgers and tater tots. Then I hung out with my friends, and we ended up having a short Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D marathon and eating brownies and ice cream - yum! I just got ready for bed though, refilled my water bottle, and I'm ready to finish up The Forbidden Wish, which I love so much, it might be on its way to being a five-star read for me! I just love everything about it and it's so suspenseful right now. Putting it down for that long was difficult, believe me.