Sunday, March 26, 2017

Currently Watching | TV Shows

Although this is indeed a books blog, I've found myself growing addicted to Netflix/binge-watching TV shows as of late... so I decided it might be fun to share what I've been enjoying! Most of these I watched with my younger brother, Luke, although one of them I am currently watching has been by myself.

+ Recently Watched/Finished

Image result for arrested development show

No. of Seasons: 4
Genre: Comedy
Overview: A dysfunctional family and their day to day antics.

My brother and I watched all four of the seasons on Netflix and we really enjoyed it. Lots of laughs from us, and some inside jokes of our dad's that we finally understand fully! This was really what started our binge watching on Netflix journey.

Image result for a series of unfortunate events show
No. of Seasons: 1 (may be more in the future!)
Genre: ???
Overview: Three orphans try to avoid an evil man after their inheritance.

Can I just say that the casting on this one was perfect? I adored Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf, and the child actors were great too, especially the actor for Klaus. My brother has never read these books but he liked this show just as much as I did, and we can't wait for the next season (if there is one, which hopefully there will be!)

Image result for stranger things
No. of Seasons: 1, soon to be 2
Genre: Science-Fiction
Overview: An 80s sci-fi throwback following a group of kids whose friend has gone mysteriously missing.

We watched this one on our dad's recommendation, and he ended up watching it with us as well. We binge watched this, like seriously binge watched this. I'm pretty sure we watched the entire season in one weekend. I'm not the biggest science fiction fan of the family, but even I really loved this show and I can't wait for the next season to come out!

+ Currently Watching

Image result for downton abbey

No. of Seasons: 6
Currently On: Season 2, Episode 3
Genre: Period Drama
Overview: It follows a rich family named the Crawleys, as well as their servants, before, during, and presumably after the events of the first World War.

So, my brother isn't watching this one with me, just me! And I feel kind of inherently bad for watching and enjoying this show, but it's just so easy to binge and I have a lot of feelings about a lot of the characters! I'm even beginning to like O'Brien...

Image result for lost show
No. of Seasons: 6? I think?
Currently On: Season 1, Episode 12
Genre: Survival? Mystery? ish?
Overview: After a plane crash, the survivors must learn to live on a mysterious deserted island.

This aired so long ago, but my brother and I are just getting around to watching it. We actually watched the first few episodes with our other brothers as well, so it was just an entire viewing party going on. This was the choice of the brothers, so I wasn't anticipating enjoying it since it's not my thing but it's really growing on me!


So, those are the shows that we have watched in the past few months/we are currently watching - out of them, I'm not sure which is my favorite, but it might be A Series of Unfortunate Events? I really loved that one despite the somewhat mixed reviews it's been getting.

I'm thinking of maybe doing a separate blog post on each of these shows or one of these shows if anyone's interested in it, talking about my favorite characters and episodes and things. I'd probably even be able to get my brother(s) to chip in!

I hope everyone's been having a great week and if anyone has a TV Show recommendation, I'd love to hear it...

Friday, March 17, 2017

Friday Reads [#13] + Camp NaNoWriMo Plans

Hello, hello, again! It's been awhile (a ... long while, actually) since I have done a "Friday Reads" post, but I'm actually reading three books this lovely Friday, so I figured it would be as good a time as any to post a new segment!

I'd also like to include my Camp NaNoWriMo/current writing plans, but first... the books!

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  1. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo - The first and possibly most exciting of the bunch! While I've been reading this for a little while now, due to school and general busyness getting in the way - I've really been enjoying this conclusion to the duology and all of the characters are my precious beans who I love (and who could most certainly kill me. Or at least con me.)
  2. Mindset by Carol Dweck - A non-fiction book revolving around psychology and specifically growth mindsets vs fixed mindsets. I'm reading this for my Psychology class and while it can get a bit repetitive with examples and things, it's still quite interesting and pretty short!
  3. The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams - Again, for class, this time for English. It's a play and we're only on Scene Four but it's okay so far? All the reviews on Goodreads are positively glowing so I'm guessing it'll get even better as we go along!
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As for writing... still plugging away at that November novel for NaNoWriMo. It's the first in a planned four-book Fantasy series about girl gangs and dark magic. With some dragons and pirates thrown in for good measure.

It's at around 160k words at the moment and almost none of them are good words. So, for Camp NaNoWriMo in April - I have set my goal as "50 Hours of Revision". I'm so pleased with this goal because I know it's achievable, but it'll be so incredibly difficult for me. I'll definitely be happier when I'm done though, since this rough draft/first draft has become very rambly and there is much cutting down and even reordering to do!

Is anybody else participating in Camp this year? What are you working on?

Friday, March 3, 2017

January & February | Reading Wrap-Ups

Well, it's been a minute and a half since I posted a reading wrap up of any sort. I have been writing reviews for every book I read over on my Goodreads page if you want to see how my last half of 2016 went or if you want further details on my thoughts on these books!

In January and February, I read a total of 7 books, so without any further ado I'll get right into them!

JANUARY:

  1. A Torch Against the Night, by Sabaa Tahir - Just as thrilling as the first book in my opinion. Though I preferred the first book's plot and worldbuilding, this one was still a very strong addition, especially as we got the addition of a narrative voice to the book that I was incredibly happy to get. In fact, the third narrartor quickly became my favorite character. I'm so hyped that this series has been extended, because I could read so many books about these preciouses and their unfortunate adventures.
  2. The Amateurs, by Sara Shepard - A young adult mystery novel with some fun twists and turns. It's by the same author of the Pretty Little Liars series, and while I have never read those books, I know the author's works have a reputation for being fun to just sort of binge or fly through and that's how this book was for me. I did read a spoiler ahead of time, though... otherwise I may not have ever guessed the mystery!
  3. Found, by Margaret Peterson Haddix - A re-read from when I was in Middle School... I finally finished it this time around though. And that ending was literally.... it was not what I expected, I'll just say that much about it. But in all honesty this book is such a great, action-packed read that I simply devoured!
  4. PostSecret by Frank Warren - I actually participated in my library's "Blind Date with a Book" challenge this month and the description on the wrapping paper was too intriguing for me to resist picking this up. And I'm glad I did. I read it in one sitting and while it isn't a novel, it really is a piece of art.
FEBRUARY:

  1. The Vanished Knight, by M. Gerrick - A self-published Fantasy novel that I really enjoyed. I liked the characters, and their relationships with one another. This gave me some Chronicles of Narnia vibes, but with it's own unique elements mixed in there as well. It was so much fun and was a temporary relief from the reading slump that has been plaguing me for months now!
  2. Angels & Demons, by Dan Brown - The first Dan Brown novel I've ever read. It's a thriller that had to do with some historical stuff. It was kind of scary at times just because I'm superstitious about certain things. Although fast-paced, it did take me a little while to read just because I was reading all three of these books at the same time...
  3. Gemina, by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman - OH MY GOSH. I loved this book every bit as much as I loved the first book in this companion series, Illuminae. In fact... I may have liked this one more? The characters did remind me a lot of the other characters in the first book but that didn't lessen my enjoyment. Also shoutout to Marie Lu for those amazing illustrations.
TOP THREE:

So, my top three of the past two months would have to be...
  • Gemina
  • The Vanished Knight
  • Found
All of them kept me hooked and reading for so many hours on end. I loved all of the books I read in these past months however - I've been getting quite lucky so far!

Until next time, happy reading!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

February TBR | 2017

Long time no see on this blog! I've been rather busy with school and things, especially now that I have to start looking into colleges I might want to attend, and since I've started taking on more honors classes... there are both benefits and drawbacks to that...

However for my first post of 2017 I'm going to be talking about something a bit more fun, which is the books I am planning to read and/or finish in February of this year! I may have September/October/November/December/January wrap-ups coming, but honestly I didn't read that much at the end of last year due to the Reading Slump which I am still in now... sighs.

Anyways here is what I'm reading or want to read!

The Vanished Knight by M. Gerrick - I'm nearly finished with this one (kind of). It's a self-published novel, but don't let that discourage you from reading it. It's a high fantasy, and the first in a series, following a girl named Callan, and lots of adventures. I'm currently readining it as an ebook and it's so much fun, plus the author's very friendly and nice.

Angels & Demons by Dan Brown - I'm about 130 pages into this one and already I'm a bit "meh" on it. I'm not sure if I've solved the mystery or not already, but if so than this is just as predictable as I thought it would be... my Dad does say there is a surprising ending though so I might keep reading because of that. Also, this has 2 million ratings on Goodreads and I'd never heard of it until last week after my Dad read it... huh

Gemina by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman - A science fiction novel and companion to the bestselling novel Illuminae that came out last year (which I thoghoughly enjoyed if it hasn't been mentioned on my blog yet). It's a very big book at 650 pages long but I do love big books so hopefully this one will be more hooking than Angels & Demons is! I checked it out from the library yesterday and already am antsy to dive in.

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo - Another sequel, and this time it's the finale! Six of Crows was one of my favorite books last year (read it near the end of 2016, so I probably never really mentioned it on my blog) and I was super excited to see this one in the library. I had to check it out right away. It's another big one but I'm sure if it's half as hooking as the first book, I will finish it up very quickly.

The Heir's Choice by M. Gerrick - This is the sequel to The Vanished Knight and if possible/if I have enough time, I know this will be the next ebook I start. I'm loving Callan's journey and the whole fantasy world Ms Gerrick has created, so hopefully I will continue to in this book as well!

And that is all I have planned for the month of February! I hope everyone is having a good 2017 so far and keeping up with any resolutions you may have set... also Happy Superbowl Sunday! Hehe

Until next time, happy reading!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Last Library Haul of the Summer - Library Haul #5

So, I kind of haven't posted on this blog since my little update/complaining spree about being in a reading and writing slump for most, if not all, of the summer. But good news! I think that I am finally out of my reading slump! I'm always more motivated to read in the colder seasons, and this morning I woke up at 6:30 just so that I could read with the rain still pounding at the windows. (The things I do for my books. Sheesh.)

(Of course, the bad news for me is that I start school again tomorrow. Whomp, whomp. But the school librarian has asked me to be a library assistant, and I got the classes I wanted, so hopefully this semester turns out alright!)

Recently I visited the library and checked out three books. (There were more I wanted to get, but I restrained myself!) It's a bit of a miniature library haul, but I thought I would just share with everyone the books that I checked out. I'm excited to read them all!

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City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster was the first book I picked up. I actually hadn't heard of it before, but it sounded really cool. A murder mystery in a diverse fantasy setting with talking cats? That just ticks so many of my 'must read' boxes!
When I looked it up on Goodreads I saw it didn't have the best reviews, but I was pleasantly surprised by it. (I just finished it before writing this post.) I think next time, I will grab the second book in this duology (though it seems to be more of a companion novel) since that one has higher ratings anyway.





The second book I picked up from the library was And I Darken by Kiersten White. This is supposed to be an epic historical fiction retelling of Vlad the Impaler. But in this retold version, Vlad is a girl named Lada.
This has been getting quite a bit of buzz lately, and I've heard nothing but good things about it. Plus look at that cover. Look at it. It's so beautiful!
I definitely can't wait to get to this one and see how I like it. I think it's the one I'll end up reading next!




Finally, I decided to check out Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie. This book is about a girl who can feel the emotions and physical pain of the people around her. It's a bit of a bigger book, and I think it might be the first in a series? In a trilogy? Duology? I'm not sure which.
This is another book where people don't seem to like it but I tend to have unpopular opinions to everyone else (oops?) so I hope that I end up at least liking it a bit. (The only problem is that it seems to have a love triangle... sighs.)





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I hope everyone has been having a great summer/winter (if you're in the opposite hemisphere). Autumn is my favorite season and I am so done with summer already! I can't wait for rain and the colder days and sweaters and pumpkin everything. Thanksgiving is also my favorite holiday, so I'm looking forward to that as well.
Until next time, (which will hopefully be soon!), happy reading!
 

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.
 
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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.)
 
 
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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.
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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!

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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*

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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!