Shuffle the Music Tag

Hello everyone! Hope you all are well. A few days ago, I saw Sarah from Book Hooked Nook do the Shuffle the Music tag, and she invited anyone to do it at the end. I absolutely love this idea because I love music almost as much as I love reading. I tend to have a hard time reading when there are noises around me, so I either find complete silence (which, as I’m sure you all know, is very rare) or put on my own music to drown out everything else around me. I know a lot of people can’t focus with music in the background, but I am not one of those people. I always recommend trying classical music or scores so that there aren’t words to distract you from the ones on the page.

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REVIEW: Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

OVERALL: ★★¾/5

(Goodreads summary here.)

**Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. It has not impacted my thoughts given here.**

I really wanted to like Undead Girl Gang. However, as I got into it, I realized that it just wasn’t my cup of tea. There were a lot of things about it that I really enjoyed, but on the whole it just fell a little flat for me.

I think the main problem for me is that it’s the kind of story I would’ve like 5 years ago. And that’s nothing against the book, just a matter of taste for me. I don’t usually make these kinds of excuses for books, but I do genuinely think it’s a great book for middle and early high schoolers. It is by no means a bad book; I just didn’t enjoy it. I guess I should have seen it coming–the book is marketed as young adult–and doesn’t try to be something it’s not. I always find that there are different types of YA novels: ones that are geared toward that younger audience and ones that are on the cusp of being geared towards adults. I think that because most of the YA I read and enjoy falls into that second category, I forget that not all YA is like that. This book is definitely in that first category, and there’s nothing wrong with that; it just means I’ve outgrown that type of book.

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My Name in TBR Books

Hello all! I’m sorry I missed my post at the end of last week – I was out of town for my sister’s graduation and was so busy that I forgot to schedule a post. Whoops. But I’m back now with my first tag on my blog!

The wonderful Gerry at The Book Nook UK tagged me to do the “My Name in TBR Books” tag. Go check out her post and her wonderful reviews! Since I just posted a TBR for May, I’m going to use books on my TBR that I haven’t already talked about, which should be easy because my TBR is a very extensive list.

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ASIDES: A Semester in Review

Hello all! Happy Tuesday! I’m coming at you today with something a little different, because today is one of the most bittersweet days of the year for me. As I write this, my walls are bare of posters and photos, and my floor is covered in bags and boxes filled with everything I’ve used for the past 8 months. When this goes up, I’ll have finished my second year of college and headed home for the summer. I am more than excited to be home (read: see my dog), but I really do not want to leave all of my friends here at school. Still, it’s not like I have much of a choice, and besides, 3 months of no classes means plenty of time to read. Anyway, I wanted to give a quick overview of how my semester went. 

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MUSINGS: May TBR

Hello all! Happy May and happy Star Wars Day! I know I’m a few days late (also I missed a post that was scheduled for Monday…oops), but I’ve been super busy. My semester is coming to an end, so this has been put off to the side because school is important. HOWEVER, this means that I’m almost done with school and will have all the time in the world to read! Last year, I think I got through somewhere around 15 books in May. It’s the perfect time for me to just power through stuff that I’ve been meaning to read because I’m done with school and it’s before my summer job starts, so I have all the time in the world. It was really wonderful last year, and I’m really looking forward to doing that again.

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REVIEW: Vicious by VE Schwab

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OVERALL RATING: ★★★★/5

(Goodreads summary here.)

When I started Vicious, I’ll be honest: I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I knew I was going to at least enjoy it. VE/Victoria Schwab has become one of my favorite authors ever since I cracked open A Darker Shade of Magic last summer. But with Vicious, I didn’t know what to expect. I had heard of lot of differing opinions, although most were positive. One of my close friends had read it, and although we typically have very similar opinions on books, thought it was just okay. I, on the other hand, absolutely LOVED it.

From the get-go, I knew it was going to be right up my alley. Like a lot of science-fiction/fantasy fans, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is one of my favorite classic novels. I love books that explore the debate of human-as-god, particularly the morality of actions that give a single person immense power. I don’t consider myself much of a philosopher, but anything that makes me question my beliefs on a topic has my attention.

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REVIEW: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

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OVERALL RATING: ★★★½/5

(Good Reads summary here.)

I’ve been sitting on this review for a while because I can’t seem to figure out how I felt about this book. I feel like for every positive I think of, I think of a negative as well. For the most part, I enjoyed it, but it’s not sticking with me the way really great books tend to do. I’ve also been trying to sort out my own thoughts on it and to not be influenced by what other people thought of it.

When The Cruel Prince first had ARC’s coming out, everyone seemed to be raving about it. I got really excited about it and couldn’t wait to read it. A friend of mine asked for a recommendation and because I hadn’t read anything really noteworthy when she asked and because this seemed right up her alley, I suggested this one. I hadn’t read it yet, but I trusted the reviews I had seen on bookstagram and GoodReads, as their opinions typically aligned with my own. Note to self: no more recommending books I haven’t actually read because my friend hated it, and I felt so terrible for recommending it to her. I’m having a hard time separating my ideas about it from hers, so that’s part of the reason I struggled with this review.

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REVIEW: One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

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OVERALL RATING: ★★★½/5

(Good Reads summary here.)

When I picked up Three Dark Crowns last year, I was really excited to read it. I had seen some reviews that weren’t overwhelmingly positive, but I remembered loving the Anna Dressed in Blood duology when I was in high school. I wasn’t expecting a lot from it, but I thought I was going to enjoy it. And for the most part, I did. I agreed with a lot of reviews that it was full of exposition and was lacking in action, particularly at the beginning. In the end, though, I liked it. I was, however, ready for the next book.

It took me a while to get my hands on a copy of One Dark Throne because I didn’t feel particularly inclined to buy it, and I was worried I had forgotten all that had happened in the first book when I finally got a library copy. I shouldn’t have worried. For as much as the first book was a little underwhelming, I retained most of the events. It meant I was finally ready for some action.

And boy, did it deliver. I knew from the end of Three Dark Crowns‘ cliffhanger that I would like this one more. Because the first book was mostly world-building, the second one was able to really take off. It’s equal parts personal drama and political intrigue, with a healthy share of fight scenes. I thoroughly enjoy politically-driven plots, and so I really liked seeing how the events on every side played out throughout the novel. There’s also enough conflict within each queen’s circle that the drama unfolds beyond that of just warring sides. I really think the characters drive the story in a unique way that works with the plot so that it’s not solely plot- or character-driven. It’s something that could’ve easily gone one way or another, but that ended up working really well. A lot of my opinions revolve around the characters rather than the plot, so there are some minor spoilers below.

I did enjoy it more than Three Dark Crowns, but I also liked Three Dark Crowns a bit more than the average reader seemed to (at least from what I saw) because I really appreciate good world-building, so the addition of the action and drama made One Dark Throne more engaging as a whole. I loved seeing where the characters went and how Blake managed the conflict between the queens. It would have been really hard to just kill off a protagonist just from a logistics point of view, but also for fear of killing off a reader’s favorite queen and forcing them to stop reading. At the same time, there is a risk with taking the easy way out and not killing any of them off, even though that’s the point of the plot. Blake navigated these problems exceptionally well, so major props to her for that.

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REVIEW: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

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OVERALL RATING: ★★★★/5

(Good Reads summary here.)

When I finished this book a few days ago, I thought I just liked it. Then I spent the entire next day thinking about it and analyzing what I liked and didn’t like about, which led me to realize that I really did love it. That being said, I saw A LOT of hype leading up to it. A bunch of people on bookstagram were saying it was their new favorite book, so I was wholly expecting to be absolutely blown away by it. And I’ll be honest: I wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it, but I didn’t fall in love with it the way so many others have seemed to. The most telling aspect of this was that I managed to put the book down for a full 48 hours right at the climax, and it wasn’t a matter of me not having time to read. For me, that’s a distinguishing factor between a four-star and a five-star read. If I can’t put the book down or it pains me to, I know it’s going to be good. If I can walk away from it, no matter how much I love it, I can’t give a book five stars.

All in all, did I think this was a wonderfully intricate, well-planned story that I loved in the end? 100%. Do I think it’s also incredibly important and diverse with an immensely powerful author’s note? Absolutely. Am I going to recommend this book to pretty much all my friends? Heck yeah I am. Will I buy the sequel as soon as it comes out? For sure. I did, however, have some issues with it, mostly because of Inan (more on that later).

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Welcome!

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Hello all! Welcome to Post #1! My name is Abigail, but you can just call me Gail. I decided I would start a book blog because I fell in love with bookstagram and thought I would broaden my horizons. I really wanted to have my own space that was focused more on my thoughts and words, rather than just my pictures. This is by no means replacing my bookstagram, but adding another dimension to it.

A little more about me: I’m a 19-year-old English literature, environmental studies, and music student in Ohio. When I’m not drowning in classwork, I’m trying not to drown literally, as I’m also a competitive swimmer. And on top of that, I read too much for fun (which sometimes means not enough for class). I’m trying to do more creative writing, which hasn’t been going too well, but I’m hoping this will encourage me to write more regularly, even if it isn’t fiction. I love young adult novels, especially science-fiction and fantasy. I do delve into contemporary and historical fiction, but that’s not really where my heart is.

You may be asking yourself: what can I expect from this blog? That’s a good question that I won’t attempt to answer in its entirety. I do know I will have three types of posts: Reviews, Musings, and Asides. Reviews will be book reviews, Musings will be my thoughts on various aspects of reading and writing culture, and Asides will be things like personal anecdotes, experiences, and hobbies that don’t directly relate to books. As time goes on, I may add more types of posts or venture outside of those a bit. My plan is to post about every four days, on an alternating schedule with my bookstagram posts, which also run every four days. This may not start off regularly, as I’m in the thick of my semester, but I wanted to get this off the ground now, rather than sitting on it and then never actually starting a blog.

I think that’s it for now. You can click the “Media” link if you want to see my Instagram, Good Reads, or Pinterest and give those a follow. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment or drop me a line in my email or Instagram! Have a wonderful day!

Keep reading,

A. A.

 

 

 

Photo by Brandi Redd on Unsplash