Top 5 Wednesday | Books You’ve Removed From Your TBR

Hi Booklovers!

Today I’m doing another T5W post! “Top 5 Wednesday” is hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes.  If you are interested in participating, you can find a full list of topics here.

This week’s topic is: books you’ve removed from your TBR. I usually have trouble coming up with five books for each topic (which is why I don’t participate on a regular basis 😆 ) but I had absolutely no issues for this one 🙂 !

Most of the books on this list is here simply because I lost interest, but some are here for a specific reason.

Anyway, onto the books:

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth When this was first coming out, I was really looking forward to reading this. I enjoyed the Divergent series (except Allegiant) and wanted to see what she did next. But then the book was released and there was this big controversy surrounding it, specifically with how it dealt with chronic pain. As I personally deal with chronic pain, I decided that I didn’t want to read it.

The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia This one was never really one that had me anxiously wanting to read it. I have never read anything by Kami Garcia before, but I went to one of her Author Talks because Sam from ThoughtsonTomes was moderating it. And it’s common courtesy to buy an author’s work if you go to one of their events, so I did. Don’t get me wrong, I was interested in it after hearing her talk about it, but I didn’t read it as soon as I got it home. So the longer it sat on my shelf, the less I wanted to read it

Dark Water by Tricia Rayburn I’m actually very disappointed that this is on this list. This is the third book in a trilogy and I absolutely loved the first one. I couldn’t get my hands on the other books fast enough…But then I read the second book and I felt like nothing happened. Like there was no need for it to even exist, and by the time I finished it, I just didn’t have the energy to read this one anymore 😦

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner I read The Maze Runner, the first book in this series on audio. I enjoyed it but felt as though the writing style didn’t quite meet the age of the characters portrayed in the movies. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it and everything I just think that this is a series that I prefer in movie form than book form.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber This one I might actually read one day, but since I didn’t read it as soon as it was released, I just don’t reach for it right now as I have so many other books ahead of it on my TBR.

So that’s all I have for this post! What are some books that you have taken off of your TBR pile?

Thanks for reading!

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TomeTopple Round 6 Wrap Up

Hi Booklovers!

I recently participated in TomeTopple, a readathon created by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes, where the focus is on reading books over 500 pages.

I originally planned on putting this in with my monthly wrap up but I’ve been in such a reading mood lately that I want to do a separate wrap up so that I can spend a little bit longer talking about the books I read during the readathon!

My TBR for this round:

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(If you want to read more about why I chose the books I did, you can read my TBR             post here)

I had a pretty successful round this time, though I did only manage to complete one full tome this time.

June 29th through July 8th

I started out reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I had originally thought that this would be a quick read for me as I’ve read it numerous times, but it ended up taking me longer than I thought to finish it. I’m not complaining though as it’s my favorite one of the series.

I did manage to listen to about 40 pages of Drums of Autumn during this time as well. I was hoping to switch between these two, but I just couldn’t seem to put Harry Potter down!

July 9th through July 12th

I finished Harry Potter around 11:30pm on the 8th and immediately went to sleep 😆 . But I wasted no time picking up my next read The Tiger’s DaughterBut I only made it to the 70 page mark before I decided to put it down. I really wanted to like this, but I just couldn’t get into it. Not much was happening. The writing style was unique as it was written in letter format. The letters talk about the main character’s past and the beginning of the friendship with the one who is writing the letters, but I just felt like it was dragging. I felt lost at times. I might try and pick it up again in the future, it just wasn’t a good fit for the readathon.

Then, I decided to pick up Drums of Autumn again and focus the time remaining on finishing that as it was my priority for this round. I didn’t manage to finish it before time ran out but I made a pretty good dent in it 🙂 and finished it a couple days later! I love the Outlander series and I can’t wait to continue (though not for a while as the books are massive). I’m curious to see where the story goes next!

Sadly, I didn’t get to Children of Blood and Bone, but I still really want to read it and I’m hoping to get to it before the month is over!

Overall, I managed to read 1,335 pages over the two-week span, which I’m thrilled about! I’d say that I averaged a little under 100 pages a day (I’m a slow reader 😆 ) but I love this readathon and I can’t wait for the next round! (I may or may not have my TBR for round 7 already picked out 😆 )

That’s all I have for now! Did you participate in TomeTopple? How did you do?

Thanks for reading!

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Review | An Ember in the Ashes

20560137Author: Sabaa Tahir

Publisher: Razorbill

Publication Date: April 28, 2015

Series: Ember in the Ashes #1

Source: Library Copy

Read: June 27, 2018 – June 29, 2018

Goodreads Summary: Laia is a slave.

Elias is a soldier.

Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself. (Goodreads Page)

***

This is actually a reread for me, but I realized that I never wrote a review of it the first time 😆 And I have to say I loved it even more the second time, whether or not the audiobook had something to do with that I have no idea (though I have to say the audiobook was AMAZING!)

I’m just going to jump right in and discuss what I loved about this book first 🙂 Laia and Elias were both fantastic characters. I usually struggle with multiple POVs in a single novel as I can find it challenging to distinguish the character voices in my head, but I’m happy to say that that wasn’t the case for this book (yes, I used the audiobook this time which had two readers, but I didn’t have it the first time). Both characters were really brought to life equally. Neither of them seemed to be fleshed out more than the other. I really understood what motivated them and why they felt the way they did in each of their situations.

Now, let’s talk setting. I loved it. It was dark, but still felt real. It was interesting to read something inspired by Roman history, as I’ve never read anything of the sort before.

Tahir’s writing style was also great…I never felt as though the story dragged. And her descriptions were well-written, the story seemed to fly of the page and play like a movie in my head!

The plot was fast-paced and I felt as though I couldn’t turn the page fast enough. It left me with some unanswered questions, but as it’s the first in a series I’m sure I’ll get answers soon.

All in all, I can’t seem to think of anything I didn’t like (though that isn’t to say this was perfect, no book is, just that as I’m writing this nothing comes to mind!) I can’t wait to pick up the next book! Have any of you read this? What are your thoughts? (No spoilers please!)

Thanks for reading!

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Writer’s Break Friday | CampNaNoWriMo Week 1 & 2

Hi Booklovers!

Today I’m doing another Writer’s Break Friday! I haven’t done one in a while so I’m excited to get back into it. For those that don’t know Writer’s Break Friday is something I do on my blog where I talk about my writing progress for the week. I started it as a way to keep myself accountable for writing, but I had fallen into a pretty big reading slump over the last few months (maybe closer to a year) and when a reading slump hits, I usually lose all motivation to write 😦 But I’m happy to say that I think I’ve finally beaten the dreadful slump so this should be up on the blog pretty regularly now 🙂 !

Since it’s July and that means CampNaNoWriMo, I thought I’d update you on what I’ve been doing, writing wise, over the last couple weeks.

July 1st through July 6th

So I didn’t actually do any writing this week. I focused mainly on figuring out what my goals were going to be this month and trying a new outlining method.

So what are my goals for the month? Well, I had originally put my goal to write 20,000 words. But not actually writing the first week really put me behind. I then switched my goal to measure in hours, where I decided that I wanted to do 30 hours. But I wasn’t always doing a full hour at a time, so whenever I tried updating my progress, my half hours weren’t being counted so then I switched it to minutes. I knew I still wanted my official goal to be 30 hours so I set my goal as 1,800 minutes.

How did I outline? I’m still working on “Project Y” this month (not the official title). I started it during April’s Camp but what I had written didn’t feel right for the story so I scrapped it and decided to start over. (It’s a YA contemporary inspired by the gun-control debate in the US). I had an outline, but I decided to change it a little, but I’m more of a visual person so the bullet point outline I had wasn’t really working for me.

So I decided to try the cork-board method. I found a great article on Writer’s Edit that explained the three-act structure using Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games as an example, which really helped guide my outline.

My first step was to get all the supplies I would need:

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Then I created a key for myself so I knew what each color represented:IMG_1308

Then I started outlining Act 1, with each card headed with the purpose of the chapter (found in article linked above):IMG_1306

I’m outlining each act as I go. So I have an outline for Act 1 completed, now I’m in the process of writing it, then I will outline Act 2 and then write that and so on. Doing it this way is actually helping me to not get overwhelmed. I do have a full story outline written, but that’s just a broad overview of what needs to happen over the course of the book. The cork board lets me go into more detail of what needs to happen in each chapter (though still vague as I’m on the first draft and I like writing whatever comes to me).

I do plan on getting more detailed with the cork board and using the different colored cards once I get to the second draft.

July 7th through July 13th

This week I’ve actually been sitting down to write! I can’t do a daily breakdown of how many words I’ve written each day because I forgot to record it 😦 . But I promise next week I will have a daily breakdown.

I’ve written everyday since Saturday (though Tuesday was spent writing for my Writing Group, not on “Project Y”), which is pretty big for me as I don’t typically get to write on the weekends. I’ve been writing even if I don’t want to because I know that if I miss a day, it will usually be a month before I write again 😆

Doing that has already helped to make a daily routine, because I already start to feel guilty if I haven’t written anything by dinnertime. I’m still trying for the 20,000 words this month, but I’m not forcing myself to get a specific word count each time I write. Instead I aim for 25 minutes of uninterrupted writing a couple times a day. Doing it this way I usually get about 500 words a day (though I do want to increase the time spent writing a day gradually).

WEEKLY STATS

Days Writing: 7

Average Time Spent A Day: TBD

Total Minutes on “Project Y”: 605 (since July 1st)

Average Words Written Per Day: TBD

Manuscript Total Count: 2,400

That’s all I have for this post! Do you write/participate in NaNoWriMo? What do you aim for when writing? A certain amount of time or words written?

Thanks for reading!

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Review | Daughter of Smoke & Bone

8490112Author: Laini Taylor

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: September 27, 2011

Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1

Source: Own Copy

Read: May 19, 2018 – June 27, 2018

Goodreads Summary: Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?  (Goodreads Page)

***

This has been on my TBR for soooo long and I’m glad I finally got around to picking it up. I read Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor last year and absolutely loved it! So after falling in love with the writing style and the fact that this trilogy is really hyped in general, I had really high expectations for this book. But unfortunately, this just did not live up to the expectations I had for it 😦 I know this is going to be an unpopular opinion to most, but I’m really disappointed that I didn’t love it as much as I’d hoped too!

Let’s talk about what I liked first. Karou and Akiva were great. They were so fleshed out and I felt as though I really got to know them, what motivated them, their fears. I felt that we got to know them on a much deeper level, not just what was shown on the surface. I also really enjoyed the setting of the story, especially Prague. Taylor did a great job describing it, that I felt as though I was really there. I also enjoyed just how dark this story got for being a YA novel.

The story in general started out great. It caught my attention really quickly and for a while I felt as though I couldn’t put it down. But once we got to the second section, I started getting confused, or I should say, more confused. For up to that point the plot was moving pretty steadily, but I still felt as though I was missing something, especially when it came to the main side-characters of the story.

But in the second section, it was almost like the story switched from being plot-driven to character-driven. I don’t think that would have bothered me as much as it did, except for the fact that the plot basically came to a stand still at points. Like one chapter I’d be at point A in the story and then move forward to point B, but then two chapters later it’d pick back up at point A again and then move to point C, before circling around to end up back at point A. (I hope that makes sense 😆 Sorry if it doesn’t!) Formats like that don’t typically bother me, but there wasn’t really any warning for it and it seemed to happen mid-scene, so it jarred me from the story whenever it occurred. I also felt that although we learned more about the characters this way, we may have learned too much of their backstories in such a short amount of time. It seemed to take away from what was happening with the plot.

I also figured out the big reveal halfway through the book. It didn’t bother me that I guessed it, just that it took 100 or so more pages to get to that point in the book. But once I did get there, the rest of the book made so much more sense and the confused feeling I had disappeared, as everything started to fall into place.

But all that aside, I really did enjoy this and I do want to continue on with the series soon. Have any of you read it? What did you think? No spoilers please!

Thanks for reading!

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Top 5 Wednesday | Books You Want to Read Before the End of the Year

Hi Booklovers!

It’s time for another T5W post! “Top 5 Wednesday” is hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes.  If you are interested in participating, you can find a full list of topics here.

This week’s topic is talking about the books we want to read before the year ends. I can’t believe we’re already halfway through 2018! Where has the time gone? 😆 Most of the books I’m talking about today, I’ve tried to start once or twice before but for whatever reason put them down without finishing them. But they’ve all been on my mind recently so I want to try and finish them before the year is up!

 

 

 

 

Shadow and Bone By Leigh Bardugo I’ve tried starting this numerous times over the last couple years, but never got more than 10 pages in before putting it down. Everytime I’ve started it in the past, I would start the ebook as I would be out with no physical book with me. And when I got home I would just continue reading my physical book and completely forget that I ever started this on ebook (even though I own a physical copy as well 😆 ) I think it’s been sitting on my TBR shelf long enough now and really want to read it before the year is over!

Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes I’m really disappointed that I have yet to finish this one. You may remember that in January I hosted a read-a-long for this entire series in preparation for the final book’s release in February, but I only completed the first 2 in the series. I did make it to the halfway point before I put this down though. I don’t even know why I put it down in the first place as I was really enjoying it, but I know I’m going to have to restart this as I don’t really remember what happened in the first half (or where the second book ended…I guess that’s what happens when you try to binge-read an entire series 😆 )

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater I made it to around the 80 page mark before putting this down. In my defense, I was still in school the first time I tried reading it and got too busy with school work to finish it at the time.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr I remember putting this on my very first TBR for Tome Topple but never got around to picking it up as I was also reading A Game of Thrones at the time. I heard really great things about this and I’ve been thinking about reading it a lot lately, though I think I’m going to wait until November to read this one in case another round of Tome Topple happens.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas I briefly started this the day I purchased it, but haven’t picked it up again. I hear nothing but great things about this so I really want to read it. And the trailer for the movie recently came out and after seeing it I want to read this sooner rather than later. I hoping to get to this sometime next month.

That’s all I have for this post! What are some books you’re hoping to get to before 2018 comes to a close?

Thanks for reading!

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Tome Topple Round 6 is Coming!

Hi Booklovers,

You probably know that I don’t typically like writing TBR posts as I’m a huge mood reader. However, this is one post that I always look forward to writing 😆 ! Tome Topple is one of my absolute favorite read-a-thons and I’ve participated in almost every round since it began a few years ago. I can’t believe it’s already up to Round 6!

I’m sure most of you already know what Tome Topple is but if you don’t it’s a two-week-long read-a-thon where the focus is on reading books over 500 pages. It was created by Sam from ThoughtsonTomes.

This round is scheduled to take place beginning at midnight on June 29th until 11:59pm on July 12th, 2018 (times are based on your timezone)

There are challenges you can do for this read-a-thon but I never really follow those when deciding what I want to read. I will link  Sam’s Official Announcement Video for anyone interested in learning more about them.

This round I’m being a little ambitious with my TBR. I usually try to keep my limit at 2 books, but this time around I’ve decided on 4 books that I want to read. It’s going to be a challenge, but I recently got out of a reading slump and I’m planning to read a couple on audio so I think it’s doable 🙂 !

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling I’m currently rereading this series. I read Goblet of Fire back in January of this year but haven’t continued on. I figured this would be the perfect time to start back up. And it’s one I know I can get through fairly quickly 🙂

The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera I’m honestly not really sure what this is about. All I know is that it’s a fantasy novel with a female/female relationship. I’ve heard really good things about it and I can’t wait to pick it up!

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi I started this one around the time it came out a couple months ago but never finished, though I plan to start it over when I pick it up again. I was really enjoying this while reading but then I fell into another reading slump and had to put it down. (I either want to read all the books at once or I can’t pick up a book at all for a while…there is no in-between for me 😆 ) I plan on reading this on audio as it has multiple POVs and it’s easier for me to separate the characters.

Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon I have tried to start this so many times. I even had it on my TBR for the last round but didn’t get to it. It’s not that I’m not enjoying it, I am. It’s just a dense read for me so I find that it’s very easy to get distracted by other books and the next thing I know weeks/months have gone by and I haven’t picked it up. I plan on reading this on audio though as it helps me read a little faster, especially when it comes to books this size. Also, since I started it numerous times I’m going to continue from the last point I remember (around the 80 page mark). I’m determined to finish it this time!

So that’s all I have for this post! Anyone else planning on participating? What are you going to read?

Thanks for reading!

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