Author Archives: Brittany

Top Ten Tuesday – February 28, 2017: Favorite #bookstagram Photos of Mine

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TOP TEN TUESDAY
February 28, 2017

It’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the wonderful blog at The Broke and the Bookish! This week’s topic was a freebie!

I always come up with these great ideas for some freebies or variations on topics with the best intentions like bookish infographics or the best #bookstagram photos out there! But I neglected to save all of the cool infographics I’ve come across and aside from the fact that I haven’t saved Instagram photos from other accounts, there’s no way I could pick ten favorites from all of the amazingly talented people out there! So once again, we end up viewing personal favorites from my own collection.

I’ve been getting more and more into taking those neat #bookstagram photos and it’s interesting to see how things have come along over the years! Photos that I was proud of last year look totally horrible to me now and I feel like I’ve really worked on my lighting and props to come up with some really solid photos. I’m not photographer and I don’t have the skills that some other bookstagrammers do but I’m pretty proud of some of these photos! I picked my top ten favorites from my Instagram account to share today. (In order from most recent told oldest, for convenience.)

LUNARTIC SHELFIE | January 13, 2017
I had finally gotten around to taking a new selfie after the addition of HEARTLESS and special Owlcrate edition of HEARTLESS… but it’s already outdated because I’ve since added WIRES AND NERVE to my Marissa Meyer collection! OH DARN going to have to take another one…

A post shared by Brittany S. (@bookaddictsguide) on

SIMON TEEN ON THE SCENE | December 24, 2016
Simon Teen sent this AWESOME blogger package and I was thrilled to receive these books AND a mug! I really liked the way this photo turned out as far as lighting went and I think it looks nice in more muted tones instead of amping up the saturation. I also loved the pop of the plaid scarf for some reason!

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CARAVAL, COFFEE, AND COOKIES | November 12, 2016
I did it for the ‘gram when I set up this photo while on vacation and bought two more macarons just so I could get the fancy box for my Instagram photo. What can I say… their packaging totally succeed in getting me to buy more! They were all delicious and to this day, I still miss them and want more. I was reading CARAVAL while in Salem with my BFFs (and I also miss this whole trip to this day because it was glorious) and this all came together for an interesting photo that’s apparently pretty popular on Tumblr.

A post shared by Brittany S. (@bookaddictsguide) on

HALLOWEEN AND SERIAL KILLERS | October 31, 2016
I got to interview STALKING JACK THE RIPPER author Kerri Maniscalco for our Fortnight of Fright blog event and so naturally, I had to take another photo of her book with the Foggy Knight candle! The lighting on this one highlighted the blood splatter so beautifully and I love it so.

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AN ABUNDANCE OF CINDERS | August 29, 2016
I added some new versions of CINDER to my Lunar Chronicles collection and I had to snap a photo of them! I was too tired to drag the whole collection out so I just grabbed all of the copies of CINDER I had instead!

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THE SUN SHINES ON THE SHELFIE | August 21, 2016
This was the first FULL shelfie I had taken in a while and the sun left a night highlight in the middle. It’s hard to get the whole bookcase in one shot and I liked the way this one turned out!

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A STACK OF THRONES | August 6, 2016
This photo isn’t very complicated but sometimes those simple, clean photos are the best. I simply stacked my mass markets of A Song of Ice and Fire, popped some color in, and added a candle to complete the scene!

MY SORCERER’S STONE | July 30, 2016
I used a prompt from a photo challenge to come up with this photo. It was a “House Cup” challenge, so I represented my house of Ravenclaw and the other part of the prompt was “Horcruxes versus Hallows”. Secret? My husband and I both had rock collections when we were kids and we both still have them haha! So I went into the basement to sort through our rocks to find one that was Sorcerer’s Stone-appropriate and this was what I got! Also, have you ever included your hand in a photo? Whether it’s holding a stone or a mug, it’s REALLY hard to get your fingers to cooperate and look delicate instead of clunky and awkward.

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ANGRY IN NANTUCKET | May 27, 2016
This was another photo prompt for some underrated reads and I chose books by Louise Rozett and Leila Howland. Another simple, clean photo turned out be one of my favorites.

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OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS | May 12, 2016
This photo was a totally random moment that I took after a day on the floor of BEA 2016. I had just stacked up my books on the bed to assess what I had picked up and was chilling out with my delicious Starbucks when I decided to snap a photo of my current view because it looked like the perfect photo opp. I think all I did was make sure the coffee was at a good angle and move that clutch further into the photo frame to round it out and it turned out pretty awesome! I think this is actually the Instagram photo of mine with the most likes ever. Go figure!

A post shared by Brittany S. (@bookaddictsguide) on


Are you a bookstagrammer? Do you take the time to set up photos or is it just more work than it’s worth for you?

Discussion: Spoilers… How Soon is Too Soon?

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SPOILERS: HOW SOON IS TOO SOON?

How soon is too soon to publicly talk about a major book/movie/TV show spoiler? Ah, that’s the age-old question. I think we as a book community tend to be a little bit more aware of how we talk about spoilers because a reading experience is so much more time-consuming than a (single) viewing experience and we understand that not everyone will have finished a book by the time we’ve finished. I feel like it’s also more common to read a book long after its release date, where spoilers will still need to remain secret. And even though I feel like reading has never been more of a social experience as it is now, I feel that it can still be the least talked-about media when directly comparing books, movies, and TV shows.

No matter the form of media, there’s always a window where fans refrain from revealing any spoilers so other fans can also enjoy the experience (well, we hope everyone is so considerate. I think we have a fairly good track record with this in the book community). So how long should fans wait before openly discussing spoilers? A month? A year? Forever? I don’t think we’ll ever have a definitive answer. Personally, I try to avoid all spoilers at all times, because you just never know who is going to be a new member of a fandom that’s exploring these stories for the first time… BUT I’ll also admit to openly discussing major spoilers for major MAJOR series like Harry Potter, where the books have been out for decades and the movies have been out for a number of years so I assume the spoilers have already been revealed to whoever may be exposed to them. That still may not be safe though. I still know quite a few friends who haven’t read or watched Harry Potter and some who just did so for the first time and managed to avoid major spoilers before they did so. That just tells me that it’s really never safe to speak openly about these things because there’s always someone who will be starting this journey for the first time.

I do understand that the media may not feel the same way, but I also feel like some forms of media are being way too cavalier about throwing spoilers around. I’ve read all of the books in A Song of Ice and Fire but I’ve only made it through the first few seasons of the TV show, and as most Game of Thrones fans know, the TV has gone in a few different directions from the series and has also started progressing beyond the books. I personally would rather read the books first, even if they are different (and that’s not the reason I’m still behind on the TV show) because even though the show is different in a lot of ways, it still might have parallels to the book series and I’d rather experience those twists while I’m reading versus watching. I finally came to the point where I knew I was going to get spoiled because I was so many seasons behind so I didn’t go out looking for what happened but if there was something major, I willingly acknowledged it instead of being upset and trying to hide from it.
Where I get upset is the media maybe being bit too jumpy to hang onto those spoilers to use them as attention grabbers. A major magazine had posted about a big show spoiler the day after it aired. Now that was just way, way, WAY too soon. Even if you’re someone who watches the show, maybe you were on vacation, away from the TV, or taking care of something more important the night that it aired and you didn’t have time to watch the show that night. That magazine just took that experience away from many, many fans who happened to not watch the show live and I think that is a definite no-no.

Where the lines blur a bit starts around a few months after a show has aired or a book has come out. I think for a book, I’d tend to wait until around six months to a year before I would even think about revealing a spoiler on social media but not everyone feels the same way. For TV shows, it seems to be even less. It’s been a few months since a big Game of Thrones reveal and a major wireless network used the twist in one of their recent commercials. The “star” of the commercial is quoting lines from major movies and TV shows in his regular life, proving that he’s experiencing the network’s features for movies & TV, but no other quote was a spoiler except for this major Game of Thrones one. He then says to his comrades in the elevator after dumping this spoiler on them, “You guys watch Game of Thrones, right?” Well, buddy, if they didn’t, you just spoiled something major for them. I guess if you don’t watch the show, it doesn’t matter to you one way or another. But if you’re behind and in the process of catching up, then your experience just got ruined. This was one that I found out about shortly after it had happened because people couldn’t stop talking about so it wasn’t a huge spoiler to me, but I also felt like it was still too soon to use in a major commercial.

 

This really all came up because this past week’s Modern Family also mentioned the same Game of Thrones spoiler and even described it in more detail, not just referenced the now-infamous line. Even though I knew that it happened, now I know even more about it that I didn’t get to learn by watching the TV show. To a certain extent, I know it’s my own “fault”. I could find the time to catch up with the TV show and being seasons behind, I logically can’t expect all spoilers to stay hidden forever, especially with such a popular series, but at the same time, I do think more precaution could be taken to at least not reveal spoilers in another form of media as a passing comment.

Spoilers come in all shapes and sizes, and through many different forms of media. Whether it’s a family member who doesn’t understand what a spoiler is and reveals a twist in the new Star Wars movie, a character aesthetic on Tumblr that reveals a character death, or an article in Shelf Awareness spoiling the last season of Downton Abbey for you (and yes, these all happened to me), it may never be possible to avoid all spoilers all the time. I do the best I can to keep the surprises alive. I like to go in blind to most of my books, not looking back at the synopsis before I start it to try to keep the reading experience totally fresh. I try to avoid Goodreads until I’ve finished that super popular series-ender so I make sure I don’t see someone else’s reactions that may reveal a secret or two that I haven’t experienced yet. I try to skip over images, memes, and aesthetics that might have a little too much about a book or show that I haven’t yet experienced… but there’s only so much a person can do to stay totally in the dark when we’re all so constantly connected.

Again, I think the book community has the best track record for keeping spoilers locked up, or maybe it just seems like that to me because I’m so personally invested in this community. I’m not sure how that really differs from a TV or movie fandom — or maybe it’s just because I’ve been spoiled for more movies and TV shows than I have books, even though I read many more books than I watch TV. It’s just a theory of mine with no real details to back it up!

Regardless of which form of media you’re experiencing, I’d love to hear your thoughts on how long you hang onto spoilers before you talk about them! Do you always keep them under wraps, only speaking about them with clear spoiler tags and warnings? Do you feel safe talking about twists after a few months? Or a year? Does it make a difference to you how quickly you talk about a TV show versus a movie versus a book? I’d love to know your general thoughts!

Mini-Reviews: Sherlock Holmes | The Sign of Four, The Red-Headed League, The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle

MINI REVIEWS

I went on a Sherlock Holmes kick around the holidays (yes, I know I’m quite behind with my book reviews) and I ended up grabbing a few audiobooks for some quick and fun reads! Sherlock Holmes novels are some of the few classics I truly enjoy and the audios were on sale and cheap! I really enjoy how clever these books are and they’re also quick!


Mini-Reviews: Sherlock Holmes | The Sign of Four, The Red-Headed League, The Adventure of the Blue CarbuncleTitle: The Sign of Four (Sherlock Holmes #2) by Arthur Conan Doyle
Publishing Info: November 30, 2009 by Audible Studios
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: December 14, 2016

As a dense yellow fog swirls through the streets of London, a deep melancholy has descended on Sherlock Holmes, who sits in a cocaine-induced haze at 221B Baker Street. His mood is only lifted by a visit from a beautiful but distressed young woman - Mary Morstan, whose father vanished ten years before. Four years later she began to receive an exquisite gift every year: a large, lustrous pearl. Now she has had an intriguing invitation to meet her unknown benefactor and urges Holmes and Watson to accompany her. And in the ensuing investigation - which involves a wronged woman, a stolen hoard of Indian treasure, a wooden-legged ruffian, a helpful dog and a love affair - even the jaded Holmes is moved to exclaim, 'Isn't it gorgeous!'

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I’m not sure if I was too distracted for this (which I was), but I just really didn’t click with it. Whereas I picked up on the writing techniques with A STUDY IN SCARLET, I either didn’t pick it up here or just wasn’t in the mood for it with THE SIGN OF FOUR. Surprisingly (for not having read much Sherlock Holmes yet), the “telling” style continues with this novel and there’s a unexpected amount of recounting stories instead of witnessing action. I love the characters as I always do but this story wasn’t a hit for me.

I also just didn’t find this story line as intriguing as I had with A STUDY IN SCARLET. I think it felt a little more “out there” and I felt some disconnect with the end game. It didn’t quite hold its appeal for me but I do always love Watson dearly. I honestly barely remember what happened (although I’m writing this months later) except for the parts that I remembered were a little strange. This one just wasn’t a stand-out for me at all, and I was really bummed because I had become so convinced that I adored all of Sherlock Holmes because I enjoyed A STUDY IN SCARLET so much and I enjoy so many adaptations so it’s kind of a let down to feel so meh about this one. I guess I need to keep reading and see if the styles change any as the mysteries continue!


Mini-Reviews: Sherlock Holmes | The Sign of Four, The Red-Headed League, The Adventure of the Blue CarbuncleTitle: The Red-Headed League (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes #2) by Arthur Conan Doyle
Publishing Info: November 30, 2009 by Audible Studios
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: December 13, 2016

In The Redheaded League, Holmes is engaged upon two seemingly unrelated cases, a daring bank robbery and the disappearance of a pawnbroker's assistant. Using minute details of the small mystery, he is able to solve the larger one. "Depend upon it," says Holmes to Watson in A Case of Identity, "there is nothing so unnatural as the commonplace." Holmes is as fascinated by the story of a common young woman whose groom has vanished on the way to the altar as he has been by the woes of kings. He sharpens his powers of detection by putting together scattered facts to form a powerful and unexpected accusation. Holmes tells Watson about one of his first cases, The Musgrave Ritual; one that helped make him famous. Two servants of an English nobleman disappear. By following a trail of obscure clues left behind in an old parchment, Holmes discovers the crown of a former King of England.


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THE RED-HEADED LEAGUE was just a quick, short story but it was a lot of fun! I really enjoyed the quick and concise mystery and it was a little silly in theory but of course, it all works out in the end. I like that it was wrapped up so quickly and I think I enjoy the Holmes short stories more than the full-length novels in that respect. Whereas THE SIGN OF FOUR felt a little dragged out, THE RED-HEADED LEAGUE was obviously zippy due to its short length. Even though it was also a little silly, it was also just more fun in nature.

Mini-Reviews: Sherlock Holmes | The Sign of Four, The Red-Headed League, The Adventure of the Blue CarbuncleTitle: The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes #7) by Arthur Conan Doyle
Publishing Info: December 6, 2012 by Audible Studios
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: December 26, 2016

In this holiday-themed short story, Sherlock Holmes and his trusty sidekick, Dr. Watson, follow the trail of a lost hat and a Christmas goose through the streets of London and into a rapidly expanding mystery.


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Another quick Holmes adventure via audio for my car ride to work. A perfect little holiday novella for the day after Christmas was a fun and festive ride. I’m starting to notice that all Holmes stories have a bit too much “tell” to them where either Holmes reveals everything through a narrative or the culprit tells all at the end, so it’s not as much fun as having some more things revealed bit by bit, but I always do love the clues jam-packed into a story that only Holmes can point out. This one was fun with holiday theme at the right time and I actually did like the Holmes reveal a bit more in this one since it was such a short story.

Discussion: On Being the Black Sheep

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ON BEING THE BLACK SHEEP READER

Yesterday’s Top Ten Tuesday post prompted bloggers to write about books that they liked more or less than they thought they would. Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m the black sheep on a LOT of books! By this point in time in my “reading career”, I know what kind of books I like, what genres I prefer, what writing styles I don’t get along with, etc… but sometimes you just don’t know that a writing style or a character flaw or a huge red flag will throw you off until you start reading. If it’s not a book that’s been getting a ton of attention, I’ll usually DNF or put it to the side and check out reviews some time in the future but for many big-name authors or highly hyped books, I end up asking myself what’s wrong with me and why I didn’t like this book as much as the rest of the world.

Being the black sheep can kind of suck. A lot. I’m okay with being the one that doesn’t like what everyone else does. There are plenty of things that I’m not keen on that the world seems to love and it doesn’t bother me: Football. The color pink. Songs on the radio. Shopping. Makeup. I couldn’t care less to be in the minority there… but when it’s books it’s just… different. I actually don’t mind being in the minority on a book and being the one who didn’t like it when everyone else did but the real sting happens because I actually care about what other people are reading. I want to like the same books as my best friends — I mean, I met them through blogging and books are how we met and something that we bond about every single day — so when my friends love something and I don’t, it’s more personal than me just having a different taste than everyone else. You don’t have to like all of the same things as your friends but when they’re passionate about something and you’re not, being the black sheep feels even worse. (And then I’m afraid my friends are going to dump me.)

Aside from being the odd man out, sometimes I feel just plain uncouth. I’ve tried many, many times and I’m just not a person who connects with certain reading styles or trying to read some classics (again). When I’m the odd person out on a book that had beautiful writing, I can see that it’s there but it’s just not something I connect with. I can certainly appreciate an author’s writing style and I’m not a person who needs action for a book to be interesting or moving, but there are some styles that I just don’t click with and I feel just plain dumb when I don’t. I end up feeling like my friends are so much more sophisticated for enjoying those styles while I allow myself to be swept away in an action-packed fantasy or fluffy contemporary novel. And I know, I know, we all read what we want and no shame in that, and I really don’t have shame in what I enjoy reading. Sometimes I just feel ashamed when I don’t enjoy something and like I really should have loved it too. (Thankfully my friends haven’t left me yet so that’s good.)

Then there are the times where I feel just plain crazy being the black sheep on a book. Or rather, I ask myself, is everyone else crazy? I don’t feel bad when I don’t enjoy a book because of poor plot structure, undeveloped characters, or cheesy romances but then I wonder how so many people loved the same book and rated it five stars when I rated it two or three. These are the moments that stump me the most. I know not everyone will enjoy a book but five stars??? Versus my two/three??? How did these people enjoy this book so much and I didn’t? I guess a lot of it has to do with personal preference, of course, and a lot of my reading experiences really have to do with timing. Books that I read early on in my blogging career were easy, fun, and exciting in many cases because I hadn’t read anything like them.

TWILIGHT was great when I was a teenager because it was popular, dramatic, and I hadn’t read a book about vampires before. SWEET EVIL was like, the best book ever when I read it and as the years went by and I tried to continue the series, I easily fell out of love with writing, concept, and pretty much everything about it, not even making it to the last book. I read these at points in my life that were perfect moments to read these books and if I read them now, they would be cheesy and I’m sure I wouldn’t love them at all like I had all those years ago. And maybe this is the case with all of these books that people are enjoying that I’m not. Maybe these people are reading them at a good time in their life and these are moments when they’re just enjoying a book and not really caring about plot holes or cheesy moments. I know I do that a lot with books — if I’m really enjoying something, I just roll with it and don’t even care if an author uses the wrong scientific term or forgot that something happened three years ago and not five. Then there are the books where a red flag throws me off in the very beginning and I pick everything else apart from there.

It’s not that I need to fit in with every book but sometimes it’s hard being the opposite of a crowd when it’s something that’s so popular! Seeing merch everywhere for the book, raving reviews, reading updates… it’s all just so… blah and makes me wish that I at least liked it a little bit so I could understand where everyone is coming from. Thankfully, I know myself well enough that I like what I like and I don’t what I don’t and I don’t have to “fit in” with the crowd, even if it means I’m the crazy one who didn’t like the new hit release!

The one shining moment about being the black sheep on a book is when you find other black sheep. We don’t need to fit in but there is some validation of your reactions and feelings and it’s like WOOOOO! Someone else who agrees! I know plenty of us are happy to be ourselves or even to go against the grain but deep down, it’s human nature to want to connect with someone and enjoy the same things that someone else does. Find another black sheep to rant and revel with can be a glorious moment when you find it, so there’s always at least one silver lining in those black sheep reads!


Do you find yourself being on the opposite of popular books and reviews? Do you ever feel like the odd person out when it comes to those black sheep reads? Tell me your stories!

Top Ten Tuesday – February 21, 2017: Ten Black Sheep Moments

 

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TOP TEN TUESDAY
February 21, 2017

It’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the wonderful blog at The Broke and the Bookish! This week’s topic was Ten Books I Loved More/Less Than I Thought I Would and I opted to share my black sheep moments!

I feel like more and more lately I’ve become the black sheep on so many popular books. My best friends loved them. The general population loved them. They’re incredible well-rated books. There the most popular books in the country right now… But they’re just not the books for me.

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic prompted a sharing of books that we loved more or less than we thought we would and I wanted to share some of those black sheep moments that I’ve had, whether recently or in the past. Some of these may shock you. Some of these may cause you to unfriend me or throw your books at me or jump up and down screaming “How could you possibly think that!?” but you know… finding a fellow black sheep is kind of an amazing feeling. I try not to dwell on a negative opinion but when I find someone else who’s in the incredibly small portion of people who didn’t like a popular book, I immediately stop by and say, “Hey, me too!”

So after babbling on and on (maybe I’m just delaying it because of fear of all the judging that is about to happen!), here are my Top Ten Black Sheep Books!


AN EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir
Goodreads average rating: 4.32 stars | My rating: DNF

Ummmm yeahhhhhh. I didn’t finish this one. I started listening on audio WITH TWO OF MY FAVORITE NARRATORS and was bored and annoyed and felt like the book wasn’t doing anything new. Prophecies, blah. It was too perfect and too convenient. I tried picking up my ARC and just couldn’t get into it. Meh. | My Review


THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green
Goodreads average rating: 4.28 stars | My rating: 3 stars

the fault in our stars tfios

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS is the highest-rated book on my “black sheep” books list. I had never read a John Green book before this and everyone raaaaved how much they loved it so obviously I had very high hopes! What I found was just… not the best. The teens were way too well-spoken (like more than adults EVER are) and the conversations just felt unrealistic and pretentious. It was my first John Green book and I haven’t really found one since that I loved. | My Review


THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES by Mindy McGinnis
Goodreads average rating: 4.27 stars | My rating: 3 – 3.5 stars

I guess this was more of a black sheep book in the sense that I was left confused in so many ways on how I felt about it. Main character Alex was emotionally cold and closed-off and yet she was extremely over-feeling. The ending of the book infuriated me and yet it was also kind of the only way it could end. Things like that left me with an overall feeling of confusion. I was totally on board with the overall message and the fact that McGinnis didn’t shy away from sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll (okay, or just sex and drugs). But I also really, really didn’t like the unnecessary involvement of animal abuse. If it needed to be included, it could have been for a plot point and instead, there was no point to it. | My Review


THE GOOSE GIRL by Shannon Hale
Goodreads average rating: 4.18 stars | My rating: 2 stars

I read this with Alyssa and Amy as an On the Same Page buddy read because it was one of Amy’s favorite books and… I was surprised she didn’t ditch me because of my feelings on the book. I actually *whispers almost inaudibly* kiiiind of skimmed the end? I don’t know why but I just could not get into this book. It just wasn’t my thing. | My Review


CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber
Goodreads average rating: 4.15 stars | My rating: 3 stars

CARAVAL was a good example of one of those horrible, horrible black sheep moments. The one where I’m SURE I’ll love the book. The moment where I’m so confident that I break my rule of getting ARCs (much less books) personalized and save my extra manuscript copy (which has now gone to a good home) because I don’t want to get rid of them, just in case I need them for a future collection. Instead, it’s goodbye spare copies and I don’t even want a finished copy. I was really disappointed in CARAVAL. It was entertaining enough but I don’t understand what people saw in it. The world was too all-over-the-place, I hated the sister relationship, and the ending was crap. The imagery was amazingly gorgeous and the boy was swoony but that wasn’t enough to save the book for me. If anyone needs an ARC and you don’t mind my name in it… I won’t need it! | My Review


UPROOTED by Naomi Novik
Goodreads average rating: 4.14 stars | My rating: 2.5 – 3 stars

 

This was another book that I read with Alyssa and Amy that they loved and I didn’t (seriously, why are they still friends with me?) but at least I was able to pinpoint that it was a style clash with me. I don’t need all action all the time to enjoy a book but the pacing in UPROOTED felt slow and detailed and I just had a really hard time pushing through it. I ended up speed-reading (aka skimming) parts until I came around to a bit more going on in the end. When it came down to it, it was just a style issue for me.


KIDS OF APPETITE by David Arnold
Goodreads average rating: 4.08 stars | My rating: 3 stars

I didn’t end up reading MOSQUITOLAND before I read KIDS OF APPETITE but I had heard nothing but good things for David Arnold’s book! I had also met him a year or two ago and he was just such a wonderful person… But I really didn’t enjoy KIDS OF APPETITE. Again, it was a style thing for the most part, combined with a bit too much repetition (I don’t ever want to hear the word “racehorse” again). Something about it just wasn’t for me and it actually kind of reminded me of John Green’s books which as we know from this post are not really for me. | My Review


 

SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi
Goodreads average rating: 4.02 stars | My rating: DNF

Shatter Me

This book should have been so me in concept, especially around the time when it came out… but I just could not stand the writing. All the strikethroughs drove me nuts and I just had a really hard time reading it. I eventually gave up and despite the awesome ratings, never felt the pull to come back to it.


TRUTHWITCH by Susan Dennard
Goodreads average rating: 3.94 stars | My rating: 2 stars

I spent WEEKS reading TRUTHWITCH. I just could not get into it. This had the makings of a perfect Brittany book but it just did not come together for me. For starters, I started with the audio and hated the narrator. Like one of the worst narrators I have ever, ever listened to. Everything was overacted and just not in line with the character personalities. BUT that problem is easily solved — I just switched to my print copy… which I had purchased so I could keep reading. And still took weeks to finish it. I just wanted so, so much more from the world-building, from the romance, and even from the friendship. I just didn’t feel any of it jiving… not to mention it was hyped up in SEPTEMBER allllllll the way until January when it was released. That’s way too much hype. | My review


THREE DARK CROWNS by Kendare Blake
Goodreads average rating: 3.86 stars | My rating: 3 stars

This one doesn’t seem too bad from Goodreads average rating to my own rating but SO many of my friends gave this four stars and a lot of them gave it five “this book is amazing” stars. I… didn’t get it. The pacing was slow, which in retrospect was in part because it was the first in a series which Goodreads had not noted when I first picked it up so I thought I was reading a stand alone. How. Killer. Then again, even if I had known I was reading the first in a series, it still would have been slow. The world was interesting and I loved getting to know the three queen sisters and yet I was still missing so much. I wanted a lot more depth from each girl and I felt like not a whole lot happened until the very end and things got good on like, the last page! Plus there was a very dumb love triangle that felt totally unnecessary and I hated it (and love triangles usually don’t bother me). I don’t know if I’ll keep reading the series, mostly because I’m mad at it. | My Review


Those are my big, old black sheep books! (Please don’t yell at me!) So fellow black sheep… let’s unite! I know these are big fan-favorites among many but I want to hear from the fellow black sheep on these. Who else is out there!?

Bone Gap – Laura Ruby

Bone Gap – Laura RubyTitle: Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
Publishing Info: March 3, 2015 by HarperCollins
Source: Borrowed from Hoopla
Genres: Young Adult, Mythology, Magical Realism
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: December 11, 2016

Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps—gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever. So when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. After all, it wasn’t the first time that someone had slipped away and left Finn and Sean O’Sullivan on their own. Just a few years before, their mother had high-tailed it to Oregon for a brand new guy, a brand new life. That’s just how things go, the people said. Who are you going to blame?
Finn knows that’s not what happened with Roza. He knows she was kidnapped, ripped from the cornfields by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember. But the searches turned up nothing, and no one believes him anymore. Not even Sean, who has more reason to find Roza than anyone, and every reason to blame Finn for letting her go.
As we follow the stories of Finn, Roza, and the people of Bone Gap—their melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futures—acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgiveness—a story about how the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are.

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BONE GAP has been highly praised and sounded incredibly intriguing, often being marked as “magical realism” by several of its readers, so when I saw the audiobook pop in my options from Hoopla, I knew I really wanted to read it! I’ve been getting into magical realism more and more lately and it sounded like something I was definitely in the mood for, especially with its positive feedback.

I guess the biggest thing that stuck with me after finishing the book is that I’m not really sure in what category to put this book! It ended up being on a sort of Raven Cycle plane where it’s kind of magical realism, kind of mythology, and kind of its own genre. BONE GAP felt like took a while to get to the “magical” parts but there were some things that were constantly developing that finally blossomed into their full potential towards the end of the book, sort of causing that magical reveal. I do have to say, though, that I was hoping for a bit more of that throughout the beginning and middle. It definitely had a unique feel and was unlike anything I’ve ever read but I still struggled — as I have with a lot of books lately — in feeling connected to the overall concept in the earlier portions of the book.

The ending of the book seemed like a little too much at all once. The portions of the book with Roza were certainly leading there, and the reader is fully aware that what’s happening to Roza certainly isn’t normal, but the ending almost left me with more questions than answers in some respects. One big issue I also had with this book was my own interpretation of the synopsis.

Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps—gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever. So when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised.

I accidentally took this statement literally, and with so many mentions of magical realism, I was assuming that the gaps were literal gaps in the corn field — like a Field of Dreams sort of concept — and people ended up disappearing. I mean, the town is named Bone Gap so I thought the gap was literal. Whenever I have misinterpretations like that, it really takes me a while to adjust, so that was more of a personal problem and I had to really refocus.

The bright, shining piece of this book for me what the interesting cast of characters! Finn, Sean, Roza, and Petey are such complex and interesting characters, with many different relationships to tie them together. I loved all of the different forms of love that are included in this book and how many different layers there were to each one. Each personality was so different too! The characters all have their strong points and each one really helps the others learn and grow. It’s a beautiful, tangled web and I really enjoyed each character that the book featured!

BONE GAP was cleverly written and wonderfully layered. The whole concept (aside from the magical aspects) was built upon a reveal that I didn’t even see coming until it was almost revealed and it was wholly unique and a little heart-breaking. I was impressed with Laura Ruby’s creativity, depth, and ability to plot out the whole book in ways that I hadn’t imagined. I always feel like it’s super impressive when I’m able to be caught off-guard because being an avid reader, I’ve just read so many different things that it’s always impressive to see even more originality in a book.

 

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Kept Me Hooked On: Incredibly unique concepts. I love being able to read a book unlike anything else I’ve read before! In a blogging world where I’m constantly looking for read alikes, it’s very, very cool to read something that I can’t even compare to anything else.
Left Me Wanting More: Clarity. I had the minor (well, maybe more than minor) issue that I misinterpreted the synopsis and unfortunately, it did affect how I read the book. I also had the moments in the book itself where I just wanted a little bit more information on the world and the details.

Addiction Rating
Try it

Sadly I didn’t love this book but I also didn’t dislike it. It was a smooth read from start to finish but I do think that some things could have been described a bit more. Others have totally loved it though! I’m definitely interested in reading more from Laura Ruby and I’m excited to see what else she comes up with!

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BOOKS LIKE BONE GAP

(Click the cover to see my review!)

    SHADOWLANDS

Top Ten Tuesday – February 14, 2017: Friends-to-More Romance

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TOP TEN TUESDAY
February 14, 2017

It’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the wonderful blog at The Broke and the Bookish! This week’s topic was All About X Romance/Trope! I have so many favorites but friends-to-more is one of my top choices for romance!  

The Friends-to-More romance is one of my favorite tropes! Whether it’s best friends who have known each other for a long time or two recent friends who start to have feelings for each other, I just love the trope in any way! I’ve created a few posts about it including the Best-Friend-Turned-Boyfriend post (both one and two) and I started compiling a Comprehensive List for my favorite trope, which I hope to keep updated the more books I find that fit the list! Here are a few of my favorites for today’s Top Ten Tuesday!

ON THE FENCE by Kasie West  | Goodreads | Amazon

ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS is my go-to for this trope but you know what… I MAY love the romance in ON THE FENCE even more. Dare I say it? ANNA will still be my top contemp but I just love this one from Kasie West!


ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins | Goodreads | Amazon

My top contemporary booooook! I’m sure if you’ve been on my blog, you know everything that I have to say on this.


The Elemental Trilogy by Sherry Thomas | Goodreads | Amazon

Titus and Iolanthe!!!! They became an instant OTP as soon as I started reading this series. Gah, I just love them in every way.


emmy & oliver book cover

EMMY & OLIVER by Robin Benway | Goodreads | Amazon

I haven’t read many books that are childhood friends reuniting after being apart for a long time and this story from Robin Benway was touching, swoony, and serious all at the same time!


Shadow and Bone

The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo |  Goodreads | Amazon

I was one person who did not ship Alina and the Darkling in this series. I was more more Alina/Mal, especially towards the end of the series! They were just MEANT to be together!


The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins |  Goodreads | Amazon

The romance is actually my least favorite part of this entire series but I was way more Team Gale than I ever was Team Peeta! I’m just a sucker for that best-friends-to-more.


The Raven Boys - Maggie Steifvater

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater |  Goodreads | Amazon

Basically this whole series is friends-to-more, and kind of in more than one way. I love the all encompassing friendships and romances here!


When Joss Met Matt Eliie Cahill Liz Czukas

WHEN JOSS MET MATT by Ellie Cahill |  Goodreads | Amazon

Funny, adorable, sexy, and swoony — I fell head over heels for WHEN JOSS MET MATT and if you’re looking for a good New Adult book, you totally need to read this one!


Say whaaaat? This is all I have for friends-to-more!? Tell me what other books you loved featuring this trope!