Apr 30, 2015

I don't blog for the ARC's...



When I started this blog back in 2009 I didn't know book blogging was a thing. I just started posting about books in a sort of "book journal" kind of way, in order for me to have something to look back years later and reflect. I honestly thought I was being a little unique by doing this. I'm not exactly sure how I stumbled across my first book blog but then I discovered this whole new world! And so my journey into reviewing books began.

After a short time of reviewing, I discovered ARC's. Everyone was getting them and they were...free books! Free books that weren't even released yet! I found it amazing and wonderful and oh I wanted all the books! But...I didn't request any. Part of me believed that I wasn't a good enough reviewer. I was very inconsistent in my reading and blogging habits. So I waited and after a while, I decided I had enough books and I didn't need to request any after all. So there. [Although there was one time that I did request a book, Anna Dressed in Blood, but I didn't receive any kind of response so I figured I wouldn't be getting it and bought it anyways. A couple days after I got my copy, I got a second one from the publisher. I was quite surprised]

The first time an author contacted me was momentous. Why? Because it was Tiffanie DeBartolo that's why. She was one of my favorite authors (still is, no doubt.) On a wishlist type of post I ranted that I wanted to read her other book, How to Kill a Rock star and I was probably going to buy it soon. Her email to me just said simply that her publisher had seen my post, mentioned it to her and would I like a copy of her other book. OMG!! OF COURSE I WANTED HER BOOK AND OMG! A few weeks later, I had a copy in my hands and it was signed to me. First free book from an author and first signed copy. All because of this little blog right here.

I then started receiving frequent offers for ARC's from other authors, mostly indie. It became easy to filter through what I would read, what I probably would never read and what I really would enjoy. Books began piling up on me and I was obsessively buying more. Eventually, I became overwhelmed with it all and stopped. Both blogging and accepting books and reading altogether.

When I finally decided to get back into blogging (which I've done a number of times) I decided not to accept books for review, which I've been good at. That wasn't why I ever did it and I think that when I started getting all kinds of ARC's, I was reading less of what I loved.

Occasionally I'll get books in the mail, because I am on some list somewhere but they're usually genres I do not like so I donate them or give them to family. This past week though, I received a whole box of YA books! A whole box! I was over the moon excited and I really am going to try and get through them. I'll be posting a monthly wrap up of sorts where I'll share what I got.
Do you request ARC's? If not, why? And if you do, do you become overwhelmed sometimes also?

 

 

Apr 29, 2015

Review | Grayson by Lynne Cox

Okay, the thing about Grayson is that you read the synopsis and...that's it. Basically, there is nothing else to the story. It was cute to start off but it got boring after a bit because of the excessive and unnecessary details that seemed to be there just to fill up the pages.

I get that the author tries to create a sort of "magical" experience for the reader, but I think instead the story is dragged on more than it should be. I did manage to finish the whole book in no time (because it is a short book) but skimmed a huge portion of it, wondering when and if Grayson would actually find his mother.

This one just wasn't for me but I was able to get through it quick enough that when I did finish it, I did not feel frustrated for giving it more time than needed.

Apr 15, 2015

Goodreads challenge and falling behind



Since Goodreads added the annual challenge on the website, I've participated. I've completed it once and it was usually because I would set it unrealistically high that I didn't get to my goal. Last year I set it at 25 books. I came nowhere near it, and ended up just updating it as I finished a book. That's how I finally earned a badge of completion for one.

This year, I've been doing pretty well. Mostly because I've also added the graphic novels I've read and such but now I'm two books behind and that made me a little sad. Not sure if I'll catch up at this rate now. It might seem easy enough but I always have a hard time keeping up. Maybe now that I've started DNF'ing books, I might get through more quicker. We will see how it goes.
Do you participate in the GR challenge? Or any others?

Review | Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Title: Blood Red Road by Moira Young
Series: Dust Lands #1
Genre: Young Adult - Dystopia
Publication: June 7, 2011 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★

Synopsis: Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when four cloaked horsemen capture Lugh, Saba's world is shattered, and she embarks on a quest to get him back.
Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the outside world, Saba discovers she is a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba's unrelenting search for Lugh stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.


ThoughtsThis was a tough one to get into. Not only because of the writing, since it can be a little difficult to understand, but also because I had a hard time even getting into the story. I kept hearing amazing things about this book when it was newly released and even went to meet Young when she was nearby. But after the first twenty or so pages, I got used to the writing and the story began to flow a little better.

Blood Red Road starts off with an exciting scene of fighting and kidnap, but then slows down a bit when Saba, the MC, must make her way through the harsh land in order to save her twin brother from whoever took him, while dragging her little sister along and running into a few problems along the way.

Saba was a tough girl, and even though I'm not sure I ever even grew to like her, I admired her courage. I wish we could've experienced her closeness to Lugh in order to understand her determination to save him, which at times came off as oddly obsessive (but that was okay I guess.)  Her attitude with her younger sister Emmi though, made me want to smack her time and again.

A lot happens in the book, and Saba faces a lot of life-threatening and difficult situations. It was both exciting and emotional, which was certainly what I needed to get through the dialogue that had thrown me off since the beginning. Blood Red Road is definitely an enjoyable read that dystopian lovers will find appealing.

Apr 14, 2015

Review | The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells

It might be a good thing that I read some books a few years after their release date. Browsing through Goodreads, I was seeing tons of 5 and 4 star reviews and I was thinking...really? I've come to the conclusion that when all the hype has died down and the book has been sitting on my shelf for a few years, I don't feel like I'm expected to love a book. That was the case for The Summer of Skinny Dipping because while I found it okay, I didn't think it was all that cracked up to be.

My first problem with the book was how descriptive it was. Usually, that's a good thing right? With The Summer of Skinny Dipping it felt like too much, forced and flowery when it wasn't really necessary. I can deal with that though, and still enjoy a book. But this one was almost a DNF for me until I forced myself to finish it and for the last 50-100 I just sort of skimmed it to know what would happen next. I wasn't feeling anything for the main character Mia, or any of the other characters which consisted of mostly snobs that I wasn't even sure I was supposed to like. I didn't fall in love with Simon (which is always important for me in the male character) and didn't really feel their relationship was cute or romantic or even necessary. They could've just been friends and it would have had the same effect for me.

Then I realized what was going to happen before it did. I don't know how I figured it out, and if you haven't read the book, this one is supposed to be a shocker, I guess. But I knew it was coming and when it did happen it was more of an "aha!" moment instead of an emotional one for me. And that kind of sucked. Once I found out what the conclusion was, I kept comparing this book to one of my all time favorite adult books with a similar ending and just felt like The Summer of Skinny Dipping didn't provide the kind of emotional attachment I wanted for a book with that kind of ending (which doesn't seem fair when comparing it to another book but oh well.)

I don't mean to bash this book, really. It was a nice enough, fluffyish book that was enjoyed by many readers. It's a book you could probably finish in one day, preferably at the beach and feel satisfied you read it with the perfect setting. I slugged through it in the summer/fall/winter, putting it down one too many times (started it in July but didn't finish it until October...of the next year.) It just didn't work out for me.

Apr 9, 2015

Review | The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

There's usually a reason for me to pick up a book. Usually there's hype surrounding it, or a movie being released soon, or a club read, etc. I don't normally pick up books at random. But I created a TBR jar sometime last year and that's how The Raven Boys was picked up. While it has hype and has been really popular, I heard very little about it. I fell completely in love with the story and cannot wait to read the rest of the series.

There is nothing I can say about the awesomeness of this book that hasn't been said already. So let me just say that I love how magical Stiefvater's books are. Everytime I read something she's written, I feel like I'm dipping myself into a pool of magic. From her unique take on the fantasy genre, to her amazing description of characters, I always feel like I'm part of a fairytale.

Stiefvater always has several characters the reader follows, different points of views, and a lot of development for each of them but it all works. Stiefvater's writing is so easy to get enveloped in and her characters are easy to get to know. I usually just want to pull them out of the books and hug them and be their friend. That's how The Raven Boys made me feel.

I have to admit that it took me a little bit to really get into the story. Not because it was bad bt because it has a bit of a slow beginning. It wasn't about 50 or so pages that I was actually truly sucked into the book, but once I was hooked, I could not put it down.

Apr 7, 2015

Learning to not finish books

I used to hate marking books as DNF; I hated giving up on them. Part of my new year resolutions a couple years ago was to finish all the books I started. That meant no DNF. I did really well actually but I noticed it slowed me down. I was reading less books because I was struggling to get through these books I wasn't enjoying too much.

One of the reasons why I didn't want to mark books as "did not finish" was because I felt guilty. Maybe it was just me being a slow reader or something? I also felt that with having a book blog and writing up my reviews, I needed a variety of ratings. So if I was giving up all the books I didn't like, would it be good enough to write an honest review? Should I even write one since I didn't even finish the book? And at what point do I give up? So many questions! And also, would I even have 1, 2 or 3 star reviews ever again? It seemed like in order to review these books that I thought weren't great, was to actually finish them.


Over the last few months though, I've been struggling with getting through some books. For example, I talked about not being able to get through Fight Club in my last post. But then I jumped to a different book and I read it in a few days which made me realize that maybe I wasn't reading books I loved. And yeah, I enjoyed the other book I picked up, but would I give it 5 stars? Maybe, maybe not. I would have to sit and write up my thoughts, what I enjoyed and what I didn't to really be able to say if I would give it a high star rating. Which means that I might still have a variety of ratings after all.

I was reading A Once Crowded Sky these last couple of weeks and I wasn't liking it. I'd been looking forward to reading this book for years, since I saw it at ALA in 2013. And when I finally got to it, I was sadly disappointed. It's not that I hate it. But I don't want to finish reading it. So I decided I wouldn't. That means that this year I already have two books that I didn't finish, which would have been outrageous for me before but now...it feels kind of liberating. There are so many books I want to read and according to the TBR time, it would take me about 18 years to finish all the unread books I own. I don't have time for that. I could be either struggling to get through a meh book or I could be speeding through an amazing book. I choose amazing 

Apr 3, 2015

I never actually don't read. I read often, sometimes just a few pages when I have breakfast, sometimes just a couple sentences while I'm waiting in line. I normally have a book with me, even if I have a small purse, I'll just have a book in my car. It's part of the things I grab when I run out the door (keys, wallet, glasses, book, etc.)

It wasn't until a couple of weeks ago that I realized I felt like I was forcing myself to read books I didn't want to. For example, Fight Club. I've had this book sitting on my shelf for years and I finally decided to give it a go because so many people love it and I haven't seen the movie... And you know what? I didn't like it. I gave up about halfway thinking, "Yuck, I can't finish this." There was nothing particularly wrong with the story or anything, it just wasn't for me. Palahniuk's writing has never grabbed my attention the way it has for other people. That's okay though.

Instead, I grabbed a sweet, little contemporary book that my 12 year old cousin let me borrow (ha!) and I loved it. I seriously could not put it down. I was done with it in a few days which hardly ever happens to me anymore! At some point while reading this book, I looked up and thought to myself...this is what I had been missing. Reading books that I loved to read. And most of them may be fluffy and fictional, but they're my favorites