Category Archives: Personal

BookTube-A-Thon TBR 2017

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From today until July 30th is the BookTube-A-Thon, and I’ve decided to try it this year since I’m fifteen books behind according to goodreads. I feel like I’m already failing since it is almost 2 P.M. where I am and I haven’t started reading at all. Hopefully I can catch up to everyone who started reading at midnight. Here’s the books I plan to read this week:

Challenge #1: Read a book with a person on the cover

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Iron Cast by Destiny Soria. Set in the 1900s, two girls who can create illusions through their magical art try and fail at trying to con their city’s elite. I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while, so I’m excited to finally get to it. It’s 376 pages.

Challenge #2: Read a hyped book

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The third book in the Percy Jackson series, The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan. I’ve wanting to continue this series for a while, and what’s more hyped than Percy Jackson? This is 312 pages.

Challenge #3: Finish a book in one day

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The third book in the Saxby Smart, Private Detective series. I had meant to finish and review this before the read-a-thon started, but oh well. The best laid plans and all that. This is 224 pages.

Challenge #4: Read about a character that is very different from you.

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I feel like this is a weird attempt to say read a diverse book, but I’ve seen people decide to go with animal protagonists and outgoing characters for this. Anyway, I choose The Land by Mildred D. Taylor. In post-Civil War Georgia, Paul-Edward Logan struggles with being biracial. He dreams of owning a piece of land. This is 369 pages.

Challenge #5: Read a book completely outdoors

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I’m gonna make this as easy as possible for myself and start my reread of the Saga books. This is 160 pages.

Challenge #6: Read a book you bought because of the cover

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Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells. The cover combined with the title caught my attention when browsing the shelves of Barnes and Noble, and I knew I had to find out what it was about. In a world where magic is a drug, a patrol cop finds herself in trouble as she shoots the lead snitch in a crucial case. This is 385 pages. 

Challenge #7: Read seven books

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For my last book I knew I had to pick this one up. My mom raved about it after she finished this middle grade mystery in two days. Something she never does. This is 288 pages.

So that is my TBR for this week. It adds up to a total of 2,114 pages. Very intimidating but I’m really hoping to get to all of them. Throughout the week I will be doing update posts, but for now, I’m going to get to reading.

 

Favorite Childhood Reads

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Isis:

I never read much as a child. I do remember reading Clifford obsessively and these Maisy books because they had little pop ups. They were my favorites as a kid.

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Nicole:

I read a lot more than Isis. Not like now, but I’ve read a lot of different books. I remember rereading a lot of the same book over and over again. Unlike now when I rarely ever reread books.

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I’m pretty sure that I read all the Dr. Seuss books, and a lot of The Berenstain Bears seriesI would finish one book in one sitting and start on the next one right away.

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I was obsessed with Winnie-the-Pooh when I was little. I vaguely remember the book, but I watched the movies over and over again. My room for years only had Winnie-the-Pooh decorations.

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I had a lot of these Little Golden Books. I read a lot of them but Aladdin and 101 Dalmatians were a couple of my favorites. I would read these and then watch the movie and then read these again.

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My kindergarten teacher used to read to us everyday. I don’t remember any of the books she read except with the Junie B. Jones series. I loved these. I loved Junie, and all of her mishaps. I found this through my teacher, but I loved it so much that I would go to the library to get the ones she didn’t read.

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I remember always picking this series up though I don’t remember what actually happened during it. I do want to find these in thrift shops or the library and reread them when I can. 

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I’m so glad I decided to do this post, because I’ve been trying to figure out the name of this book for ages and I could never find it. I tried one more time so I could add it to this list, and I finally figured it out. In elementary school sometimes if you got there early they would take you to the library and the librarian would read to everyone until it was time to go to class. This was one of the books she read though I never got the full story since sometimes I would miss school or come later so then I missed out on parts of the story. But I always wondered what happened at the end. Now that I remember the title, I’m going to look it up and read it again.

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We had to read these books in fifth grade, but I never minded the work involved because I loved these stories. With Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry especially. I went to the library and got all the other books in the series. When I finished them all, I was so upset that it ended that I wrote my own fanfiction of it. Not that I knew the term then.

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These aren’t so much children’s books, but I felt the need to add them here. I didn’t read as much as I got to middle school, but these books were my everything. I would get in trouble all the time for reading the Maximum Ride series in class. I never liked getting in trouble, but I just had to know what was going to happen. Though by the time I think the third or the fourth book came out I was over them. I think I read all the books that Lois Duncan had out. I would read them in one or two sittings because I was so captivated, and then I would immediately go to the library to get another one. This was also the time I picked up Harry Potter, and became obsessed with that. Then, for years Harry Potter books or fanfiction was the only thing I read.

Books We’ll (Probably) Never Read Tag

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1. A really hyped book you’re not interested in reading?

Isis: Caraval by Stephanie Garber. It doesn’t sound appealing to me at all. I’m not sure why there’s so much hype surrounding it.

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Nicole: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon. I thought this sounded interesting because when people talk about it they just mention clairvoyants, but when learning more I learned about the slave/master romance it mainly involves around. Who wants to read about that?

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2. A series you won’t start/won’t be finishing?

Isis: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I mentioned this before, but I don’t like assassin books at all.

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Nicole: The Mortal InstrumentsThe Infernal Devices, basically any of the shadowhunter books.

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3. A classic that you’re not interested in?

Isis: Moby-Dick by Herman Melville. I don’t think I’ll ever get to this one. It’s probably one of the few classics that have never appealed to me.

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Nicole: Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. I’m not interesting in reading about white men who think they are misunderstood.

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4. Any genres you never read?
Isis: I don’t think I’ve ever read any sci-fi. It’s something I stay away from. I’m not into it.

Nicole: I don’t think I’ve ever read a western or a cyberpunk. I wouldn’t say I would never read a book from either of these genres. They just aren’t on my usual radar.

5. A book on your shelves you’ll probably never actually read?
Isis: I like to think I will read everything, but I’m not sure I’ll ever get to the Spanish version of Stephen King’s 11/22/63. I bought it for my mom a few years back and she never read it, and when she passed away, I kept it. My sister read it and loved it, but I’m not sure I would like it.

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Nicole: I recently got rid of a lot of the books I didn’t think I would ever read. But I’ve stubbornly held onto a couple for some reason. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

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Writing With a Ten-Year-Old

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Summer’s here, schools out, and with that I am back to watching my boyfriend’s nephew during the day. He’s ten, turning eleven in July. He can be what you would call a reluctant reader. Video gaming is his preferred activity, and he always puts up a fight when I make him read a little bit everyday.

Last year I actually managed to conjoule him write a “book” with me. It takes a little bit of time, but once we start writing or we start talking ideas he does enjoy it. I promise I’m not torturing him. Anyway, it was five pages typed about this duo who has a lot of powers and like to solve crimes. The plot is all over the place, there’s virtually no description, and he’s convinced he writes better than J.K. Rowling.

Yesterday we started on book two. We managed to plan a plot line from the first book to continue on with, have a nice little mystery we will solve, and planned out two more books in the process. In terms of actual writing, we only got around two hundred words, or one page, down before he was tired and wanted to play Call of Duty. I call it a success. It took a bit more than an hour or so, and most of that was deciding on a font and switching the color to the perfect shade of blue.

I’ve written before about my troubles with self doubt when writing. I tried to do Camp NaNoWriMo this year, and failed epically. I didn’t even do the final update. Since then I haven’t written on that project at all. I’ve thought about it a lot, but that doesn’t equal words on the page which in turn doesn’t give me progress. I only write with Isis on the project we do together. I still haven’t finished those backstories I talked about. I’m basically where I was when I wrote that first post almost a year ago.

Writing with this ten-year-old, I couldn’t help but think that I could really learn from him. He doesn’t ever think about writing anything that other people would enjoy. He wrote it, so obviously it’s amazing, and other people will love it too. Whenever I try to describe the setting or the weather or a character’s description or action during dialogue he always asks, “Nicole, why are you writing that?”

He’s very simple and to the point. If the characters are searching a house for information, they go into the drawer and find it. They don’t search the whole house first. They simply know where to go, and they go do it. There’s no character development here. They need to go to the police as the ending? You write, “They went to the police and told them all they needed to know. Then they went home. The End.” I’m sure he would make that even simpler. There’s no editing. You never second your first thought, and the scene will simply change as you get tired of it or get a new idea.

And you know what? It’s the best time I’ve spent writing in a long while. When I’m writing, I usually have a ball of anxiety nearly suffocating me. I have so many worries and concerns. I agonize over every sentence. It takes me hours to write a three sentence paragraph. On a good day I might be able to write five hundred words. And I never leave my document satisfied. I’m never proud of what I write.

When writing with him, there’s never doubt. After every sentence there’s a compliment of how good it is. Every new idea is met with a high five or a hug. There’s a lot of jokes and laughter, and at the end there’s no doubt that what we wrote is the best thing ever.

It’s very freeing, and something I really want to take into writing my own novels. At least in the first draft. Seeing as I never get to a second draft with my own books, this could only help me out. I’m forever seeing authors advise people to first write for yourself, but I always find it hard to take their advice. There’s always a voice in the back of my head saying, “Yes. That’s good advice for real writers,  but you aren’t a real writer.” There’s no doubt in this ten-year-old’s head that he’s a real writer and will be a best seller and he hates the idea of books and writing every other day.

Of course I don’t expect to write this, and have all my problems solved. But I do think I should think of this, and try to channel it more. It can’t hurt at least.

 

 

 

 

 

Summaries We Love and Avoid

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There are some summaries you read, and you know instantly that you have to check the book out. These are ours.

Nicole:

  • Fast, exciting, adventurous, intense. These words always grab my attention and make me want to see more of what a book is about.
  • Magic/magical. Anything with magic I feel like I need to check it out. It’s honestly my favorite thing in stories.
  • Friendships. If a blurb or summary mentions friendships it’s always exciting. Not enough books focus on this aspect enough when promoting.
  • Anything with space/pirates/thieves/a group of misfits. I’m very into all of these types of stories right now. I need more of them.

Isis:

  • An lgbt+ character is a main character. If there is any indication of this, I will read it. 
  • A story about family. I love seeing family dynamics play about so this always draws my attention. 
  • A coming of age story following a teenager who is still finding himself/herself. I’m such a sucker for coming of age stories. Especially when they’re set in the summer. 
  • A story set in a small town where all things seem normal, until the supernatural appears. I’m usually hoping this doesn’t include vampires. Any other creates make for an interesting story. 

On the other hand, there are some summaries that make us go ehh I don’t know about this. These are ours.

Nicole:

  • Hot, sexy, sizzling. Any words like these tell me that the book focuses more on the romance, no matter what else the actual plot is.
  • Any summary along the lines of “he/she/the town was normal and boring until this new person showed up. Wonder what caused all this trouble/they changed this persons whole life.” It annoys me intensely.
  • Also, any summary that starts off with “Jane Doe had the perfect life until.” I find it so boring and tiring.

Isis: 

  • A journey through space. Chances are I’m already bored. Me and sci-fi don’t really mix. 
  • An assassin as a main character. I’m not throwing shade at Throne of Glass. I’ve heard so many books starring assassins and I don’t find the excitement. I don’t care about assassins. Take them away. 
  • Paranormal romance between a human and some ancient creature. So many books tried to copy Twilight. This is so overdone I just can’t stand it. 

Books We Want to Read This Summer

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Isis:

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

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This is one of my most anticipated summer releases. It looks like a sweet romantic comedy full of culture and awesome characters. I can’t wait for this to come out so I can get to it. 

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

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I picked this up on a whim a few weeks ago, and I’m eager to read it. Nicole hyped it up for me. I love lighthearted reads so I’m hoping this is one of those for me. And it has the word “summer” in it so it’s perfect. 

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

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This one also feels very summery, though I don’t think it’s as lighthearted. I’m still looking forward to reading this story. I’ve heard it deals with twins in different time periods, which reminds me of a book I didn’t finish for school called “The God of Small Things.” I’m hoping this one isn’t as emotionally draining. 

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

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I’m so behind on Morgan Matson books, but I enjoyed Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, so I’m excited to finally get to this book. Every summer since I got this I’ve been meaning to read it, but it hasn’t happened yet. Hoping this is the year. I know this one is about a close friendship, and I’m fully on board. 

Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky

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I’m also hoping this one is lighthearted. The title alone hooked me from the start. When I think of summer, I think of kidnapping members of a boy band. Not really! But I’m interested to see how this plot is handled in this book. 

 

Nicole:

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

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I’m currently on The Titan’s Curse in the original Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. I’m hoping to finish the series and start on The Heroes of Olympians series this summer. My goal is to finish these series and the Apollo series by the time the third Magnus Chase book comes out. It’s a pretty ambitious goal,  but I don’t want to read The Ship of the Dead until I read Riordan’s other books. Simply because I’ve heard from other people who’ve read all of them that they think it’ll all intertwine. I don’t want to be confused or spoiled so this is my big goal.

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

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I got this from NetGalley, started it, and then never finished. I’m still really interested in it, though I’ve found that I have trouble concentrating when reading on my phone. I have a few others from NetGalley I really need to get to and review soon, but this one is my most anticipated.

Saga Comics by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

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I’ve read the first three of these comics forever ago it seems like. I never continued on since the wait was too much, and I would forget what happened. But Isis has been bugging me ever since to get caught up so she can talk about it with someone. Since she’s planning on reading Magnus Chase, I guess it’s finally time to catch up on this series for her.

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

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I’ve wanted to read from N.K. Jemisin for a while now, and I’m hoping to get to this this summer. I don’t particularly know what this book is about, but I’ve heard nothing but good things. I’ve also really been into fantasy, so that’s all I need to know.

The Diviners by Libba Bray

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This book includes the occult, a supernatural power, and a murder case with a serial killer. It’s right up my alley right now. It’s been a year since I’ve gotten this book, and I think it’s high time for me to read it.