Thursday, July 13, 2017

SWITCHING TO WORDPRESS!

     Hey everyone!! Hope you're having a great day!
     I thought I would just announce on here that I will be switching to WordPress! Well, I've actually already made the switch as of today! This blogpost account will still be up, as well as all my posts and everything, but every post I've ever made is now on WordPress, where the rest of my posts will be from now on, and I've also revamped my style ;) I would very much appreciate it if you followed me over there and checked it out, maybe leave a couple comments.
     My WordPress: https://taylorisreading.wordpress.com/
     I've had a great run with Blogger, and as of today I have over 3500 views from all around the globe ad it's so sad making this switch, but I just feel that it'll be easier in the long run to follow and connect with you guys!
     Who knows, maybe if I don't like it as much, I'll switch back! My next few posts will still make it over here, I think, I'm not sure because I haven't decided if I'll do that or not.
     So, with that, thank you all very much! My first blog post on here was July 16, 2015 and it's a little bittersweet that my 2 year blogiversary won't be on here *cries* but I hope to catch up with you all on WordPress! Thank you all so much for the support you've given me these past two years and for welcoming me into the bookish community, it's really been amazing ❤❤ Love you all ❤❤
       -Taylor

The Looking Glass Wars || Review

Pages: 358
Book type: Paperback
Author: Frank Beddor
Publisher: Speak
Release Date: September 26, 2006
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5


~ Goodreads Synopsis ~

When Alyss Heart, newly orphaned heir to the Wonderland throne, flees through the Pool of Tears to escape her murderous Aunt Redd, she finds herself lost and alone in Victorian London. Befriended by an aspiring author named Lewis Carrol, Alyss tells the violent, heartbreaking story of her young life. Alyss trusts this author to tell the truth so that someone, somewhere will find her and bring her home. But he gets the story all wrong. He even spells her name incorrectly!

Fortunately, Royal Bodyguard Hatter Madigan knows all too well the awful truth of Alyss' story - and he's searching every corner of our world to find the lost princess and return her to Wonderland, to battle Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts.

The Looking Glass Wars unabashedly challenges our Wonderland assumptions of mad tea parties, grinning Cheshire cats, and a curious little blond girl to reveal an epic battle in the endless war for Imagination.

~ ~ ~ ~

     To be honest, I really only bought this book because I like Alice in Wonderland and it was only ten US dollars.*By no means do you have to read the original stories first, although it is a great story.* The premise sounded interesting, but I didn't have very high expectations and I put off reading it for sooo long.
     This book, on all occasions, exceeded any of the slightest expectations I might have had. I sped through it in two days and couldn't put it down.
     The story started really strong and with action in the first couple chapters, which are, in general, very short, which also speeds along the story. Somewhere in the middle, though, it got pretty slow, but the late middle and end really picked up. In the beginning, Alyss is a child, which is really sweet in a way, but it also gets a little dull after so long since she is only seven, but a little after halfway she becomes an adult. At that point things get really interesting.
     As the first book of the trilogy, there is still plenty of room for the characters to develop, and I really hope Alyss comes into herself a little more if I continue on with the series. Although she inevitably finished her task at hand and ended strong, she still felt a little dry as an adult. I honestly kind of preferred her more as a child for some parts since she lacks a little meaningful spirit at twenty-one. I understand why her time on Earth changed her in the ways that it did, but I really wish she would've fell back into herself upon her return to Wonderland a little better.
     Hatter Madigan, although I loved his character in the story, bugged me a little just because I was thinking he'd be a little more whimsical than a cut and dry military man. His relation to Alyss as her kind of "guard" is cute at times, but I really wish there was more of a fathery or uncle kind of presence in him. BUT he's totally badass. Apparently he has his whole own side series of his travels trying to find Alyss and they sound pretty intriguing as I want to dig deeper into his personal life.
     As for romance, there really isn't much, which was kind of disappointing due to the budding childish romance she has as a child that I LOVED. I feel like it will definitely grow back in the next two books once the two reconnect a little more upon her return.
     As for the retelling side of the story, it was really different, but in a good way. I liked the different take on the world and it really felt like its own. I didn't like how Lewis Carroll was blatantly bashed because Alice in Wonderland is such a beautiful classic, although it's understandable in the story as to why he is bashed by Alyss. I do wish some things were more like the original so that it was a better connection, but it was just so good as it was. Besides, Rick Riordan liked it, so it has to be good.

     The story has a few shortcomings that I hope are resolved throughout the other two books, but in all, I feel like the story was pretty satisfying and could even kind of be a stand alone. I would recommend this book if you're looking for a darker whimsical tale, or just like Alice in Wonderland. If you've read it, tell me what you think of it!
     Thanks for reading!
                   -Taylor

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

July TBR


     It's already July!! 2017 is going by so quickly! All the school supplies is already out in all the stores, which of course isn't a problem because cute discounted stationary is always a good thing. With this being my last full month of summer before I go off to my freshman year of college in August, I hope to get a LOT of reading and writing done. With that, here's my June TBR:

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
     This book I have already started, and probably finished by the time this post goes up since I'm on page 239 out of 358 and it's Friday th 7th lol. I've had this book for soo long and I'm so glad I'm finally getting to it. After reading Mark of Athena, I was in the mood for some really whimsical stuff so I thought this book would be perfect, and it really is. It's written beautifully, with a voice much like the original Alice In Wonderland, but I love the twists to the story that you'll have to read to see. Honestly, I love the violence in it too, it makes a lot more realistic in a sense and also adds a lot of intensity.










King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard
     I started this book sometime last month before I picked up Mark of Athena, but it put me in such a reading slump to be honest. There just wasn't enough meaningful action in the beginning to keep my interest, so I picked up a different book to come out of the slump and now I think I can get back into it since I hopefully got through the more quiet parts.
     The other two books in the series I absolutely loved, so I have really high expectations for this book, especially with the ending of the Glass Sword, oh my goodness. Also, without having any spoilers, I really hated the new evil person at first because I just couldn't see him as evil, but... I still hate him as evil. Like he's too much of a baby, why is he the position that he is? What?








The Novice by Taran Matharu
     Another book I've had on my shelf for quite a while that I've been silently dying to read. It's about more olden, fictional times (which I love) and I believe demon hunting of some sort (which I also love) and I think the main character is going to be pretty hot and if he's not, I'm still going to picture him as this hot blacksmith apprentice with dark shaggy hair. From the cover, I have no idea why, but he kind of reminds me of Chaol, like does anyone else get that vibe? Chaol is my favorite so this is ok.
     ALSO, LOOK AT THIS COVER.












Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
     Ah! The series everyone has raged about and I really want to get in the hype before it's completely gone! I really didn't get into the first book, Shadow and Bone, until the middle-ish but really more toward the end, but when I got into it, I. got. into. it.
     I really hope this sequel starts off with some action because where the story left of... we need some action. I read a couple lines a few pages in (oops) and it sounds like it's going to be crazy exciting, so I'm crazy excited.













Cress by Marissa Meyer
     I don't know if I'll be able to get this book by th end of July, but I really hope so. If not, it'll probably be the first book I read in August.
     Scarlet, to me, was even better than Cinder. It was so action-packed and had so many twists to the story, and I really hope this third installment lives up to the hype I've built up for it. Plus, I LOVE Rapunzel, so that just makes this book a winner by default.











      So that is my July TBR! It looks like a pretty busy, but awesome, reading month, and I'm so ready for it! Comment down below any books you're really looking forward to in July!
     Thanks for reading!
                       -Taylor

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Mark of Athena || Review

Pages: 574
Book Type: Paperback
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: October 2, 2012
~ Goodreads Synopsis ~
In The Son of Neptune, Percy, Hazel, and Frank met in Camp Jupiter, the Roman equivalent of Camp Half-blood, and traveled to the land beyond the gods to complete a dangerous quest. The third book in the Heroes of Olympus series will unite them with Jason, Piper, and Leo. But they number only six—who will complete the Prophecy of Seven?

The Greek and Roman demigods will have to cooperate in order to defeat the giants released by the Earth Mother, Gaea. Then they will have to sail together to the ancient land—Greece itself—to find the Doors of Death. What exactly are the Doors of Death? Much of the prophecy remains a mystery...

With old friends and new friends joining forces, a marvelous ship, fearsome foes, and an exotic setting, The Mark of Athena promises to be another unforgettable adventure by master storyteller Rick Riordan.

~       ~      ~

     I didn't realize how badly I missed this series until I started reading it. I had finished the initial Percy Jackson series in sixth grade and read The Lost Hero when it came out, then finally picked up The Son of Neptune sometime in freshman or sophomore year. Now, as a high school graduate, I'm finally continuing the series.
     After so much time between books, it was a little hard to remember everything from the previous novels, but as soon as I started reading it all just came rushing back to me- especially the book from the first series that had the all the dam jokes when they went to the Hoover Dam, I don't know why. This is probably the easiest series to get sucked into just because it feels so real and magical, and even now I still wish that all of this existed, or at least that I was part of it.
     Even at eighteen, I still really appreciate Riordan's writing because he makes so many comments that in any other book (The Young World) would sound like an adult trying to relate to a young audience, but he does it so flawlessly and in a way brings the story to life. Like in this novel he talks about how Leo redesigns a trireme to be flown by using a Wii controller. If I read that in any other book I'd be holding down vomit, to be honest, but I love it in this series. Because of all the modern references, it feels like all of this could actually be happening around the world today (seriously, I wish it was).
     SPEAKING OF LEO. I love him, I really do. *heart eyes*
     He developed so well in this book. In the past two, I remember not really liking him as much as the others, which now I feel bad for, but in this book I feel like he really comes into himself. At first he started out with his usual goofy yet lovable personality and causes a little mayhem like always, but he comes to realize his part in the prophecy and the group of seven. Honestly, I think he played the biggest part in the quest, behind Annabeth of course.
     Behind Percy and Annabeth who will always be my otp, I think Leo is actually my next favorite character in here now.

     Other than Leo, all the characters developed really well, except Coach Hedge who even eventually started to grow on me. I really like how the characters are noticeably growing and becoming more mature while staying youthful, like the scenes of Piper and Jason discussing her jealousy and figuring out how to grow through it. Percy and Annabeth have grown into each other so well, by the end of the novel, when Annabeth comes out of the hole and Percy goes to her and tells her "it's ok, we're together," I was ready to burst.

     Also, in this book, I truly realized Riordan's knowledge of Greek mythology. He connected each god to one another and included so many tales and myths, it's like getting a Greek lesson in the most entertaining way possible because you do really learn so much. How he keeps all theses facts straight and adds his own twist to each god is amazing! He adds so much depth to the series with all the history he includes. I've grown a love for Greek mythology because of this series.
     I didn't want this book to end. I really wish I had gotten the fourth and fifth books when I got this one because I'm so sad to be coming back out of this series to read a different book. I would HIGHLY recommend this series to anyone who hasn't read it, and let me know down below what you've thought of it if you have read it.
     The next book I will be reading, and probably reviewing, is The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor, so stay tuned!
     Thanks for reading!
                       -Taylor

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

My Short Story Writing Technique

     Hello everyone!
     In the past I've done a couple posts abot how I write for novels, but I decided since I've been writing a lot of short stories for scholarship and magazine submissions that I'd share with you all how I write all my short stories. To let you know, it is an extremely different process.

Here are the posts I've done so far about my novel-writing adventure:
     Re-Reading My Work
     Making Your Writing Worth Reading
     The First Ten Chapters
     How I Character Plot
     Things I've Learned So Far

     So, I haven't been published in anything yet for a short story, but this last school year, my senior year, I won a scholarship for a short story I wrote to my region's branch of the National League of American Pen Women. That was amazing for me, but I had to read the story at a brunch so that was a little nerve wrecking, although it was a great experience.
     A little bit of advice on this subject: please don't be afraid to submit work to any scholarship, contest, or what not. Yeah, it's completely embarrassing for a lot of people to share their personal work, including me, like my parents and grandma were the only ones that have read some of my work until then. However, it is totally worth it in the end, so if you're waiting for the right time to submit something, take this as your push to do it, whether it's a scholarship or a magazine submission or even a whole manuscript to a publisher. Just do it. The possibility out weighs any rejection.
     Also, the only other thing I've submitted was a short story to a literary magazine for teens earlier this month and I'm still waiting for a reply. *fingers crossed*
    
     Without boring you with any more personal information, here's how I write my short stories:

     Just write.

     Bye.


     Ok, so that's not entirely all there is to it, but that's the gist. Really all it is picking up a pencil or putting your hands on a keyboard.
     I do not outline short stories. This really different to how I do novels because for those I have the entire story mapped out, like I'll literally draw a map. For short stories, I'll just start writing, find the flow of the story, and give myself a rough estimate as to how I would like the story to end, but nothing more.
     For my work in progress, a piece I plan to submit to this huge, nation-wide writing contest for sci-fi and fantasy (I'm a little terrified, even if I win because I may have to give a speech in front of a HUGE audience) I know nothing. This story is one I completely pulled out of nowhere, and I have two different directions I would want to take the story in, so I'm not sure exactly what's going to happen.
     Why? Because It's so much fun. I love being surprised where my characters are going to take me and what is going to happen every time I sit down to write. I feel like it adds a little more to the story because it's so action packed and something different is always happened, though in a logical pattern. I find this best for short stories as you only have so many words to tell the story in and it needs to be concise, but still have depth and dimension.
     I also think that this path for writing keeps me far more interested and invested in the story, especially while writing because there's so much anticipation as to what's coming next. It's almost like reading a book for the first time that you knew nothing about, but it's yours. I love it.
     The story I am writing right now cannot be any longer than 17,000 words and has to be sci-fi or fantasy. I went down the sci-fi route this time to shake things up as I rely more on fantasy. It involves war and aliens and made up planets and I'm really loving it. For the contest, the authors retain all publication rights, so I may fix it up even more, lengthen it, and attempt to find a publisher... I'm not entirely sure. There were two different characters with different backgrounds in completely different tellings of the main story that I wanted to write, so I might just combine them both in the future now that I think about it.
     So my main piece of advice, just sit down, write the dang story, and send it off somewhere, anywhere. Why not, right?
    
     Let me know down below any techniques you have, or just anything about anything, I love to hear from you guys! Thanks for reading!
                         -Taylor

Thursday, June 29, 2017

How I Come Out of Reading Slumps Fast


     Reading slumps are terrible, terrible times and they take f o r e v e r to come out of. I've been in so many it's a little shameful, and especially this year I had a lot because I had five AP classes and senior stuff so reading just always felt like more work.
     So, if you're like me and you frequently struggle with reading slumps, or even if a book just bored you a little and it's taking forever, here is how I come out of the slump:

     Put down the book. Put it down and leave it.
          Right now I am coming out of a reading slump because of King's Cage and it's hitting me hard. The book is just soo slow right now in the beginning, like there's some action but it's written really slowly, and it's a little tiring reading it. I'll read for like thirty minutes, count the pages, and I only read like 10. So I'm putting down that book for now and will pick it back up after I finish another. I'm thinking Mark of Athena, the third book in the Heroes of Olympus series will be a great book to take me out of the reading slump.
         Also, when you put it down, make sure if you read another one that it's an easy read and it's packed with action so you don't get bored and lose interest because it could be a really great book if in the right mindset.


     Do something else.
          The past few days I've been going out a lot with boyfriend, like to the beach and Downtown Disney, and it's definitely helped. I really feel like reading now, especially Mark of Athena since it was published by Disney Hyperion. (Is it just me, or would it be really fun to write or work for Hyperion Publishing?)
          Maybe your brain is just requesting some vacation time. So take a breather from reading, even if it means falling a little behind a reading goal, because it'll be worth it when you're ready to read again.

     Maybe you just don't like the book.
          It's a little hard to just stop reading a book knowing you'll never pick it up again, or at least not for a long time, but sometimes what's causing the reading slump for you is just a book you really don't like. It's especially hard when it's a popular book and you want to join the hype, but it's just not doing it for you.
          It is ok.
          You don't have to finish it.
          This was me when I was reading The Young World, I got like 20 pages in and it just was not the book for me... It was written in "relatable teen" language by an adult probably trying to be cool with middle school readers, and it was pretty sexist, and I'm not easily offended.

    Watch some booktube videos.
          Watching book hauls by my favorite booktubers always gets me hyped for reading. It always just reminds me how beautiful books are; it's a person's soul and hard work just splayed across hundreds of pages. (And the book covers are pretty too).
          Also, think of a series you REALLY love and try to remember stuff you loved when you read it, like a song maybe. Play that song on repeat until you get super excited to read again. That always helps me, especially when I need to get back into writing.

     Or if all else fails, push through it.
          But don't push yourself. If you don't feel like reading, don't read, or else it'll start to feel like a chore. So just every day when you're bored read 10 or 20 pages until you get back into the groove. This usually helps with life is really busy, like during school, but you want to keep yourself reading.



     So there are a few of my tips for coming out of a reading slump, and I hope you found them helpful or inspirational for reading again.
     Thanks for reading!
                    -Taylor

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Goodreads Tag!


Hey everyone! How are you all today?
     Today I have for you the Goodreads book tag! Yaaay!! It's pretty much just a series of questions involving Goodreads and books. I've seen a lot of booktubers do this in the past, so I decided to give it a try.
What was the last book you marked as read?
     The last book I marked as read happens to be Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas and it was such an amazing read! I was not disappointed at all, even though I was kind of worried after hearing a booktuber say it wasn't their favorite. I do really miss Celaena and her time in the castle, but she's still such a kickass character and I love it.

What are you currently reading?
     Currently, I am reading King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard. At the time I'm writing this (6 days in advance) I'm on page 96 and it's pretty good so far. Nothing has really caught my attention yet so I've been reading it really slowly and I hate it! I loved the other two books, like Red Queen had me hooked for life, I just hope the action starts soon!

What was the last book you marked at to be read?
     The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell is the last book I marked as part of my TBR. The book comes out on July 18th (my dog's birthday) and I'm really excited for it! It involves time travel and magic and New York City.

What book do you plan on reading next?
     I should probably read The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor since it has been on my TBR for a long time now, but I kind of want to get into The Novice by Taran Matharu or Cress by Marissa Meyer.

Do you use the star rating system?
     Yes, I do, when I finish a book, I just don't really do reviews on there so much.

Are you doing a 2017 reading challenge?
     Yes! That exclamation point marks my excitement and also my disgust at myself because I had it set at 50 books, but I had to lower it to 40 because I was so behind.

Do you have a wishlist?
     Kind of, but more of like a mental wishlist that I make each time I visit the bookstore.

What book do you plan on buying next?
     I've been on the hunt for a paperback Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas, but I cannot find it. I REALLY want to continue the series, though!.

What is your favorite quote?
     I have quite a few, I kind of collect them, but here's my top three

     "You could rattle the stars. You could do anything, if you only dared. And deep down, you know it too. That's what scares you most." -Throne of Glass

     "The sun persists in rising, so I make myself stand." -Hunger Games, Catching Fire

     "Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all those who live without love." -Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Who are your favorite authors?
     J.K. ROWLING, Sarah J. Maas, and Rick Riordan, but most importantly, J.K. Rowling. She is my hero and I aspire to be her exactly.

Have you joined any groups on Goodreads?
     I have joined a few writing groups in the passed, but I've never interacted with them or participated in any discussions.

     If you participate in this tag let me know so I can check it out!
     Thanks for reading!
                      -Taylor

Thursday, June 22, 2017

May & June Book Haul!


     Books-A-Million trips make me happy, but they will also be what causes me to be homeless in the future, but at least I'll have books, right?
     Recently I've acquired a fair enough amount of books for a book haul, so here it is! I think this is also my first book haul, so that's pretty cool!

The Novice by Taran Matharu
     Ok, I'm crazy excited for this novel. It follows a blacksmith apprentice that learns he can summon demons. I love it already. I feel like it's going to have an old timey vibe since he's a blacksmith, and I love made up histories with supernatural twists mixed into it. I feel like this book might be similar to the Throne of Glass series in that way, also.

King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard
     The Red Queen series has been so amazing! I was planning to do a Red Queen Series Completion Review, but I recently learned that there is going to be a fourth book coming out in May 2018! I am currently 70 pages into this book, but I've been reading less as I've been getting a lot more into writing recently. It's still pretty slow, but if it's like the rest of the series, I know it'll be amazing.

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
     I haven't heard about this one in the book community, so I hope it's good, lol. The premise sounds interesting as it follows a girl named Alyss, in Wonderland. It is said on the back that the original story we know is incorrect, and was a misinterpretation of an author that Alyss told the story to. I'll probably put a review up of this novel when I finish it.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
     I recently finished and posted a review of this book, so I'll link it here. But to sum it up, it was a really great read. Honestly, at first I was a little iffy as to if I was going to like it or not because I never really liked having documents in stories, and that's how this story is told entirely with no normal storytelling. I actually really liked the format, though, because it helped speed up the reading since it is a big book.
     I would also like to make everyone aware of the bargain books section of Books-A-Million, even online, because I got this beautiful hard cover book for $6, and I think it's usually like $16 to $20 (US).

Cress by Marissa Meyer

     So far, I have completed Cinder and Scarlet, but I think Cress will probably be my favorite because Rapunzel is awesome. I loved Scarlet though; at first I wasn't that impressed, but in the middle, when it really picked up... oh my. I was NOT expecting all of that crazy stuff to happen, but it was such a good twist. I would HIGHLY recommend this series.

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
     When buying this book, I was trying to decide between this and Rebel of the Sands. I wanted the other one because I feel like it has An Ember in the Ashes vibe and I'm really missing that series while I wait for the second book to come out in paperback on August 29th. However, having read the first book of this series, and being aware of my irresponsibility with finishing series lately, I decided on Siege and the Storm. I wasn't too into the first book, Shadow and Bone, until the end, but I skimmed through the first few pages of this one and it looks like it's going to be really good! Also, I've only heard good things about the Grisha series so it should be great.

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
     Just recently I heard about this book on Twitter and after some research, I knew I had to get it. Like not even three days later, I got it. The plot just sounds really good, and maybe like it'll make up for not getting Rebel of the Sands. It's about a young king that takes a new wife every day, and kills that wife at night. When one day he takes the life of her best friend, Shahrzad decides to take vengeance on the king and volunteers to be his next wife.
     Also, look that cover *heart eyes*

The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid
     So I don't really know much about this book, and I haven't heard much about. I just know there's a "diabolic" named Nemesis that was created to protect a senator's daughter, and when the evil emperor summons the daughter to the galactic court as a hostage, Nemesis becomes her and goes to court. It sounds really cool, but I don't really like the name Nemesis, it just sounds too... I don't know. But otherwise, the book sounds really intriguing.
     Again, make sure you check out the bargain books section at BAM because this beauty was only $3.

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan
     It has been years since I read the Son of Neptune and I can't wait to get back into Riordan's land of mythology. I don't remember too much about the other two books in the Heroes of Olympus series, so this will be interesting. I need to buy the other two and the original Percy Jackson series because I only have Sea of Monsters, but there's so many other books I want that I haven't read. I'm so conflicted.

     Let me know any books that you bought recently down below or if you've read any of the ones I listed.
     Thanks for reading!
                      -Taylor

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Upcoming June and July 2017 Releases

     Hey everyone!
     It feels like this spring and summer, well honestly this whole year thus far, has been a great year for book releases. We had A Court of Wings and Ruin in May and in September we have Tower of Dawn. By the way, has everyone seen the cover reveal? Tell me your opinions down below! I definitely prefer the US version because it matches the rest of ToG better, but I wish Chaol had been on the cover posing like Aelin.
     Anyway, the rest of summer has some great releases coming out that I'm really excited for! Earlier this year I made a Most Anticipated Books of 2017 post that you can check out here. However, I've stumbled across a few pretty awesome-sounding books that are coming out in June and July that I didn't know about before, so I decided I would put them all here for you guys just in case.

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab - June 13


     Our Dark Duet is the sequel to Victoria Schwab's other book,  This Savage Song, neither of which have I read yet, but they both sound really cool and I've heard a lot of really great things about it. As you can see, this sequel is already out, and is the conclusion of the two-part series, so tell me below if you've read either of them because I'm really interested in it.
     This series follows a boy and a girl, both heirs to a divided city. Both have different mind sets as to how it should be run: Kate believes that the monsters that have taken over the town should be allowed to roam free, but August believes in protecting the people, although he's a monster.
     I really like that, in this series, it's the girl that is the more unruly, unforgiving character, while the boy is more gentle (at least that's what I've gotten from the description).





The Waking Land by Callie Bates - June 29

     I feel like this book as really flown under the radar, or maybe it's just me and I'm really out the loop, as always, but I think this book deserves a lot more attention.
     The Waking Land tells the story of a girl who was raised by a king that has recently been murdered, and she is framed for it. Because of this, she flees back to her homeland that she has tried to separate herself from due to its magical legends and of which she has been as a traitor to. Once there, she starts to feel connected to the nature of the world and begins to feel some of the powers in her. However, a threat starts to build as something is out there looking for vengeance.
     I'm eager to read this, but I hope the execution of the story is as good as the concept.








Because You Love to Hate Me - July 11


     When am I not wishing I was a booktuber?
     This collection of thirteen stories was created by a collaboration of thirteen authors and thirteen booktubers, partnered to bring about super cool tales of villains. That sounds awesome. There are authors like Victoria Schwab, who I mentioned above, and Marissa Meyer, author of the Lunar Chronicles. It also features some of my favorite booktubers, Sasha Alsberg, Zoe Herdt, and Jesse George. The stories that are being discussed include Medusa, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Sherlock Holmes.
     I cannot wait for this release!










The Last Magician by LisaMaxwell - July 18

     This book comes out on my dog's birthday!
     Also, I think out of these five, this book wins best cover; I'm kind of addicted to it, even though I hate snakes. It just makes the story seem really dark, and kind of Harry Potter-eske, and I love dark, fantastical books like that.
     The story starts in modern New York, but magic is nearly wiped out, with the few who are left with it trapped in hiding. And Manhattan, called the Brink, marks a point where if crossed, those with magic lose their powers and remained trapped on the island. And then there's Esta, who has the power to time travel, and uses it to aid in her thievery. Her real mission, however, is to travel back and retrieve an ancient book before it is destroyed by the magician.
     This is my most anticipated read out of these five just because of all the magic and history, and of course the cover.





Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody - July 25

     This book has kind of been a hidden gem, also as I haven't heard much about it either. I even think this is the runner-up for best cover of this five.
     The story follows Sorina, an illusion-worker, who works for the Gamorrah Festival. There, she creates the illusion of her family that acts as the freak show of the carnival. But then, one of family members are killed, even though it had just been an illusion. So she decides to try and protect the rest of her family by hunting down the murderer, and try to figure out how one could kill her illusion.
     This story kind of has a Last Magician feel to it in a way, at least from what I've read, but nonetheless, it still sounds like a good story.






     So, these are a few of the June and July releases that I'm really looking forward to. Comment down below if I missed any!
     Thanks for reading!
                   -Taylor

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Books That Got Me Into Obsessive Reading


     As much as I love books now, I haven't always been this way. Now, I spend hours in the Books-A-Million by my house just reading all the backs of book, memorizing titles, smelling the paper and coffee scent that floods the store, and going to the checkout counter with an armful of books where the cashiers and managers all know me. There was never really a time where I refused to read, like it never bothered me, I just preferred to play outside and watch Pirates of the Caribbean.
     However, when I hit sixth grade, I hit my first phase of reading obsessions. The next phase wouldn't come until around sophomore year after my middle school passion died out in freshman year. So, I know you've seen these titles spoken about a lot on my blog, but I thought it would be nice to compile them into one post and a kind of timeline, but I'm excluding Diary of a Wimpy Kid because I was obsessed but... it's crazy cringey.
     Starting in sixth grade and working my way up, here are the books that got me into reading obsessively in a loose timeliney order:

     The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan

        I'm pretty confident in saying that this mythology series is what got a lot of people around my age into reading. It was the it book in my sixth grade class and pretty much if you didn't read it, you weren't cool. If you haven't heard what this series is about by now, it follows the life of a younger boy who comes to realize he's a demigod and begins to flail around in the world of Greek mythology while we all watch him struggle. It's totally unique to the middle grade that was available in my day, but I have no idea what is out there now.
          I fangirled so hard this series. I taught myself the Greek alphabet and some basic words, like? I was in sixth grade? I think that was just a taste of how hard I could fangirl because when One Direction came around in my middle school years, I scared people.
          If you're just starting to get into reading, whether you're in elementary, middle, high school, or adulthood, I would highly recommend this book because not only is it really informative about amazing Greek mythology, it's hilarious. I always think of those stupid jokes when they visited the Hoover Dam, those killed me.

     The Maximum Ride series by James Patterson

         Not going to lie, reading these books made me want to be a bird. You ma be asking yourself what's wrong with me, but I'm asking myself if you've read this series. If you have, you probably wished it too and are just kidding yourself, if you haven't read it, you just don't get it.
          In case you don't know, the Maximum Ride series is about a group of children, I think aged 14 to 6, who were raised in a lab. But plot twist, their DNA was mixed with 2% avian DNA, meaning yes, they have wings with like a 15-foot wingspan. When they escape this lab that has tested on different children with different animal DNA, all heck breaks loose as they try to run away and fight this company at the same time. In one of the books Fang makes a blog and so guess what I did? I made a blog. Lol, no one read it and it was really funny. It is also an 8 book series, but they are relatively short and quick reads, and I highly recommend you pick one up no matter what age you are.
               AND I JUST FOUND OUT DURING MY RESEARCH THAT IT WAS MADE IN A MOVIE LAST YEAR. AND I DIDN'T HEAR ABOUT THIS? WHAT? WHAT?

     The Twilight saga by Stephanie Meyer
          I'm not going to say much about Twilight because everyone knows Twilight, even if you just know it as "that one about the vampires." It was so much more than that to me, though. I had four huge posters, one for each of the movies, that covered one of my walls, and then a flag kind of thing of the wedding that came in the special edition of Breaking Dawn part 2 that I hung over my bed. I even remember the time I got the first book, it was a Christmas present and we were at my grandma's house and I almost cried I was so happy. I didn't even talk to anyone the rest of the night because I was so engrossed in the book.

     The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
          I'm also going to assume everyone knows about the Hunger Games because it was all the rage a couple years ago. The Hunger Games years were just really good years, does anyone else remember that time? I'm talking about when the books had come out and we were all waiting for the movie and it was just so a good adaptation. Maybe it's just nostalgia now, but it felt like a really great time in the world, where everywhere you went you heard that little tone they whistled in the movie and it just felt peaceful. Yeah... good times.

     The Hush, Hush saga by Becca Fitzpatrick
          I spoke about this in my last post too, and several posts in the existence of this blog so I'm going to list the main ones all here:
          Unpopular Bookish Opinions

Skipping freshman year when I kind of lost track of reading...

     The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
          Again, not going to say much about this series because everyone has at least heard of it.
          J.K. Rowling is my hero of the writing world, and now just the world in general as she slays the disaster that is politics of 2016-17. She is also what really inspired me to write the novel I've been working on, and I think a lot of my voice in my book comes from reading Harry Potter.

     Pretty Much All Sarah Dessen Books
          I always say I don't really like contemporary books, but there was this strange point in my life where I was really into these kinds of novels and I blew through them. I was in the school library like every other day picking out new Sarah Dessen and John Green books to read. The first one I read, and the one that really hooked me in Sarah Dessen, was the Truth About Forever. I still admit, even in my vague dislike of contemporary novels, that that book definitely got me obsessed with reading in that year.

     The Maze Runner by James Dashner

         I just did a kind of discussion that I feels sums up my love for this book in my last post, Unpopular Bookish Opinions, so I'll link that there.

     The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth
          The final huge contributor to my reading obsession was the Divergent Series. I still remember bawling during Allegiant like it was yesterday. (Insert my short existential crisis when I realize that was already almost 3 years ago and I'm an adult now).  And though the hype of the series has really died down since only the last movie, Ascendent, is set to come out this year or next year, It was another really fun time of getting involved with the books and fandom. This is definitely one of those series I wish lasted a little longer, but I felt that the story played out really well in its timeframe and wasn't stretched too far to make it a trilogy like a lot of book series lately.

     So, those are the main book and series that really got me obsessed with reading! Tell me down below which got you hooked on reading! Thanks for reading :)
                                   -Taylor
    
    

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Unpopular Bookish Opinions

     You are all going to hate me for this one.
     So, I'm a little behind on the popular books trends because I've spent a lot of time reading other books through the years, but I think I have collected a decent amount of unpopular opinions in my reading journey so far, and I'll probably make a part two of this next year or some time.
     Here are my top unpopular bookish opinions, and I'm going to start with the one that is most unpopular:

The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
     I'm sorry. I really loved the idea of this book, and I really wanted to like it, but I just couldn't force myself into it. It really sounds like something I would be into, with this whole complex fantastical system and demon hunters and all that, but I don't know what's wrong with me. I hated the fact that I didn't really enjoy City of Bones, and I want to read the rest of the series, but it'll take a lot of personal strength and a shortened TBR to go buy the rest of the series. I couldn't connect well with Clary, and in my opinion, it just didn't flow right. I loved the plotline and everything about the book, but it was just the book itself that didn't really do it for me. I think it was just with the time that I was reading it because I was also in school and I thinking trying to break a reading slump. I don't know, I guess I'll try again eventually, but I don't know.










The Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare
     Yes, I'm attacking this one too. I love books from around the 1800s and England, but again, I just felt really disconnected. It was the same situation as City of Bones; I only read Clockwork Angel and I was just coming out of a reading slump while in school. Maybe if I had been more in the mood I would feel more confident about finishing this series. I loved all the other characters, but the main girl (her name is escaping me) just seemed pretty bland to me. The plot was also really cool, and it felt true to its time as set in the novel. I'll probably give this series another try eventually, too.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
     Now this series is on here because I know this series gets a lot of hate from people in the book community, and I can see the arguments for the side that doesn't like it, but I LOVED it. I read the series along with one of my friends in sophomore year and we would always talk about it our whole Yearbook period, so maybe that's why I enjoyed it so much. When we saw the movie (the second one came out on my birthday), we fell in love with Minho; we ADORED him because we thought he was so cute and sweet. I also chose The Maze Runner for a journaling assignment in my pre-AP English class that year, and that was when I read it for the first time, so I had spent a lot of time analyzing the story and really getting into the political and analytical side of it, which probably helped. This series had quickly become one of my favorites and I was genuinely shocked when someone told me they didn't like it for the first time.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
     I didn't totally hate this one, I actually really liked it in the end. However, the first like half/three quarters of the book seemed really slow to me. There wasn't really any action or much of anything until the story really unfolded in the last quarter. Because of the first part of this book, I don't really see myself finishing the Grisha series until I finish some other series I'm really into. I did really like the mythological feel to the novel, though, and when the action did begin, it was really well written and realistic. The characters were also very believable and down to Earth while remaining true to their roles, and the twist with the Darkling at the end is what will probably drive me to finish this series.

Hush, Hush saga by Becca Fitzpatrick
     If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know my love for this series. The love primarily comes from nostalgia because this book made me fangirl for a novel for the first time (I had only read the last Harry Potter at that point). Patch was my true love and I read the books over and over just to "visit" him because he was sooo "dreamy." I know a lot of people hate on this series because it's kind of Twilight-eske in both the writing and characters, but this series got me into Twilight, and I still love them both. I feel like a lot of the love I have for it comes from all the nostalgia, and if I read them for the first time now I may not like them as much, but I'd like to think I would just because I like the whole fallen angel concept and Patch is still one of my fictional loves. (I made a playlist that went with his personality and listened to it every time I read the books, and when I wanted to daydream about him). My middle school self was so jealous of Nora, like I wanted to be her just so I could be with Patch and live in the world of the fallen angels.








     So there's a few of my unpopular opinions, I'm sure I'll be able to gather up a few more in the next year or so to create a part two because this was actually a little therapeutic to just rant, lol.
     Thanks for reading!
                          -Taylor

Monday, June 5, 2017

Illuminae Review


     On Sunday, I finished Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff and it. was. amazing. So, before I start, I want to give the Goodreads synopsis of the book just in case anyone doesn't know what this book is about because I, personally, had no idea.
- - - -
The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.
- - - -

     Sounds pretty cool? Wrong. It's amazing. Not only is this book beautiful on the outside, because it is, just look:

but it is also incredibly beautiful on the inside:










     Also, the book is very unique in that it is written entirely in the form of stolen documents with no traditional storytelling at all, the closest parts of that is during the descriptions of surveillance videos. I believe it was this form of completely different that really held my attention the whole time. The plot of the story in general is truly captivating, but just the format really captures its real ominous feel. At first I was really iffy about whether I was going to like the book since it is all documents and that's not really my thing in a novel, but it actually brought me out of a reading slump even Queen of Shadows couldn't bring me out of. I was also iffy because it's 599 pages long and if I didn't really like it, it would take forever to finish, but because of it's format there are lots of pages with little to no text so it really speeds the process.
 - - - -
This part may have some kind of spoilers, but not really.
     The romance between the two characters is one of my favorite parts, as well as the plot twist towards the end, and then another plot twist at the very end, but I'll let you see those for yourself. In the beginning, we see this couple of a year that broke up that day. The world falls apart and all that, and they end up on different ships. But the way they slowly redevelop their relationship is really natural; they have no one left in their lives except each other and they realize that, and that seems really human to me, unlike a lot of YA romances.
     Also, the way the troubles for the refugees just keep spiraling out of control. especially for Kady, kept me glued to the pages. The last like 200 pages were impossible to put down. The authors sequence of events was probably the most captivating part; it really kept me rooting for the main characters and when the certain plot twist hit towards the end of the book, I fell apart.
- - - -
     Here are my favorite quotes from the novel, and yes, they're both from the AI, but they're so poetic and beautiful:

"Nothing ceases to exist. Energy does not perish, it merely changes forms. The ones you love, the ones you lose, they still exist as long as the cosmos does."

"When the light that kissed the back of her eyes was birthed, her ancestors were not yet born. How many human lives have ended in the time it took that light to reach her?"

     So, in all, I would give this a five out of five stars (I already did on Goodreads), and I would HIGHLY recommend this book to literally anyone, even if science fiction isn't your thing. And let me know how you react to the plot twist when you read it, or if you already read it tell me how you felt so we can rage together in the comments.
     Thanks for reading!
                      -Taylor

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

What I Read: Senior Year








     So, to say the least, this school year was crazy. And as a consequence of this craziness, I haven't gotten to read as much as I would like to, totaling only 16 books when last year I managed 22, and 23 the previous year. It makes me so sad that I wasn't able to read more books than I had last year, but I did read some really, REALLY great books.
     And in honor of the end of school and the beginning of summer, I did my book photoshoot outside! I'm so lame, but at least there is a different background than my usual white closet door or white comforter.
     I'll start with my five most favorite novels and continue in the order I read them. It was so hard to narrow them down to five, but here they are:

   
       



1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
    Of course this had to top my list and I know no one is surprised. I had read each Harry Potter novel as I was their age, starting at 13, and this was the finale, although I read this one first when I was 10. It makes me really sad now that I've passed all their ages and no longer have a chance to attend Hogwarts as a student, but I'll always reread them and visit my wizard family lol.
2. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
     Ok, so I wasn't too excited for this book when I first got it, but OH BOY. This book was so freaking amazing in every possible way and I actually started to dream about it where I was the girl and it got crazy. I've talked about this book in a couple other posts so you can hunt those down if you want, but I highly recommend this book to pretty much everyone. It has action, some fantasy, romance, mystery, and a really well-done protagonist.







3. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
     This book I read right after An Ember in the Ashes, and I really didn't expect it to be better than that one but I was so caught of guard. It started so slow and the premise seemed a little boring in the beginning, but all of a sudden the plot takes a huge shift and there's all kinds of beautiful magic. This was definitely a tie for second, so I only put it as third since I read it later. It really was just an incredible and captivating story.







4. Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas
     Right now I'm currently reading Queen of Shadows, but I'm still stuck in the beginning of the book. I discussed this novel in a few other posts as well, but it was suc a good refresher in the middle of the series. The new twist on the plot and everything that Maas did in this novel really renewed my love for the series, although the first book will always be my favorite.








5. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
     I believe I spoke about this post in a couple of my last posts too, but I just really loved it! I love the unique plot, which is a twist on the divide between two classes, and the thing that sets the two classes apart: blood. I thought that was different from most other books in this genre that follow that same premise. If you're looking for a renewed hunger games-like story, I highly recommend this book!









How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C Foster
     Although this was a book I read for school and it's a nonfiction on how to analyze literature, I found it very useful and still pretty entertaining. I feel like this book really helped me throughout my AP Literature class, and my teacher had assigned it as recommended summer reading, and I also highly recommend it.

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
     I wasn't as in love with this novel as I really wanted to be because I love England and the 1800s, but I just really haven't been a huge fan of the Shadowhunters.

The Awakening by Kate Chopin
     This had been the first book I read in AP Literature, and it was pretty slow, but the overall meaning of the work in the time of female oppression was really interesting.

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
     This was the second I book I read for that class, and I found it also interesting, but somewhat boring and hard to keep track of. I was confused for like half of the book and only when I started to take notes on it did I truly understand the meaning.

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
     My friend has been borrowing this book since December, so it couldn't be in the pictures, but I thought it was an amazing sequel to Red Queen, and I really liked that it stayed on task with the first book, unlike most books that kind of take a change in path.

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
     This book is an oldie but a goodie. I was given this book by my now ex-boyfriend, so I really regret liking it so much, but it really was a good read.

Hamlet by Shakespeare
     The third book for AP Literature, and I actually really liked it. I would recommend getting the No Fear series of books for Shakespeare because it really helped me understand what I was reading since it had the actual version on the left page with the plain-English version on the right page throughout the whole play.

Enders by Lissa Price
     This is the sequel to Starters, which I read, I believe in Freshman year. I felt like it was a really nice closure to the duo with a really satisfying ending, although I don't remember much of the first book, only what I needed to know for the second book.

Candide by Voltaire
     The final book for AP Literature. This was honestly a really entertaining book. It was short and funny, since it's a satire, and a great critique of people and their hypocrisy.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
     I really didn't know anything about this book, and I feel like it's the best way to go into this book because I was so surprised almost every other chapter, and it really kept the story interesting.

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
     Don't hate me, but.... I thought this was better than Cinder. There was so much more action and cool monsters and I loved all the new stuff happening in the series.



     Thanks for reading!
                                 -Taylor