Sunday, March 26, 2017

Senior Year: Expectations vs. Reality (Bookish Version)

     Hello, everybody! As my senior year in high school is coming to an end, I figured it was only fitting to do a post on the expectations and realities of senior year, and add a little bit of a bookish twist to it. Tell me down below if you can relate to any of these and what you thought your senior year was or is going to be like.

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Expectation: I'm going to have so much time to read because senior year is going to be my easiest school year yet, and I'm going to power through my tbr.

Reality:  I have been working on the same book I started reading for pleasure for over a month and half because I'm drowning in school work and college admissions stuff.

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Expectation: AP Literature will be so cool, and the reading will be great. We'll read Jane Austen, Emily Bronte, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and so many great classics.

Reality: Psych, it's just essays. We'll only read four books (The Awakening, Heart of Darkness, Hamlet, and Candide) and I only really liked the last two. And the passages and poems will be good, but you'll be reading them so fast trying to analyze and answer questions on it that you won't be able to appreciate any of it. You will also analyze the books so much that you're sick of them and can quote them in your sleep.

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Expectation: I think this year I will really come into myself as a writer and really develop my work to bring it to a whole new level.

Reality: I think I may have become a worse writer. All of the analytical work that I have done this year has made my writing more structural and collegiate, which is good for essays, but not so much for YA fiction.

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Expectation: I'm going to set my Goodreads challenge at 50 books, but I'm going to read so many more than that.

Reality: I have a Goodreads challenge?

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     Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

My Dream Author Conference Panel

     Hey, guys! So for this post, I was inspired by Eventbrite, the largest self-serving ticket and event/conference platform, to help with a project and create my dream panel of authors I would like to have at a conference. Sadly, this panel may only forever be a dream :( but I can still dream right? Hearing these  YA fiction authors speak and even POSSIBLY getting to meet them would make my whole life. Their books have changed my life in different ways, but they have each had a big impact.

     Sarah J. Maas
     Sarah J. Maas is an author that I have known to love over the past year when I first discovered the Throne of Glass series. I am still truly in awe of both her Throne of Glass series and ACOTAR series. Both are entirely unique and completely engrossing. I would love to hear her talk about how she came up with her ideas and what her inspiration for the stories were. Also, I would really want to make sure she knows exactly how much I love both Chaol and Tamlin because I don't think anyone understands how deep my love runs for the two of them. I would also want to explain to her exactly how much a movie is needed for both stories. I am also just really interested in her, and each of the author's, story of her writing career, because each one is so different from the next in when and why they took up writing and their inspirations.

     J.K. Rowling

     My queen. My main woman, One of my favorite people in the whole world. J.K. Rowling. Do I really even have to state why I would want her on my dream panel? I am watching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as I write this, and I can only be stunned by her creativity and imagination. I have written so many papers and scholarships on who inspires me on this woman. She may be the sole reason I took an interest in my own writing, and I wish to meet her one day just so I can thank her for all she has done for me without even knowing. I could talk literally forever with her about her world building and character development, and really just all the thought behind the world of Harry Potter. I have based my own story outlining partly on the techniques I have read and seen pictures of her using, and I would love for any advice that she could give. Also, can we talk about how beautiful her writing is? The words always, not just most of the time, but always, flow so smoothly one after the other. I would love for her to give advice on her writing as well because I can only dream to write half as well as her. Another question I would like to ask is about the amount of publishers she had gone too before one chose to publish her; I would really like to hear of the process and how difficult was, and aslo the relief of finding a willing publisher. J.K. Rowling would probably be the highlight of this panel, in my opinion, just because of her success and her incredible, unbelievably believable fiction writing.

     Sabaa Tahir
     An Ember in the Ahses changed everything for me. I had never liked books set in the desert, I don't know why, I know it's weird, but this was a game changer because it was so different. I would love to know her inspiration for the "forces" that are incorporated in the novel as we hadn't seen them through much of the first book but became more prominent in the end. Also, I don't know much about her, other than the first book of the An Ember in the Ashes series, so I would love to get to know more about her in person as I believe she is a new author, but don't quote me if I'm wrong lol.

     Rick Riordan
     This man, wow. How does he know so much about all kinds of mythology and remember it all?? And then turn around and spit out YA novels all over the place about it incorporated into today's society?? I am truly astounded. I would love to hear about his knowledge of mythology and what inspired him to write YA novels about it. Percy Jackson was the THING in my sixth grade class, like you weren't cool unless you read this series, and I'm still reading it as a high school senior, soon-to-be college freshman. How he can write a novel that engrosess a wide range of ages is amazing, and how he keeps it all based off true mythological concepts sounds even more difficult than if he had fabricated all of it. I am really interested in how he plots out his stories and keeps it in line with mythology because it's a reall cool technique for a YA novel.

     Veronica Roth
     Although I may never be able to forgive her for the ending of Allegiant, and then for the change in ending in the movie, her series is so awesome. There's no better word to encompass it because everything is just so awesome: factions, awesome; Tris, awesome; Four, awesome; their growing romance, awesome; the dystopian world, awesome. I feel like her dystopian society is one of the best I've read because there corruption and use of the main character is so well done. Any advice or pointers on dystopian novels would be great because I would love to write one myself one day.

     Victoria Aveyard

     I. LOVE. RED. QUEEN. My god that book is amazing. I really saw nothing in the end coming. I do want to know why shE WOULD DO THAT TO HER READERS. I ACTUALLY REALLY STARTED TO LIKE MAVEN. Why Victoria? That is my question for her. How could she tear my heart out and stomp on it in the best worst ending I've ever read? that's my only question.

     Comment down below what authors you would love to see in a panel together! Thank you so much for reading and make sure to check out Eventbrite for any author conferences and events!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Most Anticipated Books of 2017

     Hello everyone! This post is incredibly late, I'm so sorry! But I haven't thought of doing this post until this week, so I'm going to do it anyway! (Even if I have already missed a few release dates). Here's my most highly anticipated books of 2017:

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas (May 2)
     I haven't read the second book, A Court of Mist and Fury, but I may be able to read it before May 2nd, hopefully. The first book has become one of my all-time favorite novels. I didn't read the synopsis or anything about this one because I really don't want to spoil the second book, or this one. I want to go into this series and be enitrely blind-sided by all the craziness about to go down. If you have not started this series and are considering it, do yourself a favor and just read it. You'll be glad you did.

King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard (Feb. 7)

     So yes, this one has already come out, obviously, but I am so hyped for this series and this will probably be in my next book haul. I had been anticipating this book since November of last year and the release date completely slipped by me! The second book left me stunned, like literally in shock. At the end of the second book, we saw a huge, for lack of better terms, shit-storm. Mare is once again a prisoner under control of the new King, and I'm excited to see how things play out between her, Maven, and Cal (Cal was always my favorite).

Renegades by Marissa Meyer (Nov. 7)

     This book caught me off guard, and reading the synopsis, I am so excited for this November release! The premis is, wait for it...... superheros! I'm so ready for this book, this is the plot I didn't know I needed. The first line of Marissa Meyer's synopsis- "The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned." What? Did you just read that because I just did and I. Am. So. Pumped. I have never read a superhero novel, but if it's coming from the amazing author of the Lunar Chronicles, I am definitely going to read it.

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones (Feb 7)

     Another book that already came out, but I'm a little late with doing this post, so of course I'm going to include because I'm excited to read it. It is claimed to be a coming-of-age novel for lovers of the Labyrinth and Beauty and the Beast. I'm not sure what the Labyrinth is, but I LOVE Beauty and the Beast, so I'm sure I'll love this book. I haven't read much of the synopsis and don't really know the premise, but I'm still so ready to read this.

The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova (Jan. 10)

   Yes, it came out already. No, I haven't read it. Yes, I'm so excited to. I have heard all the booktubers raving about this book and I really just want to get in the hype too. I know there's dragons and an underground organ market, so it sounds really weird, but it seems pretty interesting and unique. It reminds me of Throne of Glass in a way because of the main character, but the premise is completely new.

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh (May 16)

   This novel is about a girl named Mariko, daughter of a samurai and an alchemist. When she is ambushed by the Black Clan, she decides to take control of the situation. From there, she infiltrates the clan and uncovers some dark secrets that she hadn't been expecting. I love stories like this, with samurais and infiltration, so this novel sounded perfect for me.

Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts (June 6)
     I don't know about you guys, but I've never read a book centered on all the illegitimate children of a king, lol. It sounded pretty interesting, and I really like the era of kings and queens. The book focuses on one girl, a child of the king, who is cast aside when the king has legitimate children. I don't have much else to say about it, just that I like the plot and I'm sure it'll be a new experience in reading.

     Let me know which books you're most excited for in the comments. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A to Z Bookish Survey Tag!

     Hey guys, I thought I would do something a little interesting today since I haven't done a tag-like-thing in a while. Today I'm doing the A to Z Bookish Survey Tag. I feel like I just really reflected on my reading experience lol. Here it is:
Author you’ve read the most books from:

Harry Potter seems to be my answer to all questions in life, but hey, it's a great series! So I would have to say J.K. Rowling.
Best Sequel Ever:

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard because OH BOY, it was crazy, and not once did I even think about putting that book down.
Currently Reading:

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Drink of Choice While Reading:

Green tea, but with so much honey, stevia, and vanilla creamer it's sickening.
E-reader or Physical Book?

Physical books all the way because E-Books annoy me, and I feel like you don't get the full experience. A kindle sounds like a good idea, but I prefer real books.
Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:

Tamlin from A Court of Thorns and Roses. He is my latest obsession, and I imagine he's gorgeous. He is also super protective and sweet, but is still kind of edgy <3 Or, honestly, Minho from The Maze Runner, I don't know why, but I just really liked him.
Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. I wasn't really sure if I was going to read this book, but it was so interesting, especially at the end!
Hidden Gem Book:

Hush, Hush. This series gave me so many feels in middle school, I still flick through it and think of the good old days when Patch was my one and only.
Important Moment in your Reading Life:

When I first came up with the idea to write my first book for publication; I looked at novels in a completely new light. It felt like I drew inspiration from every book I read, and primarily Harry Potter.

Just Finished:

I just finished Shadow and Bone, and it was so amazing. It's pretty slow in the beginning, but when it picks up pace, it picks. it. up.
Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

I cannot stand romance novels, the descriptions of two people kissing or having sex in those books repulse me lol, I'm sorry if you love them, but that's my opinion and it's awkward.
Longest Book You’ve Read:

I think it's Harry Potter year 7 because that's a big boy.
Major book hangover because of:

AN EMBER IN THE ASHES AND ACOTAR. Those books, which I read one. after. the other. left me in literal shock, like whole-body paralysis. I was SHOOK.

Number of Bookcases You Own:

None that I actually use for books, I just stack all my books on my wall next to my bed.
One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

Hush, Hush, I read the first book like five times lol
Preferred Place To Read:

In bed or on the floor, but I feel like in college I'll be in the library or outside a lot.
Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:
These two are both from Throne of Glass, the first inspires and the second gives every ounce of feels:

"'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.'"

"There was a darkness in his eyes that felt cold and foreign, like the gaps between the stars."

Reading Regret:

Not finishing the Heroes of Olympus series or the Maximum Ride series. I probably will at some point in the future though (when my TBR cuts down to a reasonable size).
Series You Started And Need To Finish(all books are out in series):

Again, Maximum Ride, but also The Infernal Devices, The Mortal Instruments, The Selection, The Naturals, The Lunar Chronicles... as you can see, I have a lot to read.
Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:

1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
2. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

3. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir or A Court of Thorns and Roses Sarah J. Maas, I  didn't have the heart to choose one.
Unapologetic Fangirl For:

J.K. Rowling and Sarah J. Maas, these two run my world.
Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:

The sixth book in the Throne of Glass series, which currently does not have a name or a synopsis.
Worst Bookish Habit:
I am incredibly susceptible to reading slumps.
X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

Clockwork Angel Cassandra Clare.
Your latest book purchase:

Collectively, it was The Looking Glass Wars, An Ember in the Ashes, A Court of Thorns and Roses, Shadow and Bone, Scarlet, and Queen of Shadows.
ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard had me up until 2 in the morning on a school night, but no regrets!

     Thank you so much fo reading, and feel welcome to do this survey yourself and comment the link to it down below, or even copy and paste this and take it in the comments!                                                                                            -Taylor

Sunday, March 12, 2017

To Be Read: Spring 2017

     It's finally Spring of my senior year!! I have been waiting for this time for four years and it's finally here! This time of the year and the fall of this year will probably be the busiest times I have ever experienced in life with all my senior and college things happening, it'll be so hectic, but I'm excited. Since I will be so busy this Spring, I might not be able to read as much as I would like to, but it's nice to set goals, so that's what I'm going to do.

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
     Like most books I buy, I know pretty much nothing about this book. I always feel bad about telling you guys, but I prefer to go into a book with as little expectations as possible and I hope you guys feel the same way. To my knowledge, this is a story of Wonderland, as in Alce in Wonderland, but the author kind of takes his own twist on the story. In this novel, the girl's name is Alyss, and she is the heir to the throne in Wonderland, but her aunt, Redd, has killed her parents. Beddor also claims the original tale to be a false interpretation by an author Alyss meets when she escapes Redd, and Hatter Madigan is searching for Alyss so she can reclaim her title of Queen of Hearts. I really don't know how I feel about this book, part of me says it's going to an amazing play on the classic, but another part of me really likes the classic and doesn't want to see it twisted. How do you guys feel about this?

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
     Second only to the beloved Harry Potter, I think this series has become my new all-time favorite, and I'm only three books in. Again, I don't know what really happens in this book, and I'm going to avoid spoilers for anyone who hasn't read this series yet, but I have high expectations for this one. In Heir of Fire, there were some new, rising forces bringing some tensions in the world and there was almost a very important new character introduced. I'm really curious as to what will happen when the tensions begin to overflow and this new obstacle takes its course. I am so excited to see what Sarah J. Maas has done with the story and how Celaena is going to handle it. Plus, I really just hope there is more Celaena and Chaol because they're my favorites, and that no one dies.

Cress by Merissa Meyer
     Currently, I am reading Scarlet, the second novel in the Lunar Chronicles, and I'm really liking it, although it's still the beginning and a little slow. It has been so long since I read Cinder, and I'm glad to be back in the Lunar world. I really like that Cinder is incorporated in Scarlet's story, and I'm excited to see the events that lead into Cress' story, I'm also anticipating the re-telling of Rapunzel in the futuristic twist Marissa Meyer plays on the original stories. Since I just started Scarlet, I'm not sure what is exactly going to happen to lead into the third book, but I'm sure it will be great. And I really just want to see Cinder back with the Prince, all happy like they were at first; they were so cute.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
     You guessed it, I don't know what happens in this book. However, I do know that there are dragons, action, and high fantasy and that all sounds pretty cool. I'm aware that I'm pretty behind on reading this since it came out a WHILE ago, but I'm still excited for it. It has been a while since I've read a book that was more in the medieval fantasy area, most have been either futuristic, placed in the desert, or fairy-tale re-tellings. I heard about this book maybe last year or the year before and I've meant to get around to reading it, but I just can't help reading other books.

     Like I said, I'm not sure how many books I will get to ready before summer comes, but I figure if I can get through at least four I'll be happy. Tell me down below your TBR for this spring or the coming months. Thanks for reading!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Appreciation for A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

     I'm aware that most of you have most likely read or at least heard of this book, but I feel like this book deserves its own post beacuse of how amazing it was.
     For the past couple months I had been in a reading slump with no chance of coming out of it due to seemingly endless amounts of homework and obligations, but I have never been so shocked out of a slump as I was by A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. Honestly, if any other could bring me out of a reading slump (besides my queen, J.K. Rowling, of course), it's Sarah J. Maas. I have heard so many people rave over this book, and only recently have I been able to actually read it. I HATE THAT I TOOK SO LONG TO READ THIS BOOK.
     Sarah J. Maas has shown such incredible talent when it comes world construction and character development in the Throne of Glass series, but I feel that her writing, along with her characters, have greatly matured. Never have I seen such a beautiful creation of a world. Her use of mythical creatures in the story, without overexaggerating thair abilites, is almost scary realistic.Going along with the idea of a mature story, the main character, Feyre, while still a teenager, takes part in some more mature parts of the story, which is nice to see in a YA novel sometimes. Since her mother's death, Feyre has had to fend for herself, her greedy sisters, and her spineless father. Also, her romance in the story is fairly mature in the sense that it shows love as being able to whole-heartedly give yourself for another.
      At the beginning of the story, I felt a little disheartened by the whiny connotation of Feyre, not that she had no reason to complain, since she was both mother and father to her sisters and her own father. However, as Feyre develops along with the storyline, she grows significantly and loses her more adolescent voice. I also was pleased by the fact that Feyre didn't instantly fall in love with Tamlin, and it gave a little mystery to the actual turn of events. When Feyre and Tamlin do begin to confess their feelings, they're relationship becomes adorable and completely romantic even through the curve balls thrown at them.
     As for the world that Maas built, I felt so immersed that at some points it felt as if the faerie world were real (which I really wish it were). I really liked the beautiful descriptions Maas gave of such an enchanting place, and the more vile depictions of Under the Mountain. The stark contrasts really gave depth to the world and the unexplored parts of the world left loads of curiosity for future novels in the series.
     I'm glad I could rave over this book, even if no one reads this, just so I can let out all my feelings since no one I know has read this book. I'm waiting until the sequel comes out in paperbook to buy it, and it's truly killing me, slowly and painfully. If this series isn't turned into a movie series, I don't know what's wrong with Hollywood. If any of you have read this book and/or the sequel, let me know what you thought! Is it better than Throne of Glass? Thanks for reading!