Reading Slump – TBR Un-haul

I’ve not been reading this last week or two. Slumps are very discouraging. Usually, to lift me out of the slowdowns I read some urban fantasy steampunk historic paranormal romance kind of books and they seem to satisfy my need for fun fluff. When I’m down they are my junk food and I love them for it but lately, even those haven’t helped me out of this hole. So, I was trying to figure out what to read and looked through my Goodreads to-read list and Amazon wishlist but found books I don’t remember adding. I realized as I looked at these books I had no plan to read them so, I started to remove them. It feels good to un-haul books on my to-read list. Almost as good as a physical book un-haul. I realize I felt overwhelmed by my own expectations, what I or others think I should read. And my Amazon wishlist was not completely a list of book I want to maybe own one day but just another to-read list probably created before Goodreads came along. Therefore, I purged and I feel better for it. Still unsure how to get out of this reading slump, instead, I have taken up playing some video games too long left unplayed and through this avenue, I have satisfied my need for stories. Currently, I am playing Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and I am loving it. This is the historical fiction adventure I needed. So glad to have Nathan Drake’s quirky, sarcastic character back, solve puzzles, and find treasure.

How do you get out of a reading slump? Have you and how do you purge your to-read list?

Book Review: Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

This book is the sequel in the Strange the Dreamer series. You should definitely read the first book Strange the Dreamer before picking up Muse of Nightmares. The first leaves the reader with so many questions and this one is the answer key. In fact, this book leaves off right where the first one ends. I’ll try to leave this review spoiler free so it is thin on book summary.

What can I say about this book other than it is amazing. It ripped out my heart and then fix it back into my chest and filled it again almost to bursting. I finished reading this book before bed and I couldn’t go to sleep because I was just so happy. I feel like I was on a journey right along with the characters feeling everything they feel. Laini is a words smith. She makes the reader understand how characters can be good and bad by creating the clearest, realist picture of people. The magic and the world are huge and detailed but not confusing. Plus, shout out to an epilogue I needed to read. Perfect closure to a story leaving me satisfied and dreamy.

In this book, we follow the same cast of characters but even a few new ones, Nova and Kova, enter the fold becoming a critical point of the story. Lazlo returns but we spend less time in his head. Sarai also returns and as the title of the book leads you to believe, yes this is her book. She is sweet, strong, and instead of breaking people down she is learning to use her magic to help people. Rudy, Feral, and Sparrow are back. I think Sparrow gets a little more magical growth in the story but Rudy and Feral set the perfect teenage tone. Minya is a marvelously complex character. All the pain she holds and knowing every decision made was to protect the others. Even though I disagreed with her so many times, it is so easy to understand her position completely. The character with probably the most unexpected arc is Thyron. I don’t want to give anything away but at first, I was a little confused why he was getting page time. Let’s be honest he isn’t the best person in the first book but it made me so happy to see him develop. (Squeal!) Lastly, Eril-Fane and Azareen. Sigh. So much emotion.

Yes, these books are considered young adult but the themes in this book are ones we are constantly facing throughout life. How grief can be blinding and holding on to pain is such a negative weight. Learning to let go of hurt and learning from mistakes and after all that knowledge, you can still do good. Moving on from the ugliness. Thank you Laini Taylor.

ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.  Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor will be published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on October 2nd, 2018.

Purchase Muse of Nightmares through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Book Depository.

Purchase the first book in the series, Strange the Dreamer, through AmazoneBooks.com, Barnes & Noble, or Book Depository.

Book Review: (Don’t) Call Me Crazy by Kelly Jensen

(Don’t) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation About Mental Health edited by Kelly Jensen is a collection of essays, poems, and art on how bestselling authors, actors, and artist have coped and thrived with mental illness. This is a very important anthology. It covers mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, trichotillomania, eating disorders, bipolar issues, PTSD, and many more.
This isn’t about the science or trying to find a cure. This is more about experiences. Everyone writes about their struggle with their illness. Some of it is how their illness has affected their lives, from misdiagnosis to popular stigmas. There are discussions about defining words, the language used by others, not letting words define you as a person, and how you are not your mental illness. Also, how people found help, and how they still work with their health today. There are authors that recommend other titles, fiction or non-fiction if the reader would like to continue their education and learn more. And even some helpful meditations.
This was a tough review to write and I don’t know if I have given it the proper write up it deserves. I highlighted many phrases or descriptions that clicked. Some of the most relatable works in this anthology for me were, The Train of Overthinking by Gemma Correll; this cartoon, for me, perfectly represents getting stuck in the loop of negative thoughts and Black Hole by Victoria V. E. Schwab which just made me feel less alone about getting stuck inside my head.
I wish I had something like this when I was a teen. Some books and movies put a Hollywood spin on some illness or just completely got it wrong. This anthology allows realistic representation and helps suffer feel less alone. You don’t have a mental illness but maybe you know someone who has or is currently going through some stuff and all I can ask is read this. It can help you have a better understanding, a little more compassion, and start conversations.

ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. (Don’t) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation About Mental Health edited by Kelly Jensen will be published by Algonquin Young Readers on October 2nd, 2018.

 

Purchase this title through Amazon, Book Depository, or Barnes & Noble.

Book Haul

This book haul will be short since I don’t buy a lot of books anymore. I didn’t have a book review ready this week because I’m a slow reader. I’m hoping this will be better than posting nothing.
Mostly I go borrow from the library. It saves money and if I’m not downloading a library e-book, it’s a nice time out. But this past month I did buy and receive a few books and I would love to continue to share my love of books and support authors.


First I had some digital dollars left in my Amazon account and there is an Amazon e-book sale on Leigh Bardugo’s Wonder Woman: Warbringer. I’m a fan of Wonder Woman so I needed it plus sale! You understand.
Book Depository, Amazon, Ebooks.com, and Barnes & Noble.


When I was younger I may have sponsored whales or dolphins but the first animal I really found a connection with was wolves and I sponsored a wolf from the Sawtooth Pack. Jim and Jamie Dutcher lived intimately with this pack of wolves and now has written about the virtues they observed in wolf society and behavior. Basically, anything that has to do with wolves, especially the Sawtooth Pack I will buy. Amazon, Book Depository, Ebooks.com, and Barnes & Nobles.


I received a Barnes & Noble gift card from my mom so I took advantage of the 50% off sale and bought, Circe by Madeline Miller. I don’t think I could tell it any better so, “In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child–not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power–the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.” Need I say more? Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, and Ebooks.com.


The second book I bought was Dread Nation by Justina Ireland. The reader follows Jane McKeene, a Black teen. Zombies rise from their graves during the Civil War. The US ends the war with a compromise that frees the enslaved but forces them into combat schools that train them to slay the undead. Yup, had to have. Amazon, Book Depository, Barnes & Noble, and Ebooks.com.


I’m currently reading an advance copy of (Don’t) Call Me Crazy by Kelly Jensen. Algonquin Young Readers gave me this book filled with essays, lists, poems, and art which 33 contributors including actress Kristen Bell, figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, and bestselling YA authors like Adam Silvera, and Victoria Schwab. The novel explores ways these people have coped and thrived with mental illness. If you’ve ever struggled with your mental health, or know someone who has this is the book. Review coming soon. On sale October 2, 2018. Amazon, Book Depository, and Barnes & Noble.


My next read will be Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers was so amazing and give me an advance copy. It is the sequel of Strange the Dreamer which was like a dream, wonderful and heartbreaking. I love Laini Taylor’s writing and can’t wait to get to this read. Review coming soon. On sale October 2, 2018. Amazon, Book Depository, and Barnes & Noble.

That concludes my list. What do you think of my list? Is there any you would or would not recommend. Would you like to see more post like this one? This blog won’t be book reviews forever. I do plan on getting back to discussing some writing struggles. Until then, I hope you find your perfect read.

Drooling for These Book Deals

I’m not trying to be a deal site but for a book obsessed person, there are 4 days left to Barnes & Noble 50% off book blow out. I made the mistake of looking and I saw some books that I loved reading or some on my to-read list I thought I would share. I do mostly frequent my local library for my reading needs and I would surely recommend that if money is tight even for some of these wonderful deals but if you’ve been eyeing one of these beautiful books to occupy your shelf nows the time. Any money saving that can be done on my book buying habit I’m all in. (If you prefer, I included the Amazon link if they had the same deal.)

Strange the Dreamer

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor I read this and loved. I think Laini Taylor has such a poetic way with language. This is a fantasy. It’s about Lazlo Strange and his obsession with the mythic lost city of Weep until it leads him to finally find it’s borders. Just disappointed it is the paperback on sale. Was thinking of adding the hardcover to my collection. Amazon

Dread Nation

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland and on my to-read list. Zombies rise from their graves at during the Civil War. The US ends the war with a compromise that frees the enslaved but forces them into combat schools that train them to slay the undead shamblers and the reader follows Jane McKeene, a Black teen. Need I say more. Amazon

Warcross (Warcross Series #1)

Warcross by Marie Lu is the first in a series. A teen bounty -hunter hacks into Warcross championship games and accidentally into the action. Game creator recruits her to spy but she soon uncovers sinister plots. There is also an e-book deal just for today (probably only the US) for $2.99. Amazon

Love and Ruin (B&N Exclusive Edition)

Love and Ruin by Paula McLain. From the point of view of Martha Gellhorn, famed novelist, travel writer, and journalist during her marriage to Ernest Hemingway.  I really like Mclain’s first novel The Paris Wife from point of view of Hadley Richardson, Hemingway’s first wife, so I’m all in for this one.
Amazon doesn’t have the paperback/hardcover deal by the e-book is $3.99 at the time I posted this.

Circe

Circe by Madeline Miller. I don’t think I could tell it any better so, “In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child–not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power–the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.” Amazon

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

A non-fiction pick on my to-read list is Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. I just have heard so many good things about this book. I now wonder how I haven’t read it yet? Amazon

That concludes my list but there are so many more books I want to read that are currently on sale. What do you think of my list? Is there any you would or would not recommend. Would you like to see more post like this one? This blog won’t be book reviews forever. I do plan on getting back to discussing some writing struggles but for now, this is what I got.

Where are the Book Reviews?

If you have followed me for book reviews know they will be a more often occurrence on this blog but not weekly. I am a slow reader. I have been put down for what I have read, haven’t read, or how long it takes to read something as long as I can remember. I was on a roll with content. In the past, when I didn’t have something lined up, I didn’t know what to do so, I just didn’t post. Not a great way to start but it has happened and it may happen in the future so be prepared. It’s hard to be a book lover and a slow reader when so many will diminish a person’s love for something when it is not up to certain popular standards but I still love reading and sharing my love for the written word. I will have times when writing and reading are hard. I can’t stop these slumps and insecurities from happening but I will try to keep my goals the same. As for the future, hang tight, another book review is coming soon.

I do like writing my little book reviews because I like to support authors and spread my love of reading. But I would still like to write about other things.

If you would like to support me, please consider clicking on one of the links below and buying something.

Amazon, Book Depository, Barnes & Noble, and Ebooks.com

“To be good at writing is to be good at pulling out your own hair. What use is talent that pains you?” – How to Stop Time By Matt Haig

Book Review: How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

Tom Hazard looks 41-years-old but he has a rare condition. He ages at a slower rate and is actually four-hundred-and-thirty-nine-years old. Tom is protected by a secret society for people like him and with their help, he must move around every 8 years to not create suspension. The number one rule to this secret club, don’t fall in love which hasn’t been a problem for Tom. This time around he decides he will move back to his old stomping grounds, London, to become a high school history teacher but when he meets a woman at work he starts to remember the fulfillment and hurt that comes with any life. Now, Tom’s current life is haunted by his past experiences and he must decide if he will stay stuck in his former memories or finally begin living in the present.

How to Stop Time alternates between present-day London and Tom’s many past memories but I was never confused. Haig does a good job of keeping the story moving but not disorganized. The synopsis of the book will have you think this is a love story between two people but I think it is about following Tom during a time when he feels his life is spent and is questioning his place not only in the world but in the secret society. There is a love story but it’s not the novel’s main focus like the movie, “The Age of Adeline” or the book, The Time Traveler’s Wife. The romance is slow burning and a reader may be confused when they start reading and find nothing happens with this present day romance until the last half of the book. It takes Tom a long time to accept his feelings. I think the main theme of the book was more about the heaviness of being alive. How a group of people you thought was protecting and helping you may have been hurting you? Also, seeing the good, “to love food and music and champagne and rare sunny afternoons in October. You can love the sight of waterfalls and the smell of old books.”

I really enjoyed this book. I found myself marking many passages that stuck with me. The read can be a little slow at times (what life is always exciting?) but it was quite thrilling by the end.

Some favorite quotes:

“That’s the thing with time, isn’t it? It’s not all the same. Some days – some years – some decades – are empty. There is nothing to them. It’s just flat water. And then you come across a year, or even a day, or an afternoon. And it is everything. It is the whole thing.”

“And, just as it only takes a moment to die, it only takes a moment to live. You just close your eyes and let every futile fear slip away. And then, in this new state, free from fear, you ask yourself: who am I? If I could live without doubt what would I do? If I could be kind without the fear of being fucked over? If I could love without fear of being hurt? If I could taste the sweetness of today without thinking of how I will miss that taste tomorrow? If I could not fear the passing of time and the people it will steal? Yes. What would I do? Who would I care for? What battle would I fight? Which paths would I step down? What joys would I allow myself? What internal mysteries would I solve? How, in short, would I live?”

Purchase this title through Amazon, Book Depository, Barnes & Noble, or Ebooks.com.