Book Haul: Jan-April ’16

It’s Book Haul Time!

I don’t know about you, but I always enjoy seeing what books have caught people’s eyes enough to purchase. So here are the books I’ve acquired so far this year!

(Books 1-5 are from Owlcrate boxes. Maybe I’ll do an unboxing or discussion post at some point.)

  1. Flawed by Cecelia Ahern — This one is from the most recent (April) box. It’s the first installment of a YA dystopian series, and it has pretty solid ratings on goodreads. It’s not high up on my TBR, but I’ll definitely give it a try when I’m in the mood for a dystopian. It does sound like quite a few other dystopian series–girl going with grain, then going against it, trouble ensues–but I’m sure it’ll still be enjoyable since I haven’t read a dystopian in so long.
  2. The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner — This is a YA contemporary with excellent reviews. It honestly doesn’t sound like anything else I’ve read, centering around 3 high school seniors living in a rural town and dealing with all that goes into living in a conservative, small town. This is definitely a book I’ll consider during the summer months when I typically read more contemporary stories.
  3. The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry — This is a YA Romance Sci-fi book that sounds pretty freaking cool. I mean, it’s a love story with premonitions and time travel. Come on. It has somewhat mixed reviews on goodreads, but I’m convinced I’ll enjoy this one.
  4. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells — This one came with The Love That Split the World in the sci-fi themed Owlcrate box. It’s a gosh-darn beautiful cover, and I’ve never read this classic. It’s pretty short and I’ve heard good things.
  5. Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley — This YA historical fiction novel doesn’t have the best reviews on goodreads (which I take into account 95% of the time when choosing what to read) so I’m not sure when I’ll actually read this. The concept does sound pretty cool; it’s a fictionalized account of the Bronte sisters. I’ve read Wuthering Heights by Charlotte Bronte, and even though it was extremely melancholic (even for my taste) I did rather enjoy it. So we’ll see about this one.
  6. Making Comics by Scott McCloud — I don’t know if I’ve talked about this much, but I’m pretty into drawing. I have a vague dream of writing and illustrating children’s books, and another where I write and draw my own comics. Hence the book about comics.
  7. Giant Days, Vol. 1 by John Allison, Lissa Treiman, & Whitney Cogar — A comic about 3 best friends in college. The art style is right up my alley and I bet the story will be endearing. Definitely one of the next graphic novels I’ll read.
  8. Rat Queens, Vol. 3 by Kurtis J. Wiebe, Tamra Bonvillain, & Tess Fowler — The third installment in a graphic novel series about kick-ass ladies in a fantasy world. According to some reviews, it looks like the art style has changed quite a bit, so that’s disappointing. But still looking forward this one.
  9. Saga, Vol. 4 and
  10. Saga, Vol. 5 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples — I snagged both of these along with Rat Queens for an Image Comics sale at B&N. Admittedly, I’ve only read volume 1 so far, but I’m pretty convinced that I’ll continue to love the series. (I already owned 1, 2 & 3).
  11. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf — I finally visited a used bookstore after passing it everyday to & from work for months, and I snagged this copy of a classic I’ve yet to read. I know I read A Room of One’s Own in college(?) and enjoyed it, and I’ve heard great things about Woolf in general, so this is another classic to add to my growing collection of books I’ll eventually feel guilty about not picking up yet. Oops?
  12. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier — A close friend recommended this to me, convinced I’ll love it. She hasn’t let me down with her recommendations thus far, so I’m pretty sure this’ll be another winner. I need more Gothic Romance in my life.
  13. Bossypants by Tina Fey — Two close friends and I decided to start a book club (though we haven’t actually discussed the book yet on any of our coffee dates) and this was our first pick. I haven’t read enough to offer a fully-formed opinion, but I’m thoroughly enjoying it so far. It’s very pleasantly Tina Fey-esque in all the best ways. Maybe I’ll write a review once I’m done? Maybe.
  14. Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders by Neil Gaiman — It would be the surprise of the century if I ended up disliking this, being the Gaiman-obsessed person that I am. His writing is magical.
  15. Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin — This was the second of two books that I picked up at that used bookstore. It was a bit of a spontaneous buy, but I did thoroughly enjoy Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by the same author, so I’m looking forward to this one. The plot sounds pretty darn interesting. There’s a girl who dies, ends up in a place called “Elsewhere” and she’s now aging backwards. Stories involving different after-life scenarios can be very cool. Stoked.

I’d absolutely appreciate any thoughts on these books, maybe which ones I should push to the top of my list! Thanks for reading ūüôā

Book Haul | April ’15

Guys guys guys. I’m so excited about my latest book haul. I’ve been all about comic books/graphic novels lately, and I’ve had my eye on some of them for months. (By the way, comic books are super intimidating to the casual observer. But I think I’m starting to become more comfortable with the crazy comic book world.) So I spent some birthday gift cards and ordered myself some glorious new books. 

Ahhh I’m so excited for all of these. (I’ve already finished Spider-man and loved it, btw) Heeeere we go.

1. Ultimate Spider-man, Vol. 1 by Brian Michael Bendis & Mark Bagley

Okay, so I’ve kind of had a huge crush on Peter Parker since the film trilogy with Tobey Maguire. For the last couple years, I’ve been wondering where to delve into the Spider-man comics, desperately hoping that my love for the films would translate to the comic books. And after some research, the least intimidating place to start seemed like the beginning of the Ultimate Spider-man reboot-type-thing. (The technical term, obviously.) Because the first volume is basically a retelling of Peter’s early days before he becomes Spider-man and right after. It was so fun!! I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to dip their toe in the water of the Spider-man world. Thoroughly enjoyable. Peter Parker is so endearing. And sassy.

2. Batgirl, Vol. 1 by Gail Simone, Ardian Syaf, & Vicente Cifuentas

This just looks like a ton of fun. I think I only vaguely knew of Batgirl’s existence before recently. But it looks very awesome and I love reading about badass female superheroes (like Captain Marvel or Black Widow). The art style is also right up my alley.

3. Watchmen by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons

To be honest, I know essentially nothing about Watchmen. All I know is that it’s supposed to be an awesome and formative graphic novel. Wasn’t it made into a movie…? See, I’m completely clueless. But I’d like to remain clueless for now because sometimes it’s a lot more fun to go into books blindly.

4. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

I also know very little about this book, but for some reason it kept catching my eye as I did my online book browsing. So I finally bit the bullet. I know it has a female narrator (win) and is set in the English countryside in an old castle (double win) and for some reason I think I’ll love it. I guess we’ll see. But it doesn’t hurt that my copy, the one I specifically bought for this reason (because it was worth it), has a quote from JK Rowling on the front saying how marvelous the narrator is. And I’ll basically trust her opinion about anything, let’s be real.

Getting new books is one of my favorite things. Do you guys have any new books you’re excited to read soon? Any graphic novel suggestions for me? I’d love to hear some!

Reading Wrap-Up: Jan/Feb ’15

So, here’s a check-in for my reading during the first two months of the year. Despite feeling like¬†I’m slacking, I’ve actually been keeping right on track with my goal of 50 books. Yay! Here are the books that I’ve completed thus far!

1. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned VizziniFunny_Story_front

YA Contemporary. You guys may already know that I love this book, and it was a great one to kick off the new year with. I’ve posted a book review for it, so I have some collected thoughts there. It was¬†memorable and poignant, and I will definitely pick it up again at some point. Loved it. ‚ėÜ‚ėÜ‚ėÜ‚ėÜ‚ėÜ

2. Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns, #2) by Rae Carsonimgres

I’m just…not the biggest fan of this YA fantasy trilogy.¬†I don’t hate it, but there are quite a few things about it that really bother me. The heroine is difficult to empathize with, I find the storyline of how she got to her position of power a bit silly and too¬†convenient, the constant talk of religion and praying gets on my nerves pretty quickly, etc. Some people will love this series–there are definitely things to enjoy–but it’s just not my cup of tea. I read the first one (The Girl of Fire and Thorns)¬†toward the end of 2014¬†and enjoyed it much more than this one. (I gave that one 4 stars.) I’ll eventually read the third one to see how everything wraps up. ‚ėÜ‚ėÜ‚ėÜ

3. Sweet Thing (Sweet Thing, #1) by Renée Carlinoimgres-1

This was a fun read. New Adult contemporary romance about a girl who is coping with loss and unsure in which direction her life should go. Great development of chemistry between the main characters, interesting side characters,¬†and good plot. Mia can become really frustrating, but I cut her some slack. A bit too sappy at times. Overall very enjoyable and I completely¬†flew through it. I’ll be picking up the novella sometime this year. ‚ėÜ‚ėÜ‚ėÜ‚ėÜ

imgres-24. The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1 by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matt Wilson

A bind-up graphic novel about gods in the form of pop stars. I really wanted to love this, but I feel pretty ‘meh’ about it. The art style is beautiful, and that’s one of the things that drew me to it.¬†I honestly didn’t know what was going on during¬†a lot of¬†the story. I might reread it at some point and try the next volume to see if my opinion changes. ‚ėÜ‚ėÜ‚ėÜ

5. Soulless (Parasol Pretectorate, #1) by Gail CarrigerPrint

This is the first book in a¬†Paranormal/Fantasy steampunk romance series and it’s fast-paced and sassy and so, so fun.¬†Alexia is a snarky, intelligent, and badass heroine who doesn’t take shit from anyone. The romance is great, the side characters are colorful and hilarious. So enjoyable. A friend lent this to me because it’s one of her favorite series, and I was happy to report back that I loved it. I’ll definitely be reading the next one very soon–I’m sure it’ll be just as addictive! ‚ėÜ‚ėÜ‚ėÜ‚ėÜ‚ėÜ

6. Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo CorralChopsticks

I’ve done a review for this one as well, so you can see my semi-collected thoughts over there. I already had enough difficulty¬†forming coherent thoughts the first time around, so I’m simply going to say that it was a thought-provoking read that offers¬†a very unique and unexpected narrative and premise. ‚ėÜ‚ėÜ‚ėÜ‚ėÜ

2274437. Bridget Jones’s Diary (Bridget Jones, #1) by Helen Fielding

Oh look, I just talked about this one. This wasn’t really what I was expecting. A fast read, somewhat¬†enjoyable, but pretty ‘meh’.¬†‚ėÜ‚ėÜ 1/2

8. The Name of the Star (Shades of London, #1) by Maureen Johnson

13595639YA Paranormal/Fantasy about a Jack the Ripper killing spree.¬†I really¬†wanted¬†to like this more than I did. There were definitely parts that I¬†enjoyed, but I was never truly¬†invested in¬†the story. I was neutral about most of the characters and what happened to them. Yet another example of why I should seriously just give up on ghost books. (I’m really stubborn though.) ‚ėÜ‚ėÜ 1/2

I think I’ll be switching gears into more high fantasy books and graphic novels for a while.¬†I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of these books or any recommendations for me! ūüôā

Book Thoughts: Chopsticks

ChopsticksTitle: Chopsticks
Authors: Jessica Anthony & Rodrigo Corral
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Graphic Novel
Year: 2012

Rating: ‚ėÜ‚ėÜ‚ėÜ‚ėÜ

This book pushes the boundaries of storytelling. On the surface, it is a love story. Deeper down, it is something else.

Chopsticks¬†uses a variety of images¬†and very few¬†words to essentially create a scrapbook. Its contents coalesce into a compelling¬†story. It plays with the reader’s expectations and sense of understanding by scattering small hints throughout¬†its pages. It allows for such a¬†unique reading experience. You should go¬†into it with few preconceived notions or expectations.

This book is honestly very difficult to describe. It’s beautiful and unlike anything I’ve read before.¬†You have access to intimate yet fragmented details of¬†people’s lives. It left me speechless as I closed the book, with questions still swarming around my head. This prompted me to¬†immediately reexamine it from the beginning. The second time helped me to better form my thoughts, but they’re still difficult to articulate.

I recommend Chopsticks¬†to anyone who is curious about other ways to tell stories, who loves photography, and who enjoys looking closely into¬†characters’ lives.

Favorite Reads of 2014

Well, my first post might as well be about books, right? 2014 was a wonderful year for reading–I actually read 48 books! Not too shabby for having still been in school. My New Year’s resolution two years ago was to read more, and I’ve stuck with it. I seriously can’t get enough, and I actually feel guilty when I’m not actively reading something. BookTube is¬†probably (partially) to blame for that. That’s the bookish community on YouTube, in case you didn’t know. I’m far too scared to make my own videos, but that doesn’t stop me from watching them all the time. Like, too much. Anyway, I’ll probably talk more about that some other time.

I’ve managed to read so many amazing books over the past year, so it’s pretty difficult to narrow them down. And it doesn’t help that I’ve literally always been terrible at picking favorites of anything. But it’s worth a shot!

*drum roll*

1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

What a beautiful, heart-wrenching story. It features memorable characters that feel so real, and it’s¬†narrated by Death. Yes, death. Exquisitely done. It’s impossible to do this novel justice with a short description. It’s a must-read. And please don’t let the subject matter (Nazi Germany) turn you off! Also, prepare to cry. A lot. But seriously, read it.

2. Persuasion by Jane Austen

Oh man, I took a film & literature course on Jane Austen in the fall and it made me fall in love with Jane Austen. I love this one. Anne Elliot is a great heroine, and there are quite a few memorable side characters. As always, Austen’s dialogue is brilliant. I think this could¬†be a great Austen novel to begin with, since it’s quite a bit¬†shorter than her others.

3. Solanin by Inio Asano

One of my first graphic novels and my first-ever manga! Reading it ‘backwards’ took some getting used to, but I eventually got the hang of it. Beautiful, poignant story. It really captures the confusing time of early adulthood, so I could really relate to it. It also¬†made me cry, which I wasn’t expecting from a graphic novel. Loved it.

4. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Let’s be honest, it seems that Gaiman can do no wrong. I’ve now read four books of his and have loved every¬†one. This is an imaginative children’s/middle-grade¬†story a la The Jungle Book, but with ghosts and other paranormal aspects. Gaiman creates this otherworldly-yet-familiar feeling in his novels that I find amazing. I don’t know how he does it. Brilliant.

5. Saving June by Hannah Harrington

This is a contemporary story about a girl dealing with her sister’s suicide. It’s realistic and beautiful and heart-wrenching. It has some¬†great, relatable characters, and it features some talk about music, which I always appreciate in books. A well-balanced story that offers much more than I expected. Absolutely loved it.

6. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Two hunky guys, a kick-ass heroine, and magic. What more could you want? I’ve been impressed with the world-building in both Throne of Glass¬†and this second installment, and the plot keeps me guessing. I’m itching to read¬†Heir of Fire¬†soon.

7. Angelfall by Susan Ee

This novel¬†shoves you right into the craziness of a world ravaged by fallen angels. It was my first angel book,¬†and it’s gotten me intrigued to read more. Raffe and Penryn are both spunky and memorable characters. World After¬†is calling to me on my shelf!

8. Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

This is my first New Adult read and, because of how great this was, it won’t be my last. This love story¬†features a main character who is deaf, but it deals with so much more than that. The story was sweet and they have great chemistry. It didn’t feel like insta-love, which is a huge pet peeve of mine. I think it could be a great pick for someone else’s¬†first New Adult read.

9.¬†Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares¬†by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

Fun, fun, fun! It made me want to go to The Strand bookstore in NYC and/or leave a notebook somewhere for a stranger to find. Fun characters, fun plot, such a great wintry/holiday read.

10. Saga, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

Another one of my first graphic novels! What a fantastic start to a series. Beautiful art-style, exciting plot. I finally have my hands on the next two and I can’t wait to dive in!

Well, this was fun! More bits of prose and whimsy to come…