Monday, February 27, 2017

Weekly Reading Goals

Weekly Reading Goals!
February 27th 2017


Hello Everyone!

I am back today to speak with you all about my reading goals for this week. I am really excited for what this week has in store for reading, and I hope that I am able to finish atleast one book so that I am able to review something for you all. I know at the moment I am a bit scatter brained and cannot really focus on one book or too long which believe me, it is just as annoying to me that I am unable to finish a book as it is to you all. This week my big goals are to complete atleast one book and continue with my reread. 

So with continuing my reread, that of course being  A Darker Shade of Magic by:  V.E Schwab. I am finding that this book is more engaging and entertaining the second time around, as the first time I read this was for Booktube SFF where I was trying to speed read to stay on track with the reading schedule. Now I have been allowing myself to go as slow as possible which is good for my enjoyment, though it means that my review will not be revised and posted until the end of next week I assume.  Once I complete this book I will be marathoning the rest of the series to ensure that I complete them this time and do not allow them to languish on my shelves for years. 

Man's best friend :) 
Aside from the wonderful rereading, I will be starting to read the shortlist for Booktube SFF 2017! The first book that I will be diving into from this stack is the novella nominee Every Heart a Doorway by: Seanan McGuire. This is the one book that I anticipate completing this week as it is a mere 169 pages. I have heard nothing but amazing things about this little novella and I am very eager to pick it up and attempt to read it this coming week!

I also will have American Gods by: Neil Gaiman still on the go with my pal Missy. This book is fun but it is very long as well so I was not anticipating it to take me a short amount of time at all. I am currently on chapter five if you would like to know which is 100 pages into this massive 500 page tome! I aim to complete it during this month, though we will see, we will see.... 

Those are my plans for this week in reading, I hope to attain most of my goals but only time will tell if that is possible. Many of you will remember that I am back at Uni right now, but while I was home I got a picture with my dog. So here, start your monday off right with a picture of the cutest Shar Pei in the world, Bubba!

Happy Reading...

Friday, February 24, 2017

Random Reading Ramblings

Random Reading Ramblings

Hey guys! 

SO I have not read a whole lot this week, even with my break so I thought I would pop in now and share with you some exciting things that I have seen this week in the bookish world! I tend to scroll through Twitter at a ravenous pace when I am bored or in line waiting for something, which luckily for you all is exactly where I found these tidbits of bookish goodness. 

This week as I am sure most of you will know was the release of A Conjuring of Light by: V.E Schwab. I was super excited to see her have another book hit shelves, she has written so many incredible books and regardless of the fact that I am not caught up on the series I am overjoyed that the final book has been released. In honor of this book's release I began rereading the trilogy so that I could read this final book! I think this second time through A Darker Shade of Magic I will enjoy it much more than the first time through the books and I hopefully will pick up on all of her nuances that she has placed throughout the novels. I also found some of the coolest bookmarks for the series which I am ordering later this evening as a treat for getting through the recent stressors at school.
Bookmark Etsy Link: Click Here

Aside from exciting book releases and new bookmarks, a few other excitig events happened in the bookish world. A Darker Shade of Magic has been optioned for a film with has no release date as of yet but it will be out within the next few years, V.E. will be helping with the directing, however she will no longer be writing the screenplay. From other series and bookish news, BookOutlet, as always, has another sale going on which almost enticed me to buy a lot of books from them again; however I am happy to say that I was able to restrain myself this time. I did not place any orders for books, however as I said, bookmarks will be mine soon! In the world of books in the Empire, I reviewed two books this past Wednesday, one of poetry and the other a silent graphic work. I enjoyed both of these immensely and would recommend that everyone picks them up to flick through! 

And lastly in the realm of bookish chattering that I have to speak about to you all is re-reading and marathoning series. I will be posting a full chat about these next week, but right here I wanted to preface this with a few thoughts and questions.

Thoughts: 
  • Rereads are time consuming and limit the new books you can read.
  • Rereads allow you to revisit worlds and characters that you know that you love. 
  • Marathoning series help to keep you immersed in the world and the complex plot of a series. 
  • Marathoning is simply the best way to go.
Questions:
  • Do you reread often?
    • Why do you reread?
    • How do you decide what you want to reread?
  • Do you all Marathon series?
    • How do you keep early books in a series fresh in your mind without rereading them before the finale is published?
    • Which series do you recommend I marathon in the near future?
Leave your responses in the comments below and lets chat about rereading and marathoning series, both of which I would love to do more often this year.

Happy Reading this Weekend!


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Dual Review Day

Dual Review Day:
February 21st 2017


Hello all, 

I am back today to give you two very short reviews of books that I finished this morning while I was waiting to go to class. The books that I completed were The Arrival by: Shaun Tan and Milk and Honey by: Rupi Kaur. Both of these books are very quick reads which is why I was able to complete them in one morning, however each left its mark in my soul, these are two books that I will never forget. 

The Arrival: A Review 

This book is a voiceless graphic work, meaning that there are no words anywhere throughout this book. The author deliberately eliminated any sense of voice or understanding for the reader so that the would feel what an immigrant does when they cannot comprehend a new place. This idea of having no words present throughout the book is genius! I truly was confused for the first few sections of the graphic novel, however after accepting that I would not understand all of it I found that I was truly captivated. 

The artwork that is in this is nothing short of breathtaking! Illustrations are done in pencil sketches that have both a lifelike quality to them and a curiously surreal. Though the art is solely in black and white as you read the colors become vivid and luxurious with your imagination. I found the artwork to be fascinating and detailed, each stroke tells the story of our protagonist as he moves to a new land. 

The artwork complements the rather bleak themes that Tan is attempting to tackle within this work. Immigration and the idea of acceptance are pivotal ideas that are explored with this book, making it all the more relevant for our society today! The emotions of a man who is forced to separate from his family in hopes of finding a better life for them hits like a tsunami coming to is crescendo, while the cooperation and patience of those seen in this story and the ending will warm your heart and give you a new hope for humanity. This book was a quick read, with ample substance talking about crucial ideas for our modern world. This is a must read for all!

Rating: 4 Stars

Milk and Honey: A Review

This collection of poems deals with three major topics, pain, love, and healing. Each one of these topics has a selection of poems dedicated to explore the emotions felt in each. This collection was the first collection of poems that I have ever read, and I absolutely loved a bunch, but found that some were difficult for me to connect with and were rather forgettable. I am not quite sure how to review this collection, as I feel poetry is such a personal preference and one that I am not well versed in yet. I will leave you with an example of one of her poems in the collection, I recommend reading the section title The Healing regardless of if you want to read the rest.

Rating: 3.5 Stars


Happy Reading!


Monday, February 20, 2017

Weekly Reading Goals

Weekly Reading Plans:
February 20th 2017


Hello All, 

Even with the chaos of Uni I have some books to read this week when I have a long weekend home. There are many more books aside from just the ones that I am going to show you today, however I feel like I should set myself a reasonable goal instead of my usually outlandish set. I am going to be home from Wednesday until Sunday so I will have a fair chunk of time to read while I am home on top of blogging and filming for the YouTube channel. During this time I am going to take a break and do what I need to do relax, I will have posts going up when I am home as well so be sure to check out what is going on in the Empire :)

Now let's discuss what I am going to be reading while I have this short time home.
  • American Gods 
    • Neil Gaiman 
    • This is a book that I began in the first week of the month as a buddy read, however as with everything I stopped reading it to focus on Uni. This book has mythology, American cynicism and sarcasm that I love reading Gaiman's worlds and his rich and imaginative writing. This will be my third Gaiman book reading so far and I hope to fly through it once I begin focussing on it. 
    • Pages left: 533
    • This is one that I think I will take slow and read only one chapter a day until the book is complete, as I have found rushing Gaiman is never a good idea. 
  • Sufficient Grace 
    • Amy Espeseth 
    • This is one of the books that was sent in this month's Moth Box that is curated by the lovely MercysMusings on YouTube. This book is not one that I have ever heard about as it is a self published British novel, however after trying the first few pages I think this book is going to consume my life. It follows a cult in a woodland setting which could not be any more ominous if it tried which makes it seem like the perfect book to curl up with in these cold months. I hope to be reading this wonderful book with my friend Kaitlin from Kitty G on YouTube. 
    • Page Count: 321
  • Stories of Your Life 
    • Ted Chiang 
    • This is a book of short stories that I began to read last week and did not make too much progress on, however I am loving them so much. I will be dipping in and out of this collection to break up the realist works that I am reading such as Sufficient Grace and some review copies. This collection has the story that inspired the astounding movie, Arrival which I just watched yesterday so I cannot wait to see the source material in comparison with the film. 
    • Pages Left: 281
I am hoping to complete most of these while I am home! What are you all trying to read this upcoming week? 


Happy Reading Guys!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Caraval Review

Caraval
By: Stephanie Garber
Review

Hello Everyone!

I am back today to bring you all a review of one of the most original and enthralling circus books that I have ever read, Caraval by: Stephanie Garber. This book is a combination between Survivor the television show and the circus of your dreams! This book follows two sisters Donatella and Scarlet as they fight to flee their abusive father by way of Caraval. Caraval for many years has stopped travelling and occupied the Isle that it is currently on, this Isle is far from civilization and is shrouded in mystery since only those with an invitation can experience Caraval. Scarlet has been fascinated by Caraval since she was a child with her grandmother telling her stories of the grandeur and opulence of Caraval, so she writes Legend (ringmaster of Caraval) weekly until one day she receives a set of tickets to attend. These tickets are where the book begins to pick up momentum and fully pulled me into the depths of its pages until I was done. 

Caraval does have many aspects of magic and mystery behind how everything runs, however I believe that there are two unique and engaging ideas that Garber employs within this novel. The first object of magic and scenery that Garber captures is balconies, yes you heard me, balconies. In this world you can either creepily watch the game from above in these vast balconies or you can participate in Caraval, which is what Scarlet and Donatella do. The imagery of these high treeline balconies had me captivated with the thought of them; balconies also serve later in the story as an ominous reminder of the past which gave me mixed emotions since I was captivated by them but grew to fear them. The second object of pure genius that Garber weaves into this story is the clothing. Scarlet, the main character, has dresses throughout that shift forms and materials on their own based on her mood which to me is mind boggling! All the players of Caraval have opulent and spectacularly well described clothing, this book made me realize just how plain my style is. If I could Cosplay as anyone I think I would choose Dante as he has great clothing and my mental image of him is probably the clearest out of all the male characters. Garber also manages to blur the line of fantastical and reality seamlessly within this novel which further heightens the mystery that they are trying to solve in Caraval's game.

This book takes the wonder of your favorite circus and childhood memory and tips it on its head and sends it shooting into space! Garber has outdone herself with this book the themes of abuse and love were handled well within the pages which is often not done by a debut author. The writing style that is featured within this book is not particularly lyrical or beautiful, however that being said this book will take you on a journey you will never forget as you explore the details of Caraval. In the end I found this book to be incredibly fast paced, engaging, and an overall joy to read with some kick ass main characters and a crazy circus mystery to solve!

I will eagerly be waiting to see what Garber writes next, hopefully it is another book in this universe, however if this were left to be a standalone I would be perfectly satisfied. 

Rating: 5/5

Links:

Video: 
During this Cozy Reading night I read a majority of Caraval, watch this to see my thoughts as I proceed through the book. No spoilers are present in this video.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Staying Grounded

Remembering My Roots: 

Hello Everyone!

I thought I would come on today and chat with you about how reading has kept me grounded and invested in my past an present, as well as what has impacted me the most. As you will all know if you have been following the blog recently, life has thrown a few curveballs my way recently. In dealing with these hardships and changes I have spent a fair amount of time reflecting on the past and how it has shaped me and helped me get through recent events. I have a few overarching themes that always make my life a little brighter, including friends, family, and the pets I have and of course books! The friends and family have always been a constant help to me getting throughout the hard times, however in the light of recent events my passion for reading has helped more than I thought it would. 

When and why did I start this reading catharsis you may ask? It has been three years since I began this journey to explore my passion for literature, and all things related to the bookish world, I owe this whole journey to the wonderful Jenna Clare! I had been a long time viewer of many BookTuber's channels though I did not have a camera, editing software or the patience to join in that community. This exclusion from the bookish community ceased when Jenna posted her music video for "Bookish Empire"; this song inspired me to take the leap and start this blog with its optimism and vitality laced through my posts.  The name also caught my eye and gave me the motivation to begin, which I of course asked Jenna if it was okay to use her name choice given she gets credit, which clearly she said yes to, at which point I launched the site. From the day I played this song I was intrigued and driven to share my thoughts about the many books that I read. Thank you again Jenna for inspiring this passion from me. 

The reading which was done in the early days of this blog included many recommendations from my local librarians and those incredibly influential BookTube channels that I watched. Each of the first five channels that I watched in the beginning will be listed below. However as I began to read more and more I found that I was drawn to the stories which were fantastical in nature, as each page was a new adventure that I sadly would never experience on my own. This joyous escapism did not mean much to me in the beginning though I must tell you all, as schooling advanced I did not hang out with many people so to fill my life with interest and variation I picked up each book I could find. Books in this sense helped me through the gap in out of school friends that I experienced in Middle school and High school; now they are my relaxation vice and my emotional confiants. 

Reading, it has shaped me in to the quick witted and quirky man I am today. I am thankful for everything that has happened along the way, even the bad events as each event changed me for the better by forcing me to reach for my coping mechanisms, family and the written word. This choice to read and blog as a hobby has changed into something something so much more than I ever expected it to become! I have made friends around the globe whom I speak with on a regular basis and I have begun to reach out and work with publishers to bring you many of the reviews that you see here. Reading, Lindsey Stirling music, friends, and family have stood in my corner for as long as I can remember and I want to thank you all aswell for hanging in there and seeing where this crazy whim filled blog will take us. 

This post as I said was inspired due to recent difficult events, however I urge you all to take the time to remember why it is that you do the things that you do regardless of the monetary value attached to an event or job, just reflect on why you do what you do. I found this experience to be soothing and enlightening to see just how many of the events in my past have directly impacted the choices that I have made in my short life.

The First Five BookTubers: 
  1. Jenna Clare
    1. Jenna's Channel
  2. Ariel Bissett
    1. Ariel's Channel
  3. Katytastic 
    1. Kat's Channel
  4. Christine Riccio
    1. Poland Bananas Books Channel
  5. Whitney Atkinson
    1. WhittyNovels Channel
Music That Changed Me: 
Jenna Clare's Song that started it all, Bookish Empire!

Lindsey Stirling's collaboration with Disney to make 
Pete's Dragon! This song gives me the strength to move
 forward through it all...

Friday, February 10, 2017

Friday Reads!

Friday Reads: 
2/10/17


Hello Guys and Gals, 

I am back today to chat about what I intend to read this weekend! While this week has proven to be difficult to say the least, now that it is the weekend I am ready to plow through some great books. I hope to take a few hours each day to allow myself to read and relax, so without further ado here are the books I will attempt to complete this weekend!

The Books: 
  1. Caraval by:Stephanie Garber
    1. This book is similar to The Night Circus in that it is following a troop of performers on an illusive isle when an outcast comes to join in their games. I am thoroughly enjoying both the plot and character development and I cannot wait to review this for you all next week! 
    2. Pages Left to Read: 236
    3. Caraval Goodreads Page
  2. Peirene: Breach by: Olumide Popoola and Annie Holmes
    1. This book is a collection of short works written about the immigrants experience coming to the country. I really love the idea of this collection and want to complete it this weekend which it should not be too hard to complete since it is only a hundred pages in length. 
    2. Pages Left to Read: 128
    3. Breach Goodreads Page

With this weekend my goals are quite simple, to read and relax a little. With the help of these two books I think that this can be accomplished. I am loving Caraval and I cannot wait to dive further into the story and all of its magical depths! 

What will you all be reading this weekend?

Happy Reading!
Dive into a new world this weekend through the pages of a good book :)

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Human Acts: A Review

Review:
Human Acts
by: Han Kang


Hello everyone!

I first want to let you all know what I am currently reading before jumping into this review as I have shifted my weekly goals slightly. I am currently reading Caraval by: Stephanie Garber, and American Gods by: Neil Gaiman both of which I am absolutely loving and cannot wait to finish and review for you all! Now on to the review:

Photo Cred: Me!
I read Human Acts for the #Diverseathon, and in the beginning I was underwhelmed by the character growth that was occurring as the reader does not follow one character throughout the whole novel. Because of the disconnected characters this book wound up feeling more like a short story collection or a string of vignettes, while this is not bad it just was not truly what I was expecting. This story follows a few different characters that are living in South Korea during the time of the student uprisings, the main focus is Dong-Ho who was killed in the uprising, each and every other perspective in this story has some small connection to Dong-Ho and his family. While this book lacks cohesive character development and I was unable to connect to any of the characters, it makes up for that in the way it speaks about censorship and violence as a means of protest. 

I read this book shortly after Trump took office here in the United States during the time of countless protests, through the planning of the women's march even. I must first comment on the fact that I commend all of those who had the courage to stand and protest in response to recent events. However reading this book during such times of distrust and fear allowed its messages to hit home even harder than they would have if I picked this up sooner. The protests in this novel are violent and quite gruesome, if that is something that offends you I would not recommend this book to you. However if you are able to get past the graphic nature of this novel you will find a thought provoking novel which speaks as must about times of unrest in Korea, but also about the times we are in right now for the western world. 

The themes tackled in this novel are brilliant, dealing with hard hitting topics such as death, censorship, trust, love, and compassion all in just over 200 pages. The two themes that resonated most with me include censorship, and civil unrest. Again the United States in recent months has seen the downward spiral that can only mean one thing, positive change will cease to exist for four years. This has many people in this nation fearing for loved ones and the future, this is not the America that many of us want to see and through predominantly peaceful rallies we have spoken our mind as the students in this book believed they were doing as well. I just hope that this book can be our warning to avoid violent protesting to get the changes that we want, it does not work for these children so why would it work for us? Again I could go on but the topic of civil unrest is all throughout our world right now and this book provides a new outlook on the topic. The topic of censorship hits home as well with Trump's recent claim that the media is "fake news". His attempts to squish anything that opposes him scares me, the dangers of that are seen in this novel discussing censorship and how it has happened in Korea is a warning to us all that it cannot work for us. 

Needless to say, what this book lacked in character growth and connection it made up for in the topical issues it is speaking about given the current political situation. This book is a combination of Korean history, political activism, and hope for the world to latch onto. I urge you all to pick this book up soon to heed the warnings that lie within this book while we all must face.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

I am sorry if any of the opinions above offend anyone, however they are my own and incorporate how I interpreted this novel which is crucial to my rating. 

Happy Reading!

















Monday, February 6, 2017

Reading Spontaneously

Reading Spontaneously

Hello Everyone!

Not my Shelves: Google stock Image...
This morning I am here to chat about reading spontaneously and why I think we need to do it more. I clearly as a blogger sometimes fall into the mindset that I must read all the new releases coming out right this very second which is good in one sense, but detrimental in another. Reading new releases is wonderful, I love getting swept up in the hype for a novel's release and reading it simultaneously with thousands of other people globally and chatting about it. However being in this constant state of anticipation has its drawbacks, for starters you with never experience the joy of browsing a bookshop to find your next read. I used to do this all the time before I became a booktuber and a blogger, it was a great way to spend a cold saturday afternoon in Vermont. Perusing bookshelves at Bear Pond Books in Montpelier has allowed me to find some true gems that I would not have otherwise picked up, however in the same vain I never knew about the new and popular releases. 

Not knowing about new releases as much as every blogger and booktuber is does not always have negative connotations, though for me it meant spending hours perusing the used section for books that were many years old. I love old used books and the idea of recycling books through a used bookshop especially when you find some "new" books in the discounted area but without knowing the new releases I was always two steps behind the other readers in my life. The second drawback to paying close attention to new releases is that you as a reader will be less likely to pick up older works which may be just as good if not better or cheaper because they are in paperback. I am completely guilty of this, especially right now while I am in school as I do not have too much spare time and when I do I am either reading books for review which are not out yet or ones that I have just purchased. This is also a problem with how I select novels from my shelf to read, as I own I believe over 200 unread books at this point and some of them I just never am drawn to pick up because I have had them for so long. Not reading the books I own because they are older is incredibly petty I realize this because I bought them all because I loved the sound of them and wanted to explore their worlds at the time so I should want to dive in now as well. 

Whether you fall into the category of buying books in copious amounts and never getting to all of them inevitably or you buy books and read them but you feel as though you need to be on the cutting edge with your selection; I am here to tell you to read spontaneously! Reading spontaneously can have many different meanings whether you pick up a book from your shelf on a whim or purchase a book from the shops on a whim with no prior knowledge and begin to read; both are viable ways to expand your reading life and find new and amazing books that you will love for the rest of your life. I have taken this advice for the year. I will be purchasing less books and working to read my TBR or buy books that I strictly want to read in the moment, as this is good for my lack of shelf space and my wallet. Please everyone let this be the year of reading spontaneously to find new favorites and old pals amongst our shelves, let me know what one book you read on a whim and loved is. My book that I read on a whim and loved is Daughter of Smoke and Bone by: Laini Taylor. 


Happy Reading!

Friday, February 3, 2017

February TBR Time!

February 2017
Week One
TBR!

Hello Everyone! 

I wanted to begin this post by apologizing to you all about missing the post on Wednesday, life just got in the way of writing. However I am back and ready to share what bookish news that I have with you all in the coming days, as well as my first TBR of February 2017! I have decided that doing a weekly TBR would make me more comfortable as I will have the freedom to choose the books that I want to read as the month progresses. I hope you all see where I am coming from on this front, I just want this year to be more free for me to pick up books on a whim which is what this weekly TBR planning will allow me to do. 

This month I will be doing three buddy reads with two amazing friends Kaitlin from Kitty G on YouTube and my good pal Missy at BingeReader also on YouTube. I will share those books in their respective weeks but just know some Neil Gaiman reviews are coming, along with a few short story collection reviews! There will be author interviews this month, as well as some rambling posts where we can chat about the book industry and current and forthcoming releases. However at this moment in time I want to share my week one February TBR!

Week One: 
  • Stories of Your Life 
    • by: Ted Chiang 
    • This collection of short stories I have already started but have yet to complete, so I think this is going to be the first book I attempt to finish. This being a short story collection is very intriguing and holds many amazing short works in it that I have wanted to read for ages!
  • Peirene: Breach
    • by: Olumide Popoola and Annie Holmes 
    • This is another short story collection that I have started and not completed, however this one is surely going to be finished in the up coming week since it is only 105 pages total. This collection deals with immigration in the UK and actual people's experiences put into a fictionalized setting. At this point in time I truly believe that it is time for us to stand with immigrants and understand their stories. 
  • American Gods 
    • by: Neil Gaiman
    • This is a book that I am reading with Missy, and we both wanted to dive into it before the show was released later this year. I have no real clue what it is about, however I love Gaiman so I know it is going to be good regardless of the plot! This one is a chunky books so I am unsure if I will finish it in one week, but I will try my hardest.

I hope you all are having a wonderful reading week and the stacks of great books continue to pile upon your shelves! I would love to know what you are all planing on reading in the coming days, so let me know in the comments below!

Happy Reading!