Author Archives: BrittneyRz

Mid-Year Freak Out Tag- 2018 edition

I have seen this tag on about half, if not more, of the blogs I follow recently. I find them all interesting and thought it would be a fun way to go through the books I have read so far this year.

This year has probably been one of my best reading years yet. I am 9 books ahead of my Goodreads goal. I think that is because I have now started reading before work and always before bed. Plus I have been in a reading groove with books I really enjoy!

Best Book You’ve Read so far in 2018

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This one is tough because as I said I have been loving just about everything I have read. I think though this would have to go to Scythe by Neal Shusterman. It was a refreshing story, one that made me think. I cannot wait to see where the story goes in the next book!

Best Sequel You’ve Read so far in 2018

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We are going to continue a theme here and say Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman. That book defied all my expectation and left me desperate for the next book!

Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year
I have a handful of books I am super excited for but I think there are 4 mains ones I am waiting for.


Smoke and Iron by Rachel Caine which comes out on July 3rd. I fell in love with the Great Library series earlier this year and can’t wait to continue the story.
Next would be What If It’s Us by Becky Albertelli and Adam Silvera which comes out October 9th. I have high expectations for this one. I think it will be adorable.
On September 25 Vengeful by Victoria Schwab is coming out. I really enjoyed Vicious and I just love Victoria Schwab in general. I can’t wait for this one.
And last is Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare which comes out December 4th. This is the end to a series and I have to know how everything turns out.

Biggest Disappointment

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I read Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein and I just did not fall in love with it as I was expecting too. I have heard such great things about it but I just did not enjoy it that much. I know I am in the serious minority with this one but I felt more anger than anything while reading it.
It may be one of those books I have to read again in a different mindset and maybe it will be better.

Biggest Surprise

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This one will have to go to Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire. I thought I would like it but I found myself really attached to the characters. I think the biggest surprise part of it though was the way it is a series that dedicates books to each character. I thought it was going to be one story through but it isn’t and I really like that!

Favorite New Author (or new to you)

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I just finished Julian Winter’s Running with Lions and really enjoyed it. It was his first book and I am eager to see what else he writes. I think it was fun and sweet and I want more from him.

Newest Fictional Crush
This one is hard because I generally don’t fall for the characters in books. But if had to choose one I think I would choose Kade from The Wayward Children series. He seems complex and sweet and I would love to be friends and get to know him better.

Newest Favorite Character

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I will have to go with Ronan from The Raven Cycle series. He is my favorite type of character, hard outside, soft inside. I am so excited he is getting his own series!

Book That Made You Cry

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I don’t cry at books. I am someone who has doesn’t cry over movies either. None of the books I have read yet this year has really made me that emotional. Thought I will say What Do You Do With a Chance? really hit me hard. As someone who has seen a chance finally work out and thinks others have potential to work out as well it was a nice emotional tug.

Book that Made You Happy

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Easy this one has to be Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Beck Albertelli. In my review I talk about how I literally was giddy happy by the end of this book. It was just so sweet and ended so well. I adored it.

Favorite Book to Film Adaptation

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I have only seen two movies that fit this and the winner is hands down Love, Simon. I thought the movie version of Simon vs. was done really well. It stayed true to the story. It was sweet and fun. I think it also was so great to see it do well in the mainstream and hopefully give a push to producing movies with more LGBTQIA+ representation.

Favorite Post You’ve Done so Far this Year?
I had a few posts I enjoyed writing. I think my top 3 would be New Writing Space because it was my push into really finding my writing groove again.
I also really enjoyed writing “Reading Helped Shaped Who I am” because it was fun to see how reading has had such an impact on me.
And I really had fun writing “How I see myself as a Fictional Character.” That one was just fun!

Most Beautiful book You’ve Bought This Year

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I recently bought Circe and I really like the cover. I just like the simplicity of it.

New Release You Haven’t Read Yet but Want To

I have Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyem that I am really eager to read it. Also in a few days the next book in Gena Showalter’s Lord of the Underworld series comes out, Darkest Warrior, and I am really eager to read that one. Though I am scared it is going to make me very angry.

Book You Need to Read by the End of the Year

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I just bought Shaun David Hutchinson’s The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley. I have been meaning to read this one forever and I finally remembered to buy it. I will have it done by the end of the summer.

This was a fun way to go through the year so far in book so if you haven’t done this one go for it!

LGBTQIA+ Book Recommendations

It’s June, which means it is Pride Month! I knew I wanted to do a post about some of my favorite books with LGBTQIA+ representation in them but wasn’t quite sure how to frame it. I thought about just doing a list but also wanted it to have a bit more depth. I decided to explore how my eyes as a straight cis person have been opened through the books I have read over the last 10 or so years.

The other day I got to thinking about how my reading habits have changed and expanded as I have gotten older. I then began thinking about the books that have become available in the last few years. It amazed me to think about how representation has expanded in books recently and how encouraging that is to see. While we have a long way to go there has been serious positive progress.

$_57I remember the first book I read that had a gay character in it was The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. I was in high school when I started that series and I chose it become it seemed like it had Harry Potter vibes to it. I really got into the story and found that one of my favorite characters was Magnus Bane.

I remember reading about Alec and his journey of coming out and his relationship with Magnus and thought it was adorable. It became one of my favorite aspects of the books because I really enjoyed their relationship together. But it was quite a while until I found another book that had any characters that weren’t straight in them.

Where I went to college you were required to take what was called a “Thematic Sequence.” I went to a liberal arts college so this was another way to get us to take classes outside of our major and explore other areas more. (In reality it was probably just a way to get more money out of us because you had to do this to graduate but that isn’t the point).

I chose to take “Family and Sexuality.” At this point being gay and part of the LGBT (these were the only letters in that acryonm that I knew of) community was becoming something I was hearing about more and realizing was a bigger part of our world than I previously had known.

When I grew up I knew about being gay or a lesbian but it was not something that I heard about often. Once I entered college in 2007-2011 I heard more and more and became very interested in the history of the LGBT community and how it related to our society at the time. I identify as straight and female but I still found myself very intrigued so I took three course that centered around family and sexuality and how they intersected with one another.

I learned a lot about different sexualities but I still noticed that what I was reading was very one note. Representation in the literature I read was lacking any characters that were not straight and I wanted to find more diverse stories. While I enjoyed what I was reading I realized there was something lacking.

So I took a course called “Queer Theory,” which was extremely fascinating. (It is also interesting and possibly a post for the future that my mom had a trouble with the name of the course. For her the word “queer” was always a very negative term. It was used a serious insult for gay people when she was growing up. She still has trouble seeing it as anything but that now, even with the way my brother (who is gay) have tried to explain to her how it is used today. But as I said that is probably a future post about how words have changed and been reclaimed over time.)

51HVNXR8n0L._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_The course focused on the history of queer culture and how it has been represented in literature, more so in essays but still in some stories. I remember one book standing out and that was The Case of the Not-So-Nice Nurse by Mabel Maney. It was a lesbian mystery, along the lines of Nancy Drew. It was funny and different.

While I enjoyed the course I noticed that it still didn’t give me a plethora of literature to choose from that had any LGBT representation. So I started googling books on my own. I realized after taking these classes that I needed to expand my reading horizons.

I pride myself on making every attempt to understand the world around me. I want to learn about all life styles, culture, and religions that are not my own. I want to be able to understand how different the world is. One of the primary ways I do this is by reading so when I realized how limited my reading had been I knew I needed to try to learn more.

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The books I found while doing my research was David Levithan’s books Boy Meets Boy and Two Boys Kissing. They both had story lines that intrigued me and focused on the stories of people I hadn’t read about before. Boy Meets Boy, I remember being plain fun. I do think it is time for a re-read of that one.

Two Boys Kissing was a deeper book. This was the first one that really exposed me to the trials of being gay. It was interesting 51T6A1sjizL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_because if focused on a handful of different stories. There were the boys trying to protest and make a point, there was a budding romance and there was the boy who was thrown out of his family because of who he was. I wrote a review for it and you can read that here. I really enjoyed the book especially the manner of storytelling.

Once I stated blogging I found a way to find much more diverse books. It became easierfor me to find books that were outside of what I grew up reading. While I adored the books I read in my childhood I realized how important some of these other books were becoming.

The next author I found that I enjoyed was Adam Silver. I read More Happy Than Not9781616956776and it was such a fantastic story. It was painful and it hurt but it told a very important tale. I put him on my list of authors to watch right away. If you have not read History is All you Left Me or They Both Die at the End you are definitely missing out. They are all emotional and will hurt your heart but they are fantastic reads.

Victoria Schwab was the next author I discovered that had queer representation in her books. In “her Gathering of Magic” of series there is a gay relationship. I actually didn’t know that was part of the series when I started to read it. It was just a added bonus to an already fantastic story.

I came across Sean David Hutchinson next and if you have read any of my tags or reviews you will know that he is one my all time favorite authors. we are the ants, is one my top 10 books of all time. It is such a great story with some of the richest characters I have ever read. It was not what I expected and I think that is what made it so great. Edge of the Universe and Apocalypse Elena Mendoza are also fantastic.

One of the things I remember from Edge of the Universe was reading about a genderedge of universe queer character. This was not a type of character I had encountered before. I only had a very basic understanding of what being gender non-conforming meant when I was reading this book. But because of the inclusion and the addition I began to do my research and understand it more.

That is one of the things I love about reading. You are exposed to all new lives and ways of living that you may not be able to see in your every day life. I don’t know if I would have the understanding I do now of what gender non-conforming or gender fluid means without reading that character in Edge of the Universe. I didn’t understand so I did my research. I learned about someone different than me, one of the gifts that reading provides you.

Once I learned what gender fluid meant I kept my eye out for books with that representation. I found Mask of Shadows, which is a fantasy book where the main character is gender fluid. It was a fast paced and exciting story. It was brutal but it gave 29960675me a lot to think about and I enjoyed it.

I also picked up David Levithan’s book Every Day. It is about someone who switches bodies every single day. They never live inside the same life. While it doesn’t have a specific type of sexuality that the character identifies with it does explore sexualities and gender identities in a very interesting way. It was different and I thought it opened up interesting thoughts about how people identify. Like the idea of if you didn’t have a specific body of your own would you be attached to labels and definitions?

I began a new job where part of our mission involves sports, specifically soccer. I heard about a book called Running with Lions by Julian Winters which is a  love story between soccer players, one gay, the other bisexual. I was intrigued because it was rare to see a story with LGBTQUIA+ characters who are athletic. I enjoyed it and I enjoyed the look at a world that we tend to shy away from talking about sexuality through.

37830514This was a look at how my reading has diversified over the years and how books have helped me see life in a broader way while also recommending some of my favorite books with LGBTQIA+ representation in them. This is a short list and I have more that I enjoyed over time.

I also know that many of these focus on gay characters and I am in the process of finding more books that go beyond just gay characters. If you have recommendations of good stories with trans, bi-sexual, asexual, aromantic or genderfluid characters please pass them along.

Reading is powerful. Reading is one way we can help the world see that all love matters and is beautiful. Reading can help expose us to other live sand help us to understand how we are more the same than different.

What are some of your LGBTQIA+ recommendations?

Down the TBR Hole #6

Time again to see if I can pair down my TBR shelf a little bit.  This was originally created by Lost in a Story and seems like a good way to go through some of my TBR on Goodreads and see what is there and what I can get rid of or push me to start reading. 
Links will be  on the titles for the books Goodreads page. (I am going to do ten for this round of this tag).

It works like this:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 or 15 or 20, if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
  • Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next time!

Current TBR – 257


The Painted Lady – Joseph Faiank 
This sounds kind of generic. One of those stories where a bad decision in the past comes back to haunt the main character. At the moment it doesn’t sound all that different or interesting.
Decision: Remove

The Dead Club – Manuel Ruiz 
A story about Purgatory, the Grim Reaper, an Oracle and the Underworld? Yes, please!
Decision: Keep

This Shadow Follows Me – Jospeh McGinnis
I own this one. It does sound really powerful but also really difficult to read. I will read it one day but I have to be in the right mindset for it and just haven’t been there yet.
Decision: Keep

In Time Like These (In Time Like These #1) – Nathan Van Coops
This one is all about time travel. I adore time travel stories. I will definitely be getting to this one sooner or later.
Decision: Keep

Marking Time (The Immortal Descendants, #1)- April White
This one sounds fascinating. The idea of being a descendant of time and being able to travel through time. There is also some complicated love story and elements of Nature, Fate, War and Death. I am extremely intrigued by this one. I think it is one the next time I do a buying spree I’ll defiantly buy it!
Decision: Keep


Lost Angeles (Lost Angeles #1) -Lisa Mantchev
This is a paranormal romance, which I do enjoy. But this one sounds very generic and it surrounds a vampire. I am still tired of vampires.
Decision: Remove

Mandala Madness – Adult Coloring Book – Kymie Edwins
I added this after a giveaway. I do enjoy adult coloring books but there is no reason it needs to be on my TBR shelf.
Decision: Remove

Nation of Enemies – H.A. Raynes
This is a thriller and I will say that at the moment it doesn’t really hit me as something I want to read. Though the concept is one that seems like it may be something that has a lot of relevant thoughts for today’s society. I will keep it just because I do want to read it in the future.
Decision: Keep

Her Blackened Soul – Isra Sravenheart 
This again sounds like it would be alright. It sounds a bit too out there with animals lovers or something. It isn’t pulling at my reading desires right now.
Decision: Remove

No True Echo – Gareth P. JonesNo True Echo – Gareth P. Jones
A story about being stuck in a time-loop, sounds good to me!
Decision: Keep

 

Kept: 6
Remove: 4
Current TBR Count: 254 

Have you read any of the above books? What do you think of my choices for some of these?

 

Every Heart a Doorway – Seanan McGuire – Review

25526296.jpgChildren disappear and go to wondrous lands. Lands where they can belong and find their true potential. Then those children have to come back to our world. Adapting to life in the mundane world can be difficult which is where Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children comes in. It is a place to learn how to thrive in their new situation.

Nancy is back in the land of the living and she isn’t sure what she thinks about her new situation. She feels lost but quickly finds out she isn’t the only one. Just as she begins to find her place in her new school, people start turning up dead. Who is killing people? And will they lose their only safe place in this harsh and difficult world?

 

What I Loved_-4

I have heard great things about this series for a long time. I have not seen one negative review concerning this book or the series as a whole. I have had it on my shelf for a while and finally decided to take it down. I am so glad I did. I ripped through this book with a fervor. It was entrancing and full of magic and wonder.

This is very much a character driven story. The characters are what make this book. I will say that the plot isn’t all that exciting, it is the characters that made me want to keep flipping pages.

Each child at this home has found a door to a new and strange world. I loved that the doors appeared to kids who felt as if they did not belong. They were presented with a new world where they could find their place and their purpose. I loved this interpretation of this whole magical world idea.

Often characters are just thrown into magical worlds without much thought. They are there to disrupt things most of the time. In this story the doors are there as a guide. I thought it was interesting how they were given this opportunity to find a new place for themselves. I also thought it was interesting that they were then responsible for enabling themselves to fit into their new world.

Every character in this story was unique. They all held attributes of the world’s where they grew up. I loved how you could feel where they came from by the way they talked and acted. None of them felt like they fell into any character archetype. They were all uniquely themselves.

I thought this was a great way of showing who each character was and where they came from without going into their backstories fully. You got a great sense of all the worlds right away by just the way each of them spoke and acted. It was a great use of showing and not telling.

I also really liked the way the different type of worlds were described. McGuire used directions to give you an idea of how this universe worked. The four main directions being Virtue, Wicked, Nonsense and Logic. You then filled in sub directions from there. I instantly could visualize and understand how this world was laid out. I thought that was clever way of describing the world.

This also had a great diverse cast of characters. We had a transgender character. We have characters of different nationalities. We had characters that did not follow gender roles or stereotypes. We had a asexual character. I loved how different they all were yet were all connected by their desire to return to their magical lives.

What I was just okay with
The plot, as I mentioned above, is not very strong. The plot itself its pretty basic. There are people being killed, they investigate and figure it all out. There is no real surprise to anything and really not too much happens until the end.

It was the characters that made this story. I wasn’t too upset about the lack of complex plot because I was just captured by the characters and their personalities. I think making it a little longer might have fleshed out pieces of the plot.

The end did feel rushed but again it wasn’t something I found myself upset over. I do think adding another 50 pages or so might have made the process of finding the killer a bit more detailed but it didn’t really hurt the story over all.

What I Wished was Different_
There was nothing that threw me out of the story. I did find myself wanting to know more about everyone in the home. Thankfully the sequels all tell different stories about different characters. That being a fact made me not feel like I was missing out on anything.

I have this a 5 star rating on Goodreads. I adored the characters and am eager to learn more about some of them throughout the rest of the books.

Copy of What I was just okay with

“Narrate the impossible things, turn them into a story, and they can be controlled.” (pg. 1)

“Hope hurts.” (pg. 30)

“You shouldn’t close a door just because you don’t like what’s on the other side.” (pg. 56)

“We notice the silence of men. We depend upon the silence of women.” (pg. 59) (Talk about a powerful quote!)

“Their love wanted to fix her, and refused to see that she wasn’t broken.” (pg. 83)

The Littlest Uninvited One – Charles Tazewell – Review

9781571021311-us-300A cherub who doesn’t fit in finds a new friend who helps him feel at home. When that new friend gets out and causes a stir it is up to the cherub and a higher power to put things right again. In the process they make an addition to paradise that was long overdue.

 

 

 

What I Loved_-4
I am going to deviate from my normal format a bit for this book and only talk about what I loved. This is one of those books that I frequently go back to reading whenever I need a sweet story to make me smile. It is a picture book though it isn’t exactly written in a children’s vocabulary. It is a strong story about the love of pets.

I have had this book for quite awhile and have read it a number of times. It is about a young cherub named Michael who is a little bit of a trouble maker. He lives in paradise but he is not perfect. He is loved by all though.

One day he mentions how much he would like a dog so some of the other angels get him a dog. Now at this time dogs aren’t allowed in paradise. Michael keeps his new best friend a secret for as long as he can but eventually that secret gets out. The story then turns to him saving his friend and making him a part of his home.

I love this book first off because it is about the love for a pet. As an animal lover and someone who has grown up with pets my whole life, I appreciate and adore the message of this book. It centers on the importance of a pets life to a child and to those around them. It is sweet and heartwarming.

We get to see the connection grow between Michael and his dog. We see how important things become to him and he find his purpose. It is a simple story but it is one that hold s strong and pure message.

I also really liked how Heaven is depicted in this story. First they don’t use Catholic or Christian terms for the setting or anyone in the story. I think this helps make the story more universal. While it is clearly a Christian Heaven setting you aren’t hit over the head with the terminology. I think you can appreciate the story even if you don’t hold the same beliefs or have the same belief system.

There is a moment in the story that talks about how when you get up to the Celestial City and walk into the home where the pets are living you hear a distinct call from around you. You instantly recognize the call, whether it is a bark, a meow or a chirp and you know that pet is yours. They hear you and come to you. That moment is what drives this books message home. That pets  have meaning and that their souls live on even past death.

If you have ever loved a pet and lost them you will appreciate this book. Even if you don’t  hold any Christian beliefs I do believe you can enjoy this story. It is a quick and the pictures are gorgeous.

I have it a 5 star rating on Goodreads because it is uplifting and makes you smile and feel comfort.

Lost Gods – Gerald Blom – Review

511cMPGR0ML._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_Chet has just gotten out of jail. He is determined to turn his life around. He finds his wife Trish and runs away with her. He runs to his grandmother’s house. A grandmother he thinks will protect him and help them all start fresh.

What Chet doesn’t know is that his kindly grandmother is actually a demon. She is hell-bent on capturing their unborn child and using its soul to rejuvenate herself. She kills Chet and sends him to purgatory. Chet finds himself in a hell-scape that is under attack. He must survive to find a key to get him home before Trish and his unborn child meet him in this underworld.

What I Loved_-4

I liked the setting of this book. It was interesting because it took place in purgatory. I have read very few books that take place in purgatory. Usually it is either Heaven or Hell, rarely is it in the space in-between. It was interesting to explore this world and see how it operates. It was much different setting than I have seen before.

I also thought it interesting that almost all the characters were expendable. Some times you get into a story and realize that no one is in any real danger. Everyone is protected because they are main characters. In this book Chet was the only one that I thought was always going to get revived. Some of the characters I thought were going to be big players throughout the story died early. I liked that because it keeps you on your toes and guessing.

I also thought the idea of the old gods and “One Gods,” was great. I liked hearing about this separation and how there were these two time periods of gods. I thought it was an interesting addition to the story. I love stories that explore the idea of gods and religion and putting all them into one was a good addition. I just wish that they had been the focus of the story and not Chet.

What I was just okay with
I felt like this was one of those stories that just ran from obstacle to obstacle. Chet would get himself into one issues, someone would save him and he would then be onto the next one. It felt very formulaic to me.

I wanted to see the problems grow on one another. I wanted to see him building up something and not just running around in circles. He would get captured, freed and captured again. It was a constant back and forth with the same idea. I wanted the plot to have a bit more substance to it.

I also thought the idea of how the gods could get revived by Ka was used way too much. As soon as we were introduced to the idea it was used every other chapter to heal someone. The idea I liked earlier of characters being expendable faded when this new healing aspect showed up. Suddenly everyone was savable.

The old gods we meet get taken down so many time to be revived over and over again. It was almost as if these parts were there to expand the page count and plot line a bit longer. We had about three different fight scenes where they all go seriously injured, looked like they were defeated and then were saved. We could have done one, two at the most. It got very repetitive.

What I Wished was Different_
This story focused on Chet and his desire to get home to save his family. That was fine but that wasn’t what held my interest in the story. I actually didn’t really like Chet or Trish. It thought they were very flat and didn’t strike me as appealing in any way. They could have done with more fleshing out.

What held my interest and the real reason I finished this book was the fight between the old gods and the Green coats and the “One Gods” part in it all. I loved the idea and I think the book could have been so much better had it focused on that fight instead.

That part of the story was how the old gods are fading because no one believes in them or prays to them. They were banished to purgatory by the “One Gods” or the gods of all the major religions of today, Buddha, Muhammad, Jesus etc. They are fighting to stay alive in this new world.

The Green coats are souls who want to get rid of the gods and rule with demons and Lucifer. This was fascinating to me. I wanted to see how this played out. I wanted more about the old gods and how they ruled when they were on Earth. I wanted their full back story. I wanted to see them fight for their land and way of life. I wanted to see them encounter the “One Gods” and figure out how to co-exist.

Instead we got Chet running around and bits and pieces of the other story. I feel like there was a missed opportunity to tell the real fascinating story.

I gave this book 2 stars on Goodreads. I only finished it because I wanted to see if we got anymore from the god storyline.

 

Copy of What I was just okay with
“Death is madness and chaos – a hundred gods fighting over the dead.” (pg. 93)

“Soon, very soon, souls will no longer kneel to the gods.” (pg. 150)

“A god, a true god, gives man meaning to their existence….” (pg. 280).

“Peace comes from knowing you helped those that you could.” (pg. 379)

The Mystery Blogger Award

I was recently nominated Mystery Blogger Award by Not-so-modern-girl. Thank you for the nomination. I do enjoy doing these kinds of posts. So without further ado, here we go!

Rules:

  • Thank whoever nominated you and include a link to their blog
  • Tell you readers three things about yourself
  • Nominate 10-20 bloggers you feel deserve the award.
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.
  • Ask your nominees 5 questions of your choice with one weird or funny one.

 

Three Facts About Me:

1. I was never the athletic or sport kid growing up. I played sports but wasn’t really into them. Though it is interesting how fate works because I recently got a full-time job working for a non-profit that combines poetry and soccer for after-school programming. I have gotten a whole new appreciation for the power of sports. I also love that by having creative and athletic elements in our programming we show kids you don’t have to be one or there other, sporty or creative, you can be both!

2. I am the biggest animal lover. I could spend my whole life with animals. I have a cat that is my best friend and have to use serious self-control not to pet every dog I see. I’m hoping to be able to get a house in the next few years and when I do I want some big dogs, like a Mastiff, Newfoundland or Bernese Mountain dog.

3. I have always been a big reader but it wasn’t until this last year or so that I started paying more attention to what I read. I have enjoyed picking up more diverse books lately. I love noticing that the books I have been reading have more diverse races, religions, sexualities and ways of life. I think it is a great thing to see the progress in the books since back when I was young. There is still serious ways to go but I do think we are heading in the right direction.

My Answers:
What Makes Blogging Exceptional?
I enjoy blogging because I get to explore reading in a different way then I have done before. I have loved reading my whole life and I think blogging gives me a new perspective on some of the books that I read.

What is one thing you wish you knew before staring a blog/site?
I wish I had a better idea of the time involved. When I first started it was to just put my work out there but I then added book reviews. I didn’t have a real routine though. I just posted whenever I felt like it. I think I would have liked to know that having a steady posting routine really helps drive traffic and maintain the blog.

What is your number one favorite movie so far?
My favorite movie of all time is The Lion King. I love the music and the story. I also loved when I learned it was a retelling Hamlet. I also really love that it has no people in it. I think that is an interesting element to it.

Who is your ultimate celebrity crush?
Hmmm that is a tough one. I do love Luke Bryan. I also really like Norman Reedus. I had a serious crush on Tom Felton when the Harry Potter movies were coming out.

What helpful advice would you give to a new blogger?
I think I would say have a general idea of a posting schedule in mind. Also to post what you enjoy writing. If it feels too much like a forced job you aren’t going to want to do it. So write posts that you have fun writing.

Nominations:
I am going to go with a few people who have been interacting with me more lately or are new followers.
Meltotheany
The Book World
Booksandlovealways
Velvet Spade Reads
The Caffeinated Chapter

Questions:
I like some of these but I am going to change up a few.

  1. What is one thing you wish you knew before starting a blog/site?
  2. What helpful advice would you give to a new blogger?
  3. What is a book you read that surprised you with how much you enjoyed it?
  4. What is your favorite animal?
  5. What is a book you read that fell out of your usual reading genre that you fell in love with?

Guess What? I wrote a book!

IsThereMore_AmazonI have always loved short stories and stories that make you think. My brain tends to run away with a range of possibilities when it comes to certain situations. I have always been the person to imagine a “What if?” scenario. I love to explore different ways of thinking about things that you see everyday.

In my book Is There More? I wrote 8 short stories that explore the world around you in a new and different way. If you are curious about the inspiration behind the stories, you can read about them here.

Is There More? is available on Amazon in print as well as e-book. If you are looking for something new and different to read, why not give it a try? If you like it a review is always appreciated!

Thanks and happy reading!

May Wrap-Up

I feel like May flew by. I think this was definitely the fastest month of this year. I don’t know if that is because I have a big work event next month or because of the weather change but either way I feel like May just went by in a blur.

I only read three books this month but with how busy I was, that is pretty good. I am still 5 books ahead of my Goodreads challenge so that makes me feel good. The book I am currently reading is a 500 pages so I knew it would slow down my progress.

As for writing I am proud of my work this month. I kept up a decent blogging schedule even though I am getting low on books that I need to review. I also have been working hard on a few short stories for a contest in the first week of June. I think I am getting into a good routine now that my work life has evened out a bit.

Books Read:

Leah and the Offbeat– Becky Albertalli – While I enjoyed this story I didn’t love it as much as I loved Simon vs. The Homosapiens Agenda. I thought it lacked the magic of the other book but was still a sweet read.

Feral Youth – Shaun David Hutchinson ( and nine other authors) – I was surprised how much I enjoyed this one. While it was simple it had a strong message. I liked the storytelling element.

Dread Nation – Justina Ireland- This one was so much fun. A twist on zombies that was fresh. I have no idea how I am going to wait until the next book.

Blog Posts
A Monster Calls – Review – Patrick Ness
How I See Myself as a Fictional Character Tag
Scythe – Neal Shusterman – Review
Leah and the Offbeat – Becky Albertalli – Review
Thunderhead – Neal Shuserman – Review
Feral Youth – Shaun David Hutchinson (and nine other authors) – Review
Down the TBR Hole #5
Dread Nation – Justina Ireland- Review
This is My Genre Book Tag

Movies Seen:
I actually saw two movies this month which is rare for me. I usually only see movies if I am really interested in them. I mostly wait until they are out on video because the movie theater is expensive!


Ready Player One – I loved the book of this movie. I will say the movie was good but I prefer the book. There was a lot of changes but I don’t think the story lost anything. It was fun but not my favorite.

Avengers: Infinity War – This movie was a serious ride. I loved all the characters coming together. I haven’t seen all the Marvel movies so I wasn’t completely sure what parts of the story were about but it was still fun to watch. It also left me desperately wanting the next movie.

TV Shows:

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The Handmaids Tale – I love this show. I am two episodes behind but I am just enthralled by it. It is terrifying yet fascinating at the same time. I am interested to see where it goes now that this season has gone past the book.

What was your May like? Did it seem to fly by for you as well? What were your favorite books, movie and tv shows?

This is My Genre Book Tag

Books

I saw this over on Dani’s Bookshelf and though it looked like a quick and fun tag to do!

Also shoutout to The Tattooed Book Geek as the creator of this tag!

What is your favorite genre?
I have a number of favorite genres. There area actually very few genres that I don’t enjoy. But for the purpose of this tag I am going to go with Fantasy. (Maybe in the future I will do this again about some of my other favorite genres).

Who’s your favorite author from this genre?
If you have read anything on my blog you should know this answer to this question. My favorite author is J.K. Rowling. I am obsessed with Harry Potter. I love the the way she is able to completely capture you in that world. She is a genius with her words and her storytelling talent!
I also love V. E. Schwab, Neil Gaiman, Shaun David Hutchinson (some of his book straddle the line between Fantasy and Science-Fiction).

What is it about this genre that keeps pulling you back?
I love the range of possibilities you get with Fantasy stories. There is literally nothing that is impossible. You can fly, alternate realities exist, magic is an everyday thing, people can be raised from the dead and so much more. I love the way I can be sitting in my room but also be in a new world. A world that I could never ever encounter in my everyday life.

Fantasy has the power to provide you with the feeling that you can conquer whole mountains, defeat dragons and end up where you are meant to be. I feel like the genre allows us to learn how to fight for what we want, see that trials and tribulations aren’t the end and realize that the impossible is possible.

What is the book that started your love for your favorite genre?
Harry Potter is the series that I remember reading and falling into a world that I had never encountered before. It was the first time I remember being completely swept away, though I had read a lot before I found the book series.

I also remember certain books having an impact on me like The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. The weird, strange world that left you wondering, questioning and excited is what made me want to keep reading the genre.

I also adored the Everworld series by Katherine Applegate. That one played with my love of fantasy and mythology. It was just so interesting and intriguing that I wanted to keep finding books like them.

If you had to recommend one book from your favorite genre to a non-reader/someone looking to start reading that genre what would you chose and why?
This is a really difficult question because fantasy is such a diverse genre. You have high fantasy that is entirely in another world while you then have more subtle fantasy that is closer to our world. I think it would entirely depend on the person.

I would always recommend Harry Potter but I also think I would suggest some books like The Phantom Tollbooth or The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare, The Inkheart series by Cornelia Funke, or The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.
I think each of those is unique and easy reading while also being so enthralling and would capture a reader’s imagination without leaving them feeling lost or confused.

Why do you read?
I could write pages and pages on why I read but I will try to keep this simple. I read because it makes me happy, it relaxes me and it allows me to see the world from so many points of view.

Reading opens the world up to me, sometimes allowing me into minds of people I could never have entered into before. I will never be able to meet every type of person in this world but through reading I can meet so many different types of people. I can learn how to walk in someone else’s shoes.

Reading also allows me a way to step outside my problems and relax. I feel more confident and strong after I have read. I see that problems can be solved, people can change and you can succeed if you are willing to find a way.

Reading is my way of making sense of the world and allowing myself to step outside of the world when I need a moment to detach and relax.

What is your favorite genre? And what is one book you would highly recommend from that genre?

I am not going to tag anyone but if you are interested in this one, considered yourself tagged!

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