Author Archives: BrittneyRz
It is that time again to see if I can take some books off my TBR list. I added a few from last time but I don’t think I added too many. I enjoy doing these posts mostly because it reminds me what I have on my list and sparks my interest in some things I may have forgotten about.
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 259
Regeneration X (Regeneration Chronicles #1) – Ellison Blackburn – I like the idea of regeneration but the summary sounds very generic. I like these ideas but you have do give me a bit more than just; she is going to restart life but it isn’t what she thinks life will be.
Accidental Death – Jill Thrussell- I love the premise but the summary is not written well. It has run on sentences and repeated phrases over and over again. It makes me think that is how the book is written and that worries me.
A Crucible of Souls – Mitchell Hogan – Again the premise is alright, I love sorcery, but it seems very generic. He is out to find someone to teach him, learn about his past and the world may end. I need something new and different.
The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking #1) – Patrick Ness – Now this peaks my interest. I love the idea of hearing others thoughts. I always thought that would be seriously annoying. I am curious about this one. (I also have the sequels on my list. I will keep all for now)
The Leprechaun Delusion – Leviak B. Kelly- I have zero idea of where this book came from. Something about atheism and a group of people being fooled in how they think? I can’t quite get what it is about. I don’t even know if it is fiction or not. I mean I do like the idea of reading about how people decide on following a religion or not but this has a weird feel, like it is going to be mocking and I am not a fan of that.
Genesis – Andreas Laurencius – Again no idea where this came from. Seems to be nonfiction trying to answer the questions of life and the universe. I do find that interesting but I also tend to want to research the person and see if they are studied or just someone talking. This isn’t just opinions apparently there is “evidence” of all of it. Plus the cover doesn’t fit the material.
Alex + Ada, Vol. 1 – Jonathan Luna – I seriously do not remember adding of these books. Again super generic sounding. Meets a robot and realizes he is more.
Decision: Remove (I have other volumes here so I am removing all of them)
Shallow Graves – Kali Wallace – A murder victim who comes back from the dead and can sense people who have murderous intentions? Now that is interesting.
Symptoms of Being Human – Jeff Garvin – A story that sounds like a true look at being genderfluid. I am extremely interested.
None of the Above – I.W. Gregorio – A story about being intersex, exploring the trials of being defined as one gender or the other and not fitting either. Again I am super interested.
Current TBR: 246 (I removed a series and I also noticed that there were about 5 books that should have been on my Read shelf. No idea why they weren’t. I transferred them over which shortened the shelf some)
What do you think of the books I decided to keep or remove?
One minute four strangers are standing on the bank of a lake. They are all watching a girl they know by name, but don’t truly know. The next moment they are pulled along with her into another universe. A universe where gods rule, giant wolves chase you down and nothing is impossible. Now the search is one to find Senna and return to their real lives.
I was in love with this series when I was in high school. I read it over and over again. I loved the concept but I mostly remember loving the characters and the dialogue.
The dialogue was my main pull to this series. It was one of the first times I remember hearing characters that sounded real, like people I met every day.
I recently finished reading Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman and I kept thinking of this series as I read it. I remembered this series uses all kinds of mythology and I found myself wanting to re-read these books again.
I was worried. Worried that the magic would disappear from these books. As someone who is almost 30 I thought I would not be able to relate to the characters. I thought I would feel like it was clunky or not well written. I wondered if this was a series I should just leave on my shelf for nostalgia purposes.
I am glad I began reading it again. In this first book I felt the same love I did when I was 16. I love the characters. They still feel real to me. They still talk like teenagers talk. There is no forced dialogue or weird sounding sentences. Too many times teenagers are written to sound like adults and that always annoys me. Here they use jargon, they makes stupid jokes and they all sound different.
I found myself liking David’s character more in this book too. I don’t remember liking him much before. Now I see his point of view better. He doesn’t want to live in a world that dictates every move. Much like myself he has serious problems with the pre-planned life that so many people seem to think you need to live by. He doesn’t want to do the path of graduate, job, marriage then kids. He wants something different and new.
I also noticed in this reading that there are much deeper storylines then I picked up on before. In this book were get hints of abuse in David’s life. I didn’t realize how dark this series was. I am curious to see how it progresses and how I pick up on how these elements shape him throughout the story.
I remember this series making use of a lot of different mythologies and legends. I am eager to see how they play together now that I know more about them. I like in this one that I understood the Norse mythology references. I think I will have a deeper appreciation for this world now that I have more knowledge about the source material.
The sentences in this book are quite short. Many of them are one or two words long. I am okay with the sometimes but I do feel like it may be overused here. It works when the character is in panic mode. But it isn’t necessary all the time. I think it slows things down a little bit too much.
I also noticed there are a lot of things mentioned that date this book. David talks about Blockbuster and Borders. It doesn’t harm the story at all. It just is interesting because I don’t feel like this is happening now. I know this was the past even if there is no date and time associated with the story. Just an interesting idea to think about the way things can date a story or change the timeline even if you don’t mean for them too.
As of this book I don’t have anything that is really throwing me out of the story. I still feel connected to the characters. I understand the world and I am still eager to continue on with this adventure even though I know how it ends.
I did take my rating down from 5 to 4 stars on Goodreads for this book. It is fun and exciting but I do think I am not as connected to it as I was when I was younger.
“But being scared was one thing. That was normal. How you acted once you were scared – that’s what mattered.” (pg. 33)
“‘Maybe dreams aren’t in your head. Maybe dreams are memories of another universe.'” (pg. 144)
Last month the Harry Potter books came out with new covers for the 20th anniversary of the Harry Potter books. I couldn’t afford the whole series but I did get the third book and the sixth book, my two favorites of the series. I recently re-read the third book so I decided to re-read the sixth book this time.
The reason the sixth book is my second favorite is because of the back story given to Voldemort. I am the kind of person who likes the villain of the story to have a story. I have a problem when the antagonist is just there to cause trouble but we never find out why. I believe a story gets stronger when we can understand why a person makes the choices they make.
The look into Voldemort’s past is fascinating to me. I loved seeing when he was as a child to the moment when he started figuring out how to become immortal. It is interesting because we see that he had several opportunities to turn around. We also got to see the resentment and anger that resided in him since he was a child.
When I first read the series I just saw him as this evil man who had no morals and no reason for doing what he was doing. In this book we got to see the reason. We got to see why he might have turned that direction. He was raised without any love or affection. He was forced to grow up quickly and take care of himself.
Now not every person who grows up parentless turns into a murderer (i.e. Harry) but this book gave us a way to understand the man behind the evil actions. Part of me felt bad for him. I remember reading the first time feeling upset that he was left with this route. But then you look at Harry and see what choices he could have made.
Harry grew up without parents too and yet he was the complete opposite of Voldemort. Which then raises the question of nature versus nurture. Harry’s parents died protecting him, Voldemort’s abandoned him. Does that change things? Some very fascinating questions are raised throughout this story.
One of my favorite scenes is in this book. After Harry and Dumbledore look at the memory about the Horcruxes we get a speech that is very significant for this series. Harry doesn’t understand how love can be the power he has that will win him the final battle. He can’t see past what the prophecy says. He is stuck until Dumbledore makes him understand.
This whole speech is so interesting and important, not only for this story. Seeing Harry come to realize that his heart is what he has that has kept him whole his entire life. His heart and his love for those around him is what matters. Voldemort never allowed himself the ability to love. He closed that door when he was a child. Harry never gave up trying to find that comfort and love. He didn’t turn to the darkness for comfort. Instead he allowed people in, allowed them to take care of him when he needed it. We see what happens when you don’t give up, no matter the darkness that seems to surround you.
This book was also the first time I read a book where a main character died. Sirius’s death was tragic for me because I loved his character, but Dumbledore’s death was traumatizing in a sense. He seemed so important, so significant that I thought there was no way he would die. I had never read a book where someone like that died. That didn’t happen in younger books.
Dumbledore dying was the moment you realized that anything can happen. No one is immune and anyone can be gone tomorrow. I already knew this but this book hit that point home. The end makes you realize how important it is to say what you need to say to those around you.
Lastly I loved the very end of this book where Harry is trying to convince Ron and Hermione to allow him to search for the Horcruxes alone. Hermione reminds him that when they were in their first year he gave them the chance to turn back, to leave him. They decided to stay. Throughout five years they stayed by his side and they were not going to abandon him now.
The true power of friendship shown through this book. You see in this moment that those people who have stood at your side for years, through it all, are not going to disappear at the tough moments. If they had chances to turn back in the past and didn’t, then trust them to be there throughout it all.
What lessons have you learned from you favorite books?
I have been struggling for quite a while to find my inspiration for writing. In college I wrote all the time. I wrote fan fiction as well as my own original pieces. I was always eager to write. (Now this might be because in my first two years I was lonely and had a lot of time on my hands).
After I graduated I spent a lot of time editing and working on self-publishing my book of short stories, Is There More? Once the book was completed I found myself struggling with picking up my pen and writing again.
It wasn’t that I didn’t want to write. The stories chased themselves around my head, all the time. I had ideas piling up on my phone and in notebooks. It was just as soon as I put my pen to paper, the words were stuck. I couldn’t translate my ideas in any real way. They would sound chunky and out of order. The stories themselves started to sound contrived and boring. I just felt like I was barely treading water.
I worked on a novel, wrote two drafts but never felt connected to it. I always felt like I was pushing against a wall and the wall was winning. I began to wonder what I was doing wrong or what I needed to do again.
During this time I was also struggling hard with finding a job. My schedule was all over the place and my mental health was not the best. January I found a full-time job that I love. I don’t come home stressed. I feel accomplished, wanted and needed. I feel the most in control of my life than I have in a very long time. But writing was still so difficult for me and I could not figure out why.
On August 4th I went to a writing conference in my city that was held by a local nonprofit. It was free and it was big. I had heard about it for a long time but never could manage to get there. I was finally able to do it this year and I am so thankful that I did.
I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know if I was going to meet a bunch of people, hear great talks or just feel comfortable in a realm that I knew. I was worried that it might not be what I wanted it to be, that I would leave feeling lost and disappointed. When in fact the opposite happened.
It was simple yet it was exactly what I needed. I didn’t meet anyone new and I was okay with that. It was interesting because it was a conference for writers, who are usually introverts, everyone kind of did their own thing. No one forced a conversation to “network.” Everyone there was friendly but there was no forced ice breakers. For me I felt comfortable because I wasn’t being forced to talk, just to talk. I didn’t feel out of sorts or like an outcast. I felt like I belonged there, which is a super important feeling for me.
The talks were awesome. I felt connected to the subject matter. I sat in on a talk about after the first draft, what publishers think when reading your first page and social media for writers. I felt connected to all the subject matter and it was useful. Not stuff I knew already. It was information that I could and will use.
I expected a younger crowd. I am not sure why but I was expected a crowed from 20-35. Where in reality it was actually more like 35-60. I found that inspiring as well. I think part of my problem has been that I feel like the older I get, time is running out to make my writing matter. Seeing the older age range here made me realize that isn’t true. I knew it deep down but it pushed that thought to the surface and that was helpful.
I am so excited now to write. I found a journal that I want to submit to. I feel like I have an idea of how to go about working on my novel. I feel the old excitement that I felt in college. I also plan on joining this group that is the local literary group and hope that will give me a push that I need. I am so excited again and that is thrilling.
How have you overcome a creative block?
This month started out at a normal pace and then somehow sped up at lightening speed. The last two weeks flew by and I have no idea why. I didn’t have much going on. In any case I ended up reading 4 books this month. I am still 9 books ahead of schedule on my Goodreads challenge. As long as I stay ahead of schedule I am happy.
I was pretty good about book buying this month, only bought two. I am trying really hard to save money for the books that are coming out over the next few months and not fall into a book buying hole. I have plenty on my shelves right now.
As for writing that was kind of on pause for the month. Again I am not sure why but I wasn’t very motivated. I felt busier and more tired then I was. I did manage to write a short story that I am proud of. I am currently typing it up then going to edit it. I plan on spending some of August going through an outline of a novel I want to work on. Though August isn’t going to have a lot of extra time available so we shall see.
Books I read:
Hidden Figures – Margot Lee Shetterly – This was fascinating and prompted me to want o read more about little known historical figures.
Darkest Warrior – Gena Showalter – This was not my favorite. I don’t quite understand some of the choices made. I finished it because I do enjoy the series and hope the rest of the series is better.
Smoke and Iron – Rachel Caine – I really enjoyed this installment in the series. It set up a lot and I can’t wait to see how the whole series ends.
Norse Mythology – Neil Gaiman – I loved this. I learned so much about these myths and I also am eager to reread a series I loved from when I was a teenager to see how things compare.
Running with Lions – Julian Winters – Review
Beneath the Sugar Sky – Seanan McGuire – Review
Hidden Figures – Margot Lee Shetterly – Review
The Darkest Warrior – Gena Showalter – Review
Down the TBR Hole #7
Book Blogger Insider Tag
Top 7 Harry Potter Characters (I am just now seeing that this post is a mess for some reason. I will be fixing it so the it doesn’t look so all over the place.)
Smoke and Iron – Rachel Caine – Review
Book Blogger Memory Challenge
Note about posts: I have caught up on my back log of reviews which means I will be doing some other type of posts, such as tags and about writing, more frequently. I am always reading I just am not the fastest reader so I will have to balance things a bit.
I only bought two books this month and that is because the special 20th anniversary edition Harry Potter books with cool covers came out. I can’t afford to buy the entire series so I bought my two favorites, Prisoner of Azkaban and Half-Blood Prince.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I haven’t reread any of the books in a little while. I love the way this one looks at Voldemort’s history. I wanted a comfortable and welcoming read for a bit.
Went to see Incredibles 2 with my dad and brothers. It was my dad’s first movie in like 15 years. It was really good. Had an interesting message about technology and screens and was just fun. I highly enjoyed it.
Favorite thing of the month:
In a small town in my city there is a Harry Potter festival. They have done it for 3 years and this year was the best year yet. I bought way too many things but had a lot of fun as always. Best way to end the month!
What was your month of July like? What were some of your favorite books you read? Favorite movies? Favorite moments of July?
Odin is the all-seeing father. Thor is the lightening god with the magic hammer. Loki is the trickster who is out to help himself. They are all waiting for the end of times, when they will fight and die only for the world to be reborn again. Dive into the stories of these heroes and myths and find out their origin stories.
I am a huge fan of mythology. I fell in love with it back in middle school when we studied Greek and Roman mythology. I thought the stories were fascinating and was even more fascinated by how they connected to our time today. You could see how they influenced people and then see how those influences changed over time.
I knew a tiny bit about Norse mythology but not a ton. I knew who Odin, Thor and Loki were but that was really where my knowledge ended. When I picked up this book I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I didn’t know if it was a generic retelling, a story that used Norse mythology characters or a reworking of the stories. In the end it is a collection of Norse myths that Gaiman compiled and made his own.
I really enjoyed the collection because I felt like it gave just enough about the myths. I didn’t tell them all but it told the important ones (as far as I can tell). You got to hear the origin stories, the adventure stories and more about Ragnarok. It did a good job at giving me a crash course in these myths.
I think I felt like I could connect to the stories because he modernized the language a bit. I felt like he didn’t use the vernacular from that time and gave it a modern twist. I felt a bit like in portions I was reading about the versions of Thor and Loki from the movies. I liked this because I felt like I could sink into the tales a bit more because I wasn’t spending as much time trying to figure out exactly what they were saying.
One of the book series I loved as a teenager was called Everworld by K.A. Applegate. It was a quick read but I remember it involving a lot of different myths and legends. As I read through this book I started remembering some of the characters like Hel. I remember them from that series and now I want to reread that series to see how things compare.
At the beginning of the book Gaiman mentions that he took a few liberties with the stories. He talks about how he rearranded bits and combined stories. At the back of the book he quickly tells where he got each story from but nothing much about what he might have changed or altered. He quickly mentions some but I wanted a bit more.
As I stated I have very limited knowledge about Norse mythology and I wanted to know a bit about what he changed or what he kept the same. I think it would have been nice after each story to have a one pager thing stating what he changed and maybe why. Would have just been interesting to know.
I can’t think of anything that I wanted to change. It kept my attention. I was able to follow everything and I felt like I learned quite a bit.
I gave the collection 4 stars on Goodreads. I had fun growing my knowledge of this type of myth.
Jess and friends are in trouble. They are separated. There is a plan but what will be the cost of that plan? Can a small group take on the might of the Library? Who will survive and what will their world look like after?
(This is a review for the fourth book in a series, thus there will be spoilers for the previous 3 books).
All of the books of the Great Library series up until this point have been from Jess’s point of view. We have seen everything through his eyes so we get a limited look at what is going on around us. We get his opinion but we aren’t sure what everyone else is feeling. We have an idea but nothing concrete.
In this book we got multiple POV’s and I loved it. We got to see the story not only from Jess’s eyes but from Morgan, Wolfe and Khalila as well. (We also got a few moments from Thomas and Santi too). I loved this addition.
It is kind of odd to do something like this 4 books into a series but I think it really opened up the story. In this book specifically the group is split up for quite a while. If we only got Jess’s portion it would have seemed boring and a bit annoying. So much would have happened without our knowledge. It would have seemed forced and pushed.
I liked this addition not only because it helped make the story feel more connected but also because we got closer to some of the characters. I have always like Wolfe’s character. I think he is interesting because he has a past and a present that are so different. He has been tortured but still finds a way to move forward. He loves with his whole heart but still can hold grudges and anger. In this book we actually got to see his true depth and it made his character even better.
Khalila was always interesting to me but she never held my attention fully. I liked her but wasn’t attached. In this book I became attached to her. She is strong. She is no-nonsense. She is loyal and I want her to end up at the one who takes over. She is the perfect leader. I found myself actually caring about her in this book.
While this book did a lot set up again it did leave me anxious for the end of the series. I know there is going to be a serious fight. I just hope it all pays off like I want it to. I also hope we don’t lose too many of the characters.
I enjoy these books but one of the problems with them is the fact that I feel like they are always spinning their wheels. I understand why this book was full of set up, it had to be to get us to the end. Though I do think this one could have been combined with the last book.
I think this series would have been fine as a 3 book series. I think some of the going back and forth could have been cut and given us a bit more action. I think cutting some of the random wanderings would have upped the anticipation aspect of the story. We would have gotten a more urgent feel from this story.
The end of this book was so quick. There was a lot of lead up to the moment and it was all over very fast. Again I think if it was the half way point that lead into the finale I would have found it more satisfying. Instead I felt a bit let down and now I have to wait for the next book, losing all that momentum I had from that moment.
There is one point in the book where Morgan is doubting her love for Jess. She talks about how she know she loves him but doesn’t know if she is in love with him. I liked her hesitation at this point. I felt like it was going in an interesting direction. I thought we would see her struggling with the idea of loving someone but not being in love.
I thought maybe she was even aromantic in some manner. I thought it was interesting to see her discovering this part of herself but the end crushed that idea. She realizes she loves him, which is fine. This isn’t an insta-love scenario, it was developed over 4 books. I just thought it would be more interesting to see a character struggling with a bigger concept in the midst of the other battles they are dealing with.
I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads. I enjoyed it. I am anxious for the end. I just wished it was a bit tighter and left my heart racing a bit more.
“Power rotted from within.” – (pg. 18)
“Tyrants turned on their own, in the end; it was the only way to keep power.” (pg. 89)
“That denying knowledge to others was a tactic of war.” (pg. 191)
“Freedom doesn’t mean you have to leave. It means you choose. It isn’t done for you.” (pg. 246)
I saw Never Not Reading posting some special Harry Potter posts a few weeks back. Weird Zeal created a list of Harry Potter related posts in celebration 20th U.S. anniversary of Harry Potter. I wasn’t able to do posts during that time because of a work event but I thought I would do some now. I liked the idea of talking about my favorite character in the series.
(These aren’t ranked in any specific order. They are just my top 7 favorite characters)
1.Sirius – I adore Sirius. I think I attached myself to him because he was the first real parent figure that Harry got throughout the series. When he comes in in the third book we go on this emotional journey with Harry. He think he has no true family left to him, thinks that someone is out to get him then learns the lengths that Sirius has gone to to protect him. I loved the connection they develop throughout the story.
I was devasted when Sirius died. I felt the ache that Harry felt. It was like a hole had been left. A true family and happy life was ripped away from Harry yet again. I hoped there was going to be a twist for Sirius to come back. I loved the way he helped Harry learn strength and the power of true and devoted love for a family member.
2. Dobby– Dobby was so weird when he first showed up in Chamber of Secrets. I thought he was this little odd ball. Then we learned how devoted and selfless Dobby was. He was goofy but he had a heart of gold. He was pure innocence. I wanted him to get everything and the fact that he was able to use his last moments to save Harry ripped my heart out.
3. Dumbledore – Dumbledore was such a complex and interesting character throughout the novels. I liked that throughout the series we saw him develop from a mentor to this man who was trying to make things from from his past. I thought he was just a teacher but we learn quickly that he was much more than that.
I also liked that he was seriously flawed. Having him make poor decisions made him human. I could relate to him. I saw his heart and saw what could happen when you only listen to your heart and not your head as well.
4. Hermione – Hermione was the character I related to most throughout the series. She was a bookworm. She had inner strength that took her sometime to find. She attached herself to a few true and devoted friends. I admired the way she was unashamed of her knowledge. Without her the boys would have been dead back in book one. She was the true power of the trio and I loved that.
5. Hagrid – Hagrid was a gentle giant. He was another character that was just pure happiness and innocence. He loved Harry so much. I liked that he was a bit off beat and yet was resistant. He didn’t back down. He didn’t let his failures destroy him. He made some decisions that weren’t the best but he never did it with a hard heart. His heart was always pure and in the right place.
6. Hedwig- As someone who has always been attached to animals I instantly loved that Harry had a pet of his own. Hedwig was his best friend and companion. She was there for him when he needed comfort. She was there to protect him when he needed help. Hedwig was the heart of the books for the entire series. Her death took my by surprise and I was so close to crying at that moment.
7. Snape – I know that Snape’s character is a very controversial. Snape is one of those people who made all the wrong choices. He is just plain cruel to Harry for most of the series and I can see how that makes people avoid him. But I think he is one of the best written characters in any book I have ever read.
He started off as a character that just seems like a plain villain. We think he is going to be a cookie cutter antagonist. Slowly we see that his character is so much more than just someone who is a obstacle for Harry. He teaches Harry how to stand up against authority. He lets Harry see that someone people get lost and destroyed by their pasts. He is an example to Harry of what happens when you are not strong and don’t fight for what you want.
I loved his journey throughout the books. As a writer I learned so much from his character. I leaned how important it is to know your characters and to write them as they are even if they end up having some distasteful and harsh sides to them.
Who are your favorite Harry Potter characters?