Monthly Archives: October 2014

SIT DOWN! SHUT UP! READ THIS! – November Edition

SIT DOWN! SHUT UP! READ THIS! (Seriously, best name for a feature ever, good job River!) It’s NOVEMBER! Two months left of this year, can you believe it? I’m struggling to, but holy moly we are towards the end of this year and I’m currently drowning in test and assignment overload until December, then exams and then A BREAK. I want that break so badly.

Anywho, this month River and I are back to challenging each other. We may do a theme month in December (who knows, we could get lazy and be like OMG READ THIS BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR ALL CAPS). You never know with us! So here’s what’s been issued for reading this month…

Sam’s Pick for River:

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Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Hello, River? Why haven’t you read this? (I tease.)

River’s Pick for Sam:

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Finding Serendipity by Angelica Banks

So according to my super awesome wonderful adorable amazing co-blogger — this is a Sam book. It has all the elements of a Sam-should-be-in-love-with-this-book. I hope River is right about this one! Needless to say, I am super excited to be reading this.

What are some must read books you need to get to in November? Let us know in the comments!

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Sam’s Reading Habits

So my partner-in-reading, River, had a discussion about reading habits, and she asked me to share with everyone some of mine. As a lot of you know, I read a stupid number of books, and I’m not picky about genre or it being age-appropriate. However, as a full-time library student, especially someone who has one semester to go, my reading habits as of late are a bit all over the place.

First off, I am currently training to be a Library Technician and as such a small chunk of my reading is devoted to reading articles on trends in libraries, new technologies and software, and (the bane of my existence), cataloguing manuals. This is the non-fiction part of my reading that I do every day after my classes to ensure I’ve understood a lot of the content that is being discussed.

I also have no preferences to where I read. I’ll read on the couch, on a bus, on a train, in my bed, at the table. I’ve always got my nose in a book, so there’s no real place I would say I do 100% of my reading. I do, however, always read before bed, even if it is a few chapters a night to get me calm and relaxed. I fit reading into any free moment I have, though when I am not reading I’m usually working, studying, writing or reviewing games.

I also own too many books for my own good and have a few different shelves with different organizational methods. I have two TBR shelves:

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TBR Shelf #1: Complete with hot double stacking action.

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TBR Shelf #2: By that I mean, just the middle shelf where all the books I got for my wedding shower lie.

I also have over 100 books on my Kindle Touch. I adore my Kindle and I lug it around a fair bit while I’m travelling places (usually because if I finish a book on it, I don’t have to wait to start another one). However, I actually prefer physical books because I am addicted to new book smell, but I also loved buying used books and having the sensation of knowing it was a book someone else had/enjoyed. I also love buying books that become my favourites, and I’m also someone who isn’t afraid to part with books if I know I’ll never read them again or loan them to a friend.

current

My Kindle (on the right) and my current physical book which I got for a dollar at Ad Astra a year ago.

Did I also mention I am usually in the middle of three books at once? It is a horrible habit that I can’t seem to break simply because I want to read all the books. I listen to audiobooks when I am working out or walking the dog (currently I’m reading 172 Hours on the Moon which i got from the library), and then usually I have a physical book on the go and an ebook (usually an e-ARC). If I am reading a physical ARC, then I usually have a non-ARC being read on my Kindle.

My husband and I have ten full books shelves total in our house and we share a lot of what we read. My husband may not like middle grade or young adult, but we share a common love of fantasy and science fiction (the weirder the better). We also love a lot of the same authors and we usually fight over who gets to read a new release first (usually him because I am bogged in review reading). I love that we are able to talk about books together, and we share a lot of recommendations and even run a book podcast together called Back Seat Book Club (hosted by the Back Seat Producers).

Also being a library student, I… live at the library. If I go near the library usually a large stack of books comes home with me and I will devour them all. Lately, I’ve been trying to scale back my book buying and library visits, but for me going to the library is also just a relaxing habit for me. I go to a library to immerse myself in the culture and I love seeing what people are reading or borrowing simply because I am curious. I also play and review a lot of role-playing games, which are like reading novels and I am an avid lover of the visual novel. Much like books, I can devour games like a crazy woman if given the chance.

I never would have imaged doing book blogging or reviewing books if it hadn’t been for River. I knew I was going to be training to be a library technician, but I didn’t think I’d be sharing my love of books in such a public way (you know, that wasn’t in front of patrons). It makes me happy that I can do this without feeling nervous or uncomfortable because for the most part, the book blogging community is quite friendly. I’ve also had the pleasure of working with some amazing publishers, authors and publicists at events or by e-mail who have been very supportive of me doing all this. So thank you!

Hopefully my reading habits were interesting to learn about. What are your reading habits? Let us know in the comments!

SIT DOWN! SHUT UP! READ THIS! – October Edition Reviewed

 

This month our dear friend, Melissa Giorgio, challenged River and I for SIT DOWN! SHUT UP! READ THIS! with a favourite contemporary novel of hers, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. Well, October is almost over, so it’s time for River and I to reveal our thoughts,

Melissa’s Pick:

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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

River’s Thoughts: I really liked this book, but I’m not sure why. While I was reading it I kept getting kinda bored and then BAM something crazy would happen. It happened like three times. I guess it was just that there were sections where I’d get lulled into Ari’s life and then SLAM something big would jerk him (and me) out of it.

I really loved Dante though, I just wanted to hug him so many times.

The themes of friendship and family were both so well done in this took. The ending, when his parents basically push Ari into it… that was beautiful. Beautiful.

Sam’s Thoughts: Ever read a book and you love it though it’s difficult to describe? That is Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe for me. The writing in this book is gorgeous, but when you think of the book on a whole, not a lot really happens.

There’s a lot of anger, aggression, finding yourself, seeking your identity, longing to matter, and all these themes are mish-mashed together. This book is emotional overload in a lot of ways, and yet for me it worked quite well. I loved the gradual relationship between Ari and Dante, I love that they both in many ways had something to prove to themselves, and I loved that self-discovery was a huge part of them coming to terms with themselves. Seriously, this book is beautiful, touching, and there’s a rawness in the simplicity of the story that works so well. I really enjoyed this book, but it did make me emotionally all over the place!

ARC Review – Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger

17449519Title: Waistcoats & Weaponry

Author: Gail Carriger

Rating: ★★★★ 1/2

Synopsis: Sophronia continues her second year at finishing school in style–with a steel-bladed fan secreted in the folds of her ball gown, of course. Such a fashionable choice of weapon comes in handy when Sophronia, her best friend Dimity, sweet sootie Soap, and the charming Lord Felix Mersey stowaway on a train to return their classmate Sidheag to her werewolf pack in Scotland. No one suspected what–or who–they would find aboard that suspiciously empty train. Sophronia uncovers a plot that threatens to throw all of London into chaos and she must decide where her loyalties lie, once and for all.

Huge thank you to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and Netgalley for this ARC!

Sam’s Review:

I think of all of the Finishing School novels, this one might easily be my favourite. It was crazy, cracked out and just plain fun from start to finish. Furthermore every character in this series got some great development, so it was nice to have a bit more about Sophronia and her gang of nut cases.

Gail Carriger’s writing continues to delight in this instalment, and for those who are huge Parasol Protectorate fans, this book has so many references it’s pretty fabulous. I admit, reading this book on the bus ride home and giggling in public — yeah, that happened pretty often. It’s just great to see some of the references being made to her other series and the interaction between those characters and the ones of Finishing School is just done with such ease.

Can I also say how much I loved Bumbersnoot in this book? Oh my goodness, Bumbersnoot.

This series just has such a fun tone overall, and despite this one being a lot darker in atmosphere compared to the previous two, I feel like there’s still so much to offer fans of this series and of Parasol Protectorate. Carriger also makes the supernatural elements and the political conflicts amongst the paranormals to be very complex, but not so complex that the novel is over saturated by it. There’s just a great balance between the political, the character conflicts, the humour and the supernatural and I adored it from start to finish.

This means, however, that the wait for Manners and Mutiny is going to be insanely painful. I need it now. Like, right now. Please?

ARC Review – Compulsion (The Heirs of Watson Island #1) by Martina Boone

20759498Title: Compulsion (The Heirs of Watson Island #1)

Author: Martina Boone

Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead–a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family’s twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.

Huge thank you to Simon Pulse and Edelweiss for this ARC!

River’s Review:

This book exceeded my expectations. I didn’t really know much about it when I requested it, but I loved the cover. The writing was beautiful, the paranormal aspects (the ‘curse’) was so smoothly woven into this that it didn’t feel like there was anything out of the ordinary at all. Everything just felt so right.

This book is super emotional too. Everybody is dealing with loss, betrayal, heartache… I teared up quite a few times and had my heart strings more than pulled at. There’s also some very swoon-worthy romance that flows so well and feels again just so right. Nothing in this felt forced, over the top, or unnatural. And I loved that.

It’s just a rich, beautiful, southern gothic with a lot of atmosphere. I’m really looking forward to the next one.

River’s Reading Habits

I feel like I used to read A LOT more when I was in Japan. Now that I have some free time I’m reading about the same amount, but I think that my reading habits have changed a lot and this is leading to the feeling of ‘omggggggggggg I never get to read anymore!’

So I thought it would be fun to share my reading habits! in Japan I used to work 2pm-9:30pm. I had a 15 minute train ride, and a half hour wait FOR the train after work. So I used to read in the morning (usually from 8:30am – noon while doing housework and eating lunch) and then I’d read on the train, on my hour lunch break at work, and then while waiting for the train. I 100% read on my kindle on my commute and at work. At home I would sometimes read physical books, but it wasn’t very common since I didn’t have a lot with me (due to space and access to a bookstore with a decent English section). I also read a lot when I got home because my husband was either not home or busy doing stuff for work/ prepping for grad school. I also had zero friends during the last two years of Japan (where I lived, all of my friends were in Tokyo, which was two hours away from where were living).

NOW… I work from either 9-5 or 11-7. I don’t have time to read in the morning. I ride my bike to work so I don’t get to read during my commute. At work I have two 15 minutes breaks and a 30 minute lunch, which I do use to read, but it’s not like I can really get into anything. When I get home I cook dinner (husband and I used to eat separate due to our schedules), make our lunches for the next day, do the dishes (I feel like I do this 90% more than I did in Japan), take a shower and get ready for bed. This usually leaves me with 1-2 hours of reading time depending on if husband wants to hang out or play pool/ ping pong. He’s also home A LOT more which leads to us talking and generally hanging out more than we used to at home.  On weekends I’m usually at home but I have to do things like laundry and shopping (in Japan I would do that on my days off and spread it out over two days, now I do it all in one day), and husband and I try to get out and do stuff sometimes. I still have zero friends buuuuut I just moved here, so I’m giving myself a break.

So mainly my daily schedules and routines have changed A LOT which means that my old ‘reading time’ has shifted and become super broken up. The only time I can really get into a book and read for hours now is if husband is super into his work at night and stays up really late (I stay up with him) or on the weekend.

Also I’ve noticed HOW I read has changed a lot too. As I said, in Japan I read on my kindle almost exclusively. The only time I ever had physical books was when I either: won something and had my mom send it to me, made a trip to Tokyo and picked up a couple of things at Kinokuniya, or a friend sent me something. I LOVE my kindle and I’m pretty addicted to eARCs and kindle edeals, so there’s a lot of selection on my kindle. But now that I’m in the states, WORK AT A FREAKING BOOKSTORE (hellooooo discount!), and have space for books I’m reading A LOT more physical books.

Physical books:

photo 1I am giddy beyond belief that I can do this. I am not a book snob and I am not going to disown you for having an ereader. I’m not going to preach about the feel/smell/texture/whathaveyou merits about physical books. But I do love books, I love to collect my favorites, and it makes me so happy that I can basically get whatever I want now (and not break my wallet).

So far I’ve been reading physical books at home. I don’t really want to haul them around with me because I have limited space in my bag (which is a small backpack now because it’s too much hassle to deal with a purse in a bike basket). I usually rotate between reading a physical book and then something on my kindle.

Kindle
photo 2Oh my old keyboard kindle. You have served me well. I love this thing and will cry when it finally dies on me and I have to switch to a touch screen. I love the side buttons! I used to read both ARCS and finished books on here, but now I mainly read eARCs. I do have a pile of finished books that I got through amazon eDeals on here, so I really should work on those someday too… hahaha. I used to keep this in my purse, but there’s no good way to keep this in my current bag without putting the screen in danger, so I’ve stopped carrying it around with me. I tried to read it at work, but it was too much hassle to go down to my locker, get it out, take it to the break room, read, and then return it all in my 15 minute break. So I leave it at home and read on it when I’m not reading a physical copy.

iPhone
photo (2)This is the biggest change to the way I read. Yes, I read on my iPhone. I didn’t want to, but as I said, getting my kindle out at work was just too much trouble and wasted my break (and lead to no reading time) so I decided to start reading on this (I keep it with me while I’m working, so I don’t have to waste time going and getting it/ putting it away). I 99% read eARCs on this (and 1% novellas). I generally try to read short things on here because I hate how it feels like it takes me FOREVER to get through something. I also read on it in short doses, so it doesn’t bother my eyes too much. (It’s also nice to grab and read on for a bit when I’m laying in bed waiting for husband and don’t want to get up and get my kindle). I know a lot of people could never imagine reading on their phone (and I’ve had a few coworkers ask me about it) but for me I’d rather READ than anything, and using this allows me to do just that.

So what do you think? Are my reading habits super weird? Are yours similar? I’d love to hear how YOU read (and I hope that Sam will post her own reading habits on here soon!)

 

General Status Update

I feel like I should post something! Ugh, Sammy, you are the best for keeping this blog going. But maybe I am finally starting to get some free time. So here are 10 random things that have been going on lately.

1. I am ALMOST caught up with my goodreads challenge! I keep getting ‘on track’ only to fall 1-2 books behind. But that’s better than the 4-5 behind I was after moving. Remember when I was EIGHT books ahead??? (yeah probably not)

2. This: cambridge

3. I love my job! Like I really honestly truly ENJOY my job. I don’t dread waking up in the morning. I don’t spend the entire day wishing it was time to go home. I don’t feel my soul dying.

4. I’m trying to contact publishers about receiving physical ARCS! A few book bloggers on twitter have been helping me out and hopefully soon-ish I’ll be posting reviews for books that publishers have so kindly granted me permission to review (aside from my eARCS, I mean I love those, but I’d love some physical ARCs oh man would I love them). Wish me luck.

5. I might do NaNoWriMo next month. Might. I uh, have characters, and an idea. So that’s a thing.

6. This: halloween

7. Came up with a new life goal: swear like Ronan Lynch. (Jesus. beep. Mary. beep.)

8. I saw robots tonight. Legit robots. Like, robots that are probably some of the first robots that will even be close to achieving consciousness. Jesus. There was a red one and it’s face was like, an iPad or something and it was freaky.

9. I’ve been learning to cook all the Mexican food because for some reason that’s the food that my husband loves the most in the USA.

10. I READ BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE AND MY LIFE WHAT IS LIFE WHAT IS THIS BOOK WHAT IS MAGGIE. Oh Jesus. That book. I ordered a copy at work and had to short list it because we didn’t get any on pub day and then when it came on Wednesday my co-worker handed it to me AND I HUGGED IT. It’s a physical struggle to keep my hands from reaching for it because I want to re-read it so badly. GANSEY HAS A FANCY FACE AND I LOVE IT OKAY.