Tag Archives: personal post

Molly & her Raven Boys

kingおう + 王 + ou + KING
Make way for the Raven King!

In the summer for 2013 I read The Raven Boys. I’d been told over and over again by a very good friend that I HAD to read it. I… put it off. I was told to read The Scorpio Races (also by Maggie Stiefvater) and I put it off. Then I ended up getting an eARC of The Dream Thieves and a copy of The Raven Boys for .99 on my kindle so… I read it.

And hated myself for not having read it sooner.

trcThree years later and I have read ALL of Maggie’s books. And I love them all, but The Raven Cycle is just something more for me. It’s something special. I religiously re-read The Raven Boys on January first EVERY year. I have never re-read an entire series of books the way I have with these books. I have never COLLECTED books like this before. I mean, I thought I was a pretty big Harry Potter fan… but The Raven Cycle is my lifesblood.

I was thinking about it the other day, trying to figure out WHY I love this series so much, why I love these characters so much. And I think it’s because it feels like home to me. There are bits and pieces of these stories and characters and settings that speak to me because they were parts of my life. And each one of the boys, Gansey, Ronan, Adam and Noah, have parts of people that I have known and loved in them. I’ve had a grand total of ONE friendship like Blue has with these boys. And I can see my mother and my mother’s friends in Blue’s mother and extended family. I grew up around boys who loved fast cars with big engines and boys who swore too much and boys who were assholes and boys who grew up in the dirt and boys who were princes among men. I grew up with a magical forest (okay, not ~magical~ magical) in my back yard and cows across the street. I grew up with mythology and history and free thinking.

I also love these books because Maggie’s way with words is fucking witchcraft and I love it. I will read ANYTHING she writes and I’m 98% guaranteed to love it by default because of her writing alone.

I finished The Raven King last weekend (I was lucky to get an early copy thanks to my bookstore selling it early, shame on them!). I cried, I laughed, I handed the book to my husband at the end of it all and he tried to put it in the trash because I looked so. damn. lost. I sat on my bed and just SAT there and he came in and asked if I was okay and I just looked at him and said “It’s over. It’s really over.”

Guys, I don’t even know if I was THIS far gone when I finished the last Harry Potter book. The feelings I had after finishing The Raven King… I’m not even sure what to compare them to.

I just fucking love these books. And now I can’t believe that it’s over. But I still have work to do. I love to underline my favorite bits in the paperbacks (I don’t mark up my hard covers or ARCs) so now I have to wait until the paperback comes out so I can re-read and underline EVERY SINGLE RONAN LINE ugh he was perfection in this book.

ANNNND I get to see Maggie in May. I am kinda in shock over this. I thought that I’d never get to meet her and forever be vicariously living through my friends as they meet her and I force them to tell her that I’m their friend! She’s gonna meet me and be like “what a weird-o!” but AH! I can’t wait. I’ll blog about that FOR SURE!

***

HI GUYS! If you have made it this far into the post then I will now transition into a less Raven Boys post and into a more personal post. As you all saw, my coblogger, my love, Sammy, recently lost her mother. She just wrote a pot about it (points to post below) and I’d appreciate it if you could all leave her some love and support in the comments!

I do not have much to report on the personal front. I’ve been reading a lot, working at my job, and just hanging out. Husband is busy, as always, being a crazy mad scientist, so that leaves me with a lot of free time to READ. I’ve recently been cooking a lot of Japanese food (you can see it on my instagram @safeaslife) and watching a few anime here and there.

Actually here’s a thing that I’ve been dealing with lately. I’ve really been missing Japan. For those of you that are new, I used to live in Japan, and moved to Boston in 2014 with my husband so he could go to MIT. I lived in Japan for roughly 7 years and I LOVED it. The last year I was there I tried REALLY hard to convince myself that I was ready to leave Japan and part of me was. There WAS a part of me that wasn’t (and probably never will be) ready to leave and I just kinda… shoved that part down really deep. And then I proceeded to ignore that part for the past year and a half. My husband and I were DETERMINED to enjoy our US life and not miss Japan. We were going to eat American food and watch American TV and NEVER touch Japanese anything.

Well, unfortunately for him there’s a thing called culture shock and homesickness. And he did succumb to them. I… did as well. Yes, I am homesick for my second home. And I am FINALLY accepting this. He is too. He used to be so anit-Japanese stuff (minus food) and now we watch a lot of anime and he watched a lot of Japanese TV shows that he misses and we listen to Japanese music and I cook Japanese food and even have started to buy his favorite food (natto) on a weekly basis. I’ve been telling myself that it’s okay to miss Japan and to enjoy the stuff that I loved about Japan. We might move back in the future, we might not. But I need to be okay with this. I mean, I DO love being back in the USA, there’s a ton of stuff that I love/appreciate that I couldn’t get in Japan. But damn, there are times when I am just bowled over with nostalgia and homesickness.

So yeah. There’s that. Oh and I’m thinking about going by my real name on the blog again. I don’t really need to hide behind a pseudonym anymore (and I’ve been using my real name on twitter for awhile now).

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Life Update and Where I’ve Been

Hi everyone,

So you may have noticed that other than ARC reviews, there hasn’t been much going on for the blog. I am really sorry about that, but life took an unexpected turn that I’m now working my way through.

My mother was a cancer patient for eleven years, and finally she passed away. It breaks my heart given that she managed eleven extra years on life, even though she was told all those years ago that she was going to die then. Since my dad passed back in 2013, we’ve really clung together, keeping each other sane, and being there for each other in order to make sure that everything in the house was in working order. She was my greatest role model, a champion fighter, and lover of others. She was so selfless in the way in which she dealt with people, always willing to give more of herself if need be. I always continue to strive to be like my parents — they were amazing people, so losing both of them in such a short span of time can really mess with someone.

So here we are. This is why there’s only been reviews on the blog. I’ve been trying to keep myself calm and sane, but the reality is that I have a lot of work ahead of me, and I need time to grieve what I once had, while also reminding myself of all the good memories I had as well. I hope to start having regular scheduled content back up from both River and I, but I hope for now a lot of these reviews of new and upcoming titles will suffice for a bit longer.

Thanks for your understanding, and keep sharing all your newfound reading loves with me in the comments. I always love hearing from everyone and what they’ve been enjoying as of late.

Too much?

I wrote this blog post (below) at like 3am on my phone last night because I couldn’t sleep (hello insomnia!). And even thought I’ve already posted it, I want to add some things now that I’m rested and it’s daylight.

Lately I’ve been revisiting things that I used to love… possibly for ~nostalgia’s sake~ but maybe also just because I really fucking miss who I used to be. And I’m not saying that the person I am now isn’t who I want to be, but I do miss some of the things that I used to really love that have kinda fallen to the wayside…

Music, for one, is something that I used to be OBSESSED with. I lost a lot of my music when my MacBook crashed and I have a very small amount on my iPhone. I do listen to Pandora when I’m at work, but I don’t want it to burn my data (and I don’t have wifi at home) so I tend not to listen to it as much as I used to. When I discovered Halsey over the summer last year it was like a part of me that  was missing had returned.

I do feel like I’ve ditched a lot of things that I used to be very in love with to spend more time reading. I LOVE TO READ. I have always loved to read. But lately I’ve been feeling like a slave to my TBR. Whenever I finish one book I IMMEDIATELY start another. It’s like I just can’t slow down because I feel this NEED to KEEP GOING. And I am neglecting things to read. Myself included.

I spent the past year really getting my foot in the door with publishers and I’ve overwhelmed myself with review books. I feel like I’m constantly getting stuff and while I WANT to read it, at the same time I feel like I HAVE to read it and that can take the joy out of actually reading it.

Reading is not my purpose, but I feel like it has become my purpose. I want to write but then I think about how much reading I wont get done. And then I don’t write. And I want to fucking write my book! I want to go to the gym but I’d rather sit on my butt at home and read. I’ve gained weight since moving back to the USA and I don’t like it I don’t like being unhappy with myself. Yes I am all for being happy with whatever body you have, but at the same time, if you aren’t happy with it then find a way to be. And sitting around eating crap food and feeling like shit isn’t the way that I’m going to find a way to be happy with these extra pounds (and the fact that my favorite shorts don’t fit anymore and that I couldn’t wear them AT ALL last summer).

I guess I just feel like I’m out of balance and that reading has become this thing that I do to avoid my adult problems and that really it just makes things worse for me in the end. Where is this coming from? I put off something important and avoided my stress about not doing said important thing by burying myself in a book and not looking up for a whole month. And guess what, the important thing didn’t go away, and now I am the most stressed out I’ve been in a long, long time. And I hate it. And I did it to myself. Because I don’t have balance.

So this doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop reading or blogging. It doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop requesting or reviewing. It does mean that I’m going to slow down. That reading is going to not be the thing that I strive to do day in and day out. That it’s something that I will do when I have time, when I’m done doing other things that I ALSO want to do.

 

How much is too much of anything? I’ve always been told that there are worse things to be addicted to in life than books. But when your (my) reading obsession (habit) becomes something that is more tangible than anything else where do I stop and realize that this might not be the best?

In the past few years, since I started book blogging, I have proudly read over 100 books a year. This year I wanted nothing less. And I have been reading like a crazy person. I am well on my way to being over my goals (some 20 books ahead) and I’ve found myself spending entire days binge reading a single book in one sitting.

Tomight I ran two miles. I haven’t done that in months. Why? Because I’d rather spend my free time after work and before bed reading. I honestly will rush home to sit there and read and then rush through whatever I have to do before staying up way later than I should to read. And then my entire day is spent in sleepy anticipation of doing it all over again.

I think I have a problem. Reading makes me feel productive. But it’s also something that I can get so easily sucked into. I often have to tell myself to do the laundry, chores, etc before I get sucked into a book or else I might not do it. Sometimes I don’t eat when I’m reading because I don’t realize or just cant be bothered.

I think my reading habits have become unbalanced. And I need to slow down. I need to run two miles more often. I need to spend actual time cleaning my house. I need to enjoy other things and spend time out with friends.

This is me saying that I need to find balance. That I am not going anywhere just that I need to slow down and find balance.

Honesty

Let’s be real friends, I hardly ever blog anymore. Sure I write reviews and Sammy (the best coblogger in the world) posts them but my actual presence over here is lacking. And here’s the thing, I want to blog. It’s just such a hassle because I have to think of a topic, get some images, take some photos and then put it all together. And I just don’t always have the energy for that.

So I’m not gonna do it. Ya’ll like to read books, so you can read my blog text and take it or leave it. I figure the only way I’m going to blog is if I do it the way I want to. Maybe I’m old school (more like just old) but when I started blogging it wasn’t about gifs and being as witty as possible. It was about writing down your thoughts and feelings. And that’s what I’m going to do.

Guys, I can’t believe that it’s 2016. I just renewed my lease on the apartment that I feel like I JUST moved into. My one year anniversary for my “new job” is in three months. My husband just finished his masters thesis (and got all A+s in his classes, boom!) I wrote 2000 words of my Japan Novel for the first time in two years. Time, what are you.

January was an odd month. A lot of famous people died and everyone was sad. It snowed once here in Mass and then it was 40 the next day and all the snow melted. I went to ALAMW and it was AH-MAY-ZING. Yesterday I went to the launch party of my friend Emily’s book, THE YEAR WE FELL APART. I’ve hung out with friends and eaten a lot of good food. I went to Chinatown with husband. We ate sushi and watched a shit ton of anime.

And I’ve read 15 books so far. And while reading I started to think about my reading habits and my likes/dislikes when it comes to YA and how I rate stuff. I came to realize that last year I was reading and rating emotionally. Now that I have more writer friends and we talk about books in a different way I’ve noticed that I’ve started to read more critically. And my ratings are reflecting that… so I think this year I’m going to rate more honestly and read more critically. Sure I’ll let myself get swept up in feels (I just finished The Serpent King and the writing was awful but holy shit the story and characters were amazing and I gave it an honest 5-star rating) and read emotionally, but I think that I’ve grown as a reader and I like that.

I also think that it’s important because I would really like to get back into writing my Japan Novel. I put it aside while moving to the USA and then just kept putting it aside and making up excuses. I’m not going to hold myself to any set standards or goals, but I just would like to finish a first draft by the end of the year. I’m having fun thinking about it again, and I’ve even come up with some fun new things that I want to do with it. I’ve also decided that I’m going to re-write it from the very start. I know that my writing has to have matured in the past two years. And I’ve changed as a person. So I think a fresh start will be good for me, my characters and the story I want to tell.

And that’s about it I guess. I just wanted to write something for the blog and I did. I apologize for being such a bad blogger friend too, I know that I suck at responding to comments and visiting other blogs… but I guess that’s what social media is for… hehe.

Love.

 

Bookish & Blogging Resolutions for 2016

If you can all believe it, 2016 is happening in a few days and if I’m being honest: I still haven’t read everything I wanted to read. I realize it’s impossible to read everything you want to read, but dammit, I tried. I thought I’d try to layout some resolutions this year and see how I do. I’m not the best at keeping resolutions, but I’m going to try.

  1. In 2015 I participated in the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge, and I did not complete it. I was one book away from completing it, but it was a book I just wasn’t in the mood for. Part of my issue is I am a mood reader, and if I don’t feel in the mood for the book I am reading, I set it aside until I’m ready to read it. Considering I read 400+ books in 2015, I think it’s okay to have not completed this challenge. What I learned from the Book Riot Challenge is that while it’s great to read things out of your comfort zone, sometimes you just don’t want to be restricted to what you’re reading. So in 2016, I’m going to just work on reading whatever the heck I want and not make reading feel like a job.
  2. So my Goodreads Goal in 2015 was 311 books (which was the amount I completed in 2014). My goal for 2016 is going to be 200 books, and if I exceed that (which apparently is totally do-able because I am a crazy person), then I will bump it up. However, I’m not going to try to do 400ish books again because lets face it, you REALLY don’t remember what you read.
  3. Read at least 100 books from my personal TBR Shelf of Shame. I have roughly 200+ physical books that I haven’t read yet, and I’ve made it a priority to read what I can, and if it’s not a favourite or a book I want to loan to friends then I donate it to the public library I work at. I want to work on paring my shelves down, because I just own too many books. I want to read ALL of them, but I also need to make space!
  4. Participate in more read-a-thons. I LOVE read-a-thons and find them to be fantastic motivators to work through my TBR. Especially if they have challenges because it forces me to read some of the older stuff on my shelves, which I often need more encouragement to tackle. 2016 has a few read-a-thons I’m already aware of, so I’ll be diving in (Such as #TBRTakedown!)
  5. To not be bound to my ARC pile. River and I get a stupid amount of ARCs in the mail — we love reviewing books for you guys, but I do find that sometimes I tend to put my ARC pile over my regular reading pile and that’s kinda bad given that it means I don’t tackle my personal books as much. I usually try to do one ARC, then a personal book, then an ARC again and for the most part that methods works, but sometimes I want to just read what I want when I want.
  6. Less library books. So fact about me: I’m a library technician who works in both an academic library and a public library. Guess who brings books home from work a lot. Yeah, this is pretty tough for me, especially because when I’m doing rovering reference I tend to find stuff on the shelves that I’m like “Oooooo I need to borrow this” and then I do, and then I neglect my personal book piles. Currently I have four books out, so once I read those, I think I’ll just do stacks of four that way I’m not going too crazy with my holds. We’ll see though.
  7. Finish at least five series. I love my book series, and I always end up in the middle of too many at once. I want to just sit down and finish a few, or at least get myself caught up in the series if it’s incomplete. There’s nothing worse than starting a series you enjoyed and then being like, “Why haven’t I read the next one yet?” especially when you own it. The five series I’d like to catch up on/finish are: The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (I just need to read Winter!), The Reckoners trilogy (just need to read Calamity when it releases) by Brandon Sanderson,  The Fairyland series by Cathrynne M. Valente (just need to read books 4 and 5!), the Salavage duology by Alexandra Duncan (I own both books, just need to sit and read them!) and lastly, the Dreamdark duology by Laini Taylor because I have had them forever.
  8. Read more Adult Fiction. Since I started blogging with River, my main focus has been on YA and Middle Grade (mainly because in my public library work that’s the demographic I work with), so adult fiction tends to get pushed aside. Sadly thing is, I LOVE IT. Especially a meaty fantasy series, so I need to get back on this train. Hell, even some non-fiction would be good too!
  9. Write more personal posts. I used to do this all the time and now it’s something I hardly do. I’m a bit shy when it comes to talking about myself, mostly due to my anxiety or because I’ve been burned by people in the past. Reviewing and blogging helps me work all of that out, but I’m still nervous about talking personally about myself. Hopefully I can break this habit and try to share more personal stuff (even if it’s slightly bookish too) too.
  10. Just continue to love reading and blogging. I love this community so much and River has been an amazing piece of encouragement for me, especially for bouncing ideas off of, venting, and just goofing around and being silly. She’s a huge part of why I do things here, and I love sharing my reading experiences with her. Reading is something that keeps me grounded, and while I have no desire to ever be a published author, reading is not just for pleasure as it’s a huge part of my library work. I want it to be more pleasure based again though, and that’s something I need to work on balancing.

What are some of your bookish resolutions? I’d love to know if any of what I’ve posted above is something you struggle with or if it’s something you also want to work on. Here’s to a fantastic 2016, full of happiness and good books!

Thanksgiving

I always say that I feel like I haven’t posted in forever when I post that that’s usually because it’s true. Sammy is the best, and I mean BEST coblogger because she does a lot of the work for me and if she ever wants to stop (hint hint) she should just throw her arms up in the air and be like FOR REAL DO MORE WORK.

WARNING! This post is going to be a bit more personal than usual. Yes there will be books, but lots of personal stuff too. BEWARE!

But I am very, very thankful for what she does. Not only is Sammy my coblogger, but she’s my friend of over 10 years. We met on livejournal (yes we are THAT old) and became close again a few years ago when we both started to read (eat? devour? consume?) books and review them. (TANGENT: does anyone else who reviews books rate like, EVERYTHING ELSE in their lives now? I find myself constantly asking my husband how many stars my cooking is…) I asked her to be my coblogger a few summers ago and she’s stuck around and has been amazing. Now we email and text and tweet each other about books and non-book things. She’s a great personal support to me and listens when I talk about my anxiety with people and relationship issues. She constantly sends me cute puppy pictures when I need to be cheered up and I love her!

upmit

2015 has been a very interesting year and I swear wasn’t it just New Years and we were JUST buried under 100 feet of snow??? So much happened this year! I got a new job, husband and I moved to a new apartment and started to seriously work on some of the issues that have plagued us since we first started this journey to the USA together, I tried harder to participate in my family even though I’m still 12 hours away (at least this time it’s by car and not airplane), I made friends, I challenged myself to read books differently than I have before, and I tried to make myself a better person overall. I didn’t achieve all of my personal goals, and I’m sure that when I look at my bookish goals for this year that I didn’t quite realize them all… but that’ s okay! I’ll look back and learn and see what worked and what didn’t. That’s… kinda been the theme of this year to be honest.

yard

Two things that have happened this past year that I am so thankful for are the new friends that I’ve made and the improvements to my current relationships. I’ve always, always been horrible at keeping in touch with people, my family included. Husband and I have had our ups and downs but moving here was not the cure-all we’d expected it to be and we’ve had to work extra hard this year to really get to where we want to be. He’s doing well academically (really well, like scary well) and I feel like we’re really solid now. I also feel like we’ve found our borders when it comes to independence. I’ve been very dependent on him in the past and he’s been incredibly dependent on me since moving to the USA and I feel like we’re finally getting a handle on things and becoming more independent. Which has lead to me trying to make friends.

In Japan I had a good group of friends but then I moved from Tokyo to Tokai and we all became displaced. Since I am the worst at staying in touch if they weren’t on Twitter or Facebook they slowly faded from my life. See, the worst. While living in Tokai I didn’t bother trying to make friends because I knew that we were only going to be there for two years and I didn’t want anyone else to disappear from. So when we first moved to Boston husband encouraged me to make friends. I didn’t try at first because things were still unstable and I was getting used to the USA again. But this past year I’ve started to go out (to book events) and I even overcame my social anxiety to talk to people and managed to actually MAKE FRIENDS! And I am so grateful for them!

sunset

Five things I’m thankful for:

  1. Health: This year my eye doctor cleared me for ONE FULL YEAR. Yes I don’t have to go back for a year. This is HUGE for me. She even said that my disease seems to be chilling out.
  2. My home! Earlier this year things were VERY stressful because husband and I were very unhappy with our living situation. We finally found a place we love and we’re really happy here.
  3. Friends: see above! Special shout out to Boston Melissa, NY Melissa, Mackenzi, Nicole & Ellie for hanging out with me at book events and having awesome parties. I can’t wait to get to know everyone more!
  4. Paying off my goddamn student loan and getting a new job.
  5. Family: there were a lot of ups and downs this past year but I feel like things are good.

And last but not least… books. Lots and lots of books. PILES OF THEM.

books1

Have a Happy Thanksgiving guys!!! And if you’re writing NaNo… may the words ever be in you favor!

Halloween!

Hard to believe Halloween was just last weekend AND NOW IT’S OVER FOR ANOTHER YEAR! Ugh, it went by too fast. This YEAR has gone by too fast! I can’t believe that it’s almost 2016! So much has happened this past year and I am dizzy just thinking back about it.

So what did you guys do for Halloween? I made the BEST LIFE CHOICE ever and dressed up as my true self… er I mean…

H1Wednesday Addams!

I wore my costume to work the day before Halloween and won 3rd place in our costume contest! I was BEYOND pleased with how well this turned out!

Then on Halloween I went to a Halloween Book Swap at Mackenzi Lee’s (yes the author of THIS MONSTROUS THING GO BUY IT NOW) house. There were lots of bookish people there (as my husband calls us, “The Gang”) and everyone dressed up! I sadly didn’t get photos with everyone, but here are a few!

H3Mackenzi & I (She was one of the wives from MAD MAX: Fury Road)
H4Melissa & I (She was a Camp Half-Blood camper)H5Rachel & I (She was the Fox from the cover of FURIOUSLY HAPPY!)

There were like 10 or so of us in total and I’m really sad that I didn’t take more photos! Everyone looked so cool! We all ate and drank and chatted and relaxed and it was just a chill time with cool people and then…

H6BOOK SWAP! So I posted about our last book swap, back in June where a bunch of us got together, brought 10 books, and then laid them out on the floor. We then each got a number and went in a circle and got to choose a book! We decided to do this again and it was so fun! More people came so there were WAY more books this time. We all took turns, and sometimes people would steal books from each other (kinda like Yankee swap) and all while having really engaging bookish conversations. I am REALLY starting to love these parties!

H7Here are the books I ended up going home with! I am SO excited to read them all!

It was a really fun party and I’m so glad that I was able to go! I highly encourage getting your local book friends together and starting a swap group! It’s cheaper than #booksfortrade (postage wise), a great way to share books, AND it’s just fun to spend time with your people.

Did you do anything fun for Halloween? Tell me in the comments!