Top 5 Wednesday | Books you want to finally read in 2017

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Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
(Outlander #2)

I’ve been thinking of starting Season 2 of the TV show, but my book loving brain will not let me do so without reading the book first.

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Fallen Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
(Fallen Kingdoms #1)

I recently got this for a friend for her birthday and shocker, I haven’t even read it. It’s almost a finished series and I still haven’t gotten my act together. What is wrong with me.

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This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
(Monsters of Verity #1)

My favorite author wrote a new book. I haven’t read it yet.
Problems.

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Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
(Six of Crows #2) 

I’m afraid. Don’t yell at me.

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Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
(Passenger #1)

At least I’ll read it right before the second one comes out? Does that work as an excuse?

Let me know if you’ve read any of these books and what books you want to finally get to in 2017.

November Wrap Up 2016

Wow, I’ve really sucked at actually writing in my blog. But, I’ve put in notes in my planner to remind myself to post tags and start doing Top 5 Wednesdays again. Maybe some Top 10 Tuesdays as well. Anyways, on with the wrap up.

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Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
4/5 Stars

Compliments:
Multiple perspectives that were not hard to follow and ultimately added to the story.
An original and well thought out plot.
Several realistic and thought provoking characters.
Did not give in to common post-apocalyptic tropes.
A very quick and enjoyable read.
Very diverse cast of characters.

Criticisms:
Not enough information/time spent on certain characters.
Abrupt ending.

I would recommend this book to:
People who feel like they need a new take on dystopian.
Fans of Shakespeare and  theater.

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The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
3/5 Stars
*Monthly Book Club Pick*

Compliments:
“Guilty Pleasure” story that focuses on a family full of broken characters.
The story delves in to important adult topics such as grief and fear of poverty.
Has an open ending that leaves you satisfied.

Criticisms:
Extremely frustrating characters.
Story dragged on at certain parts and lacked in others.
Missing that “hook” that’s typically associated with family drama fiction.
Very slow pacing through out the entire book.

I would recommend this book to:
Fans of “Running with Scissors”
Anyone who prefers to read in short sprints.

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Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon
3.5/5 Stars

Compliments:
Very much a “pick-me-up” book. If you need something warm and fuzzy to take your mind off things, this can easily do that.
Admirable female protagonist with a sharp mind and a kind heart.
A great example of diversity in YA.
Realistic depiction of teenage romance.
Great balance of humor and drama.

Criticisms:
Unrealistic at times, especially towards the end.

I would recommend this book to:
Fans of “Anna and the French Kiss”
Anyone in a reading slump

Currently Loving:
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Let me know what you thought any of the books mentioned above! Comment below if you want to talk about them, I’m always ecstatic when someone else has read the same book(s) as me.

~The Grisha Lieutenant

October Wrap-Up | 2016

It was an okay month for me. I didn’t read nearly as much as I wanted to. I’ve been adjusting to my new schedule, getting in the the routine of my new job and having more trouble staying up passed ten or eleven at night. Adulting is hard, keeping up with reading is even harder.

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The Witching Hour by Anne Rice
(Audiobook)

4.5/5 Stars

If you’re like me, and enjoy history almost as much as fictional narratives, then this books is definitely for you. I won’t lie, it’s a big commitment even for the most ambitious readers. It’s over a thousand pages in print and 50 hours on audiobook. I took my time with it and I think that’s what made me love it so much. It chronicles the family line of our main character through hundreds of years of magic and scandal. Anne Rice has a real talent for writing deeply flawed characters that you still love unconditionally. And let me tell you, the flaws they have are pretty hard to get over. Some of course, more than others. And of course, in true Anne Rice fashion, both the family history and the two main characters meet perfectly at the end leaving you ready for more. My only criticism was that it took so long to finish this audiobook that towards the end I felt a lot of the content in the last three or four hours was a bit unnecessary.  

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Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
4.5/5 Stars
** Favorite Book of the Month**

This was an excellent spooky October read. It had a perfect balance of history, early forensic medicine and narrative. I really enjoyed the main character, especially her cleverness, bravery and intellect. I loved how she actually questioned everyone around her, even those closest to her. I guessed the culprit about midway through the book, but that didn’t lessen my enjoyment of watching the story unwind.It was the motive that was a surprise to me and it brought a whole other element to the book.

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Slasher Girls & Monster Boys by Various Authors (Selected by April Genevieve Tucholke)
Monthly Book Club Selection
5/5 Stars

This was my perfect rating book this month. I read one every few nights throughout the month and that ended up being a perfect speed to fully enjoy each story as it’s own. Of course, there were a few I hold in higher regard than others, but only one ended up boring me so much that I didn’t even finish it. A few of them surprised me with how scary they were, especially the second story in the anthology based on Alice in Wonderland. But my favorite by far was Sleepless by Jay Kristoff. No surprise there. Even though Halloween is passed, consider giving this one a read for those cold nights.

Currently Reading:
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Let me know down below what your favorite book was this month or if you read any of the ones I mentioned!

~The Grisha Lieutenant

 

 

Halloween Book Tag!

Tis’ the season to be spooky!!!

Carving Pumpkins:
What book would you carve up and light on fire?

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Normally I don’t condone mutilation of books. But I had so many issues with this one I wouldn’t be even slightly irked if someone destroyed it. I’d warm my hands knowing the world has been rid of another copy of this piece of junk. 

Trick or Treat:
What character is a trick? What character is a treat?
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My precious child Noah Czerny is the treat. Can you honestly think of a more precious character in this book? Can you? No, you can’t.
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As for the trick? AIDEN. 

Candy Corn:
What’s a book that’s always sweet?
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I always think of this book around Halloween. It’s such a beautifully written book and so original. It has the feel of a fairy tale, the charm of a contemporary and the suspense of a mystery. And it’s all in one book. 

Ghost: 
What character would you love to visit you as a ghost?
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Fred. He would be the best ghost to be haunted by.

Dressing up in a costume:
What character would you want to be for a day?
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Tessa Gray! Victorian era Shadowhunter. I’m just saying that’d be amazing for just a single day.

Wizards and Witches:
What is your favorite Harry Potter moment?
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The Weasley’s epic exit from Hogwarts. The swamp. Do I need to say anymore?

Blood and Gore:
What book was so creepy you had to take a break from it?
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I’ve been reading this book one story at a time. It’s a lot creepier than I originally anticipated. But I’m really enjoying it. Especially the short stories “Emmeline” and “Sleepless”. Highly recommend it if you want something actually creepy.

I tag:
Eve Messenger
River Moose
Book Slayer Reads

 

Thanks for reading as always! Have an awesome Halloween.
~The Grisha Lieutenant

September Wrap-Up and Reading Update 2016

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*MONTHLY BOOKCLUB PICK*
Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatti
3/5 Stars

I didn’t necessarily love this book, but I didn’t really hate it either. It certainly had a creepy feel to it and had a very dark and mysterious story. But for some reason I just got irritated with it at certain points. Yes, it was a middle grade book. But even for a middle grade I found the “big reveals” at the end to be far too obvious and felt like parts of it were entirely unnecessary. Her country accent sort of got to me by the end of the book. There were also parts that I enjoyed too though, mostly that our heroine wasn’t the “naturally clever bookworm from a middle class family”. She was a lower class girl with little to no education. That was certainly different, especially in a setting that oozed wealth and excess. The writing was quite good, but in the end I don’t think it interested me enough for me to continue with the series. 

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Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
4/5 Stars

This was one of those books I kept beside my bed and would read little by little before I went to sleep. The book consists of bits of wisdom and advice from Marcus Aurelius taken from letters and speeches. For those not familiar, he was one of the great Roman Emperor’s widely revered for his wisdom and goodness. As a scholar of history, I found it endlessly fascinating that all of wisdom and observations still hold up to this day.

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Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J Maas
5/5 Stars

As always, I enjoyed this book immensely. It opened up whole new horizons in the story line and even had me loving a character I was previously ambivalent about. I’m of course talking about Manon. I previously tolerated her chapters, but in this one I really looked forward to them. But I still enjoyed every moment of Celaena vs. (enter male character) banter and the nail biting action. The downside is, as much as I really love the TOG books, it always takes me FOREVER to read them. I can’t seem to just sit down and read them within a few days. It takes me at least two weeks per book in the series. 

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*FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH*
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North
3.5/5 Stars

This was another recommendation from Regan over at Peruseproject on Youtube. This was the optional bookclub book (We choose two a month. One mandatory, one optional). I was pretty pumped going in to it. The writing was the star of this book. It was descriptive and interesting without being overly pretentious. Harry August was an incredibly dynamic character that very visibly grows as a person as he dies and is reborn again repeatedly, each time learning from the previous life. What’s really cool about this story is that each life is drastically different from the last. The downside was that this book was pretty heavy on physics. You can follow it pretty easily, but I felt it really took away from the story as a whole and had me incredibly uninterested at times. The book also took me about two weeks to read because every time the scientific verbal frenzies took the main focus of the story, I found reasons to get distracted and not read it. I was instantly interested at the start, it lagged in the middle, but the end was ultimately intriguing and very satisfying. If you don’t mind some science heavy language, I’d recommend picking this one up. 

Currently Reading

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Have you read any of the books I mentioned or am currently reading? Let me know what you thought of them below! What was your favorite book of the month? Let me know! 

TBR’s and why I’m done with them.

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about anything other than a wrap up and a TBR. I really had to think about why that was. What was keeping me from blogging weekly? There are plenty of tags, plenty of books to review. Sure, I’ve been working a ridiculous amount, but I still get days off. So why wasn’t I blogging? Once I thought about it and had a look across my room, it dawned on me. I hate TBR’s. I grew to hate my TBR shelf. Just looking at it pissed me off.

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There are a few reasons for this revelation.

I was setting goals that seemed possible on paper, but not in practice. I said “I can totally do eight books a month, that’s just two books a week!”. Then I pressured myself to read when I was tired or not in the mood to because I was so determined to meet my goal. With working more than fifty hours a week, finding time to read a lot isn’t easy. And reading more in quantity than quality just isn’t worth it. 

This limited the diversity of my reading. Putting priority on books, made me read less diversely and thus, I enjoyed them less. Books started bleeding in to one another and soon I couldn’t even recall the events of a book that I read only two or three weeks ago with any sort of detail. And if I couldn’t enjoy even think through the book, what was the point of reading it? 

My TBR shelf became a glaring reminder of how I wasn’t meeting my reading goals. As mentioned before, the goals weren’t realistic. So seeing a constant reminder of my so called “failure” wasn’t helping my reading habits, it was making them worse. At one point I was just not reading even though I wanted to read. 

If I’m not reading, I’m not writing. I’ve been writing since before I can remember. Making up little stories, little tales. And if I’m not constantly being inspired by other authors, then how can I develop my own style? If I’m not writing, I’m not happy. If I’m not reading, I’m not happy. It completely destroys my center and any sort of creative process that I have. 

Severely limited my ability to read books “in the moment”Sometimes you finish a book, and the next one you want to pick up is what you’re in the mood for. With a TBR of 5-8 books, this limits picking from impulse. And honestly, sometimes impulse reads are the best reads of all.

What are your thoughts on TBR’s? Let me know below.
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~The Grisha Lieutenant

August Wrap-Up | September TBR 2016

Another month has come and gone. Once again, I’ve failed in my goals to read as much as possible. But this time I actually have a valid reason. I was promoted at work and for the last three weeks I’ve been working my new position, my old one and training the person who’s replacing me in my old position. So…that’s a lot of overtime and exhaustion. Not the ideal mindset for reading. Also, it was my birthday on August 31st. I spent most of the day catching up on sleep. As boring as that as. Anyways! On with what I did read.

911xmhn92brlHarry Potter and the Cursed Child

Four word review: THIS IS NOT CANNON

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The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
5/5 Stars

Something you should know if you haven’t read this series, it’s a character driven series. There is more than enough plot and storyline, but it’s the characters that keep you hooked to this series. Ronan Lynch is the focus of the second in the anthology and I didn’t love him until I finished this book. What really stands out in this series is the atmosphere and the unparalleled creepiness that are present in all four books.

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Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
5/5 Stars

This one was probably my favorite out of the quartet. It focuses on Adam Parrish more so than the others. In the third book of the series, our characters feel the weight of consequence from their actions in the first book. While maintaining the atmospheric and mystic feel of the book, the events take twists and turns at a more rapid pace.  This was probably the book where I grew attached to all five main characters rather than just my favorite.

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The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
4.5/5 Stars

You’ve probably notice this is the only one in quartet that doesn’t have a perfect five star rating. From about midway through the first book, I knew Noah Czerny was my favorite character. I identified with Noah more than any of the others. And as the books progressed, he appeared less each time until he was scarcely mentioned at all. I thought this was a disservice to the series. All through the last one I was waiting for him to show up and he hardly did. Unfortunately, by the end it was apparent he was created for one reason only.

Other than that, I really loved the series as a whole and am really glad it was the main focus of my summer reading. I didn’t get through even half of the books I wanted to read, but at least I read a series I’ll remember for years to come.

Currently Reading
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September TBR
I tried to mix up my TBR as much as possible, because the same books showing up over and over again and not being read told me it wasn’t their time.

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Let me know if you’ve read any of the ones listed in the comments below!

~The Grisha Lieutenant