Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2015 Reading Challenges

Hey, y'all! So at the beginning of 2014, I was just getting into reading regularly again, and I created a couple challenges for myself. The first was to read at least 1 book a month, and the second was to complete the 2014 Summer Reading Challenge (click the title to check it out). Surprisingly, I completed the challenge of reading 26 books within 3 months, but I didn't read one book every month. Although, as of now, I've read 56 books in 2014, so I feel like the fact that there was a month where I didn't read a single book should just be overlooked.

Anyway, for 2015, I'm giving myself 3 challenges, ranging from very vague to very descriptive. And I decided that sharing these challenges on my blog will help me to actually go through with it. Because if I don't succeed, I have to explain myself. So let's just jump right into it!

Challenge #1
Read 50 Books

I think that 50 books is the most over-done reading challenge, but it's also the most doable-but-challenging for me. I've read 56 books this year, and didn't even read anything in September, so I feel like I can definitely achieve this. I almost want to set my challenge to 60 so that I subconsciously succeed even though I tend to procrastinate.

Challenge #2
Read at least 5 books that have more than 700 pages

I really enjoy big books, but sometimes I get really intimidated because big books just seem so epic and I feel like I need to make myself read more big books. Although I did choose a picture of A Song of Ice and Fire, I don't necessarily intend to read these 5 books. My goal is to read the first 2 books of the Kingkiller Chronicle at the beginning of the year, and then eventually read A Song of Ice and Fire. Yes, that would make 7 books, but I don't want to make my challenge too much for me. In the end, I'll be happy if I read 5 books over 700 pages, but I would be even happier if I finish all 7!

Challenge #3
The TBR Jar Challenge!

So Katytastic had this really great idea for a 2015 TBR Jar challenge, and I decided that I wanted to do it as well. So, up until now I've just had a TBR jar, and every once in a while, I'd pull a book out of the jar and read it that month. However, Kat's TBR jar challenge is a little more exciting. So basically, rather than putting books in the jar, you put challenges in the jar, and you pull one out each month. This is especially great for me for the same reason it's good for Kat- we're both mood readers, and don't like to be super constrained to a specific book. So, I'm going to go ahead and tell you about the 12 challenges I've created for myself, as well as some rules I've given to this challenge.

- Re-reads cannot be used to fulfill a challenge unless specified in the challenge.
- I'm not allowed to buy a book with the purpose of completing the challenge unless specified in the challenge.
- Challenge must be completed by the end of the month or it doesn't count.

  1. Start a series!
  2. Jump on the bandwagon- Read a book that everyone except you has already read and loved.
  3. Read a book that's already on your "TBR med interest" shelf on Goodreads (Explanation: the books on the med shelf are books I want to read but tend to be overlooked for other books).
  4. Read a book from a genre you've been neglecting lately.
  5. Read a book that you've owned for a year, but still haven't read. (AKA a book you've been putting off)
  6. Read a book that was published before 2000.
  7. Read a book by an author you've never read before.
  8. Read at least 6 books this month. (I'm allowed to re-choose a challenge ONLY if I'm in the process of reading A Song of Ice and Fire. Because I'm not going to force myself to try and read all of them in a month. Nope.
  9. Re-read a favorite! Better yet, focus on re-reads this month, if you can!
  10. You're a music major-- read a musical book!
  11. Treat yo' self! Buy a book you've been dying to read and read it immediately!
  12. Read a book from your 30 Books Before 30 list!

So, those are my reading challenges for 2015! I've got some resolutions for 2015, but I'm not sure if I'm going to share them on here. I wanted to focus mostly upon my reading challenges for my blog. Are you attempting to complete a reading challenge in 2015? Let me know in the comments!

I've started doing Booktube a little as well, so if you want to check that out, you can click HEREI plan to post most of my videos to my blog, but just in case I miss one or decide not to post it on here, that will keep you up-to date. 

I've also created a Facebook page for my blog, so if you want to check that out and like it, you can click HERE. I'll try to keep that pretty up-to-date with new posts and such.

Thanks for reading! If you like my posts, I'd really appreciate if you'd subscribe/follow so that I know you're enjoying what I'm posting! See y'all soon!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Book Discussions #2

Hey, y'all! Back in June, I did a post where I did short discussions about some stand-alone books that I'd read recently and said that I might make it a series... and that's what I've decided to do! In these posts, I'm going to be doing discussions for every single book I read. This was going to be just for stand-alones, but I realized that (even though I wish I could) I can't marathon every series that I read. So single books within series will be included within these as well. If I read 2+ books of a series back-to-back, they'll get their own posts. I plan on including 6-7 books per post, so new discussion posts will be up after every 6-7 books I read, give or take a few.  These discussions will be entirely spoiler-free and fairly short.

Also, all but one of these were written within a day of finishing the book. so even though it's been a few months since I've read many of these, the discussions were completed when the book was still fresh in my mind. I was waiting for one more book before posting this, but I decided I'd rather get it up before the end of the year instead of waiting for one more book. So here we go!

Looking For Alaska 
by John Green

So, I actually read this all the way back at the beginning of March and forgot to add it in my first Stand-Alone Discussion's post. Oops! But I had a lot of opinions about this book, so I just had to talk about it. I'm probably going to get a lot of hate for this, but... I wasn't impressed. I didn't like it. First off, I didn't like the characters. I couldn't empathize with them because I didn't care about them. Maybe it's because I'm a boring adult, but I found their constant drinking/smoking/rule-breaking to just be stupid, immature high school students trying to be cool and just wasn't impressed. I kinda-ish ended up liking The Colonel, but don't even get me started on Pudge. If you want to know why, ask and I'll explain why I don't like Pudge, but it's a long explanation so I won't discuss it right now. I also felt like John Green wanted to make Alaska this very deep-thinking philosophical character, but she came off as someone trying too hard to pose as a philosophical person. Like she was trying to be the stereotype. Another problem that I had was that nothing about this book kept me guessing or surprised me. I saw the twists coming. All of them. To me, that's a sign of a plot that is way too predictable. Overall, I just didn't like it. Sorry, not sorry.

I gave it 2/5 stars on GoodReads, so I'll give it 4 stars out of 10. Please don't hurt me.

And Then There Were None 
by Agatha Christie

This was not a first-time read for me. If I'm being realistic, it's closer to the 10th-15th read. If you saw my Top 15 Stand-Alones post (Check it out here) then you'll know that this is my all-time favorite stand-alone novel. After all of those challenges and after that huge reading marathon, I just wanted to curl up with my favorite book. So that's exactly what I did. It was a great choice. I read it in just a few hours and really enjoyed reading it again. It was very comfortable and familiar. And great. Philip Lombard will forever be one of my favorite literary characters. It's just a very well concocted mystery and I just love it.

It's my favorite book! How could I give it anything but 10 stars out of 10?!

Ready Player One 
by Ernest Cline

I knew going into this that I was going to enjoy it. Although I didn't grow up in the 80s and I'm not an expert on the decade, I do have a pretty high interest in the decade. Most of my favorite movies are from that decade, and I really enjoy a lot of the rock music from the 80s. Even more importantly, I love dystopians, and I love video games. If you've read anything where I've talked about dystopian novels, you know that when I read a dystopian, I want world building out the wazoo. This book has all the world building I could ever hope for. It made my little curious heart sing. But it didn't suffer because of it. It was still extremely action-packed and really awesome. A lot of the video game references went over my head, since I'm not well-versed in older video games, but the book did a great job explaining things. Honestly, this book just had everything I could want from a book: action, adventure, magic, a fantastic world, a fantastic plot, mystery, etc. it was just all great. 

Overall, I had to give it 10 stars out of 10. 

Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore 
by Robin Sloan

I'm not quite sure what I expected going into this book, but it wasn't really... this. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the book! But it took a really weird turn that I totally wasn't expecting. I knew that there was something weird and mysterious going on with the bookstore based on the synopsis, but I was thinking that it would be something illegal or something like that. Either way, I didn't love this book, but I did like it. There were several things that I thought could have been explained better. There were a few parts where I found myself having to try a little too hard to understand what was going on, because something hadn't been explained enough. Aside from that though, this book was pretty enjoyable. Overall, it was likable but unimpressive.

I decided to give it 7 stars out of 10. 

by Rainbow Rowell

I went into this book not knowing a ton about the plot or characters... except the main character. When I heard that the main character was an introverted girl who wrote fanfiction and was going to college for the first time, I knew I had to read it because that was me 2 years ago. I feel like a large percentage of young adult readers will be able to relate to Cath. I know I definitely did. This book was completely adorable. I laughed out loud and said "Aww" more times than I could count. It was so cute. It was realistic and believable, and even had some deep moments. But overall, this is light contemporary at its finest, and I loved it.

I think I'm going to go with 9.75 stars out of 10. Almost perfect.

The Bone Season
by Samantha Shannon

Y'all. Y'ALL. So, I had high expectations for this book. It's the first in a new series, it's a fantasy and dystopian mix, it's got a main character who's close to my age, it's set in England... the list goes on and on. The point is, this book had absolutely everything I love in books... and it did not disappoint. The main gist is that our main character, Paige, is clairvoyant. In this dystopian future, being clairvoyant is a crime and clairvoyants are hunted down and killed. There are many many many different types of clairvoyants, and Paige is one of the rarest. She works for a voyant (slang for clairvoyant) gang in London. A lot of people weren't huge fans of this book because they didn't like the info-dumps and they found it hard to keep up with the different types of voyants. But I loved all of that. When I'm introduced to a new form of 'magic' or a new world or a dystopian version of my own world, I want to learn all of the information. And I definitely got that. And loved every second. 

Since it is the first book of a series, there is a lot of world-building and character development, and I really enjoyed it. Another of the key characters, Warden, is especially interesting. I won't go into detail to avoid spoilers, but if you've read the book, you know what I mean. I did find it a bit difficult to keep up with the characters, because nearly all of them have 2 names, and they're used interchangeably, and sometimes it's hard to keep up with which 2 names refer to the same person. But honestly, that's the only criticism that I have about the book. I loved all of it. It was incredible. The Mime Order comes out in late January and I really just don't want to wait two whole months for that book. NOW. NOW. Please, NOW. 

This is an easy 10 stars out of 10. This was amazing.

So that's it for the last Book Discussions post of the year! I hope you enjoyed this! Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments!

I've started doing Booktube a little as well, so if you want to check that out, you can click HEREI plan to post most of my videos to my blog, but just in case I miss one or decide not to post it on here, that will keep you up-to date. 

I've also created a Facebook page for my blog, so if you want to check that out and like it, you can click HERE. I'll try to keep that pretty up-to-date with new posts and such.

Thanks for reading! If you like my posts, I'd really appreciate if you'd subscribe/follow so that I know you're enjoying what I'm posting! See y'all soon!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Paramore- Brand New Eyes

Hey, y'all! It's time for me to talk about another CD on my shelf! As always, I put my iTunes on shuffle, and the CD containing the first song that played is the one I'll be talking about!

Release Date: September 29, 2009
Genre: Pop punk, Alternative

When I bought the CD: If I remember correctly, I got it when it came out.

Track Listing
  1. Careful
  2. Ignorance
  3. Playing God
  4. Brick by Boring Brick
  5. Turn It Off
  6. The Only Exception
  7. Feeling Sorry
  8. Looking Up
  9. Where the Lines Overlap
  10. Misguided Ghosts
  11. All I Wanted

Paramore lineup on this CD:
Hayley Williams- vocals, keyboards
Josh Farro- lead guitar
Taylor York- rhythm guitar
Jeremy Davis- bass
Zac Farro- drums, percussion

L-R: Taylor, Josh, Hayley, Zac, and Jeremy

About Paramore: 
Paramore has been a band since 2004. So far, they've released 4 CDs: All We Know Is Falling in 2005, Riot! in 2007, Brand New Eyes in 2009, and Paramore in 2013. The band has gone through several lineup changes. I mean seriously, their Wikipedia page has an actual TIMELINE showing the changes:

However, the timeline is partially inaccurate, because Hunter Lamb did NOT play on Riot!, and Taylor York didn't join Paramore until later, and I believe it was 2009. Josh Farro played all the guitar parts on Riot!, and Taylor was a touring member until just before Brand New Eyes.

My Opinion about Paramore:
Paramore was the first alternative band I got into, and they're actually what caused me to begin listening to alternative music. In the gap between Brand New Eyes and Paramore, I didn't listen to them quite as much and they fell down a bit on my list of favorite bands, but they've always been among my top 10 bands, and have been a staple in my ever-changing list of favorites.

About the CD:  
This was the first Paramore CD with Taylor York, and the last one with the Farro brothers. Some of the songs were actually part of the reason that they left the band. Hayley and Josh had dated and broken up, causing Hayley to write songs about it as well as writing some songs that the brothers didn't really agree with. It caused a lot of tension, and with other factors, eventually caused them to leave. Which, as we know, was very traumatic to Paramore fans everywhere.

I don't think I'd call this one of my favorite Paramore CDs. It's one of those CDs with some really amazing songs, and then some songs that I've maybe listened to 5 times ever. If that. And pretty much every song on the CD falls into one of those two categories.

As always, I'm going to give each song a rating out of 10 and then give a brief explanation of why it got that rating. 


Careful- 7.5/10. This is one of the only songs that falls somewhere in the middle for me. I thought it was one of my least favorites on the CD, but as I listen to it again, I realize that it's pretty middle of the pack. It's not great, but not as forgettable as some other songs on this CD.
Ignorance- 10/10. First off, the music on this is just really awesome. Hayley's vocals are awesome as always, and the lyrics are really great too. It's just a really great combination of everything.

Playing God- 10/10. This is possibly my all-time favorite Paramore song. I haven't really thought too seriously about what my favorite Paramore song is, but I know that this would be in my top 5, if not right at #1. The lyrics in this song are so phenomenal. There are so many lines that I absolutely love.

Brick by Boring Brick- 10/10. Hayley's vocals are just really cool on this one. I really love the lyrics on this one as well, especially in the chorus. I don't often think about lyrics in a song (typical instrumentalist) but I've mentioned Hayley's lyrics 3 times already. Hayley writes great lyrics.

Turn It Off- 8/10. Honestly, Hayley's vocals and lyrics in the chorus are what I really like about this song. It's not my favorite on the CD, but it's better than most of them.

The Only Exception- 9/10. I think this song had a little too much hype as a single. Everyone seemed completely enthralled with it. I really enjoyed it too, but I felt like everyone made a bigger deal of it than they needed to. It's beautifully simple, and I really like that.  And of course, Hayley's vocals and lyrics are on-point.
Feeling Sorry- 7/10. I get this one and Looking Up confused constantly. The entire song feels like it's going nowhere. It does have a nice high point, but the rest of the song seems pretty flat.

Looking Up- 7/10. I get this and Feeling Sorry confused, and they have the same problems as well. I just feel like most of this song is flat. Once again, there are a few seconds near the end that are nice, but overall, meh.

Where the Lines Overlap- 6/10. If I were to describe this song in one word, it would be boring. I can never remember how the song goes until I listen to it. It's forgettable and boring.

Misguided Ghosts- 6.5/10. Like with Where the Lines Overlap, I always forget what this song sounds like. I gave it a slightly higher rating because I like it better than Where the Lines Overlap, but they have basically the same problems.

All I Wanted- 10/10. Those lyrics. Those vocals. Wow. I have nothing else to say about this song. Just wow.


Favorite Songs: Playing God, All I Wanted, Brick by Boring Brick, Ignorance

Least Favorite Songs: Where the Lines Overlap and Misguided Ghosts


Playing God music video

All I Wanted video

Rating: 8.5/10. It makes me really sad that this CD has so many really amazing songs, but so many not-so-great songs mixed in with it.

Hope you liked my newest "The CDs on my Shelf" post! Have any questions? Do you like Paramore? Let me know in the comments!

I've started doing Booktube a little as well, so if you want to check that out, you can click HEREI plan to post most of my videos to my blog, but just in case I miss one or decide not to post it on here, that will keep you up-to date. 

I've also created a Facebook page for my blog, so if you want to check that out and like it, you can click HERE. I'll try to keep that pretty up-to-date with new posts and such.

Thanks for reading! If you like my posts, I'd really appreciate if you'd subscribe/follow so that I know you're enjoying what I'm posting! See y'all soon!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Grinch Tag | Book Tag

Hey, y'all! So I love talking about my favorite books just as much as the next book blogger, but as a person who gets annoyed pretty easily, I'm always up for talking about things that I hate. So when I saw Jamie from Ermahgerd Berks do this tag on her Youtube channel, I knew immediately that I wanted to do it because it just sounded like exactly my type of book tag. And since it's Christmas, this is especially appropriate! So let's just jump right into it!

1. Half of the lights on the Christmas tree are burnt out : Name a book/series/character that started out good but then went downhill. 

This series is the epitome of "series that started good but went downhill." I absolutely loved Divergent. I read it in a single day because I just couldn't put it down. I picked up Insurgent almost immediately afterward, and was slightly disappointed. But it wasn't until Allegiant that I became really disappointed with the series. Allegiant took the trilogy in a direction that was completely out of left field, and characters died unnecessarily, and I just didn't enjoy it. I didn't dislike it because of that one really spoilery thing that happened near the end of Allegiant, but that was definitely one of the negative factors. Just overall, this series went from having a first book that is one of my all-time faves to having one of the most disappointing endings to a trilogy ever. 

2. Annoying Great Aunt Sally who will not leave you alone : Name a book that you didn't enjoy, but everyone else seems to love so it never goes away. 

Everyone absolutely loves this book, and I could. not. stand. it. I thought it was predictable and the characters were utterly unlikable. You can do SO much better, John Green.

3. Your pets keep knocking over the Christmas decoration : Name a character that kept messing things up for everyone else (can't pick a villain!).

Oh, Clary. I love Clary. But she's basically a pro messer-upper. Is that a real term? No. But it should be. She just made so many dumb decisions. It didn't make me love Clary any less, but it did make me facepalm and shake my head at her.

4. You hear your parents putting out the presents and learn Santa isn't real: Name a book you were spoiled for. 
I was spoiled for a couple books...

I still haven't read Mockingjay (at least, at the point that I'm currently writing this) but I did get spoiled for part of it, as well as part of Allegiant. For Allegiant, I got spoiled for a character death (if you've read the book, yes, that character death), and for Mockingjay I got spoiled for a character death as well as the resolution of the love triangle. 

5. It's freezing outside: Name a main character you just couldn't connect with.

I just could not connect with Juliette from the Shatter Me trilogy. I just didn't understand any of the decisions that she made, and couldn't connect with her personality. She was so weak in the beginning and was so dependent on a man, and I couldn't connect with her personality and even when she became a stronger character, I just couldn't get why she did some of the things she did. I didn't hate her, and I didn't think she made insanely stupid decisions, I just couldn't get it. 

6. Mariah Carey's 'All I Want for Christmas is You' and it's giving you anti-romantic feelings : Name a couple you couldn't stand. 

I don't want to spoil anything for people who haven't read this book, especially since the series isn't finished yet, so I'm going to be very vague here. There's a bit of a love triangle that forms, and by the end of this book, two of the characters start a romance, and I hate it. I much prefer the other guy that the girl could be with. I can only hope that this situation will get fixed by the end of the series because I really hate this couple. Like a lot.

7. That scratchy homemade wool sweater you got for Christmas years ago but won't get rid of : show some books that have been sitting on your shelves for a while, and you aren't motivated to read, but you don't have the heart to get rid of. 

Here are a few... it's mostly the contemporaries I've purchased. I'm interested in the story, but I'm almost never in the mood for contemporary. My little stitch of interest is what keeps me from getting rid of them.

8. Grandma Got Runover by a Reindeer: Name a character death you still are mad about (warn people for spoilers! You can also use TV or movie deaths). 


I could not, still have not, and probably never will be able to cope with the death of Fred Weasley. In my mind, he's still alive. The Weasley twins are probably my favorite characters in any series ever, and I just cannot deal with Fred's death. I can't. What death? I don't know what you're talking about. The Weasley twins are both alive. Neither of them died. 

9. The malls are overly crowded with holiday shoppers: Name a series that has too many books in it/went on too long. 

This is really hard for me, because I really love series, especially long series. However, I will name a series (that I haven't read) that just has way too many books in it.

Unfortunately, this isn't even all of the books in the series. Two more have come out since the last one in this picture. There are a whopping 12 books in this series. And I don't think that's all (although I'm not 100% sure, so don't quote me on that!). I tried reading the first book, and didn't even get halfway through because I hated it and didn't think it was written very well. I don't know how on earth it has managed to get 12 books out of it. 

10. The Grinch : Name a main character you HATE (No villians again!).  

I had to pick someone from Looking for Alaska, because I disliked basically all of the characters. I especially hated our narrator, Pudge as well as Alaska. I thought that Pudge was the absolute biggest pushover ever. He becomes this completely different person when he becomes friends with these people and I absolutely cannot stand that. And I thought Alaska just tried too hard to be this really philosophical, deep person, but she was just another teenager who thought they were cool for sneaking away to smoke and get drunk. Maybe I'm just too old for this book. I don't know. I just hated all of the characters, especially Pudge and Alaska.

So, that's The Grinch Book Tag! I really enjoyed doing this one, because sometimes I just need to talk about things that I hate!

I've started doing Booktube a little as well, so if you want to check that out, you can click HEREI plan to post most of my videos to my blog, but just in case I miss one or decide not to post it on here, that will keep you up-to date. 

I've also created a Facebook page for my blog, so if you want to check that out and like it, you can click HERE. I'll try to keep that pretty up-to-date with new posts and such.

Thanks for reading! If you like my posts, I'd really appreciate if you'd subscribe/follow so that I know you're enjoying what I'm posting! See y'all soon!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Books I'm Bringing Home Over Break

Hey, y'all! I've seen several booktubers who are in college make videos showing the books that they brought home with them for the holidays, so I decided to do the same.

So, one of the biggest struggles over break is trying to figure out what I can bring home with me. Since I go to school a very, very, long way away from where my parents live, and checking bags is super expensive, I usually just bring a backpack and a small suitcase home with me, so it's always a struggle to try to figure out what clothes and fun things to bring home with me, especially because I know I'll be coming home with more things at the end of the break. So I had to choose the books that I wanted to take home with me very carefully, because even though I have a kindle, I have most of my books only in physical form. Let's get right into it!

Also, as a side note, I'll be listing these in the order that I plan to read them!

The Hunger Games Trilogy
Book 1: The Hunger Games
Book 2: Catching Fire
Book 3: Mockingjay
by Suzanne Collins

I've mentioned this before several times, but I've actually never read The Hunger Games trilogy. Now, before you go freaking out, allow me to explain. I tried to start it for the first time back in my senior year of high school 3 years ago, when it was huge, huge, HUGE because the movie was just about to come out. The first couple chapters didn't hold my attention quite enough, and so I ended up setting it down. And there were several reasons that I never picked it back up. I really wanted to avoid it because of all the hype around it. I didn't want another Twilight moment. I also heard a lot of negative things about the third book from some friends whose opinions I trust. And I ended up seeing the movie (just the first one!) before reading the book, so I knew what happened. And I got spoiled for some of the ending (a certain character's death, as well as the result of the love triangle). So yeah, there are a lot of reasons that I haven't read these books yet. But I know that I'll at least love the first book once I actually read it, so I just need to get on that already.

The Rook
by Daniel O'Malley

I've had this book on my TBR for a few months now. I saw it as a recommendation after reading Ready Player One, and the book summary had me hooked. I absolutely love fantasy and dystopian, and lately, I've been really digging adult fantasy. Ideally, I'll be reading this immediately after The Hunger Games, but I might read The Name of the Wind instead, since I want to read it by the end of the year. It honestly just depends how quickly I finish The Hunger Games trilogy, because I want to be done with at least one of the two before the end of the year.

The Kingkiller Chronicle
Book 1: The Name of the Wind
Book 2: The Wise Man's Fear
by Patrick Rothfuss

Ideally, I'll be done with everything through the end of The Name of the Wind by the end of the year, and The Wise Man's Fear will be my first book of 2015. However, things might get shuffled around. Who knows. But I'm really anxious to read these books. I've heard amazing things about them, and I've been really into adult high fantasy lately and both of these books have 4.5 stars on GoodReads. Seriously, that's just incredibly impressive. I don't even think that Harry Potter can boast stats that consistent. I just want to get in on this amazing series.

by Gretchen McNeil

I brought this one with me just in case I read everything I have with me and want something to read on the way back to school. I'm not expecting this to be that great, but a really simple murder mystery with no depth just sounds great.

So, those are the books that I brought home with me! If, by some odd chance, I happen to read all of these before the end of break (doubtful, given that the books in The Kingkiller Chronicle are over 700 and over 900 pages respectively), I have my kindle with me, and have a handful of books on there that I can read. 

I've started doing Booktube a little as well, so if you want to check that out, you can click HEREI plan to post most of my videos to my blog, but just in case I miss one or decide not to post it on here, that will keep you up-to date. 

I've also created a Facebook page for my blog, so if you want to check that out and like it, you can click HERE. I'll try to keep that pretty up-to-date with new posts and such.

Thanks for reading! If you like my posts, I'd really appreciate if you'd subscribe/follow so that I know you're enjoying what I'm posting! See y'all soon!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

December Book Haul [Book Haul #6]

Hey y'all! So clearly, I'm just eating my words all over the place lately, aren't I?! Remember how I said that my last book haul was probably my last book haul of the year? Oops. I bought more books. But this is definitely, absolutely, the last book haul of the year. PROMISE. Cross my heart and hope to die. Starting in the new year, I plan to do a book haul every two months rather than just doing one whenever it's ready.

But let's not waste any more time with introductions. Let's just jump right into it!

The Kingkiller Chronicles
Book 1: The Name of the Wind
Book 2: The Wise Man's Fear
by Patrick Rothfuss

I'd been planning to get The Name of the Wind for quite a while and finally ordered it off of Amazon. I hadn't planned on buying The Wise Man's Fear quite yet (although I'd definitely been considering it), but then I happened to find a used paperback copy at a used bookstore for only $6. And it was in pretty good condition so I just couldn't pass it up. I'm so anxious to read these that I plan to read The Name of the Wind before the end of the year and then start the year by reading The Wise Man's Fear.

Black Beauty
by Anna Sewell

The used bookstore near my school has some really pretty editions of classic children's novels, and I've been eyeing this one for a very long time. I included this book in my 30 Books Before 30 post (link here), and since it was fresh in my mind, I decided to finally go ahead and buy it. I read the kid's version several times, but I've never read the real thing, so I really need to get onto that.

The Wizard of Oz
by L Frank Baum

Contrasting the situation with Black Beauty, I actually did read the real version of this book when I was younger, and I really enjoyed it. And this version of the book was also at the used bookstore near my school, and it's even more beautiful than the Black Beauty one, and I just couldn't pass it up.

Obligatory BookOutlet Purchase...
(Black Friday Edition)

by Gretchen McNeil

I was immediately intrigued upon learning about this book. because it's a retelling of my favorite stand-alone novel, And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. Do I expect it to be great? Nope. Nothing deep, nothing amazing, just a fun, fast-paced read. And if it's so bad that all I can do is laugh at how bad it is, that's great too!

Through the Ever Night
by Veronica Rossi

This is the second book in the Under The Never Sky trilogy. I don't have the first one, and I haven't read it yet, but I do like to marathon series if all of the books are out. I've been planning on reading this trilogy for quite a while, and this was less than $3, so I decided to get it and just go ahead and get books 1 and 3 when they're back on BookOutlet for cheap.

The Lost Code
by Kevin Emerson

This is the only book of the haul that I kinda just bought on a whim. All of the other books, I'd at least had an eye on for a little while. But I just came across this one while doing my Black Friday shopping and decided to add it into the cart. From the synopsis, it sounds like a really fast-paced dystopian with an interesting world. And it has a male lead, which is rare in a YA, so that should be really interesting.

The Final Empire
by Brandon Sanderson

I'm not exactly sure why the name of the series is HUGE on the cover, and the actual title of the book isn't even on the cover, but that's beside the point. I've been wanting to read this series for a while now, and the first book was less than $3, so I decided to go ahead and get it. I also included this in my 30 Books Before 30 post, so you can check that out here if you want to.

No One Else Can Have You
by Kathleen Hale

This seems like a really great, really cheesy, murder mystery. And those are just buckets of fun. I actually saw someone haul this a while back (can't remember who) and so when I saw it on BookOutlet for really cheap, I decided to go ahead and get it!

The Chronicles of Nick
Book 3: Infamous
Book 4: Inferno
by Sherrilyn Kenyon

I just love that BookOutlet has all of the books in this series for so cheap. I already have books 1 & 2, so I'm just adding on to my collection so that I can marathon these in the future. It seems like it's going to be really great!

by Orson Scott Card

This is the second book in Orson Scott Card's Pathfinder series. I don't have the first book yet. It was on BookOutlet and was in my cart, but went out of stock before I could get a copy. So I just have the second book, and plan to get the first one eventually. I've heard lots of good things about these books, so I'm really excited to get into them!

So there you go! That's my last book haul of 2014! Hopefully, in the new year, I'll buy books at a slightly slower pace. I need to work on that.

I've started doing Booktube a little as well, so if you want to check that out, you can click HEREI plan to post most of my videos to my blog, but just in case I miss one or decide not to post it on here, that will keep you up-to date. 

I've also created a Facebook page for my blog, so if you want to check that out and like it, you can click HERE. I'll try to keep that pretty up-to-date with new posts and such.

Thanks for reading! If you like my posts, I'd really appreciate if you'd subscribe/follow so that I know you're enjoying what I'm posting! See y'all soon!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

30 Books Before 30

So, a couple days ago, Jamie from Ermahgerd Berks and Beth from BethJune327 did videos called "30 Books Before 30" where they listed 30 books that they wanted to read before they turn 30. Even though I'm only 20, I thought it would still be fun to list 30 books that I want to read before I turn 30. These aren't necessarily the books that are right there at the top of my TBR. Instead, these are books that I would feel embarrassed about not having read by the time that I'm 30. Some of these are important because of my personal taste, others because of my academic interests, others because of the issues they address, and others because I'm just extremely late to the party.

The books in the list almost all fall into distinct categories, so I decided to go ahead and divide the list up that way as well, rather than trying to list from most important to least important.

The Complex Marathons
(AKA big/complex books)

#1: Infinite Jest
by David Foster Wallace

This is one that I plan to tackle sooner rather than later. I've had this on my TBR since May, and I'm still really interested in reading it. First off, it's a dystopian, which I love. I also really love that it's extremely complex. I've heard so many good things about this book, and so not only is it a challenge, but also it just sounds really good! 

Why before 30? I just feel like I want to read it at a time when reading really intellectual books is impressive rather than expected. Not that I want to go bragging about how intellectual I am...

#2: Under the Dome
by Stephen King

The TV show has me intrigued, so I'm definitely curious to get to read this. It is, of course, very massive, but it seems really fast-paced and exciting so maybe it won't seem like it's as big as it is. I mean, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is really long, but it's not a boring book at all.

Why before 30? It's honestly just because it's so huge. It's a challenge. And I want to complete it. 

#3: S.
J.J. Abrams

I was completely intrigued when I first heard about this book. The basic premise is that it's kinda a book within a book. I believe the book is at a coffee shop or some other public place, and these two people begin to write back and forth to each other in the margins of the book. And so you have both the story on the actual pages and the story unfolding between these two strangers. I think that's just insanely cool.

Why before 30? It's because I think this is one of those books that I can put off really easily. First off, it's really complex, which sometimes is a drawback when I just want a fun read. Also, I think that if this book was just the actual book without the added factor of the people writing back and forth to each other, I wouldn't be interested in reading it. So I find myself thinking about how the main book isn't exactly my cup of tea and push off reading it, even though the full premise sounds intriguing.

Music Books

#4: Musicophilia
by Oliver Sacks

I started trying to read this last year, but only got about 1/4th of the way through. It wasn't that I didn't like it, because I was enjoying it, but I feel like whenever I read non-fiction, I need some fiction between sections so that I don't get tired of the topic.

Why before 30? This is one of the most prominent music and psychology books, and I should really read it, given the fact that I'm a music and psychology major. Spoiler alert: this is going to be the reason for most of the music books I'm going to list.

#5: Music, the Brain, and Ecstasy
by Robert Jourdain

This is another music/psychology book, and the blurb is actually what pulled me in. It seems like Jourdain has a pretty easy-to-read writing style, which I always appreciate in a non-fiction book. I read these books because I'm genuinely interested, not because I'm taking a class on it, so I'm really not interested in something that's going to feel like a textbook. 

Why before 30? Once again, this is a pretty well-known music/psych book, and even though I find them incredibly intriguing, I push them aside for more fun reads. 

#6: The Music Instinct
by Philip Ball

There's a famous quote by a psychologist named Steven Pinker where he tried to claim that music was "auditory cheesecake" and tried to say that it's not actually important... and he told this to a room full of music psychologists. And I thought people with doctorates are supposed to be smart? Anyway, I would love to read a book that tells me why we can't live without music.

Why before 30? Again, it's a popular music/psych book that I just need to get to.

#7: The World in Six Songs
by Daniel Levitin

I read and loved Daniel Levitin's first book, This Is Your Brain on Music. This book is a little more culturally based as opposed to psychology based, but it sounds extremely interesting nonetheless.

Why before 30? Do I really need to say it at this point? See above.

#8: The Rest is Noise
by Alex Ross

This one is slightly different from the music books before it because it's actually about music history rather than music and psychology. And it's specifically about the twentieth century, which is my favorite period of Western art music.

Why before 30? After my undergrad work, I plan to continue on to grad school and study musicology with a focus in 20th century music. So I really should probably read this before 25. Actually, probably before 22, to be honest. 

#9: Listen to This
by Alex Ross

This is another book by Alex Ross (obviously), and rather than focusing on just the 20th century, it takes a very broad look at music history. And it doesn't just look at art music. It branches out to popular music as well.

Why before 30? If I'm going to get a degree in musicology, I should probably read as many music history books as possible, even if it's for no other purpose than just brushing up on my music history knowledge.


#10: The Hobbit
by J.R.R. Tolkien

Honestly, I'm kinda embarrassed about not having read it before the age of 20. As a fan of fantasy and a fan of the Lord of the Rings movies, I should have read this book by this point. I'm pathetic.

Why by 30? Because I can't think of anything more embarrassing than being 30 and having to tell someone that I haven't read The Hobbit.

#11: The Lord of The Rings Trilogy
by J.R.R. Tolkien

I really want to read these. I tried to read the first one back in 8th grade and got confused because I couldn't figure out who any of the characters were, and couldn't really keep track of what was going on. And I haven't really tried to read them again in the seven years since then. So I really need to just read them.

Why before 30? Oh wait, I found something more embarrassing than being 30 and admitting that I hadn't read The Hobbit... being 30 and admitting that I hadn't read Lord of the Rings.

#12: Codex Alera
by Jim Butcher

Regan from PeruseProject talks about this series all the time, and it just sounds absolutely fantastic. Even though I really enjoy high fantasy, I haven't read a ton of high fantasy series. And that just needs to change. 

Why before 30? Because I want to get this read within the next year!

#13: Mistborn Series
by Brandon Sanderson

Once again, I heard about this from Regan from PeruseProject. And it sounds fantastic. And I need to read more high fantasy.

Why before 30? Because I want to read this ASAP!

#14: The Chronicles of Prydain
by Lloyd Alexander

I absolutely love the Disney movie, The Black Cauldron, that is based upon this series. I've heard that it's actually only based upon the first couple books or that it's really loosely based upon the books, but I still really want to read them. I actually started trying to read the first book. I got almost halfway through, but I just wasn't feeling it, so I put it down. It wasn't bad, I just wasn't in the mood. 

Why before 30? Because I have all of the books, and it just needs to be done. Each of them is less than 200 pages. It shouldn't be a struggle to get through these. Seriously.

#15: A Song of Ice and Fire Series
by George R.R. Martin

I really want to read these. Really badly. I plan to read them all in 2014 (fingers crossed). This is one of the most popular high fantasy series ever, and I this is one bandwagon that I really need to jump on. And even though I generally love big books, I'm kinda intimidated by these books. They're just so big and epic!

Why before 30? Because I want to see the TV show, and I refuse to do that before reading the books.

#16: The Kingkiller Chronicle
by Patrick Rothfuss

I've heard so many amazing things about these books. Everyone who reads The Name of the Wind seems to love it. Also, both of these books have an average Goodreads rating of 4.5. Do you realize how impossibly good that is?! 4.5. SERIOUSLY.

Why before 30? Because this is next on my TBR and I want to read them insanely badly.

#17: Throne of Glass Series
by Sarah J Maas

I've just heard so many amazing things about this series, and it seems like so many people love it, and I want to be one of those people. Strong female lead FTW!

Why before 30? Because I want to read the series while it's still in progress!

#18: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Series
by Douglas Adams

I've been told by many people that I would enjoy this book and that I would really enjoy the humor in it. Plus, it's classic sci-fi, which is definitely a necessary read for me. 

Why before 30? Just because I want to, honestly.

#19: The Hunger Games Trilogy
by Suzanne Collins

Yes, I have not read the Hunger Games trilogy. I know, I know, heresy. But I have a good reason. Kinda. So my friend (who's not a big reader) told me how great this book was back in like 2009, before they got super big. And I didn't trust his opinion because he didn't read so I assumed he didn't know the difference between a good book and a bad book. But then it blew up and I didn't want to jump onto another Twilight-esque bandwagon, and I heard that a lot of people didn't really like Mockingjay. So why bother, if the ending was going to be terrible. Also, basically the entire end of the series had been spoiled for me. So why bother? But at this point, I realize that I just need to suck it up and read it because it's dystopian and I'll probably love it.

Why before 30? Because it should have been before 20. It's time.

#20: Hercule Poirot Series
by Agatha Christie

Not all of the books in this series are pictured, but this picture does show all of the books in the series that I own. I've already read 8 of the 39 books in this series, but I think that by the time I'm 30, I want to have the entire thing finished. And they're all pretty short, so this should be completely doable. 

Why before 30? Because Agatha Christie is amazing, and I want to read all of her books.


#21: Animal Farm
by George Orwell

I actually can't believe that I haven't read this book already. I really enjoyed 1984, and so I really want to read this as well.

Why before 30? Because I really need to read it long before then, or I'll be really embarrassed.

#22: A Clockwork Orange
by Anthony Burgess

This kinda runs right between counting as a classic dystopian and a modern classic, but either way, I really want to read it. I was supposed to read it for one of my classes sophomore year of college, and I really wanted to read it, but with all of the weird words that were made up for the book, I really didn't want to try to read the entire thing in a couple days.

Why before 30? Because I love the movie and I know I'll really enjoy the book.

#23: We
by Yevgeny Zamyatin

I only recently learned about this book from a video that Ariel Bissett did where she talked about it. Dystopian's my fave, and this is a classic dystopian, so I need to read it. 

Why before 30? It's such an influential book that I feel like I need to read it before I'm 30.

#24: Black Beauty
by Anna Sewell

Horses are my favorite animals, and they always have been. When I was 10, my room had horses on the walls and I had horses everywhere. When I was little, every single one of my Barbies had their own horse. I had the illustrated classics version of this book and read it countless times. It was my favorite book as a kid. However, the illustrated classics are very edited and adapted, so I've never read the real book. And I really should.

Why before 30? I read the kids' version so many times before I turned 10 that I'd be embarrassed if I hadn't read the real one by the time I'm 30.

#25: Slaughterhouse-Five
by Kurt Vonnegut

My roommate has recommended this book to me so many times, so I feel like I really need to get to it because it does actually sound like a book I would enjoy.

Why before 30? I think I just feel like any classics I read need to be read before the age of 30, and I'm not sure why. Maybe because reading a classic in your 20s is seen as an intellectual thing, while reading more influential literature is more expected when you get older? IDK, I just feel like I should read it soon. 

#26: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
by Lewis Carroll

Alice in Wonderland is one of my favorite Disney movies and it's just so trippy and crazy and once again, I can't believe that I haven't read it yet.

Why before 30? Because I feel like the older I get, the less likely I'll be to fully enjoy it.

#27: The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak

I've heard so many people say how absolutely amazing this book is, and I really just need to get on reading it because I've had it for a while and so many people are saying that it's a modern classic and that it should be taught in high schools, so I need to see what this is all about. Also, I want to see the movie. 

Feminist Literature

#28: The Feminine Mystique
by Betty Friedan 

I had to read a little bit of this for one of my classes and it was just so great and I want to read the whole thing.

Why before 30? As a feminist, I feel like this is necessary reading.

#29: The Handmaid's Tale
by Margaret Atwood

This is a dystopian feminist novel. Need I say more?

Why before 30? Again, required feminist literature.

#30: The Bell Jar
by Sylvia Plath

I feel like a broken record here. Required feminist literature.

Why before 30? See above!

So there you go! Those are the 30 books that I want to have read by the time I'm 30! What books do you want to read by the time you're 30? Let me know in the comments!

I've started doing Booktube a little as well, so if you want to check that out, you can click HEREI plan to post most of my videos to my blog, but just in case I miss one or decide not to post it on here, that will keep you up-to date. 

I've also created a Facebook page for my blog, so if you want to check that out and like it, you can click HERE. I'll try to keep that pretty up-to-date with new posts and such.

Thanks for reading! If you like my posts, I'd really appreciate if you'd subscribe/follow so that I know you're enjoying what I'm posting! See y'all soon!