RG: 33/48

The greatest decision I made this year, (besides accepting my dream job at LDLA) has been actively participating in the Goodreads’ Reading Challenge!

I have always been a big reader! In grade school, I participated in reading challenges regularly from reading to get a dollar from my mom to the schoolwide Battle of the Books contests. I not only loved reading, I loved being competitive about reading and honestly still do! Given that in my desired career field reading is mandatory, I asked myself: what better way to motivate myself than to challenge myself to read X number of books in a year? I love being able to report what I’ve read, write short reviews, and also see how my friends are doing on their challenges. My sister is my biggest competitor when it comes to reading. She reads so quickly and it’s not fair! She also has been reading from my library at home so, we often discuss what we’re reading and I challenge her to think like publishing people do :).

To date, I’ve read 33 books. That’s crazy! Granted, 33 includes graphic novels, audiobooks, and poetry. If I’m being honest, I’ve actually read closer to 40 books but I can’t really include manuscripts that I read for work and/or interviews. Setting my goal number was difficult. I didn’t want to be too ambitious so I started with about 20 but eventually settled at 48 books, which roughly amounts to 4 books per month. Again, it sounds crazy but I also tend to read two or three books at a time. It keeps me on my toes! Finding time to read has proven to be hard but I think this challenge, my friends, and my co-workers have definitely encouraged me to keep going!

I may not reach my goal by December, I may read less or more, but I think the most important thing is that I’m challenging myself each day to do something that I love. I strongly believe that books challenge the way you see the world around you, but also how you see yourself. I have read some unbelievable books this year that maybe I never would have if I never committed to this challenge. I’d love to know what you guys are reading! Is there anything you are dying to read? Or anything that you read this year that you can’t stop thinking about? Those are the best! Let’s chat about it.

 

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Currently reading…

I am so excited to announce that I have just started reading the famous Leigh Bardugo duology, Six of Crows! I know I’m super late on the whole bandwagon thing but — a good book is a good book whenever you choose to read it, at least in my opinion.

Life has been hectic so I haven’t been reading or writing as much as I used to. I want to change that and make an active effort to read and write more regularly. They always go hand in hand for me, if I’m not writing often it’s usually because I’m not reading as much as I should. I don’t want to make excuses but instead, challenge myself to take free moments to read. Y’all know how much I love a good YA fantasy so no better way to dive back in than with the famed Six of Crows duology. I’ve only heard good things and I’m excited to read it for myself.

My TBR is overflowing but if you have any suggestions for books to read. Comment below! I’d love to hear what you’ve been reading and why you liked it.

Next up….

 
AAAAHHHHH! I’ve been dying to read this book since I heard a review calling it The Night Circus meets Hunger Games. My interest was instantly piqued and decided to keep on going on the fantasy novel express train that I’ve been riding. I’m here for it. Are you?! No spoilers please, but if you’ve read it — let me know what you think and any other similarly awesome books I should check out.

Be sure to check back for my personal review for Stephanie Garber’s Caraval. 

The Night Circus

“The circus arrives without warning” is the opening sentence to The Night Circus, setting the stage for a novel full of magic, mystery and intrigue. Author, Erin Morgenstern, takes full artistic advantage of the endless opportunities in this novel to describe visually dynamic scenes of the circus turning each reader into a rêveur of Le Cirque du Rêves.

The Night Circus is a fantasy novel that follows main characters, Celia Bowen and Marco Alisdair. Both are competitors in a complex magical challenge of skill and endurance starting as early as their childhood. As the story progresses, you learn that this competition involves a lot more than just testing skill and there are consequences to every action. Morgenstern blew my mind with this novel and had me lost in the mystery of Le Cirque du Rêves. The characters are exceptionally vivid and each detail serves a purpose in the conclusion. I absolutely adored reading this book and am unsurprised that it has become a #1 National Bestseller.

Growing up, I solely read fantasy books because when I was a kid — real life was never as much fun as the fantasy worlds I got to venture into. I journeyed to Hogwarts with Harry Potter and friends, fell in love in Forks, WA in Twilight, and committed a large part of my youth to keeping up with the Vampire Academy series. As I’ve gotten older, my tastes of changed some and I’ve been trying to expand to other genres like memoirs/biographies, literary fiction, thriller and suspense novels and these are just a few among others. The Night Circus gave me a sense of nostalgia for when I clung to those stories as a child and a reminder that there’s no real age restriction for a good book.

I would recommend this to: all readers looking for something outside of their comfort zone, those who were young fantasy lovers (like myself) for the perfect nostalgic purchanse and lastly to lovers of magic, the CIrcus and a touch of romance.

 

Happy World Book Day!

I never knew that this was a holiday until today but shout out to my fellow bibliophiles. Today is basically another excuse for us to exit reality and get lost in another book, don’t mind if I do!

I hope you all get to celebrate today in the most ideal way: cuddled up somewhere with coffee/tea and a much anticipated book from your TBR (to be read) pile. Or maybe pick out an old favorite that always makes you feel better. Just remember that it’s only through books that we can live the thousands of lives that our hearts desire. No matter how old I am, I will always love books for the lessons they’ve taught me and the worlds they’ve shown me without leaving my bed. 

Today, in celebration of WBD I’ll be alternating between reading Phoebe Robinson’s You Can’t Touch My Hair and a query submission from my internship. 

Enjoy!

Milk and Honey

When scanning through the lists of bestsellers to find something to read next, milk and honey by Rupi Kaur immediately caught my attention.

Rupi Kaur has changed my life and I am eternally grateful. Kaur has been given a gift, that gift is the power of words, art and expression. She wields that power like a magician wields magic – effortlessly and with authority. Milk and honey is concisely refreshing, poignant and even intimidatingly raw at times. I’ve always known and believed in the strength of the written word and that is why it is my hope to devote my life to it – by pursuing a career in publishing. Words can do unbelievable things – move mountains, incite riots, and bring people to their knees. With 208 short pages, Kaur shares her insight of the world with her readers.

It’s such an invaluable work that I’m surprised that her agent and the publishing house, Andrews McMeel Publishing, were able to agree on a suitable price of $14.99. Page after page led me to question my own thoughts about family, love, femininity, and life in general. In a dream world, Kaur would become my mentor or guru and teach me the way of expressing myself in the beautiful manner that she has mastered. You can tell that she sees beauty in everything and finds inspiration everywhere. I wish that I could be more like that and after reading her book, I think we can all appreciate the world around us a little bit more. Too often we take advantage of all the beautiful things that surround us – kind strangers, sunrises, the serenity of waves crashing on the shore – that can be appreciated and seen every day. I think that for those who may not necessarily love poetry, this is the perfect book to be introduced to you. The tone is noticeably feminine but I think that anyone could stumble upon this book and appreciate the text. The topics are relatively universal and there’s an obvious sincerity to it. It is such a thought-provoking and intensely relatable book of poetry that I can’t recommend it enough.

 

Here is an excerpt from the book that still gives me goosebumps whenever I re-read it:

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The Girl on the Train

 

A la Gillian Flynn’s ‘Gone Girl,’ Paula Hawkins takes you on a dazzlingly hypnotic journey in the #1 New York Times Bestseller, “The Girl on the Train.” I know that if you’re looking into my track record, besides Amie Barrodale’s “You Are Having A Good Time,” all of my book reviews have been generally positive. I’m working on being more critical going forward and expressing more clearly WHY exactly, I enjoy one book in comparison to others similar to it.

As I have mentioned before, I’ve decided to delve further into the thriller and suspense genre. I live for the shows of the same genre so it would only make sense to explore the books. I had my first taste with “Gone Girl,” and it will probably be my basis for comparison for any and all thriller/suspense books that I read going forward. “The Girl on the Train,” as cliche as it sounds, legitimately blew me away. Hawkins flawlessly introduces you to the main character, Rachel, and flippantly provides you with intimate details of her character and how it affects people’s perception of her. From the first page where Hawkins casually interjects that Rachel has an overactive imagination to the final page of the story, every detail is important and serves a purpose. The sections in Rachel, Megan and Anna’s perspective all come together like three individual pieces of thread to eventually help complete the picture of what is truly going on. It is onlywhen the perspectives align with similar events and dates that you begin to truly grasp what is actually going on and who is truly responsible for the main events of the story.

I eagerly found myself flipping through the pages of this book to the point that it became 3:00AM without my realizing. Instead of foregoing the last 40-some odd pages for tomorrow morning, I refused to go to bed without finishing it. In all sincerity, if there were some other ranking system far more highly regarded than becoming a #1 New York Times Bestseller, I would recommend that this book be awarded that honor. It’s witty, charming and enveloping in the best possible way. It’s shocking that this would be Hawkins’ first thriller after being a journalist for 15 years. She has definitely shocked the masses and set the bar high for herself regarding any future projects. I hope to read more works from her. In terms of recommendation? I would recommend this to anyone looking to try out the thriller/suspense genre and someone interested in a little mystery.