The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han. I’m not even entirely sure why?! Maybe the colors. Maybe the fact that it has summer in the title. I DON’T KNOW. It’s the first thing that came to mind.
What book has brightened your day?
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. It was just so sweet and cute, and I was squealing the whole way through.
Find a book cover with yellow on it
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
What is your favorite summer beach read?
I don’t know if I have a favorite, but this year I chose to take Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty along on my lake trip! It was great boat reading–light but interesting.
What action book had you running for the ice cream man?
Running for the ice cream man because I had to cool off? Ha, not sure I completely understand this. But the battles and action scenes in the first two books of the Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson were intense to read. I’m so invested in that series and those characters, and Sanderson isn’t afraid to kill his darlings! Makes me a very anxious reader.
(Sunburn) What book has left you with a bad and/or painful ending?
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas. I’ve talked about this one a lot, but basically it was just a big disappointment for me.
(Sunset) What book gave you the happiest feelings when it ended?
A lot of Brandon Sanderson’s books do, because he manages to write such satisfying endings. In particular, his two (current) standalones, Warbreaker and Elantris made me feel so happy and fulfilled when they ended. Especially when I read his sweet novella for Elantris afterward.
What book cover reminds you of a sunset?
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. This book is quite creepy, but I have always ADORED this cover. Possibly the only movie cover EVER that isn’t cringe-worthy and is actually very beautiful! It doesn’t even look too much like a sunset, but it’s the first one that came to my mind.
What is one book or series you hope to read this summer?
Right now I’m in the midst of Robin Hobb’s series The Realm of the Elderlings. I’m hoping to knock out a few more before August is finished!
Captain Ashby Santoso leads a misfit crew on his spaceship, the Wayfarer, in this heartwarming sci-fi novel. The crew journeys to a far off land to create a new wormhole, and in the process learn more about each other, create connections, explore new planets, and face challenging trials. They come out of it for the better, and readers will too.
I had seen a lot of hype for this book before I read it, which is why I gave in and bought it. (It is now the most gorgeous book on my shelf so even if I hated it, I still wouldn’t regret the purchase.) And it lived up to the hype!
You need to understand what kind of book it is before you go into it, though. It’s slow, not high-action, and definitely character-driven. It’s not boring by any means, but I know that I, perhaps like many others, have to be in the right mood for slower books. If you go into this expecting a really exciting, high-paced space story, that’s not what you’re going to get. You are, however, going to get a heartwarming, funny, touching, sweet, thought-provoking read.
I’m not one to get worked up over lack of diversity in books (most of the time), but the diversity among characters was the biggest highlight of this book. We not only have diversity in terms of age, gender, sexuality, and identity, but also species. I mean, this is a science fiction book. Weirdly enough, in sci-fi novels we don’t always see diversity in terms of species within the main characters. In this novel, we have three main characters out of seven who aren’t human.
And if you’re like me and a little unsure about those characters of different species, just give them a chance. Becky Chambers writes these characters so excellently. It’s impossible not to connect and empathize with every one of them. They all have unique quirks, backgrounds, motivations, and struggles. And they are a joy to get to know.
That’s what this book really boils down to for me–it is just a joyful, fun, warm and fuzzy read. I dare you to pick this up and not feel warm inside by the end.
My not so likes
As mentioned before, this book is slow-paced. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it did take me some time to get into it. I do much better with fast-paced novels, so working up the motivation to stick with something slower can be hard for me. I set the book down a few times before coming back to it and finishing it within a day or two, once I finally got into it.
On a related note, I wished the climax had been a bit more…climactic, if you will. And I wish the plot had built toward it a little more. It was all a bit sudden, which was weird given the slow pace.
Everyone could get something out of this book. Even if you don’t usually read sci-fi, give this one a chance! My guess is you won’t regret it.
Today I write to you about a very important topic. I’d like to give you some advice. This is crucial to your health and well-being if you consider yourself bookish in any way.
Here it is: You need to join Litsy.
Litsy is AWESOME, it’s amazing, not many people know about it but it’s so fun and wonderful and the greatest and JUST JOIN NOW.
But wait–what IS Litsy, you ask?
Litsy is basically Instagram+Goodreads put together in one app.
But wait–isn’t “bookstagram” already in existence? And Goodreads? Why do we need yet another bookish social media?
The answer to all those questions: Litsy is better.
Read on to learn why Litsy is the greatest, and why you should join today.
Litsy is all about books.
That’s it! In your feed on Litsy, you won’t see any sort of personal posts from friends or celebrities, no ads, no pics of food or travel–NOTHING but books and bookish posts. I don’t know about you, but oftentimes bookish instagram posts get lost in the feed and they can be hard to enjoy when I’m distracted by other posts about other things. It’s nice to dwell with just the books and readers for a little while.
You can post as many beautiful (or not so beautiful) bookish pictures as your heart desires.
Yes, you can do this on Instagram too. But on Litsy, you won’t find just pictures of books. You’ll find pictures from the life of a reader too, or the life of a reading teacher or librarian. All pictures are bookish, but I find Litsy a little more real, more organic if you will. Oftentimes, “bookstagram” seems so polished and perfect. Litsy is for those of us who don’t have fancy cameras and props but still genuinely love reading and want to share that love with others.
some of my attempts at beautiful photos
But you don’t have to post pictures if you don’t want to.
Although most users do post pictures, you can create posts on Litsy without pictures as much as you want! You can rate books, write blurbs about them, or share quotes–with OR without a picture. I know my photo skills are subpar, and it can be easy to get self-conscious about it. It’s so nice to have the option of skipping a pic if I feel like it.
You can tag books in your pictures.
In fact, you have to tag a book in all your posts. Unfortunately, you can only tag one book with a picture, but you can always tag more in the comments. This is so friendly for users! You can scour the tags to read readers’ opinions or admire the pretty pictures. Or, if you see an interesting picture in your feed but don’t know the book, you can click on the tag to find out more. PLUS! Each book tag page includes a synopsis of the book, the page number, and the overall rating from Litsy members. How handy and informative, eh?
Yes, you can rate the books you’ve read.
Whether you post a picture of a book you just finished, or you go search for any book on your “read” list, you can put a rating to the book that sticks with it and gets calculated into its overall rating on Litsy. You can “pick,” “so-so,” “pan,” or “bail” a book. This rating system is so simple, and any time you encounter a book you’ve rated before, your rating shows up. Another handy reference tool!
You never have to worry about spoiling someone or being spoiled yourself.
Yet ANOTHER super handy feature of Litsy is the spoiler warning! You can tag your photos with spoilers and you can even tag comments for spoilers. This hides the entire photo or comment, so only those who want to take the risk–or have already read the book–can click on it and read.
Photo challenges, discussions, and read-alongs galore!
There are so many fun ways to be involved on Litsy. There are always at least three monthly photo challenges popping up in my feed, discussions left and right, and read-alongs open to any interested participants. Most recently, I’ve seen a read-along for lengthy tomes, a Lord of the Rings read-along, and more. You can pick and choose favorite ways to be involved with other readers, if you so desire!
Track your reading stats.
If you log all your reading through Litsy, it generates your stats and also gives you “Litfluence” points. You can see how many books you’ve read, your pages read, your likes, your comments, and your book adds. All these stats are used (somehow–I’m honestly not exactly sure how) to create your Litfluence. Your Litfluence goes higher and higher the more you use Litsy, which basically just makes you feel awesome each time your reach a new milestone.
Participate in book exchanges.
Book exchanges happen ALL THE TIME on Litsy! There have been secret exchanges and not secret exchanges, holiday exchanges and exchanges just for the fun of it! I personally haven’t participated in any yet, but I need to remedy that. Every time others post their pictures from exchanges, I get so jealous. They look like a TON of fun.
Make some friends!
Everyone on Litsy is SO friendly. I can’t say I’m super active or outgoing on Litsy, but I have always felt so welcomed when I commented on others’ photos, joined in on discussions, or received comments on my own posts. Everyone on Litsy really just wants to connect with others who love books as much as they do, and it’s so nice to be part of a genuine community like that.
So–what are you waiting for?! Haven’t I convinced you yet? Go download Litsy now! It’s available for iOS and Android, so no excuses are valid here. 😉
And, if you do decide to join up, take a look for me! My username is briski.
July was a busy summer month for me! I did lots of hanging out with friends and family, a trip to Chicago, working, and of course, reading and crafting and blogging! I didn’t do quite as much reading as I hoped–I think I was slightly in a weird slump for a little while. I read a lot, but didn’t finish many books. However, I’m off on vacation tomorrow so I’m sure I will make up for that in the days to come!
Read on for my monthly wrap-up!
Total books: 5 books
Total pages: 2,278 pages
Longest book: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
Shortest book: Poison Study by Maria V Snyder
Favorite book: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
Least favorite book: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
This book has such an interesting concept. I really liked reading Yelena’s journey as she became a food taster and discovered more about her magic. Plus, the slow burn romance was delicious. Read my full review here.
This book was a great follow-up to This Savage Song, but I still had some qualms with it. August was lovely, Ilsa was awesome, and Kate was a little confusing. Also, the monsters were monstrous. Read my full review here.
This is an intriguing start to this enormous series from Robin Hobb. There is so much going on, and poor young Fitz is caught up in the middle of it all. This is a must read if you love little orphan boys who bond with puppies as they try to find their place in the world.
I finished my first official commissioned project this month! My sister’s friend is soon to have a baby girl, and I made a minty green and pink chevron blanket for her. My sister seems pleased with how it turned out, and I am too! Plus, I was able to use some of the leftover yarn to experiment with some baby hats and create an original pattern. Success!
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two baby hats — and I created the pattern myself!
mint green and pink chevron baby blanket
hexagon blanket-turned pillow cover
body pillow cover
round yellow cushion cover
Man, I was a busy blogger this July! In case you haven’t realized, I created a blog posting schedule, FINALLY. It shall be:
Mondays = book reviews
Wednesdays = bookish posts
Fridays = crafty, personal, writing, or random posts
ANYWAY. Here are some of my blog highlights from this month:
Imprisoned for murder (of the self-defense variety), Yelena knows she’s soon to die. However, she receives an offer to become the Commander’s food taster rather than face execution. Though the job is deadly and certainly not easy, she accepts. This alters her path in ways she couldn’t expect, and she finds herself confronted by poisons, politics, magic, and her dark past.
I really really enjoyed this while reading it. It was one I didn’t want to put down, and didn’t get bored of quickly! I find the entire concept of this book interesting–I mean, a murderer getting a second chance at life by becoming a food taster? Sounds super intriguing right off the bat!
However, after finishing the book, I had the “that was it?” kind of feeling. Which is unfortunate. And looking ahead at reviews of the rest of the series, I’m a little bummed that they don’t seem to go quite in the direction I was hoping.
Nonetheless, this book on its own was a solid and enjoyable read.
As already mentioned: the concept. Very cool.
Yelena. Our main character is not the automatically perfect badass heroine. She trains hard to build up her strength. She does research to learn how to become better at tracking and hiding in the wilderness. She has a natural intelligence and wit, but she doesn’t get everything right. She doesn’t know immediately who is ratting her out to a spy or who’s behind the mystery. This type of protagonist and heroine will make me instantly love a book 1000 times more than others without such realistic, relatable protagonists.
And the romance! It wasn’t quite perfect, but pretty near. I really loved the progression of it; it was a slow burn for sure. And it wasn’t the focal point of the storyline. Plus, they were a wonderful balance for each other.
The pacing. This book wasn’t high action all the time, but the slow moments came at welcome times and balanced out the plot. Even the “slower” moments I found interesting–anything about Yelena learning about poisons or unraveling the mysteries of the political situation one step at a time were still super intriguing.
My not so likes
I guess the general lack of not quite taking it there? I expected the book to go in a different direction than it did, and while I do like how it went, I don’t think it got quite as epic as I thought it would. And like I said, when I finished, I felt a bit ~hm. And that feeling was emphasized when I read synopses/reviews of the rest of the series and didn’t find them too appealing.
Also, the reveal of Yelena’s magic. When other characters finally find out that she has magic–and a certain someone has been proven to hate magicians–their reactions did not make sense to me. (view spoiler) I found that pretty annoying, because it was built up to be a big thing…but then again, I guess not.
Read it! This is not hard/high fantasy, so most readers would enjoy Poison Study. Besides, it functions all right as a standalone, so if you’re not interested in continuing the series (like me) you can enjoy this one and call it good.
Technically, I suppose I can’t really call this post a Top 5 Wednesday post. Why, you ask? Because my list down below only includes 4 series I’ve read that got better.
I know, I’m a poser! But I can’t think of another series that really should be included, and at the same time, I do want to gush about the ones I can think of.
So, this week we’re doing Top 4 Wednesday.
The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who wasn’t quite feeling the vibe of this series when I started off with book one. The Raven Boys is really just a huge set up for the rest of the series; not necessarily how you want to start things off.
However, I knew this series had a big group of followers, and I figured I should persevere for at least one book more. So, I read The Dream Thieves, and LET ME TELL YOU. My perseverance was worth it. That book alone is legitimately SO cool, and it totally sold me on Maggie Stiefvater’s writing and this series. The rest of the series was really enjoyable–by which I mean Stiefvater tore my heart out and stomped on it–and I would highly recommend The Raven Cycle for any and all readers.
Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
This series is so great, it almost feels like it shouldn’t be on this list. Book one–The Final Empire–was such a strong start to the series; however, each book somehow surpassed the one before it. My mind was constantly blown as I read this series, and just when I thought Sanderson couldn’t make things any more epic, he did.
Some readers thought book two–The Well of Ascension–wasn’t the greatest, but I firmly do NOT hold that opinion. I loved it, and I especially loved Hero of Ages, the final book in the trilogy. Sanderson’s writing is so strong, his characters so dynamic, and this series really was an astounding first trilogy from him.
Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo
Call me crazy, but when I first started Six of Crows, I didn’t understand the hype. I enjoyed the book, I did–(please don’t hurt me!)–but I personally don’t love flashback-heavy stories and didn’t quite connect to all the characters.
HOWEVER. I continued the duology, and Crooked Kingdom blew me away. Such a strong book, amazing characters, and nonstop action. I loved it. I also possibly sobbed my heart out when ONE CERTAIN THING happened toward the end. Nonetheless, I finally understood the hype and would certainly revisit the series again.
Red Rising series by Pierce Brown
This series actually has a unique place on this list, because the reason it got better is a little different. This series seemed to evolve as it went on, and as I read, I almost wondered if Pierce Brown did it intentionally or if it just sort of happened as he developed the story. Either way, IT WORKS.
This series starts with Darrow joining a rebellion without truly believing in it himself. This made Red Rising, book one, hard to engage in. I didn’t really understand Darrow’s motives for all he was doing and putting himself through, and it felt like that wouldn’t change as the series went on.
But, of course, it did. He went on an amazing personal growth journey, one that really made me believe in him, root for him, and totally invest in his story. Plus, the plot in each book also became more and more epic, with new characters, new worlds, and new hurdles to overcome. This is definitely a new favorite series, and one I’d highly recommend to any sci-fi lover.
There you have it! My top 5 4 series that got better. What are YOUR favorite series that got better? Do you have any recommendations that could become the fifth on my list? Comment down below!
Henry “Monty” Montague is eighteen years old and going on his Grand Tour of Europe. Accompanying him is his best friend and unrequited love, Percy, his younger sister Felicity, off to school, and their chaperone aka “bear-leader”, Mr. Lockwood. Monty has hopes for a Grand Tour full of nights out with Percy, drinks and frolicking aplenty. Mr. Lockwood, on behalf of Monty’s father, has a different idea. Little known to them, the Grand Tour will turn out to be nothing like they expected. Instead, they end up on the run, breaking into prisons, getting captured by pirates, and planning a heist to recover something from a sinking island.
Recommended if you like:
tons of diversity
tropey adventure stories
strong characters with fantastic chemistry and realistic relationships
This book is just ridiculously enjoyable. It was exactly what I hoped it would be, and I loved every bit of it! It’s a perfect tropey adventure story–and so long as you don’t start taking it more serious than it’s meant to be taken, I think everyone would love this book. Strong characters, relevant societal issues, adventures!, coming of age, the sweetest slow burn romance you ever did read…what more could you want?!
Monty’s narration was entertaining like nothing else. I usually dislike first person point of view because it’s either too hard to get myself in the protagonist’s shoes OR because the narration is so flat and bland. Neither was the case here. Monty is ridiculous and egotistic, but he’s also super relatable. For all his bravado, he does have self-confidence issues, he’s squeamish about blood, and he doesn’t always say and do the right things. It’s so fun to get into the head of a character like this because half the time they’re putting on their entertaining persona for others, and the rest of the time they reveal to the reader who they are underneath it all.
Felicity. Everyone says she’s a bad ass, and she is. Honestly, not much more needs to be said about that! (Also, I am SO EXCITED to hear that Mackenzi Lee is writing a spin-off sequel about Felicity! HOW AWESOME will that be.)
SIBLING DYNAMICS. I’m very close to my siblings, so I’m always all over sibling dynamics in books, and Mackenzi Lee did a fantastic job with Monty and Felicity! How realistic is their relationship! They don’t get along! They tease each other! They butt heads! But at the end of the day, they have each others’ backs. I’m here for that.
The romance. It’s slow burn. It’s secretly in love with your best friend. It’s friends to lovers. It’s communication mishaps. IT’S EVERYTHING. It was so well done, and it wasn’t even the 100% focus of the book. I kept reading partly because we only get teasing little moments of the romance in the midst of the rest of the adventures, and Percy and Monty were just TOO CUTE.
Diversity. Ridiculously amazing job at this without it being too in your face or overdone. It did not feel like the diversity was added just to make the book diverse. It was a book about real people, with diverse backgrounds and issues, and they had the same adventures anyone else could have. Loved it.
Settings! Descriptions! The Adventures! I enjoyed it all so much.
My not so likes
I will say it did take a while for the actual plot to get going. But I didn’t care. I was so into the characters from the first page that I would have kept reading 1,000 pages and not cared if the plot hadn’t begun yet.
Also, the book is a tad long. But again, this worked out in my favor.
GO READ IT. This is one to buy, if you like buying books. You’ll love it.