september wrap-up

It’s that time of the month…

September just flew by! I’ve been keeping busy with my multitude of personal projects–they seem to be getting out of hand lately! Writing, crochet, blogging, keeping up with my TPT store, reading, working out…it’s been A Lot.

But it’s been a good month, and I finally feel truly ready for fall. (If only it’d stop being so abnormally hot around here…) I’ve been productive and busy and overall pretty positive about life. Which is great!

Read on for my monthly wrap-up.

Continue reading “september wrap-up”

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i’m so giddy thinking about these books | anticipated releases for the last third of 2017

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

This post is basically just what the title says: 10 books that are coming out in these remaining few months of 2017 that I’m SUPER pumped about! I know people tend to do these types of posts quarterly…or perhaps just twice a year…but I’m going to be original and cut the year into thirds. Yes, I know I’m weird awesome.

ANYWAY, here we go, 10 upcoming releases and why I’m excited about them!

Continue reading “i’m so giddy thinking about these books | anticipated releases for the last third of 2017”

how would you feel if giant robot parts were found scattered across the earth?

sleeping giants by sylvain neuvel

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

This story begins when a young girl, Rose, wakes up from a biking accident in the middle of a giant metal hand. Fast forward a few years, and adult Rose finds herself involved in the study of this artifact, trying to discover where it came from and what it can do. She becomes part of a small team, led by a mysterious nameless benefactor, to put the pieces together–in more ways than one.

Recommended if you like:

  • robots and science
  • mixed format stories
  • intrigue and mystery of the sci-fi variety

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My Spoiler-Free Review

What an intriguing concept for a story! I just love sci-fi books that I could picture happening right here and now. This means not so heavy on the aliens and space, and more of a focus on weirdness happening here on Earth. So interesting.

This book is short and fast-paced, a very quick read. The story is told through interviews, journal entries, and various reports. Because of this, there’s lots of scientific jargon and little world-building. Expect to skim over some of the complexities yet find yourself wishing for more depth at the same time.

The cast of characters is certainly interesting as well. We have a small team working in close quarters on this project, and that creates some interesting dynamics and surprisingly quite a bit of tension. While I expected the plot of this book to be more driven by the discovery of the robot, it actually focused a lot more (than I expected, anyway) on the drama between the characters.

The writing is hard to comment on because it was written in such a different way. Neuvel managed to really capture the way people talk, and the interviews came across so naturally. Though I didn’t listen to the audiobook, I have a feeling it must be stellar. However, I did wish for more description and overall world-building. I felt the story lacked depth and impact overall.

Will I continue the series? Probably. But I’m in no rush.

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Have you read Sleeping Giants? What did you think of it? Leave your thoughts below!

Until next time,
Brianne

august wrap-up

It’s that time of the month…

August was just about the perfect summer month for me. It started off with a vacation in Northern Michigan, boating and wine tasting and relaxing. It was filled with spending time with friends and sisters. My younger sister and I joined a gym and started working out together. I kept busy at work and busy at home. Overall, it was a nice balance of things, and I’m almost sad summer will soon be over (though fall is my favorite season).

I didn’t have a ton of success with reading until later in the month; I got into a slump when I just wanted to continue reading Robin Hobb and had to wait nearly a month to get the books from the library. *growls* Regardless, I’m currently in the middle of a few books that I should finish near the beginning of next month, so that makes me feel better about my measly list below.

Read on for my monthly wrap-up!

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bookish things

stats

  • Total books: 6 books
  • Total pages: 2,797 pages
  • Longest book: Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb
  • Shortest book: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
  • Favorite book: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
  • Least favorite book: Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

mini reviews

Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb: ★★★★☆

Fitz and all his adolescent adventures. He’s definitely a teenage boy in this one, but his continued story is full of even more political intrigue, his frowned-upon Wit, and complicated relationships.

Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb★★★☆☆

Fitz and the fool, Nighteyes, a journey across the land, and an impossible quest. A slow-paced yet wonderfully character-driven finale to this trilogy.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty: ★★★★☆

Three mums, some kindergartners, a bully, and an eventual murder. Touches on deeper topics than you’d expect. A quick and enjoyable read. Read my full review here.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik: ★★★★☆

A girl, her best friend, a wizard, and a prince. A book full of magic and a corrupted wood. Whimsical and full of lovely descriptions. Read my full review here.

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel: ★★★☆☆

Pieces of a giant robot are scattered around the world, and a team comes together to discover and study them. Told in interviews and journal entries, this story is dramatic, fast-paced, and full of science.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman: ★★★☆☆

A boy returns to his hometown and uncovers memories he didn’t realize he had, of a girl named Lettie Hemptstock and her mystical family. A short story full of magic, suspense, a touch of horror, and childhood.

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crafty things

I wasn’t super crafty this month. I realized that when I’m not working on a specific project for a specific someone, I get bored easily. As such, when I finished my star baby blanket (below), I didn’t have much desire to work on other things.

But! I started thinking about what I’d like to tackle next off my to-crochet list, and I think next month (especially with the start of fall), I’ll be a lot more productive.

completed

  • star blanket
  • infinity scarf
  • mug cozy, headband, experimental odds and ends

in progress

  • neon baby blanket
  • body pillow cover

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bloggish things

Here are some of my favorite blog posts from August:

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How was your month of August? What were some of your highlights?

Until next time,
Brianne

july wrap-up

It’s that time of the month…

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!

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bookish things

stats

  • 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

(most beautiful covers, July edition)

mini reviews

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir: ★★★☆☆

I found this slow-paced, with a love square that was really unnecessary. Some characters were intriguing, but the overall story was nothing special to me. Read my full review here.

Poison Study by Maria V Snyder: ★★★★☆

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.

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab★★★★☆

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.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee★★★★★

This book is SO LOVELY and you must go read it now. It’s exactly what you’d expect from reading the synopsis–a wacky, adventurey, romantical historical fiction book. Read my full review here.

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb: ★★★★☆

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.

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crafty things

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!

completed

  • two baby hats — and I created the pattern myself!
  • mint green and pink chevron baby blanket

in progress

  • hexagon blanket-turned pillow cover
  • body pillow cover
  • round yellow cushion cover

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bloggish things

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:

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How was your month of July? What were some of your highlights?

Until next time,
Brianne

june wrap-up

It’s that time of the month…

I wasn’t around the blogosphere very much during the beginning of June…oops! I went through a reading slump, and I think that also affected by blogging motivation. But I’m back, for now anyway! And I have a few posts queued up for the next few weeks, so I’ll hopefully be around during July too.

Read on for my monthly wrap-up!

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bookish things

stats

  • Total books: 6 books and 1 audiobook
  • Total pages: 2,725 pages read and 393 listened
  • Longest book: Morning Star by Pierce Brown
  • Shortest book: Red Rising by Pierce Brown
  • Favorite book: Morning Star by Pierce Brown
  • Least favorite book: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E Pearson

(most beautiful covers, June edition)

mini reviews

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch: ★★★ 1/2

Don’t tell anyone, but I blame my reading slump on this book. It took me forever to get through, and while I think I liked it, I think I also disliked it? It wasn’t quite what I expected it to be, and while I adored the characters, the writing just wasn’t for me.

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E Pearson: ★★★

This book felt like another typical YA read; enjoyable but definitely a few issues going on with it. The love triangle for once wasn’t terrible, and I didn’t even mind the main character, but the story wasn’t in any way exciting or original for me.

Red Rising series by Pierce Brown: ★★★★★

I’m giving this series an overall 5 stars, even though I rated the first two books only 4 stars. However, with how much I loved the final book and how it really completed the journey, I think the overall series is worthy of 5 stars. It’s a definite new favorite series, and I can’t wait to read more from this world next year! Please read if your love space and excellent characters and character development.

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh: ★★★★

I listened to this on audiobook, so a few of the details were lost on me. But overall, I really enjoyed this! It’s not really a Mulan retelling, but it IS unique in terms of YA. Plus, I didn’t find Mariko annoying, and I definitely swooned over Okami. So, success. Can’t wait for the next one!

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers: ★★★★

This book is just lovely. It’s much more of a character study, and not action-packed, but I think it’s really hard to dislike this book for that or for any other reason. The world and the characters are amazing and full of depth, and the book is thought-provoking and heart-warming.

DNFed

The Trials of Apollo by Rick Riordan

I didn’t really mean to DNF this one; I would have finished it if it didn’t become due at the library. However, the fact remains that I did set it aside and could have finished it if I really wanted before returning it. I was enjoying it well enough, but like I said in previous posts, I think I’ve grown out of Rick Riordan’s books.

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crafty things

Once again, I kept myself busy with crochet this month! I started a bajillion projects and finished hardly anything. But I still love it. I’m also still thinking about an Etsy shop, but for now I’m more focused on finishing some projects and also getting an Instagram started! You can now find me at @briannecrochets if you’re interested.

completed

  • thermos cozy — this was dearly needed
  • various baby hats
  • chevron gray and maroon afghan for my sister — finish today, on her birthday!

in progress

  • hexagon blanket-turned pillow cover — I made the tiniest bit of progress on this!
  • body pillow cover — this is still going, ran out of yarn though
  • white and purple star blanket
  • round yellow cushion cover
  • mint green and pink chevron baby blanket

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bloggish things

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How was your month of June? What was your favorite book you read or crafty thing you made?

Until next time,
Brianne

book review | red rising by pierce brown

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆

This is the story of Darrow, who lives on Mars, which has society structured by color. Darrow is a Red, the group of people at the very bottom of society, who work in the mines to prepare the planet for habitation by the other, higher colors. Darrow’s wife, Eo, has dreams for a better life, and she begins a series of events that draws Darrow into a group of rebels to fight for a world in which color doesn’t define who you are or your quality of life.

Recommended if you like:

  • Dystopias or space or any combination of the two
  • Ruthless, morally gray characters
  • Bloody and stabby stories

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My Spoiler-Free Review

I’m a little late in reading Red Rising, I know; this book was published over three years ago. However, it’s been on my radar for a while and I *finally* managed to get my hands on it. Oh boy, am I glad I did! I really enjoyed this.

There’s something really edgy about this series that made it unputdownable and different than anything else I’ve read–even though there are many familiar tropes in this book. Darrow begins his story as a teenager, but this is not a YA book. It felt like a cross between Captain America and Percy Jackson at Camp Half Blood and the Hunger Games–but an adult version, with more violence and swearing. (If you’ve read Red Rising, do you agree with this?!) However, these tropes and ideas all felt fresh in this setting and with these characters. And besides, they’re all tropes I like to read, so I wasn’t bothered in the least.

The setting and characters really made this story. The setting is awesome–MARS. This is a full-fledged sci-fi world, where they have technology and animals and food unrecognizable to us. Not to mention they use terminology that went right over my head sometimes. You get thrust into this space world, and it’s super awesome and only a little confusing. Pierce Brown’s world-building really is great. I just wish I understood it more. (Maybe a re-read would help me.)

And the characters! Man. Pierce Brown knows how to do side characters! They are all so well-developed with their own quirks and weird personalities. Seriously–there are so many weirdo characters, but those are the ones you love the most! *Ahem* Sevro, anyone? Aptly nicknamed the Goblin. Or Pax au Telemanus, a friendly(-ish) giant.

There’s also excellent friendship–I do love me some bromances. And even the romance I thought was really well done. I liked the love interest, and I liked her and Darrow together.

The only real complaint I have with this book is Darrow himself. The main character. I know–this seems like it’d be a big problem, to not like the protagonist. But let me explain.

I like Darrow well enough. I just didn’t really connect with him. He starts off in this series as an arrogant boy, who goes about collecting “worshippers” even though in the grand scheme of things, he’s a little lost. He’s following this dream of his wife’s and I’m not sure I understand *his* motivations for all the things he does. Throughout the book, I was still pulling for him–he is the protagonist after all–but I just didn’t quite click with him. He experienced a lot of growth throughout the book, but he still didn’t make it to the leader I expected him to be. (But with two books left in the trilogy, there’s time for that yet!)

I’d definitely recommend this to anyone looking for an edgy, bloody, spacey read.

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Let’s just say I was pretty smart when I snagged all three books from the library at once.

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Have you read Red Rising? What did you think of it? Leave your thoughts below!

Until next time,
Brianne