Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases of the Second Half of 2019

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's topic is:
Most Anticipated Releases of the Second Half of 2019

I'm trying to get back into participating in Top Ten Tuesday again, and I'm off to a great start, coming up with only 9 books for this week's topic, lol. I know I'll be kicking myself after this posts, when I inevitably remember all of the releases that I was looking forward to in the latter part of 2019. Here's what I've got for now, though:

1. Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater

I can't tell you how excited I am for this first book in the Ronan Lynch-centered Dreamer Trilogy!

2. Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Rise of Kyoshi by F.C. Yee with Michael Dante DiMartino

I LOVE all things Avatar: The Last Airbender and was swooning over the posters featuring the cover art that were given out at last year's YALLFest. Thrilled to finally be able to read the book soon!

3. Reticence by Gail Carriger

The final Custard Protocol book is almost here, and I'm both sad to see the series end but also looking forward to one last adventure with the crew of The Spotted Custard.

4. The Magnolia Sword: A Ballad of Mulan by Sherry Thomas

Another beautiful cover, and what sounds like a fantastic Mulan retelling.

5. The How & the Why by Cynthia Hand

Adoption is the subject of Cynthia Hand's upcoming novel, and as an adoptee, I'm quite interested to read this.

6. Tunnel of Bones by Victoria Schwab

I need to get a move on reading the first book, City of Ghosts, lol.

7. Angel Mage by Garth Nix

Angels + magic + Garth Nix? Yes, please!

8. The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

Ruta Sepetys writes incredible historical fiction and here turns her focus on Spain during Franco's dictatorship.

9. The Institute by Stephen King

Stephen King's nonfiction On Writing forever changed my world recently, and it's about time I finally read his fiction.

What books are you most looking forward to in the next few months?

Monday, June 17, 2019

Review: Shadow Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shadow Me (Shatter Me #4.5)
By Tahereh Mafi
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

To Sum It Up: As Juliette prepares to face the sector leaders of The Reestablishment as supreme commander, the rest of her world seems to be falling apart. Kenji tries to support his friend, but he has his own distractions to deal with. He needs to find his focus quickly, though, as Sector 45 is in danger of being obliterated.

Review: I LOVE Shatter Me’s resident smartass Kenji Kishimoto, so I was thrilled by the news that the newest Shatter Me novella, Shadow Me, would feature his POV. Kenji’s unfiltered, in-your-face snark is one of my favorite things about the series. Plus I was hoping to learn more of his backstory.

I was surprised that Shadow Me only touched on that briefly. Instead the novella is more of a retelling of the last few chapters of Restore Me from Kenji’s perspective. I was a bit disappointed by that. I didn’t feel we got to dive into his character the way that we did with Warner’s in the series' first novella, Destroy Me. With Kenji being the kind of person who freely shares whatever is on his mind, I’d hoped to gain more insight into that mind rather than just observing the chaos of the ending of Restore Me through his eyes.

While of course I enjoyed Kenji’s often hilarious take on everything and everyone—especially Warner—Shadow Me didn’t shed as much light on his character as I’d expected. I’d read if all over again, though, because: Kenji.

All in All: Not essential reading in order to follow the series, but no doubt Kenji fans will want to check this out.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

2019 Mid-Year Rewind

Can you believe almost half of the year is behind us? I know I can’t! My mom used to warn me that time would just keep speeding up the older I got, and was she ever right.

Speaking of getting older, I’m another year older today, and this seemed like the perfect time to reflect on the year so far. I’m happy to report that I’m two books ahead of where I was last year and one book shy of being on target to make my Goodreads reading challenge. That will likely change, but at least I should have one moment this year when I can say that I was on track!

2019 didn’t start off so promising. Reading and blogging were still these massive boulders that I just couldn’t get rolling no matter how much effort I gave them. I managed some blogging momentum with the return, for better or for worse depending on how you feel about the final season that just aired, of Game of Thrones. Writing episode recaps made me blog consistently, and it’s so much easier to stay with something once you get over that initial obstacle of actually sitting down and beginning.

And then a few weeks ago I started reading this book called On Writing. Reading it was pure magic—that’s the only way I can describe it. So thanks to Stephen King’s outstanding memoir/guide on writing, my love for reading has been rekindled. Reignited, more like, because after finishing On Writing, all I wanted to do was read. Oh, and write, of course.

I’m also participating in NovelKnight's Beat the Backlist challenge this year and have three backlist reads under my belt so far for 2019. A lot of books that are at the top of my TBR are backlist titles, so I hope to make steady progress with that challenge before the year is out.

How has your reading/blogging year been going? What are your favorite reads from the first half of 2019?

Monday, June 10, 2019

Review: On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
By Stephen King
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

Review: I don’t read nonfiction often, and I hadn’t read any Stephen King books before On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. After reading this masterpiece, it became apparent that I’ve been missing out on both fronts and A LOT.

I hesitate to use “life-changing” when describing books because I think it’s a term that’s easily overused, but there’s zero hesitation when I say that On Writing was a life-changing book for me. Not only is King’s writing advice delivered in a manner that’s encouraging and never pedantic, but I feel like I’m also a better reader thanks to this book. Looking back on the times when a book just didn’t click with me and I couldn’t quite nail down why, now I could probably go back and figure it out because of King’s brilliant guidance in On Writing. I had so many aha moments while reading this. King’s conversational prose makes it seems as though you’re just hanging out, talking about writing. He gently walks you through his writing process without imposing it. This is what’s worked for him, but by no means is the reader compelled to follow it.

The book opens with a look at the life experiences that shaped King into a writer, and if he ever pens a full-length autobiography, sign me up. This memoir section of On Writing is mesmerizing; I’d only read a handful of pages when I realized that I should have picked up King’s books a long time ago. His storytelling prowess is incredible. The odds of me finding a nonfiction book difficult to put down are slim, but I found it difficult to put this nonfiction book down. I even stayed up late to finish it; I can’t remember the last time a book motivated me to fight off the siren song of sleep.

King emphasizes the importance of writing with honesty, and he leads by example here. Again, reading his prose is like having him chatting by your side. Every word on the page seems effortless. He imparts an astonishing amount of invaluable writing wisdom in just under 300 pages—truly the work of a genius.

I wish that guides on every subject were as engaging, inspiring, witty, and exquisitely crafted as On Writing is. This is the type of book that offers something fresh with every reread, and I absolutely see myself rereading this many times over.

All in All: Essential reading for anyone thinking of becoming a writer. I don’t think I can ever read another book on the subject because this one is perfect.

Friday, May 31, 2019

May 2019 Recap

So it looks like I haven't done a monthly recap post since . . . September of 2018. Oof.

I feel like I found a good reading AND blogging groove in May, thanks in large part to ranting recapping the final season of Game of Thrones. I even read three books this month and reviewed two.

I'm finally, finally reading at a steady pace again. I've been tracking my reading in my bullet journal, and May was easily my best reading month so far this year. I've had this sort of block for months where the simple act of physically picking up a book seemed like an impossible chore. It was one of those situations where the longer I went without reading, the harder it was to get back into it. So I've been working on building myself back up; even if I read for five minutes, I still spent time reading, and I could still give myself credit for a reading day in my bullet journal. The satisfaction of seeing all of the days highlighted in purple seems to have done the trick.

Right now I'm reading Stephen King's On Writing, one of the many books that has been collecting dust on my shelves for years. Since I'm trying to return to steady blogging, too, I thought it would be a good time to pick up some writing tips as well. On Writing is bursting with them, and I can't believe it's taken me this long to read it. This is actually my first Stephen King book, and after reading about the origins of some of his most famous works, I want to check out his novels.

It has gotten ridiculously hot already here in Florida. Today I received an email from the electric company with a friendly head's up that due to record high temperatures, there's a good chance I'll see a significant increase in my next bill. Something to look forward to, indeed. :(

I hope that you're enjoying the start of summer and staying cool with some amazing summer reads!

Reviews Posted:

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