Books In Strange Places

I have that wonderful spring feeling again! Yesterday it was 7 above, things were melting, and I went out for a walk in weather was finally incapable of freezing me to death in hours. I had books on my mind (of course), and thought, you know, that my upcoming reads would probably like to get some fresh air too, so I decided to do a little book photo shoot for  your enjoyment. Featured books are ones I’m currently reading or am hoping to get to soon. But, of course, there’s never enough time for reading.

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My current “On the Go” Read, What Light by Jay Asher
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Air Awakens by Elise Kova
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Hiding the Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
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A Torch Against The Night by Sabaa Tahir
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Reading On The Go, From Great Heights
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A Reader’s Self-Portrait

JEH

What I’m Reading: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Young Adult Audiobook Review: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Late last year I listened to the first book in this series on audiobook, and it was fantastic! The second book did not disappoint, but I will say that there were fewer surprises.

Laini Taylor’s world of Eretz, on the other side of the portals from Earth, is full of mystical creatures and angels, and lovely, fun, lively, and sometimes hilarious, characters. Zuzana is the primary comical relief character, and like in the first book, she is my favorite with her sparkling personality. Things grow darker in the second book, and things are more difficult for Karou as the narrative pushes forward.

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My favorite thing about Laini Taylor’s books is her amazing way with language. She fills the page with surprising word pairings and description that brings the world to life. The audiobook, narrated by Khristine Hvam, is also brought to live through her wonderful reading and embellishment of character voices. I love how Hvam performs each character in a subtly different way, though, like in the first book, I don’t like the voice of Razgut, mostly because it creeps me out.

I can’t wait to listen to the third and last book of this trilogy, Dreams of Gods and Monsters, which I’ve already checked out from my local e-library. I highly recommend these ebooks, but be warned, each book clocks in at over fourteen hours of goodness, which for me means an awful lot of time at the gym.

5/5 Stars

JEH

What I’m Reading: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

I loved this book! An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir brought back all the good feelings I got reading the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Not that this was like the Hunger Games… I mean, it was a dystopian world, but a fantasy one, and there were some elements of death match style competition, but mostly it was a very unique story.

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The tale is told from two alternating perspectives, Laia and Elias. They worked so well with each other and each voice was independent and unique, so i never forgot who was narrating that part of the story. The fantasy elements had their own uniqueness to them too, though they did not play that big of a role in the first book of this series. I have a feeling these elements will play a bigger part in book two. In fact, that was almost one of my pet peeves about this book: that the fantasy elements were almost forgotten about and then dropped in there here and there. There wasn’t much consistency with that. But I still loved it. I would definitely recommend this book to any fans of the Hunger Games, The Throne of Glass Series, or Rebel in the Sands. I can’t wait to read the next one.

5/5 Stars.

JEH

What I’m Reading: As I Darken by Kiersten White

One of the books I fininshed reading while on vacation was As I Darken by Kiersten White. This is an ‘alternate’ history, taking place during the time of the Ottoman Empire and Mehmed the II. The ‘alternate’ comes from the fact that White has made Vlad the Impaler a girl. This bring such an interesting dynamic to this story. The whole book was well written, rich with detail and character and raw emotion.

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There are really three main characters in this book, Lada, her brother Raul, and Mehmed. Lada is just what I love in a heroine, she is fierce, fiery, and needs no one (or likes to think she does). It makes me wonder what other histories would sound like if famous males were females. It’s an interesting concept to say the least. I’ve never read any of White’s other books, but I’ve heard from other people that they are great reads as well. As I Darken has definitely encouraged me to seek out more of White’s work.

5/5 Stars.

JEH

Reading For Christmas

So here’s the thing: every year I ask for books at Christmas. I love books, to me, there is no better present. Only, when I was recently counting the books on my ‘To Be Read’ shelf, I realized I had 67 books stacked up. 67! According to Goodreads, I’m currently on book 39, which I will finish today or tomorrow, along with book 40, which is my Short Story Advent Calendar (one story a day up until Christmas). This means, that to get through my entire ‘To Be Read’ shelf next year, I’m going to have to up my Goodreads Reading Challenge to 70 Books. That’s almost double what I did in 2016. But that’s okay. I can do it. I just need to read more, and I love reading. This also means I get to spend  more time wearing my Christmas socks, which I love. I love them so much I wish it was acceptable to wear them out in public.

My favorite Christmas mug was broken last week, so I’m currently on the hunt for a replacement. Meanwhile, I’m drinking all my coffee with whipped cream, as the Christmas season calls for. Today is my last day at the office until next Wednesday, so I’m hoping for more than a few quiet moments where I can knock off a few books from my list of 67. Maybe if I only have 65 on my list by January 1st things will seem less daunting in the new year.

So, here’s to Happy Holidays, whipped cream, and cats in trees.

JEH

Books I Love: Queen Of The Tearling by Erika Johansen

Way back in April or May I briefly mentioned that I was reading this book. When I finished it, I didn’t post a review, because I only review Young Adult fiction on this site, even though I read a smattering of other stuff. But lately I’ve come across a few different posts and lists that include Queen of the Tearling under Young Adult fiction.

My own opinion is that Queen of the Tearling isn’t ‘Young Adult’, because to me, Young Adult has a certain voice, a certain sassiness to it that other fiction does not. But I can see where the crossover occurs, and that’s with the 19 year-old Queen herself. Sometimes, books are classified as Young Adult just because the main character is young adult. But that’s not what makes something YA. But regardless of where you find this book shelved, it is a wonderful read, one that will most likely top the list of favourite books I read in 2016, which is a post I’m planning prior to the new year.

       

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Queen of the Tearling is considerably darker than, say, the Throne of Glass Series, because, for one, there isn’t the same filter. Dark deeds aren’t just hinted at, they are spelled out. The atmosphere itself is dark and dreary, unlike TOG, which always feels fun, somehow. The writing is more immersive in QOTT, which means less reliance on dialogue and more longer, lingering passages of exposition. But QOTT is beautifully written and a pleasure to read. If you love fantasy and YA but want to read a book that is a slightly different pace than what would normally be found on the Young Adult shelves, try Erika Johansen’s work. The last book in the trilogy was just released last week, so if you want to read the whole series in one go, you now can!

5/5 Stars.

JEH

Top 10 Gift Ideas for Girls who Love Books

Do you know a girl who loves books? I do. In fact, I am one. So today I’m going to give you my top 10 gift ideas for girls who love books. This is all stuff that I’ve found on my online “window shopping” that I totally crave. Hopefully, you’ll find something on this list that the reader you know and love will crave too.

  1. Leg Warmers

Maybe it’s because, for me, Christmas is all about snow and snow is all about warmth and comfort. But I have a serious desire to get some leg warmers or ‘reading socks’ this Christmas. It’s always nice to be warm when reading.

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2. Reader Themed Mug

Along with being warm, I like to have a warm drink by my side when I’m spending a winter day indulging in a book. I own so many mugs that my husband has tried to ban me from buying more, but it hasn’t stopped me. Especially when it comes to mugs decorated with imagery from my favourite fictional worlds.

 

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3. Bookplates

I love reading. I love books. I love owning books. I love marking those books as my own so that I can rest assure that when I lend them to people they will make their way back to me. Bookplates are great not just for fiction, but for notebooks, binders, or anything else needing a ‘This Belongs To’ sign.

 

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4. Reading Journal

 

As an avid reader, i track what I read. I use Goodreads to do this, but I also keep a notebook, just in case I ever forget my password and also because I like writing things down with pen. Is there anything better than doodling on piece of paper.

 

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5. Book Themed Adult Colouring Books

 

Adult colouring books are everywhere these days. They came into popularity sometime last year, and have stuck around. I own two and I love them. The popular young adult Throne of  Glass series released a colouring book earlier this year, or there are always classics to choose from like Alice in Wonderland.

 

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6. Book-Turned-Movie Movie Soundtracks

 

Some of the hottest Young Adult Books are made into movies, and those movies have been given stellar soundtracks featuring some of today’s best selling artists. On the Miss. Peregrine’s soundtrack, you’ll find Florence and the Machine, and Pink has a stunning track on the Alice Through the Looking Glass soundtrack.

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7. Pillows

I believe I’ve already hit on how I love to be both warm and comfortable when reading, though I will read in such uncomfortable places as the subway, a cafe, an on any public bench when I’m killing time waiting for someone. But at home, I’m going to make sure I’m reading some place I can really relax.

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8. Soft Blankets

Can I just say see #7 above? Soft fur blankets or fan fic favourites are my picks!

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9. Book Bag

Book lovers will probably go gaga over book themed library bags. I use them not only on my trips to and from my local library, but also just around town for groceries, or to stock up on books when I’m heading out of town on a long trip. Sure, I have an ereader, but I have to pack real books too, because what if—GASP—everything electronic stops working?

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And of course, what would be a list of gifts to give a book lover without mentioning books? But it can be difficult to buy a reader a book. It’s always a worry that they will have already bought the book you picked out, or that it just isn’t their style, so when all else fails, go with a gift card, this way the reader can choose just what kind of happy ending they want to read about.

JEH