July Book Reviews

Soooooo, it’s totally not July anymore. It’s barely even August. To be honest, I didn’t get much reading done in the past month anyway.

Not sure if it was a slump or if I was just too busy, but I think I just needed some time away from this little space. I’m happy to be back though! With a new round of rapid-fire reviews to boot! Whoo. Lesgo.

mistborntfe

The Final Empire ( Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson

Ah, Mistborn. This brought me back to my early reader days, when I would stay holed up in a treehouse totally engrossed in fantasy stories for hours and hours. It had all the elements of a good fantasy but without a lot of the cliches, no dragons and princesses and such. I loved Sanderson’s world and discovering all the nuances of allomancy. The plot was action-packed, emotionally charged and totally unique in my opinion. Some kinda meh points though :

1) Occasional slow pacing

2) The narration felt really distant from the characters sometimes. I wish we got to know more of them more intimately

3) Fight scenes could be difficult to follow at first, especially when you’re still trying to remember the mechanics of all the pushing and pulling.

4) Totally detached from the Elend / Vin romance. Though I appreciate the general lack of relationship drama through most of the book. This is definitely an action/fantasy adventure – not a romcom disguised as one – and I love that.

Other than that though, I really enjoyed this one. Been a while, but can’t wait to pick this series back up.

screen-shot-2017-02-15-at-12-53-44-pm

 

ourdarkduet

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

World-building was rushed, not elegant in typical schwab style. There were too many elements, not all of which add to the story. I wasn’t particularly invested in the characters or side characters. The villain/threat felt underwhelming. Stakes didn’t feel high enough because of the general lack of investment. The idea and the premise seemed interesting enough, but I felt like it wasn’t sufficiently fleshed out. From the lore behind the monsters to the two main characters themselves, we weren’t given the time to really immerse ourselves in any of it. End of the day, I was pretty disappointed by this one. To be honest, my library books were due and I didn’t care enough to finish this series out. So I left the last quarter of the book alone and I’m not sure if I’ll go back.

 

screen-shot-2017-02-15-at-12-53-44-pm

 

dobas_hbblog

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

So my sister churned through all these audiobooks insanely fast and told me she was pretty disappointed with how the series played out. I, on the otherhand, felt like the second book gave me what I kept expecting from the first one – all the action and gore of war. Some part of me missed Kaoru when she was just Kaoru because she had a light-hearted, almost naive fearlessness that her Madrigal counterpart seems to tame down a little. But anyways, I was so much more intrigued by the fallout of the star-crossed lovers tale than the tale itself that was presented in book one. Not to mention, all our secondaries (Ziri, Liraz, Hazael, Zusana) get more screentime in all the Eretz madness. Me gusta. All in all, a solid sequel, I think. I may even like it more than the first one.

screen-shot-2017-02-15-at-12-53-44-pm

Welp, I think that’s it from me for now! Hope ya’ll didn’t miss me too much, ha! Can’t wait to get caught up on all your wonderful posts.

Happy Reading!

screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-9-57-15-am

 

Advertisements

Featured Follows | More Blogs You Should Read

I started this series of posts to highlight the blogs I follow/follow me that I really enjoy reading or interacting with. Check out the last featured follows here!  

 

screen-shot-2017-02-15-at-12-53-44-pm

 

Screen Shot 2017-07-14 at 12.39.11 PM

Is book porn a thing? I’m not talking erotic novels, I mean book porn like food porn. I’m talking photos of books and bookish things that are so pretty and visually stunning that it makes you want to buy new books and read all day. That’s what you get from Ramsha @ The Booknookae. Her gorgeous bookstagram photos plus her one or two liner reviews and recommendations make this an easy blog to prowl through.

 

screen-shot-2017-02-15-at-12-53-44-pm

 

cropped-lbb-header1

Author and blogger, Lyndsey @ Lyndsey’s Book Blog, has got it all on her blog. Writing tips, book tags, reviews, book crate unboxings…it’s a combination of all things bookish and to top it off, she seems like a genuine and approachable person.

 

screen-shot-2017-02-15-at-12-53-44-pm

 

cropped-the_book_prophet_logo

I’ve been following Savannah @ The Book Prophet for a long while, pretty much since I got back into blogging. Her reviews are thorough without being long-winded and I love that you can always skim just the bolded parts and hilarious gifs for a TLDR version. Lots of books on my TBR list have come from her suggestions. My favorite posts are probably her discussion topics though! Sometimes it gets a little repetitive to see the same book tags across all the blogs you follow and Savannah always has interesting, original discussion posts that get me thinking!

 

screen-shot-2017-02-15-at-12-53-44-pm

 

Have any great blogs you think I should check out? No shame in volunteering your own, hahah.

giphy

Happy Friday, ya’ll!

screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-9-57-15-am

 

 

June Book Reviews

One week late? Oh wells. I’ve given up posting on time. Despite this being a crazy month with me training like mad for my third fight, I actually got a decent amount of reading in. Huzzah! Also seems like I was in a red book cover kind of mood. Totally not planned. Totally digging the aesthetic though.

conjuring20of20light5b15d

I can’t recommend this series enough. A Conjuring of Light was a heart-wrenching, action-packed, feels everywhere ending to a great fantasy trilogy. As much as I loved it, I think my favorite book in the series may still be the first one. There were moments of brevity and light-heartedness whereas A Conjuring of Light was heavy and dark – as all series climaxes should be. Regardless, I totally fell in love with all of these characters and the only reason I’m even remotely capable of talking about it reasonably is because I finished this book at the very beginning of the month. So I’ve had four weeks to mourn its end. Trust me, I was a wreck.

 

screen-shot-2017-02-15-at-12-53-44-pm

 

vicious

Schwab comes up with the coolest premises and writes such believable fleshed out characters. Vicious was no different in that respect. I was disappointed though in the lack of scheming and complicated plotting particularly from a novel about two supposed geniuses. After reading the Shades of Magic series, I was expecting something a little less straight-forward. Either way, I’ll be picking up the sequel without a doubt!

 

screen-shot-2017-02-15-at-12-53-44-pm

 

daughter-of-smoke-and-bone-cover

I actually wrote a full review for this one. TL;DR : I was super impressed with the world-building and creativity of the this book, but super disappointed to see it devolve into a story of star-crossed lovers.

screen-shot-2017-02-15-at-12-53-44-pm

 

thissavagesong_victoriaschwab

Yet another Schwab book! What can I say? I was trying to fill the void left by A Conjuring of Light. And yet again, cool world building, but I was left kinda of meh about this book. Even though I was left wanting more with Vicious, I still felt like her characters were unique and creative. What may have fell short for me here was that This Savage Song didn’t make me fall in love with its characters, nor did it have all those cool world-building details that the rest of her novels had. Maybe the fact that it was meant to be YA vs. an adult novel played a role. Idk. It reminded me a little bit of Legend by Marie Lu. 

 

screen-shot-2017-02-15-at-12-53-44-pm

As usual, I’m also a bit behind on reading all of your posts too. Luckily, I’ve finally got a slow-paced weekend and I can’t wait to see what you’ve all been checking off your TBR’s!

screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-9-57-15-am

Featured Follows | Peep these Blogs!

Half of the fun in blogging is in the community. Surrounding yourself with great blogs with related content motivates you to keep reading, keep blogging and keep having fun. That’s a hard rule for me – that blogging should be fun. I have enough stress in my life. So I’m never too hard on myself for taking those one or two months off when I need it or pressure myself to create content that I feel will be popular or really rake in the stats. For me, this blog is about raking more rays of sunshine into my life.

That being said, here are some of the rays of sunshine that I follow or follow me. Interacting with these lovelies is a definite perk to my day. Maybe they’ll be a good add to your follow list, too.

screen-shot-2017-02-15-at-12-53-44-pm

kristin-kraves-books-1

Kristin | Kristin Kraves Books

Full of quick, concise but helpful reviews and thoughtful discussion topics, Kristin’s writing is animated and enthusiastic about all things bookish.  She’s also just a sweet person who’s super active in commenting and replying to other posts.

 

screen-shot-2017-02-15-at-12-53-44-pm

 

cropped-new-logo

Holly | Nut Free Nerd

Some bloggers are very serious about their content and they are strictly hyper book review focused. What I love about Nut Free Nerd is that her blog is also infused her life and personality. I love getting to know bloggers as people and seeing bits of their lives outside of the pages. She also has a consistent high volume of quality posts, so there’s always more to read.

 

screen-shot-2017-02-15-at-12-53-44-pm

 

pp-logo

Breanna | Paws and Paperbacks

P&P is a recent follow for me, but she’s easily becoming one of those book bloggers whose opinion you trust. She’s fair, but super honest in her reviews. There’s no sugar-coating or hype-training for her. She tells it like it is, which I find super helpful when I’m looking for that next book to pick up.

 

screen-shot-2017-02-15-at-12-53-44-pm

 

That’s it for this week, folks! But writing this post was surprisingly super fun. It may be sticking around as a weekly thing. We’ll see! Which blogs do you love and recommend? I’d love to check them out.

As always, Happy Reading!

screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-9-57-15-am

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 10.28.35 AM

Happy Middle of June! Except not quite because I missed it by a few days. Meh, when am I ever on time with blog posts though? Anyways, I first peeped this tag over at Steff @ Little Booky Nook ! I love a blogger with a sense of humor and good taste in books. Don’t you? Check out all her reviews, collection of tags and – my personal favorite – all her book rants.

screen-shot-2017-02-15-at-12-53-44-pm

 

Best book you have read so far in 2017

20764879

Shades of Magic Series. This is tough ’cause I’ve read some good ones this year, but nothing stole my heart quite like V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic Series. So much so that I’m giving away a copy of the first book in the series. 

Best Sequel of 2017 so far

A Gathering of Shadows. I’ve actually read more sequels than usual this year. Namely Prodigy, The Rose Society and now working through A Court of Mist and Fury. A Gathering of Shadows still tops the list for me though.

New release you haven’t read yet, but you want to

want-9781481489225_hr

Want by Cindy Pon

If a gorgeous cover and a diverse character/setting isn’t enough to intrigue you, perhaps this review by Aimal @ Bookshelves & Paperbacks will convince you. It sure as heck convinced me.

Most anticipated release of the second half of 2017

giphy7

Not sure if there’s anything I’m absolutely dying to get my hands on right away. Maybe it’s because my TBR list is far too long already, but I haven’t kept an eye on what’s coming up lately.

Biggest disappointment

Paper Princess by Erin Watt

So much hype. So little plot.

This is our story by Ashley Elston

Actually came onto my radar as an under-hyped book. Turns out I agreed with the lack of hype. Wasn’t much here for me.

Biggest surprise

jzentner_theserpentking__span

Serpent King by Jeff Zentner. 

This did not go the way I thought it was going to go. Why did it go that way. *cries quietly*

Favourite new author (Debut or new to you)

Obvi V.E. Schwab. Even when I don’t love the plot or pacing of her novels, I really do enjoy her style and characterization. Also Laura Ruby though! Bone Gap was one of my favorites last year and I haven’t gotten too far with York yet, but I’m definitely already a fan of her writing.

Favourite new character

giphy8

Is it terrible to admit that I’m just too lazy to pick?

Book that made you cry

more-happy-than-not

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera. 

giphy6

I mean really, need I say more?

Book that made you happy

All the books I’ve read this year have broken my heart, which has made me happy in the sense that they’re great books. …But not too many happy ending reads so far. It’s all dark, stormy clouds over here.

Favourite book to movie adaption you’ve seen this year

Haven’t seen too many adaptations this year to be honest. I did really love Logan though, which was very loosely inspired by Old Man Logan, a comic arc which I also loved.

giphy9

Favourite review you’ve written this year

My reviews are more a collection of rapid-fire thoughts than actual reviews…so to be honest, I don’t think much of them ha! Here are two of my more popular sets of reviews this year though : March Book Reviews | April Book Reviews

Most beautiful book you’ve bought/received this year

Now this isn’t beautiful in the traditional sense, but I just started listening to the Daughter of Smoke and Bones audiobook. Oh my goooooooosh. 

giphy5

Christine Hvam does the most incredible voices. Her narration enriches the story so much for me that despite wanting to whip open the actual book to see what happens, I find myself just waiting for long car rides so I can listen to her read it instead. One of the rare instances in which I think I prefer the audiobook. Seriously, if you haven’t listened to her version of it (which is available on Overdrive), check. it. out.

I recently got my older sister back into reading (score!) by getting her a kindle and introducing her to audiobooks on apps like Overdrive. We both just happened to start this audiobook at the same time and it’s a glowing endorsement from her as well.

Books you need to read by the end of the year

I really want to get through ACOMAF and ACOWAR just to catch up with the rest of the book world, but they seem to take me forever to get through so we’ll see how that goes. There are also a bunch of new contemporary releases that have been pretty well received (i.e. When Dimple Met Rishi, The Hate U Give, etc.) but I have been on a pretty long fantasy binge lately. I’m not quite seeing a light at the end of that tunnel yet, so who knows if I’ll squeeze in any of those this year.

 

screen-shot-2017-02-15-at-12-53-44-pm

 

Anywho. Like I said, I’m pretty late with this tag and don’t want to go about tagging folks that have already done this one, so if you haven’t…I tag you! Feel free to link your posts below if you have done this tag! I’d love to check them out.

Happy Reading!

screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-9-57-15-am

Comics Lately

When I was in highschool, I worked at a tutoring center during the summers. Right across the street was a small Mom n’ Pop comicbook shop and Wednesdays meant 1) paycheck and 2) new releases. It used to be the highlight of my week. College made it a little more difficult to keep up with new releases so I fell behind on my series and eventually fell out of reading comic books altogether. But the dark ages are over! Here’s what I’ve been reading lately.

hawkeye2015001-dc11-44e4c

1. All-New Hawkeye

Jeff Lemire is a stellar writer. Stellar. This take on Hawkeye follows Clint and Kate as they fumble their way through a S.H.I.E.L.D mission. Along the way, we get gorgeous flashbacks of Clint’s childhood and backstory, which keeps the story equal parts dark and endearing. Lemire’s dialogue and storytelling is so natural and fluid especially when combined with art from Ramon Perez and Ian Herring.

tumblr_mybigjyiv21s983xjo1_1280

2. FABLES

Fables is a pretty popular series at this point and is far into its run with around 150 issues currently. It’s Once Upon a Time but with a much more imaginative interpretation of characters and overlap of stories. Not to mention, darker and more violent. It’s always satisfying to see old fairy tales brought to new life. But even without that, Buckingham creates a killer story. All the amazing covers by James Jean are an added bonus.

sagaposter

3. Saga

I fell in love with Fiona Staples’ characters and art before I ever realized it was a comic book. Brian K. Vaughan’s writing is no disappointment either. Saga is so loved at this point, it doesn’t need much advertising on my part. Two soldiers accidentally fall in love and have a baby in a world that is equal parts fantasy and western. Star Wars-esque environments but with scenes and characters that are far from PG.

ratqueens_01_02_final

4. Rat Queens

This one I didn’t love so much. I picked up the first volume and while quirky and funny, it didn’t really suck me in. The characters and their relationships weren’t that interesting. Maybe I just can’t handle the sass. It wasn’t a bad book by any means though. I’m just still on the fence as to whether I’ll be going back for more.

descender

5. Descender

Like I said Jeff Lemire = A+. Descender is a sci-fi pinocchio in a universe that is reminiscent of the Guardians of the Galaxy world, but distinct in its own ways. TIM-21 is the last robot of his kind and may hold the key to solving the mystery of the Harvesters (giant robots that attacked the universe then disappeared). The storyline, characters and writing are already worth picking up the book. But add that to Dustin Nguyen’s beautiful watercolor pages and you’ve got a winning recipe.

Overall, I feel like image has really been turning out great works recently.  Not being tied to the superhero genre or a single comprehensive universe allows them to experiment with different kinds of stories. I’m a fan. Though I have heard great things about Ms.Marvel, Thor and the new Hawkeye series. They’re somewhere on my hitlist. So many comics, so little time…and money. (Insert quiet sobbing here).

The Calligraphy Starter Kit

When I was a kid, my mom used to have parent-teacher meetings to talk about how absolutely awful my handwriting was. So penmanship obviously not my forte. I picked up calligraphy for a couple reasons. 1) Too much free time. 2) I wanted to see if I could do something as disciplined as calligraphy-something that takes deliberate patience and care. Things I’m not sure I have too much of as a person. But anyways, it’s turned into a consistent calming part of my day. I promised one of my good friends that I would write a post sharing the supplies and resources I used to get started. So here’s my long overdue post!

I started with a speedball kit from Michael’s, which I impulse bought after spending too much time on Instagram. It was somewhat helpful to get started, but here’s what I would really recommend. Note there are tons of calligraphy scripts and these are mainly for pointed pen scripts. I use them specifically for copperplate. 

PEN HOLDER

There’s tons of really nice pen holders out there. Don’t feel pressured to drop big bucks for a fancy one right away. These Speedball Oblique Pen Holders work great. They’re cheap and plastic so no pressure if you lose it, break it, or stupidly let a nib rust it in, like me. Sadface.

NIBS

The nib that came in my kit was a Hunt Imperial 101 with a busted tine so not much to say on that. My favorites right now are pretty popular ones across the copperplate community.

Zebra G

This is the first nib I got comfortable with. It’s flexible, much less stiff than the Nikko. It also gives really nice hairlines. However, the tip is pretty sharp and I find that it can snag a lot more than other nibs. Sometimes my lines can skip or get shaky if I’m not careful.

Nikko G

My current favorite nib. Smooth lines, relative little snagging. Personally I feel like I have to dip a lot more with the Nikko, but inkflow is about the same if you write slower.

Tombow Dual Brush Pen

I followed Piecescalligraphy on Instagram for about two days before I gave in and bought a pack of tombow dual brush pens. I love these. They’re portable and make it really easy to practice wherever. I also find that I can write a lot faster with these than with dip pens. It does take a few tries to adjust to controlling the angle and pressure of the pen. I had trouble getting consistent widths at first, especially with hairlines. All you need is a couple pages though and it’ll be smooth sailing. Only other con is that big is definitely better with the Tombows. They make great thick lines so writing small isn’t going to happen.

Sakura Pigma Brush Pen

I forgot to make a sample, but I used this pen to write the word “calligraphy” in the first photo. This pen is much finer. It’s easy to write big or small and you can get great width variation by changing the angle of the brush. I’m a little sad though because it seems to dry up pretty quickly. It doesn’t write quite as smooth as the Tombows.

PAPER AND INK

I’ve been using mostly smooth dotted MUJI notebooks. Rhodia grid/dotted notebooks are also huge favorites in the community, but I haven’t gotten around to ordering one yet.

As for ink I’ve only used Higgins Eternal so far. Solid black ink that’s easy to get your hands on.

BOOKS AND RESOURCES

Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy by Eleanor Winters

There’s plenty of online tutorials and introductions, but when it comes to mastering the letterforms, I found it incredible helpful to get an actual book. Here’s my go to. It’s simple and straightforward. I’ve only worked through miniscules and letter connections so far, but my understanding of copperplate increased exponentially after getting it.

Guide Sheets

It’s hard to just magically master the angle. If you’re terrible with a protractor or just lazy like me, these guide sheets from IAMPETH are a lifesaver.

And that’s it! Hopefully this post helps you kickstart your calligraphy! If anyone else has helpful links/resources/suggestions, feel free to pop them in below.