Weekly Update – 1/22/2018

Whew, Hello everyone…well anyone who reads this.

I watched this past weekend as all the lovely blogs I follow posted a weekly wrap up or a weekly update where they got to tell everyone all about the goings on in their lives and I realized that I could totally do that too!

First of all, I am currently reading about four different books. Yup, I am one of those people that can’t seem to just read one thing at a time. So, for my current reading list we have:

Warcross

Warcross by Marie Lu – This is the book I seem to be devouring the fastest. Basically it’s a cool book about virtual reality, a super cool hacker girl, some lovey stuff, and some danger. Pretty great!

Next up is:

richest

The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason – I am attempting to be better with finances this year and so I have made it a personal goal to read at least three books on personal finance. This is the first and it is a doozy. It’s basically a book of little short stories that all have a lesson at the end. It’s honestly boring, but I am learning a lot from it. I am treating it more like a textbook and I read a section once a week.

Third on my list:

riddle

The Riddle by Alison Croggon – I am re-reading this series on my lunch breaks at work. It’s a perfect world for me to dive in and out of for 30 minutes because I have already read the books. I try not to read new stuff at work, because it really makes me lose focus on both my work and the book. I find it easier to just bring along an old favorite. It’s another cool magic girl story with adventure, bad guys, heartbreak, and destiny. You know, the usual good stuff.

And last:

winter

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones – This book is pretty difficult for me. I started it, read about 275 pages in one sitting and then got to the second half of the book and stalled out. The second half of this book is SLOWWWWWW and I honestly felt so taken aback by some of the more explicit scenes that it just put me off reading for a bit. So, this one is going to stay as an “in-progress” for now. It’s full of fantasy, beautiful descriptions, magic, Goblins, and a fairly likeable leading lady, but again….slow.

 

So, that’s all for book stuff – let’s get into the actual personal stuff.

Listening to: City and Colour

Drinking: Too much Coke Zero….

Watching: Deadliest Catch

I got a promotion at my job, which means a few things are changing for me. My hours wont necessarily change all that much, I was already a full-time associate, but my responsibilities are about to quadruple.

I am both nervous and excited, the last job that I had this much responsibility at did not end well due to some personal conflict with the owner. I am hoping that my quick promotion (I have only worked here for about two and half months), will not disappoint anyone and that I can continue to carve out my little path here.

My Etsy store is finally getting back on track. For those of you that aren’t coming here from my various social media platforms, I have a small Etsy store where I make and sell polymer clay jewelry. It stalled out for most of January so far, but I have had some orders in the past few days so I feel like we are out of the “after holiday” slump and back on track for the new year.

Other than that I am happy, healthy, and thankful that things are starting off so well for me this year. I will always have my undercurrent of anxiety and am working hard every day to stave off my personal negative attitude. I am tracking things that I am thankful for in my bullet journal on a daily basis and stopping myself before I dig too far down in to a negative mindset.

Alright, that should wrap me up for the last week and start me off for the week ahead. I might not do these on a weekly basis (I don’t think I am that interesting), but definitely look for them every now and then.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by and check on me, I appreciate it a lot!

  • Fel

Book Review: In The End – Demitria Lunetta

Book: In the End

Author: Demitria Lunetta

Number of Pages: 432

Publisher: Harper Teen

Synopsis:

It’s been three months since Amy escaped New Hope, and she’s been surviving on her own, like she did in the After. Then one day, her former fellow Guardian’s voice rings out in her earpiece. And in a desperate tone, Kay utters the four words Amy had hoped she would never hear: Dr. Reynolds has Baby. Now it’s a race against time. In order to save Baby, Amy must make her way to Fort Black, a prison turned survivor colony, where she will need to find Ken, Kay’s brother. He alone holds the key to Baby’s survival.

But one small slip up could set off a downward spiral that would not only cost Baby and Amy their lives, but threaten the very survival of the people in the After.

Why I Chose this Book:

As the sequel to In the After, I pretty much purchased this book on Google Books as soon as I finished reading the first one. I desperately wanted to know what was happening to the characters.

Rating: 3.8 / 5 Stars

The Bad –

Considering I gave the first book a fairly high rating, you might be wondering why on earth this one didn’t quite make it to the fourth star. I finally figured out what was bothering me about Amy in the first book and it carried on throughout the second book. It’s her really intense uh…love? I guess for lack of a better word for the character called Baby. Not only does Amy put herself at risk for this person that she cares so much for, she continually puts Baby above everyone else in the book. It’s stifling and frankly, hard to read at some points.

Amy is surrounded by a ton of people that actually want to help and care for her. It is made to seem like these characters are in the way of Amy and are trying to hinder her progress to save Baby from an evil doctor. Amy sees everyone and everything as an obstacle. She puts Baby’s life above her own, above the people she meets and eventually forms friendships with, and above her team members as well. This character flaw was one that was hard to look past as I dove in to the second book.

Now, setting the second book in a prison turned survival camp was hard to read. There are a ton of triggers in this book that I struggled with. Continual physical and sexual assault, graphic violence, graphic descriptions of murder, and graphic descriptions of death were all really present in this book in a way that was absent from the first. There was definitely death, destruction, and violence in the first book, but the descriptions were not so detailed. So, if you are sensitive at all to any of these topics please steer clear. It was hard to not tear up at some parts while I was reading this book at work, and so I had to save it for a strict at home reading experience.

The only other real issue I had with this book that made me rate it lower than the first was the ending was so rushed and so convenient it felt contrived and boring. This massive 400+ page read was all neatly wrapped up in about twenty pages when there was this whole agonizing story that could have been told. I understand this was a two book series, but man…that ending was a real let down. Too simple, too easy, and really not what I was hoping for. Don’t get me wrong, it was nice! It just lacked a lot of depth and closure that I was hoping for.

The Good –

The great parts of this book are pretty similar to the ones in the first novel. “They” are terrifying and seem to be more brutal now that we know what “They” are. It’s harder to deal with the psychology revolving around “Them” and it really makes you think about the terrifying things going on.

The setting is rich and described so well that you feel like you are in the prison with Amy, or out on the road with her. Lunetta is a wonderful story-teller and her settings are glorious. It was also easy to follow along with the plot. I could put the book down and come back to it four or five hours later and have no trouble picking right back up and sinking right back in to the story. The characters that you are supposed to like are all pretty much amazing and the ones you are not supposed to like are seriously bad. So, in that respect, you have a great mix of people that make the story seem real.

Even though Amy has her flaws, she is still a crazy bad-ass. She can kick anyone’s butt and she is so not afraid of conflict. If Lunetta’s way of making her more human and giving her an issue to get hung up on was giving her this complex around Baby, she makes up for it a bit with how strong Amy is and how much she grows in both books. It’s always a pleasure to read about a girl that can kick butt and take names. Not only that, but Amy’s appearance in the first book is not necessarily described because there is no value placed on beauty really. In the second book Amy is objectified, but that is due to her setting and not necessarily because of her good looks or whatever. It’s nice not to have to read twenty pages about how a girl looks.

The last really lovely thing about this book is that right when you think there is going to be an uncomfortable love triangle situation (which I really do not like reading about…), it is squashed. Again, the last few chapters kind of wrap things up neatly.

. . .

Overall, this was an excellent series that took me a total of four days to read. It was a wild ride from start to finish and provided some crazy dream fodder for a week or so, but man was it a great experience. I am impressed that Lunetta managed to develop a dystopian concept that wasn’t so terribly unreadable and was fairly unique in the styling. I try to review without giving away too much and spoiling the fun bits, so hopefully you get the idea that this book was definitely fun to read, but significantly more problematic than the first.

Hopefully you are all having a great week! Let me know what you are reading in the comments! I am searching for more books to fill up January with.

  • Fel

 

Book Bingo

I am an avid Bullet Journal Junkie and one of the spreads that I chose to include this year was a Book Bingo page. I was so excited for this idea that I thought I might share it with you all, and hopefully some of you can create your own Book Bingo pages to help you read some books that you might not have otherwise!

Part of the idea of Book Bingo is to come up with categories that you will enjoy reading and to add in a few categories that you want to try reading from. There are some silly categories and some serious ones. The whole idea is to have some fun and to try and get a Blackout Bingo. For those of you unfamiliar with that, it means you have to cross out every single category in order to win.

The prize for getting a Blackout has been decided by my boyfriend – he will treat me to any three books I want from our local bookstore. So, I am pretty excited to win and have already made some headway on my Book Bingo card.

Here are the categories I chose to have for my Book Bingo (feel free to borrow, steal, copy, or take inspiration from these! I want everyone to have some fun here).

Starting from the top left and working my way over:

bujo

A 500+ Page Book, Alternate History, A Scary Book, A Management Book, A Thrifted Book, Has A Witch or Wizard, Middle Grade Book, A Memoir, Teen Fantasy, A Steampunk Book, A Book that is a TV Show, Dystopian Novel, Free Space (Still have to read a book, but it doesn’t have to fit in any of the categories), A Book with a Dragon, Has an Ugly Cover (subjective), Has a Pretty Cover (again, subjective), Personal Finance, Science Fiction, Adult Fantasy, Award Winner, A Book that was Gifted to Me, A Book that I Have Been Meaning to Read, A Recommended Book, A Book from a Favorite Author, An Author’s First Book.

Whew, now that we have made it through that wall of text I can say that I have successfully managed to read three books so far and am working on my fourth. I am gonna get that book shopping spree no matter what!

I was just really excited about this and thought that maybe some of you out there would like to try your hand at Book Bingo too! I will be making a post when I complete the Book Bingo card with all of the books that I chose to read and a star rating for each.

Thank you all for taking the time to stop by! I hope your week is off to a great start and that whatever book you are reading is lovely.

  • Fel

Book Review: In The After – Demitria Lunetta

Alright, here we go with my first book review! I just want to preface by saying that I mostly read for pleasure and do not take a ton of notes while I read, so my thoughts are sporadic. I do my best to be cohesive here.

A brief synopsis:

Amy Harris’s life changed forever when They took over. Her parents—vanished. The government—obsolete. Societal structure—nonexistent. No one knows where They came from, but these vicious creatures have been rapidly devouring mankind since They appeared. With fierce survivor instincts, Amy manages to stay alive—and even rescues “Baby,” a toddler who was left behind. After years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope. On the surface, it appears to be a safe haven for survivors. But there are dark and twisted secrets lurking beneath that could have Amy and Baby paying with not only their freedom . . . but also their lives.

Why I chose this book:

I am currently doing a book bingo card and one of the categories is “dystopian society.” So, while I was laying in bed trying to fall asleep I figured I would try to read a bit and found this book on Google Play Books. I definitely had trouble sleeping after I started this!

Rating: 4.7/5 Stars

Yup, that’s right. 4.7 out of 5 on my first review ever. I know it seems safe to start off with a book that you really like, but I can honestly say that I had no clue I was going to enjoy this going in. I find dystopian books to be pretty played out and I have read a ton of them, so I wasn’t expecting anything new here.

I stayed up until two in the morning reading this because I couldn’t stop. The pacing was so perfect that I couldn’t find an easy stopping point. I wanted to keep going, to find out what was going to happen to Amy and Baby! I should also mention that “They” are classified early on as a specific entity that terrifies me beyond belief, so I was also too scared to sleep. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I will just leave it at that.

Amy is a fairly likeable main character. She is a nerdy, literature-loving, teenage girl and I identified with her character from the get go. I didn’t really care that she was over-aggressive, but there was something about her character that I found off-putting later on. Almost like her indignation at the goings on or the outrage she felt wasn’t necessarily genuine? I am not sure, but there was definitely a “thing” that left me wanting.

Baby is still a complete mystery to me. I am devouring the second novel right now and I still have no clue what is really going on there. There is a hint as to what might have happened in her past and what might make her unique, but I am sure all the really juicy stuff is being saved for Lunetta’s next book. I will say that Baby was an “okay” character in my book. She pissed me off a few times while reading and I am not sure if that was just my reaction to Amy and her, or if it was because of Baby’s actual actions on her own.

The plot is so easy to sink in to and so easy to get lost in that I read this thing in two days. Mind you, it is fairly short, but I absolutely couldn’t put it down when exciting things were happening. The first bit, before they actually reach New Hope is my favorite. I love books that describe the actual apocalypse happening instead of checking in six months down the road. You get to experience the terror, the disbelief, the anxiety, and the loss right along with Amy. I got so sucked in that when any appearance made by “Them” happened I was actually holding my breath. I would have to remind myself to breathe!

Once the pair arrive at New Hope the story takes a definite turn. The “overthrow the government” vibe is so strong that I almost wanted to roll my eyes a bit. I get it, post-apocalyptic government is bad. Blah. There is an event that happens in this section that really shook me up involving Amy and her mother and I feel like that is what saves this book. I don’t want to spoil it, but it’s pretty horrifying to think that this could actually maybe happen. If it was just a “New Hope Government vs. Innocent Amy and Baby” thing I would have probably not enjoyed it as much, but it gets pretty dark and the real horrible stuff is kind of juicy to read about.

There is one “EVENT” that happens while Amy and Baby are in New Hope and I basically knew it was going to happen based on prior events in the book. It’s a predictable route for this character (wow this is hard to write without spoilers), although it did not make the book less enjoyable. I just felt like maybe this particular character could have been made more likeable earlier on, so that the “EVENT” was more shocking and less, “well…duh.”

Overall, I really REALLY liked this book. It’s a cool spin on a dystopian novel and I really loved experiencing a terrifying apocalypse at two in the morning. Note to self: do not read scary books before bed. I am halfway through book two at this point and I can safely say that this is a MUST read for any dystopian YA fans out there. Seriously, it’s not a long book and if you can get past a few predictable plot points you are in for a really good ride.

Thank you so much for reading! I know this was a bit on the longer side for most book reviews.

  • Fel