Posted in Life, Reading

Reading On Vacation

I prefer physical books over e-books. I like turning the pages, I like the crinkle of the spine, I love the smell of the ink on the paper. Reading physical books just has an overall good feeling to it.

But I do like e-books as well. I enjoy that I can carry multiple books with me anywhere and I also like that they’re typically cheaper than the standard paperback or hardcover.

I’ve been on vacation all week and I tend to read a book a day when I’m here.

Two years ago I read five books and last year I think I read eight books. I think it’d be cool if I read at least eight books again if not more, to try to beat my own personal record.

No, it’s not a race. I’d rather enjoy the book than zipping through it. Still, it’s fun to see how much I can read in a week.

I’ve been on vacation for four full days now and I still have today and tomorrow to read.

So far, I’ve read four books, each in one sitting. It’s been great!

Do you typically spend your vacations reading a lot? Let me know in the comments below!

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Posted in Reading

6 Ways To Pick Out Your Next Best Read

Reading books is hard.

I typically read one book a week and usually plan on which books I’m going to read for each month. The books sometimes change, but I at least have a plan to start off with.

No matter how much you read, no matter how often, you’re always going to end up in a reading slump. There will be books that you don’t particularly care for (and for some reason, those books come in clumps). Then a reading slump is upon you and it’s hard to get out of it.

It’s not easy getting back into the swing of reading, but there are a few ways to at least pick out your next book.

When you’re in a slump, none of the books you have look appealing. So, what can you do?

1. Close your eyes and point

Seriously, take a look at your bookshelf, close your eyes, spin around a few times, and then point to something. Whatever book you land on, read that next. Even if it’s something you’ve already read. (Unless you didn’t enjoy it, then try spinning again).

2. Pick a number out of a hat

Write a bunch of random numbers down and put them in a hat. No, you don’t have to count every single book you have. Just write something random (3, 13, 23, 33, etc.). Whatever number you pull out, count the books on your shelves and read that book. So, if you pull out 33, take the 33rd book off your shelf.

3. Check out your siblings’ or friends’ bookshelves

Whether you’re into the same stuff or not, check out books you wouldn’t normally try. Ask what their favorite book is and give it a try yourself.

4. Ask for a recommendation from the library

Check out books you wouldn’t normally think to pick up. Tell a librarian your favorite book or author and ask them to find books similar to that that you may like. Whatever they come up with, take and give it a shot.

5. Play book bingo or do some sort of book challenge

Giving yourself a fun challenge is always a good idea. You’ll have a goal in mind if you’re looking for a book with a red cover or a book with a one-word title. Ask your friends to play along, too. The more, the merrier.

6. Reread a book you love

Let’s be real, you can never read too much Harry Potter… Right?

How do you pick out your next read? Let me know in the comments below!

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Posted in Book Reviews, Reading, Uncategorized

Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard

Title: Pretty Little Liars
Author: Sara Shepard

Published: October 2006 by HarperTeen

Genre: Young Adult

How I got the book: I bought it 

Summary:

Three years ago, Alison disappeared after a slumber party, not to be seen since. Her friends at the elite Pennsylvania school mourned her, but they also breathed secret sighs of relief. Each of them guarded a secret that only Alison had known. Now they have other dirty little secrets, secrets that could sink them in their gossip-hungry world. When each of them begins receiving anonymous emails and text messages, panic sets in. Are they being betrayed by some one in their circle? Worse yet: Is Alison back?

My Review:

FIRST THOUGHTS

I have read this book before. According to my Goodreads account, it was way back in 2012. I’ve been getting into the show again now that it’s ended. I’ve decided to finally get around to reading the books since I have most of the series sitting on my bookshelves.

PLOT

We get to know five high school girls: Alison, Aria, Spencer, Emily, and Hanna. They’re the best of friends, each with their own dirty secret(s). They are the most popular girls in school, Alison being the ring leader of the group.

On the summer before high school begins, they have a slumber party. When the girls wake up, Alison is gone. She was never found. This book takes place three years later. Aria, Spencer, Emily, and Hanna have moved on and aren’t really friends anymore. But once they start receiving odd messages that not only sound like Alison, but are also threatening, that they come together to figure out who is doing this to them.

That’s about it. Even though this is just book one nothing really happened. I felt as though this was more of an introduction to the series. We learned a lot about the main characters, but that was about it. Nothing really happened until there was about 20-30 pages left in the novel. Because of that, it was a bit boring.

CHARACTERS

I enjoy all the characters in the book. Aria comes home from living abroad with her family in Iceland for two years and winds up crushing on her new English teacher. Hanna had transformed her chubby self over the summer before high school along with Mona, who was a “loser” when Ali ran the school. Hanna and Mona are the new “It” girls. Spencer is just as overachieving as ever while she tries to hook up with her sister’s boyfriend. Emily is the star swimmer for their school’s team. And when new girl Maya moves into Ali’s old house, Emily begins to question her sexuality.

Ali was most certainly the alpha dog and practically ran the whole school. A lot of people are glad she’s gone and they feel safe again. Still, even though she’s a total mean girl, I think Ali is one of my favorite characters. She seems to have it all together, even though I don’t agree with her tactics on how to get people to do the right thing.

WRITING STYLE

This book is written like any other general novel. It’s a typical young adult “high school drama” type story. Still, nothing was really special about the writing style. I didn’t fall in love with the author’s words and some of the characters just felt like supporting cast (that includes the main girls in some parts). It’s not bad and certainly easy to read, but I’m not excited about it.

OVERALL

When I first read this in 2012, I had given it a five-star rating. I changed it to three. One, I think I’ve martured a lot in five years and this whole high school drama is a bit overrated to me. Two, because nothing really happened in this book. This is book one in a long suspense series, but we got more background than anything else, which is a pretty slow start in my opinion.

Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard gets…

3 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“They felt kind of like dolls, with Ali arraigning their every move.” -Sara Shepard, Pretty Little Liars

Posted in Book Reviews

Reading Other Book Reviews: A Matter Of Opinion

Before you read a book, do you head over to Goodreads and read a few reviews? When you’re about to make your decision on a rating, do you check out the ratings on Goodreads first?

If you’re debating on whether or not you want to buy a book, do you check if the average rating is five stars or two?

If you do, then… Stop.

Opinion Matters: Reading Other Book Reviews

I’m not here to tell you what you can and can’t do, but I personally don’t think it’s a good idea to read reviews before reading the book yourself.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t check out the ratings and such beforehand, but I do try to shy away from reading the actual reviews.

Reviews are meant to help the author. The more positive reviews, the higher up on the pedestal the book goes. The more people will likely buy the book if they see it has 5,000 ratings, especially 5,000 5-star ratings. If it remotely seems interesting to them and they see it has a decent following, they’ll pick up the book.

Still, I’ll admit that there have been times when a book has seemed interesting to me and then I look at the ratings and see it didn’t do that great. Instead of getting the book, I’ll put it on my wishlist for later (and often times forget about it) or just put it back on the shelf.

This isn’t really a fair thing to do.

I know I’ve stressed this enough in my other book reviewing posts, but… everyone interprets the story differently. We all have different opinions on what we like and don’t like, what we thought worked well in the book and what we thought didn’t work.

If you pick up a mystery novel and there are five people who didn’t care for it, you may still enjoy the book simply because mystery is your favorite genre.

It’s not fair to put a book back on the shelf simply because a few people thought the main character was a bit dry.

You might as well judge a book by its cover if you’re going to base your bookshelf on other peoples thoughts.

But let’s be honest here; we all judge books by their covers. But that’s another story for another day.

Do you typically read reviews before buying a book? Do you shy away from them? Let me know in the comments below!

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Posted in Short Story Sunday, Writing

Short Story Sunday 170: Pumpkin

Short Story: "Pumpkin" | Flash Fiction

            Anna pushed the stroller along the pumpkin patch as her eight-month-old son napped. As she paced around hoping to keep him asleep, she watched her husband and her five-year-old daughter wander around the many pumpkins for sale.

Anna’s daughter, Victoria, had never picked out her own pumpkin before. She was too young at the age of one, didn’t understand what was going on at the age of two, and she had a terrible cold when she was three and four. It was the weirdest thing and Anna expected the worst this year, but she was happy that Victoria was finally able to pick out her own pumpkin. And Victoria sure was excited!

She waddled around the many pumpkins looking thoroughly at each one. Parker, Anna’s husband, followed closely behind waiting for their daughter to finally pick one out.

“What about this one?” he picked up a small one. It was a good size for Victoria to carry all on her own.

Victoria tilted her head to the side staring at the pumpkin. She was thinking deeply about whether she wanted it or not. Finally, she shook her head. “Nah,”

“Why not? This one is cute.” Parker said.

Victoria ignored him and kept on walking. Anna chuckled from the sidelines.

“Okay, well then how about this one over here?” Parker picked up another one. It was the same size, but it was more round like a circle rather than an oval like the other one he picked up.

Victoria turned around and looked at it. She tilted her head to the side again in wonderment. Anna stifled a laugh. Did her daughter always tilt her head like that when she was deep in thought? Who did she get that one from?

“Nah,” Victoria said coldly. She abruptly turned around and kept walking.

Parker sighed and put down the pumpkin. He looked at Anna and shrugged his shoulders.

“Don’t rush her. This is a very crucial decision.” Anna said with a smile.

Parker nodded, but he continued to look for more pumpkins. He spotted a white one and pointed to it. “Hey, Victoria, look at that white one!”

Victoria stopped and stared at it in confusion. “That’s not a pumpkin.”

“What are you talking about?” Parker asked. “Of course it is.”

Victoria shook her head. “Pumpkins are orange.”

“Not all pumpkins.”

“Pumpkins are orange.” She said again and walked away.

Anna burst out laughing. Parker turned his attention and narrowed his eyes at his wife. “She sure told you!” Anna said.

“She takes after her mother.” Parker smirked.

“Good,” Anna replied bluntly.

Victoria continued to weave in and out all of the pumpkins. Parker followed along not bothering to point out any more pumpkins. He obviously had no idea what his daughter wanted. Well, he knew she wanted an orange pumpkin at least.

Victoria gasped with a grin spread across her face and she broke out into a run. She tripped a couple of times over some of the pumpkins, but she never fell down. Parker watched her get farther away, but wasn’t worried as the patch wasn’t that big. He couldn’t lose sight of her.

“Victoria,” he called out to her, “where are you going? The smaller pumpkins are over here.”

Victoria stopped and pointed to one right next to her. “I want this one!”

Parker’s jaw dropped. The pumpkin was the same size as his three-foot daughter. Why on earth did she want a pumpkin the same size as her? He thought she was going to want to carry it around with her. She couldn’t carry that! Would Parker be able to carry it? He had no idea.

“This is perfect!” Victoria cheered jumping up and down.

As Parker got closer to her he realized that she wasn’t wrong. The pumpkin was, to say the least, pretty perfect. It was the ideal circle, and very smooth to the touch. It was a bright orange color, too, so of course Victoria wasn’t going to shun it.

“How are we going to get that one home?” Parker asked.

“You carry it.” Victoria shrugged.

Parker sighed. Well, he didn’t go to the gym every morning for nothing.

Parker squatted and wrapped his arms around the pumpkin. He grunted as he lifted it off of the ground. “Watch out, Victoria. If I drop this, I don’t want to squish you.”

Victoria cheered and ran back to her mother. Anna stared at Parker with wide eyes.

“You’re letting her get that pumpkin?” she asked.

“This is the one that she wanted.” Parker groaned. He tried to shift his weight to get a better grip on the pumpkin, but it was like trying to hug a sumo wrestler.

“Where are we going to put it?” Anna asked.

“On the front porch,” Parker stated.

“But how are we supposed to carve it?”

“On the front porch,”

“We’re going to just sit out on the front lawn with knives and carving tools and just let the neighbors watch us carve a humongous pumpkin?”

“Anna,” Parker grunted, “if I drop this pumpkin, that won’t be the only thing that will smash.”

Anna looked down at Victoria who was grinning from ear to ear. No, they couldn’t allow this pumpkin to break or else they’ll break their daughter’s heart.

“You’re right, we should go.” Anna sighed.

“I think my back is going to break… And I can barely see anything around this thing, so could you lead me?” Parker asked.

“Parker,” Anna sighed, “how are we even going to get it into the car?” she looked down at Victoria. “Honey, let’s try to find a pumpkin daddy can carry.”

Victoria’s bottom lip quivered as Parker spoke up.

“No, I already got it this far. Let’s just keep moving, please.”

Victoria smiled again and Anna pursed her lips together worriedly. This was not how she expected their pumpkin picking adventure to go.

“Alright, but…” Anna started.

Parker groaned. “Now what?”

“Well… You know they charge by the pound, right?”

Parker closed his eyes and sighed loudly. He wanted to complain, but he also wanted to let Victoria get whichever pumpkin she wanted to get. It was the first one she picked out all by herself.

“It’s just one pumpkin, Anna. We can deal with it.” Parker said.

“If you say so,” Anna shrugged. She took Victoria’s hand and together she and her daughter pushed the stroller over towards the cash register.

After Anna had paid for the pumpkin, Parker stretched out his arms and then squatted again to pick up the pumpkin. Before he stood up, he looked up at Anna.

“Why don’t you go on ahead and bring the kids to the car?”

“But shouldn’t we stay with you in case you fall over?” Anna asked.

Parker sighed. “Anna, just bring the kids to the car, please.”

Anna shrugged and turned away without another word.

Parker lugged the pumpkin all the way out to the parking lot. Anna was in the driver’s seat with the engine running in front of the general store just outside the pumpkin patch. He smiled, grateful that Anna had brought the car around for him. The trunk automatically opened and Parker dropped the pumpkin in as gently as he could. He let out a big sigh and held onto his back as he closed the trunk door.

He walked around the car and sat down in the passenger seat.

“Are you okay?” Anna asked.

Parker nodded still trying to catch his breath.

“Thank you, Daddy,” Victoria said sweetly from her car seat in the back.

Parker smiled. The back pain was suddenly worth it.

Words: 1,269

I hope you enjoyed this story! Let me know what you think in the comments below!

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Posted in Life, Reading

On Vacation We Go!

I’m going on a much needed getaway and the most stressful thing about it has stemmed from one question:

What books do I bring?

Of course, I’m bringing my Kindle, which has loads of books that I have yet to read. But I do prefer paperback so I wanted to bring up a few of those as well.


I decided to bring…

  • Firebug by Lish McBride
  • Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard
  • Flawless (PLL 2) by Sara Shepard
  • Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling

Before any of you ask… No, I have yet to read the two Harry Potter screenplays.

I wanted to bring up only three or four books since I’m bringing up my Kindle, but I knew the two screenplays would be quick reads. I could leave them behind, but I don’t want to.

So I picked up the first two books of the Pretty Little Liars series. What if I get into the first one and wanna read the second one?

That’s four books.

But what if I want to read more than Harry Potter and Pretty Little Liars? I decided to bring one more book.

So, naturally, I picked out two more. Firebug and Wink Poppy Midnight are two books I bought fairly recently and have been wanting to pick up since I got them.

I’m off to go read a lot by a lake. And I couldn’t be more excited.

Happy Reading!

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Posted in Reading

Getting Out Of A Reading Slump

Graphic novels aren’t the typical books I read. I used to read a fair amount of comics when I was younger, mostly because Kris was really into them.

I’ve always wanted to read more graphic novels, but I rarely do because they’re more on the expensive side and they never take me too long to read. So, I always end up getting novels than graphic novels.

But I love a good one every now and then and, as you all know, I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately.

The other day Kris and I went to the bookstore and she was in the mood to buy. And when I say buy, I mean buy a lot. Then again, I also had $50 in gift cards so we went a little nuts.

There are always a lot of graphic novels I want to buy whenever we go to the bookstore. There are a ton of series I want to read, most being superheroes that I don’t know where to start since there are so many different versions.

So, what exactly did we buy?

We ended up buying four manga books and two graphic novels. We bought the third volume of Archie, the first volume of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, the first and second volumes of the original Pokemon manga, volume one of Ninja Turtles Universe, and The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords (which is technically the fifth volume).

I also wanted to get the first volume of Ouran High School Host Club and Fruits Basket, but we figured we’d stop at $100. We could have gone on and on and on… We could have gotten Batman, Wonder Woman, Justice League, etc. The list goes on.

I think reading these will help me get out of a slump and get me back into reading great stories again. I can’t wait to give them a shot and buy the next volumes in all the series.

Do you typically read graphic novels? How do you get out of a reading slump? Let me know in the comments below!

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Posted in Book Reviews

Why It’s Okay To Say No To Book Review Requests

When you run a book blog, the more it grows, the more authors may come across it. If you have a decent following then they’re going to want you to review their work.

Everyone likes different genres, some more than others. If you love mystery novels and can’t stand historical fiction, then what do you do if an author asks you to review their historical fiction book?

Why It's Okay To Say No To Book Review Requests

A lot of reviewers don’t like saying no to authors when they ask such a request. I’m one of those reviewers. Sometimes it’s hard to say no.

When an author, a publisher, or a publicist contacts you, you feel flattered. How could they have possibly come across a blog such as your own? And your blog looked good enough to them to make them want to contact you. It makes you feel good so of course, you want to please them.

However, saying no to a review request will please them better rather than reviewing a book you won’t enjoy and therefore won’t give a good review.

A book review is nothing more than your opinion on the book. We all like different things and read books from different perspectives.

There are no bad books, but if there’s a book I don’t particularly care for, I’m not going to give it five stars.

When writing a book review, be sure to make it clear that you’re just stating your own opinion. Authors obviously don’t want anything 1- or 2-star ratings on their books, but you can’t please everyone.

That’s why, if there’s a genre or even a summary of a book that you don’t seem into, be honest with the author and say no to the request. Being honest and not wanting to risk a bad review will be much better than not enjoying the book.

The author will appreciate it.

Have you ever said no to a review request before? Let me know in the comments below!

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Posted in Book Reviews, Reading

Archie, Vol. 2: The New Riverdale by Mark Waid

Title: Archie, Vol. 2: The New Riverdale
Author: Mark Waid, Veronica Fish (illustrator), Thomas Pitilli (illustrator), Ryan Jampole (illustrator)
Published: 
December 2016 by Archie Comics
Genre: Graphic Novel
How I got the book: I borrowed it from my sister

Summary:

The all-new ARCHIE adventure continues! Superstar writer Mark Waid teams up with the best and brightest artists in comics to bring a modern take to the legendary Riverdale cast of characters. The book will captures the bite and hilarious edge of Archie’s original tales in a modern, forward-looking manner, while still retaining the character’s all-ages appeal. If classic Archie is a Saturday morning cartoon, this new series is prime time!

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

After reading volume one, I immediately picked up volume two. I didn’t realize how much I missed these characters.

rp-plot

In these next six issues, the plot focuses on Archie’s relationship with Veronica and her father while he and Betty awkwardly try to reconfigure their friendship while they both see other people.

Veronica’s father and Betty’s uncle go against each other for mayor and Archie gets caught in the middle of the feud. Archie, Veronica, and Jughead start a band, so Betty and her friends start a band and they go head to head.

Each issue has its own mini-plot as it continues the overall plot of Archie’s life in general, especially his love life.

rp-characters

The characters, like in the first volume, are just as good. Archie is a wonderful protagonist. Each and every character has their own purpose and background. I enjoy seeing all their stories together.

rp-writing-style

The writing style is just as humorous as the last and the pictures, even though two of the illustrators are different, are beautiful. I really enjoy how they used the pictures and the words as a team to tell the story.

rp-overall

You can’t go wrong with this series. I love Archie and I’m looking forward to reading the next volume.

Archie, Vol. 2: The New Riverdale by Mark Waid gets…
5-Star Rating | Book Review 5 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“Crushing people is the truth’s hobby.” –Mark Waid, Archie, Vol. 2: The New Riverdale

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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