5 Series I Started – But Haven’t Finished Yet

I’m sure a lot of you guys have a ton of series you might want to read and a good deal of them were shared in this week’s Top 10 Tuesday as the topic was all about book series people wanted to read. While my immediate reaction was ‘I want to talk about mine too!’, I also quickly realized that I actually still have some series that I should probably either finish or give up on before I jump into new series.

That’s pretty much where this post is coming from! I am going to take a look at the series I have started in the past but never continued with and talk a little bit about why! Hopefully talking about these series with you guys will give me the motivation to either finish them off or let them go!


Shatter Me Series by Tahereh Mafi

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Huh. I honestly always thought I had rated Shatter Me either 2 or maybe 3 stars (at most), but apparently, I enjoyed it more than I thought because I rated it 4 stars! Am I confusing this series with another one I didn’t enjoy? I’m honestly quite confused right now. I also did continue and read the first novella Destroy Me but never continued after – did the novella turn me away from the rest of the series? I know so many people love the Shatter Me series and now I’m almost tempted to go back to it and start this series from the beginning? 

Have any of you guys read this series? If so, what did you think? Is it worth it to go back and start reading from the beginning? Please let me know!


Penryn & The End Of Days Trilogy by Susan Ee

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Up next on my list is Penryn & The End Of Days Trilogy and I definitely remember really, really enjoying the first book Angelfall (I rated it 4 stars too!) and I have no idea why I stopped reading this trilogy? When I first read this, I had just finished the Unearthly trilogy and really liked the idea of reading about angels and Angelfall put a really interesting spin on it (if I remember correctly)! And then Jackie recently reviewed Angelfall on her blog and had me really excited about continuing this trilogy hopefully soon. And don’t you just love when that happens?


Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

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I was actually always really on top of the Snow Like Ashes trilogy and would read the new book as it came out, but for some reason, I never got around to Frost Like Night? I think it might’ve been because I didn’t want to pay the money for the hardcover when it first came out and instead wanted to wait until it got a bit cheaper but then I never picked it up either. But I do really want to finish this trilogy off as I definitely enjoyed it! The first two books both got a 4-star rating from me when I read them!


Firebird Trilogy by Claudia Gray

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What originally drew me to the Firebird trilogy was hands down the cover for A Thousand Pieces Of You! It was so pretty and I had to have it on my shelves. Luckily, I did end up enjoying the story too and read the next book. My plan had been to read the final installment in the trilogy right after but that never happened and now I barely remember what happened in the second book and I’m really angry with myself. I definitely plan on finishing this trilogy this year though, along with Snow Like Ashes. I hate having two series unfinished when it’s just one book each to finish them!


Red Queen Series by Victoria Aveyard

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Since we’ve already kind of established a trend when it comes to myself and series, let’s just continue down that road for the Red Queen series too. According to my rating on Goodreads, both Red Queen and Glass Sword got 4 stars from me so I really don’t understand why I never picked up King’s Cage when it was released earlier this year. I mean, you’d think I would want to continue with a series I seem to have enjoyed in the past, right? Nope. But unlike the rest of the series on this list, King’s Cage has only been released for four months so I can find some excuses as to why I haven’t read it yet (a reading slump early in the year, new releases I was more excited about and re-reads to prepare for said new releases)! and continue on.


How about you guys? Do you have a long list of series you started but never finished? Or do you like to marathon series before moving on to a new one? Or do you have no unfinished series because you prefer standalones? Let’s discuss in the comments!


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6 Ways To Get Me To Follow Your Blog

I am 100% sure we’ve all read a good amount of posts by various bloggers that tell us what someone is looking for in a blog they might want to follow and I thought I would add to those posts by sharing six ways that make me want to follow another book lover’s blog! 


You Have A Blog Design That Appeals To Me


Obviously, what someone is going to interpret as appealing will vary for all of us as we all have different tastes in themes and the formatting of our posts and what we are looking for in other blogs. But this is probably one of the biggest factors for me when it comes to following a new blog and I know that it’s probably not the best thing to ‘judge’ a blog on, but it is the first thing I see when I visit someone’s blog. And if my immediate reaction is a negative one, I am less likely to stay and look around.

Usually what I look for in a blog design are a limited use of colors and preferably bright themes. I love a white background with a gray font and another accent color that is used throughout the entire blog. That’s my thing. Simplicity. But please make sure you are using easy to read colors when you’re picking them! Make it as easy as possible for people to read your posts – that’s what your goal is after all!

Another thing I’ve recently come to really love are divider images! So many people use them these days and I love the way they break up big chunks of texts and give your eyes a quick break before you go back to reading. I’m still trying to find the perfect one to use on our blog because I feel like I, especially, might need something to break up posts sometimes as I can get rather rambly (case in point.)!


You Update Your Blog Regularly


This is probably the second thing I will look at once I’m on your blog: how often you post to it! I love blogs who post often and more importantly regularly! I like knowing what I’m getting myself into once I start following someone! Obviously, we all have different responsibilities outside of blogging that demand our time so we can’t all post five times a week and that’s not what anyone demands from a fellow blogger. Just make sure that you post regularly – be it twice a week, just on the weekends or five times a week.


You Offer A Variety Of Posts


Whenever I visit someone else’s blog I always take a look around and see what kind of posts they share as I love reading a variety of posts from people to get a better idea of who they are and what they think and I feel like that’s best done by posting different kinds of posts.

Juliana over at Blots Of Ink And Words just recently shared a post about why a variety of posts is important to have and I couldn’t agree more with her, so I’m referring you guys to her post instead of repeating everything she’s already said!


You Interact With Your Readers And The Community In General


Some bloggers might offer the greatest kind of content but if they just simply don’t interact with their readers in any kind of way, it’s definitely a factor that will make me not want to follow them. I love seeing bloggers interact with their readers and the community in general! Often, I will check out a blogger because I keep seeing them pop up in various comment sections of other bloggers and I want to see what their blog is all about!


You Love Talking About Books


Before you start telling me how obvious this point is, give me a second! Yes, obviously I want to follow people who talk about books and love doing it as that’s why I am here too. But. What I want even more is people talking in detail about why they love a book or why they are adding something to their weekly meme posts. I’ve come across so many Top Ten Tuesdays that have just been covers or titles of books and nothing else and that’s just not something I am looking for and I’ll usually just exit out of a blog once I get to the end of the post.

How am I going to interact with you if all you’re giving me is a list of books and not a single word on why you chose said books? If you’re sharing a list of books you want to read, talk about what interests you about them! If you’re sharing a list of books you love, talk about what you loved about them! Get me invested (to a degree) in why you chose the books you did!


You And I Share Similar Interests In Books


At the end of the day, you may be doing all of the things I just mentioned but you’re blogging about mystery or thriller books and those are genres I’m not interested in. That happens and someone else is going to absolutely love your blog and hit that Follow button immediately!

I almost feel like this should be further up on my list as it’s the one thing I most definitely want but it’s also the thing that will take me the longest to discover and while I’m looking at your blog for the first time all of the things above are going to be what I see and process before I get to this point.


What About You?


What are some of the things you guys are looking for when you are thinking about following a new blogger? Do you pay more attention to design or content? Or is it a mixture of both? Do you have bloggers that pop into your mind that you think everyone should be following right this second? Let’s discuss in the comments below and please feel free to share links to your favorite blogs too!


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Why I Didn’t Like ‘Words On Bathroom Walls’ by Julia Walton

This is the second review you’ll read from me where I don’t know how to write it, but unlike my previous one (where I loved the book) the reasons for me not knowing how to write this are entirely different. I got approved for this eARC via NetGalley and finally read it. Words On Bathroom Walls was a book I didn’t enjoy from pretty much the get-go. I even considered DNFing it multiple times but finished reading it in the end. 


The usage of the word ‘crazy’

I was really uncomfortable with the way the main character Adam (who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and is taking part in a trial for a new drug) constantly referred to himself and others suffering from schizophrenia as ‘crazy’ or ‘crazies’. I can’t tell you if this is a me thing or something that would be considered offensive by someone who actually lives with a mental health illness like schizophrenia. All I can say is that I didn’t like reading a character referring to himself and others as ‘crazy’ for a mental health illness. It felt offending. But I want someone to talk in more detail about this who has experience with this!

Once I finished the book I actually went back and put a bookmark on every scene I found uncomfortable or possibly offensive because of the usage of the word ‘crazy’ and I actually ended up with 34 different instances and I feel like that is too much. And the character never really seems to learn how his words might hurt someone else. He is never actively shown talking to people the entire book. The entire story is narrated through diary entries Adam makes and sends to his therapist after each session as Adam doesn’t want to actually speak in his sessions.

The main reason why I requested this book was to get a perspective into what life might be like for people with schizophrenia but all I got was a 16-year-old boy who talks negatively about mental health problems and doesn’t undergo any kind of character development over the course of the entire story which takes place over almost an entire year.


The girlfriend is referred to as the ‘cure’

When we first meet Adam we also meet Ian who is pretty much the stereotypical high school bully and Maya who later one becomes Adam’s girlfriend. One of the things that really bothered me was how Adam refers to Maya as his ‘cure’. The only thing that keeps him sane, etc. It’s is so often criticised in books when love or a relationship is seen as the ‘cure’ for a mental illness and then we have this kid who refers to his girlfriend as exactly that and since all we’re getting is his perspective no one is going to talk about how that might not be the best thing.

Had we actually gotten to see Adam in therapy and conversation with his therapist, I think this book could’ve been so much better and the messages it sent would’ve been more positive.

Adam’s views on someone else’s relationship with sex


As we follow Adam throughout almost a year of his life, we also get a look into what Valentine’s Day is like and how it’s dealt with at the Catholic school Adam is attending. Adam talks about how there are religious parents who have convinced their kids that sex is bad, etc and then he ends his musings by saying that those people are weirdos and everyone knows it. And I just wanted to yell at him. You do not get to tell other people what they can and can’t think about sex or how they approach sex. It’s up to an individual to decide on how they want to act. Or not to act, for that matter.


Honestly, I feel like this concept of a story could have been a really great book but it was just executed so poorly in my opinion. This ended up being a 1-star book for me and even then just barely.


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Review: The King’s Men by Nora Sakavic (not spoiler free)

Here we are at the Review of the last book of “The Foxhole Court” Trilogy! It’s been one hell of a ride for these characters and I’m so happy to say that in the end, they got the triumph that they deserved from the start. I’ll miss them a lot but re-reading is always an option, right? PSA: I’m warning you: This will contain spoilers.

Plot:

23594461Neil Josten is out of time. He knew when he came to PSU he wouldn’t survive the year, but with his death right around the corner, he’s got more reasons than ever to live.

Befriending the Foxes was inadvisable. Kissing one is unthinkable. Neil should know better than to get involved with anyone this close to the end, but Andrew’s never been the easiest person to walk away from. If they both say it doesn’t mean anything, maybe Neil won’t regret losing it, but the one person Neil can’t lie to is himself.

Neil’s journey – from beginning to end.

This final installment started out right after the ending of Book 2 so no time was wasted getting right back into things. I feel like Neil’s journey is a lot about re-defining his will to survive from self-preservation to actually having formed these friendships with his teammates and his relationship with Andrew gave him more than one reason to want to continue living at all. When I think back to how Neil started out in book 1, he became more emotionally available and more understanding of others, whereas before he only knew one thing: looking out for himself. 

Wymack was kind of that person for Neil that was there to help him after he came back from Evermore – a kind of father figure – which was a really great Element that made me appreciate Wymack as a character even more, than even if he can be harsh – he really cares about these kids. I think Neil saw that and sometimes he needed that.

What Neil went through in his childhood, having to run for so long, has taken such a toll on his mental health, as well, I think. Which is why he connects so well with the foxes because they went through similiar tough situations themselves and came out stronger than before. In regards, to how things ended with his father, I was pretty satisfied with that.

His relationship with Andrew progressed even further throughout this book and you could see how much they trusted in each other even though I’m sure Andrew would never admit it. But when he gave Neil his car keys a second time, it was more than obvious to me that Andrew speaks through actions more than his words. Neil had to work to earn his trust and be persistent but I loved seeing how it progressed. I found myself literally marking almost all of their scenes with my text marker. My book looks almost like Swetlana’s copy of ACOMAF.  Something else I really love about these two is that they don’t pity each other for what they’ve been through – they see the other as the person – not their history.

Kevin was a crucial part of Neil’s journey and character growth. He and Kevin had a lot of issues to work through and I doubt that they will ever be done with that but I think that Kevin appreciates Neil more than he lets on. Kevin is quietly reserved in that way due to how he was raised by the Ravens, with their cruel methods.

He had to overcome a lot of his inner demons to let people in his life in but he quickly realized that in the end, everything he had to do get to where he was at the end, it was worth it. His teammates were worth it.

How I feel about the ending – satisfactory or not?

Definitely satisfying. Everything that happened in between the first and last book was wrapped up so nicely I was loving it. I finished like the last 200+ in 1 day because I couldn’t put it down.

A few people who did horrible things to Neil and the Foxes finally got what they deserved. Which really made me happy because they could finally let go of the past and move on into a brighter future for the team.

Guest Post: Critical Reading: How It Can Make Us Better Readers & Writers

Hey, you guys! As I told you all last week when I introduced my Little Blogger Christine to you via a fun little Q&A we did, Christine wrote a guest post for our blog this week and you guys finally get to read it! I hope you enjoy it and make sure to check out Christine’s blog and leave her a nice comment and follow her!


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When I was in high school I was convinced that I’d skip college and go frolicking off to New York City to write novels. Of course, I did end up in New York, but I also ended up going to college. I studied English literature (among other things) for four years, and ever since, strangers and friends alike ask me why I majored in English. Most of them wonder out loud if I’ll end up teaching—despite my insistence that I just don’t really like kids all that much. Why get a degree, they point out, if I’m not even going to use it for a career?

We have this idea that higher education—college or university—needs to serve some sort of purpose. People get a degree so that they can then acquire a better job, right? And while I think it’s perfectly fine to go that route, I was never laboring under any sort of delusion about my degree. I knew I wasn’t going to get a job “in my field” because, quite frankly, I never wanted an English-related job. My whole life, all I’ve wanted is to write novels.

Still, I have never once regretted getting a B.A. in English. Why? Because learning to read critically—and reading classic works of literature—has helped me become the reader and writer that I am today.

I think most of us—especially book bloggers—read for fun. We read because we love stories, whether they’re realistic or fantastical. One thing my English major taught me, though, is that reading critically can actually be fun. In fact, most bloggers and reviewers read critically without even realizing it!

How does one read critically? To me, reading critically is simply being an active reader rather than a passive one. It can involve acknowledging literary devices (how the author does what they do), thinking about what the author is trying to say with the book, or evaluating how well the author accomplishes their goal in writing the story. Reading critically simply means engaging with the book.

Why we should read critically

Reason #1: Reading critically teaches you to take notes while you read—which can really come in handy if you’re a reviewer. I honestly don’t know how people write reviews without writing anything down beforehand. Maybe I’m just compulsively organized, but I like to keep a notepad of my thoughts while I’m reading—even if it’s just on my phone. I’m also really into annotating, whether it’s physically writing in the book or highlighting in my kindle.

Reason #2: Reading critically helps you find problematic content and warn future readers. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading the kind of book that helps me escape my own head for a few hours. But by reading critically, by searching the author’s words on the page as well as the larger meaning, we can better assess whether or not to recommend the book to other people—and potentially save someone from reading something that misrepresents them.

Reason #3: Reading critically helps even non-writers gain appreciation for the craft. I realize not everyone knows about literary devices, but they’re often not as complicated as they sound. They sneak between the lines of a story, whether it’s flowery description, an extended metaphor, or more complex literary devices. One of the best things about looking for these aspects of a story is that it helps you appreciate how hard writers work to craft an amazing piece of writing. Ultimately, reading critically makes reading more fun!

Reason #4: If you’re a writer, everything you read can potentially help you grow in your writing. Even if by “writer” you mean “occasional book blogger,” reading critically can help you learn how to write better. Take this quote by William Faulkner: “Read, read, read. Read everything—trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.” By reading less than amazing books, we learn how we don’t want to write. And every time you read a 5-star book, you’re learning a little bit about how you want to write.

Why I still read classic literature

Since graduating college five (!!!) years ago, I don’t read as many classics as I used to. I do try to incorporate them into my yearly reading goals. This year, my goal is to read 6 books published within the last 40 years (don’t ask me why 40 specifically).

I still read classics, not because they’re inherently “superior” to other genres, but because timeless works of literature can go a long way in informing my writing. By reading the greats, I can admire what these authors accomplished and maybe learn a few things. It also helps me think about the ways society has changed—and the ways human nature has ultimately remained the same.

Reading classic literature can be daunting. I’m convinced the only way I was able to grasp certain books I read in college is because I had amazing professors who made sense out of my nonsense. Reading with a group can be that much more powerful. Consider doing a buddy read if you’re going to dive into a book that’s outside your comfort zone—and don’t be afraid to reach out to me on my blog or Twitter, because I’d love to buddy read with anyone!

The top 5 classic/literary authors I recommend

  • Toni Morrison, Jazz
  • Willliam Faulkner, Light in August
  • Alice Walker, The Color Purple 
  • Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice or Emma
  • Gabriel García Márquez, One Thousand Years of Solitude 

How do you read critically? Do you have any favorite classic novels or authors? Let’s talk in the comments!

Announcing A Q&A!

Hey, you guys! I just wanted to check in real quick today with an extra post (Christine’s guest post is coming up in a few hours so get excited for that!) to ask you guys for some questions Sandra and I can answer in celebration of our 6 month blogging anniversary that is coming up the first week of July! 

We’ll be sticking to our regular schedule but doing posts themed around our anniversary, which we hope you guys will enjoy as much as we have writing them! And up first we want to do a Q&A as we think they are super fun and always a great way to get bloggers!

So please, in the comments down below leave any and all kinds of questions you guys might have! They don’t have to be strictly blogging related either! You guys can ask us anything you want! Thank you in advance! 🙂