Book Nerd Problems #2

Have you read a book by an author and loved it (or just liked it well enough) and then read another book by them and hated it so much that you can’t even look at the book you actually liked by that author? 

Well friends, let me tell you a story. So early 2017 I read The Alchemist. It was good. I liked it a lot, recognized problems, but it was what I needed at the time. So I picked up The Spy by him which is a fictionalized account of Mata Hari’s life. I HATED it. I finished it out of spite and then promptly got rid of it. It’s like he took the Wikipedia page about her and added preachy rhetoric. It was horrible. Hands down. Do not recommend. 

Queue my great book purge that is going on. I filled my shelves and pulled close to 50 books to donate and get rid of. My shelves were breaking there were so full. Anyway, I had to get read of The Alchemist. I can’t keep it because I am still so furious about The Spy. 

I’m just wondering if this has happened to anyone else? Have you ever hated one book so much that you just couldn’t continue with any of the author’s works – even ones you may have liked in the past? 

Mount TBR 2018

I was looking for reading challenges I may take part in this coming year, but I didn’t want to have to go searching for books to fit those challenges. I have so many unread books on my shelves and kindle that I sort of want to dive in to that. 

I heard about Mount TBR at the beginning of 2017 and thought it was a cool idea and sort of did it on my own without signing up or setting a specific goal to hit. 

This year, I signed up for accountability. I read the actual rules for the challenge and agree that I will follow (must be owned prior to 2018, audiobooks and ebooks count, library books do not, etc…) 

So, I sort of waffled in which peak to pick for this mountain climb and ultimately decided that I am going to knock out 12 books. Pike’s Peak. I am going back to school in the fall and I’m not sure how crazy my schedule is going to be. I’m sure I can take out more, but I also don’t want to pressure myself in to turning reading (which I love) in to chore. 

I’m obviously hoping to get more read. 

You can read more about it and sign up to join the fun here (and I hope you do, it’s going to be fun! It’s flexible for other challenges too!): Mount TBR Sign Up

In which I ramble about Gothic Novels

So, I recently learned I love Gothic novels. I love the atmosphere, I love the suspense, I love that everything is so heightened. I also have a strong opinion that these books should be read in that weird inbetween time between fall and winter. 

My favorite Gothic Novels so far (because like I said this is a recent discovery of mine) are:


The Brontë sisters are the QUEENS of Gothic literature from their settings to the elements of horror/suspense. I have only read this novel so I can only speak to how much I loved this book. 

Mr. Rochester is horrible and crotchety yet I rooted for Jane and him to the end. Would I marry him? No. God no. 😂 

If you can listen to the audiobook that Thandie Newton narrates because it is a phenomenal performance. 


Rebecca is the only novel of Daphne Du Maurier’s books that I have read, yet her books frequently top “best of Gothic literature” lists. This book holds such a special place in my heart like that gardens of Manderley hold in our unnamed protagonist’s mind. 

This one plays with ghosts in a unique way, and was also partially inspired by Jane Eyre. I read this one first before I even knew that. If you don’t like Jane Eyre I still HIGHLY recommend that you give this book a chance because if we’re being honest… I like this one better. I feel like it’s more accessible and I loved Manderley better than Thornfield as a setting. 


Speaking of crotchety characters, this one surrounds a ghost trying to haunt a family when they move in to his house but almost every attempt is failed. They give him oil for his chains and even de-stain his stains that he leaves for them. This one made me giggle and is also a VERY quick read. 


This is another one of those: if you like your gothic novel touched with sassy humor… I feel like I probably don’t have to babble too much about this book because it’s so well known. I like the way this book plays with morality and youth. I really enjoyed the humor of this book and am quoting one particular line whenever I can: “She was a peacock in everything but beauty.” Because I am a fan of sassy one liners and full of snark. 


I will argue that this book is of the Gothic variety because it has: creepy setting, ghosts, and a family curse (sort of). Bod Owens narrowly escapes being murdered and ambles his little toddler butt to a graveyard where the ghosts take him in and raise him as his own. He can’t leave the Graveyard because who knows what is after him. This is a charming and heartwarming book surrounding sort of the found family trope, and I love it. 

I would love to read more of this subtype of the fiction genre so if you have any recommendations send them my way! 

Three that I really want to get to soon are Dracula, Frankenstein, and We Have Always Lived in the Castle 

Happy Reading! 

Scallywagathon Wrap Up & Mini Reviews 

November 5-11 was Scallywagathon, a readathon with a pirate theme, and I participated. I didn’t finish all the books on my TBR, but I’m still pretty damn impressed with what I got done over the week. 

I started my pirate journey following the map at number 5, which I believe the prompt was a book with a blue cover. I set out to read The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery. 


This is a non-fiction book that is about a Naturalist and her studies of octopuses. This isn’t going to be an info dump style book on the wonderful sea creature but more of a meditation on life, grief, and the exploration of intelligence vs conciousness with this animal. She does talk about some other sea animals as most of the setting of this book is in an aquarium. You meet several other volunteers and employees of the aquarium and get invested in them too. 

The stars of this book are Athena, Octavia, and Kali the three wonderful and differently natured octopuses. There is a fourth one that gets introduced towards the end, and she is wonderful too, I just can’t remember her name and don’t have the book with me. 

I ended up listening to this book on audio because it was available on Overdrive and also it was family friendly enough for work. The author narrates the book herself which I think enhanced my experience with the book because she definitely made it feel like she was invested in telling her story. 
4⭐️

So while I listened to that book I also started The Wasteland & Other Poems By T. S. Eliot. 


I had some problems with this book mostly surrounding the introduction and the way the notes are formatted in the book. I want to give it another go with a different edition. 

The intro by Randy Malamud contradicted itself several times and when it started talking about the Wasteland set of poems it almost seemed like he didn’t want to say that any inspiration came from the Fisher King legend from the Arthurian legends. Which, in my opinion, was ridiculous because T.S. Eliot’s own notes in the back he acknowledged it and thanked the author. 

I’m willing to give it another try because I did like the poetry. I just need to find a different intro. 

3⭐️

Then, when I needed a break from ALL OF THAT… 


I read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’engle. This is a middle grade classic that follows Meg and her journey to get her dad back from wherever he is. I know this is a quintet of novels but I’m not sure if I’m going to continue. I really enjoyed the book. I loved the message in it. Sometimes I forget how middle grade novels can put moral lessons in novels without making it seem obvious. This one was quite obvious and bordered on preachy, but I loved Meg’s character so much that I didn’t care. 

I give it 3.5⭐️ 

Do you recommend the rest of the series? Is it worth continuing?

I did not start or finish Kingdom Cons because I decided it would be a lot more fun to get sick, fever, and sleep for 2 days. So you know, as you do. 

Overall I’m really happy with what I got done. I’m excited I was able to finish 3 books in a week, especially since before this I hadn’t finished much. Started many. 

The Aesthetically Pleasing Book Tag

I don’t know who originally created it, I saw it on Books & LaLa’s booktube channel and thought. FUN. So here we are. 

1.) Best Color Combo: oooook, so, I am a SUCKER for anything navy and gold. 

So naturally, I love EVERYTHING about this cover. Also worth noting about this book. Decked edges and French flaps for me feelin’ fancy. 

2.) Best Typography: fun fact about me. I love vintage things. I collect old soap dishes (I have 2, so collection may be a stretch) and I took old jars from my grandma. Again, a stretch they were given to me after she passed away. That being said I LOVE the font on these books for the same reason: they remind me of Jazz era Chicago 


Have I read the series? No. But I love Libby Bray and now that the 3rd book is out maybe I’ll get to them quicker. Cover change or not. Also, I’m aware they take place in New York and NOT Chicago, Illinois. 

3.) Best Simple Cover: I have no reason for why I like these Italy Calvino covers. I just do. 

I’m also afraid to read these editions of Invisible Cities and If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler because the covers are white (and beautiful) and I don’t want to dirty them with my fingers. 

4.) Best End Pages: I had a hard time with this one. A lot of the books I read are paperback and don’t have the end pages. However in my search I found this book and it topped all end pages for me. 


From Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave. Look at this! I love it so much. It hearkens back to me loving vintage things. Which at this point should surprise NO ONE. 

5.) Best Map: Sorry guys. I got nothing for this one. I tried. I looked through all of my books too. I have ACOTAR, but that map sucks and shouldn’t get it by default.

6.) Best Naked Hardback: I committed a sin with this one I think. I loved the naked hardback of this book so much that I threw away the dust jacket. I don’t even know if I will ever read this book, but seriously. It’s so pretty. 


Heartless by Marissa Meyer has the most beautiful naked cover. It’s embossed with the checkerboard and I am living for it. Will I read it? Maybe. I want to read Alice in Wonderland first. 

7.) Best Back Cover: ok, this was another hard one because this part of the book seems to heavily under utilized. It’s either blurbs or synopsis. However these three Sarah Pinborough books I bought strictly for their gorgeous covers (cloth bound and embossed with beautiful designs – seriously. The construction of these books alone have me gushing) 


Beauty/Charm/Poison (out of order) by Sarah Pinborough 

8.) Best Chapter Headers: Funny story: almost ALL of my middle grade novels have beautiful chapter headers or illustrations in them so it was really hard picking one. I felt like an OBVIOUS choice would have been any Harry Potter book, but I want to showcase another book. 


The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman has the most beautiful chapter headers and illustrations. They’re creepy and beautiful and I love them. 

*Honorable mention: Wildwood

9.) Best Illustrations: So, The Graveyard Book and this one could be easily flip flopped. I love both of the artwork in these books. However, I chose Wildwood for this one because the illustrations in this one are far more accessible to people who don’t like creepy as much as I do. 


I haven’t read it yet (story of my life) but I’ve heard amazing things about this trilogy and I’ve been in a middle grade fantasy mood lately so I’m probably going to get to it soon. (Famous last words) Wildwood by Colin Meloy and Illustrated by Carson Ellis 

* Honorable Mention: A Monster Calls By Patrick Ness

10.) Best Spine: Brave New World By Aldous Huxley, the spine on this book just stands out on my shelf. I have a lot of busy colorful spines and this one though not the most simple just stands out and I love it. 


11.) Favorite Cover: By now you should be shaking your head at me when I say I love the vintage photo/mixed media painting aspect of this. It’s a book that takes place in the 1930s or 40s in Scotland. I think the cover says a lot about it. It’s hopeful yet dreery. 


I love the muted colors and how calm, yet turbulent the ocean looks. Almost nobody close up looks like they’re having a good time but there are kids playing too. 

So that was the Aesthetically Pleasing Book Tag! I will leave the questions below if you’d like to do it. You don’t have to tag anyone but it you decide to because of me, please link back to me so I can see it! Happy Reading!

–  Best Color Combo

– Best Typography 

– Best Simple Cover

– Best End Pages

– Best Map

– Best Naked Hardback

– Best Back Cover

– Best Chapter Headers

– Best Illustrations

– Best Spine

– Favorite Cover on your Shelves 

Scallywagathon TBR

Hey guys! So I was watching booktube today, as you do, and Ali from HardBackHoarder and Amanda from Read All The Books are doing a pirate themed readathon. It takes place November 5-11 and they are also doing a watchalong for the Pirates of the Caribbean movies the week after. 

So, I don’t normally do the readathons on booktube, why? Because usually the challenges are very YA based which would be fine if I was reading more YA than I am currently. (Not bashing, just hasn’t been what I’ve been reaching for lately) 

I digress!

This readathon has a treasure map to follow for your challenges and they’re pretty open so you can pick what you want for them. 

So, I started with spot 5 on the treasure map which is Open Waters: a book with blue on the cover


Not only is it rocking blue it has an Octopus on the cover too. I’ve been really excited about this book for awhile and this readathon is the perfect motivator to get it read 🐙

The next option with following the map (I will link all of this at the bottom, btw) takes me to 6 or 8, and I choose 8; Tell it to the Parrot: an overhyped book 


I chose A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle because I hear nothing but good things about this book but it’s one I haven’t read. I want to read it before the movie comes out, so here we go! Oh god. I just realized it’s a quintet which means if I get sucked in I’m going to HAVE to read the others. 

After that I could go to either Detour A or C. I chose A which is Marooned: A Stand-alone. And for that I am going with: 


This has been the year of reading Yuri Herrera for me. I inhale read his other two novels and have been putting this off because it means I won’t have another one to read. Don’t be surprised if this gets switched out. 😂

The final challenge on the way to the treasure chest, I chose path 9. This is Clear the Decks: from my owned TBR. 


I’m probably going to break some rules with this one because I’m probably going to read this through the week instead of all at once. 

I don’t know if I’m going to finish all of these in one week, but I’m certainly going to try! 

Links:

Read All the Books
HardBackHoarder
Ali from HardBackHoarder has all of the links and google docs for the maps and fun stuff in the video description box. 

Happy Reading! 

Books to Help You Through (Part 1)

So, I know I haven’t posted in what seems like forever. I’m hoping with this new (to me) series of posts that may help or help you understand why I haven’t been blogging as much. Or at all in 2017.

I’m starting a book recommendation series on here and the first is Books to Help You Through. As I bet you guessed from the title. My goal at least for this one is for maybe you to find a book that will help you through a tough time or help inspire you to be the best version of yourself. Admittedly, some of these books are unoriginal and could be found through a  basic google search but I read them and they helped me and I hope they help you too.

Books to Help You Through:

books to help you through pt 1

I know a lot of people will say that 2016 was really bad in terms of their personal lives, but for me it kind of started in 2015 and went in to the 2017 yet. I’m still not feeling 100% myself and that’s ok! Baby steps. These are books I started reading at the end of 2016 and mostly this year that I found have helped me.

books to help you through pt 1-2

Illusions by Richard Bach was recommended to me by a podcast I listen to and I loved it so much. Its about a guy that flies airplane tours – the kind that used to be parked in a field and you could pay $3 to go for a ride. He meets another guy flying airplanes too and starts an interesting journey. You might be thinking, “Ok Hailey, but how does this help me through a tough time?” Well, there’s obviously more to it than just that. It’s about the journey the main character takes on – you might notice the bi-line of the title “The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah.” It’s all about finding your own personal power.

Some quotes:

“Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them.”

“The thing that puzzles you,” he said, “is an accepted saying that happens to be impossible. The phrase is hurt somebody else. We choose, ourselves, to be hurt or not to be hurt, no matter what. Us who decides. Nobody else. My vampire told you he’d be hurt if you didn’t let him? That’s his decision to be hurt, his choice. What you do about your decision, your choice: give him blood; ignore him; tie him up; drive a stake of holly through his heart. If he doesn’t want the holly stake, he’s free to resist, in whatever way he wants. It goes on and on, choices, choices.”

“When you look at it that way…”

“Listen,” he said, “It’s important. We are all. Free. To do. Whatever. We want. To do.”

Some of the things I love about this book is that for its size (small) and message (big) it’s got some funny parts too. I found it quite clever. I think it’ll help if you ever felt powerless or wanted to give up. When you need to do something for you, and not anyone else.

Get it here: Amazon

books to help you through pt 1-3

 

When Women Were Birds is in a nut shell about voice. How you use it, why it’s important, and sometimes how silence is using your voice.

“We all have our secrets. I had mine. To withhold words is power. But to share our words with others, openly and honestly, is also power.”

She uses her deceased mother’s journals as a reflection over that voice. It has such beautiful writing and I, personally, took a long time to read this. Not because it wasn’t readable but because I wanted to reflect on each of the chapters on different variations of voice.

“What thrilled me most was the fact that millions of meteors burn up every day as they enter our atmosphere. As a result, Earth receives ten tons of dust from outer space. Not only do we take in world with each breath, we are inhaling the universe. We are made of stardust.”

There are parts of the novel where she talks about when her voice felt taken from her or on moments where she wished she would have used her voice.

I am still getting used to my voice and the power of my words. This book will help you if you’re still finding your voice or even if you feel like you use it too much. Listening is using your voice and just as important as speaking up.

Get it here: Amazon

books to help you through pt 1-4

The Alchemist is sort of like Illusions but I feel like a lot better known. Like Illusions its about your own personal journey and  your own personal power. It follows Santiago as he goes on a journey for his own personal treasure. It follows his life as he works hard, falls in love, and the people he meets along the way.

I will admit this book gets a little preachy, a little pretentious, and repetitive. Between Illusions and The Alchemist I’d choose Illusions. However, it’s still a good book and I think what this book does better than Illusions as far as helping you get through a hard time is that it shows the hardships of Santiago. He has doubts and fear, and even at one point it shows him in what I refer to as “the stuck place.” I’m fairly positive it’s not hard to find quotes online from this book because it is hella well known, but I’m going to share one of my favorites.

“We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it’s our life or our possessions and property. But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the history of the world were written by the same hand.”

If you’re not particularly religious like me, you could read that and just sort of shrug it off. I’m perceiving it as humans are the great equalizer. We’re made of the same stuff.

“It’s not what enters men’s mouths that’s evil,” said the alchemist. “It’s what comes out of their mouths that is.”

Get it here: Amazon

books to help you through pt 1-5

I’m going to lump these two together because they’re kind of the same, and yet different. Big Magic is about using your creativity in any way you can. Big Magic also has a podcast if you’re interested in that. I enjoyed that too.

While Big Magic is about using your creativity and not being afraid of it, Concerning the Spiritual in Art is about looking at art differently. Written by Modern Artist, Kandinsky,  it’s more about what is behind it instead of where the talent is. How often do we look at paintings and say “That looks like a 5 year old painted that,” but we don’t look at it and wonder what the artist was feeling when they painted it. There’s more to art than just being able to draw a portrait.

“It starts by forgetting about perfect. We don’t have time for perfect. In any event, perfection is unachievable: It’s a myth  and a trap and a hamster wheel that will run you to death. […] Perfectionism stops people from completing their work, yes – but even worse, it often stops people from beginning…” (Big Magic)

Big Magic is all about starting and getting going. Do it, whatever it is that makes you happy and Concerning the Spiritual in Art is all about looking at the intent and feeling behind it.

“On one canvas is a huddle of objects painted with varying degrees of skill, virtuosity and vigour, harshly or smoothly. To harmonize the whole is the task of the art. With cold eyes and indifferent mind the spectators regard the work. Connoisseurs admire the “skill” (as one admires a tightrope walker), enjoy the “quality of the painting” (as one enjoys a pastry). But hungry souls go hungry away.” (Concerning the Spiritual in Art)

I think both of these are good picks for helping the creative spirit or someone who wants to get in touch with their creativity a bit more. If you look at it too critically you’re never going to continue. It’s better to get the crap out and keep going than to never actually try.

Big Magic on Amazon
Get Concerning the Spiritual in Art on Amazon

books to help you through pt 1-6

This falls under the same category of pilgrimage stories and finding your own great whatever. However, it’s based off of a poem by Farid Ud – Din Attar. Peter Sis illustrated the poem and turns it into a magical beast of a read. I say that like it’s a huge book. It’s not.

Why it helped me. It came in to my life at a perfect time because I was debating on choices I have to make and I’m not a quick decision maker by any means. It gave me the push I needed to make a choice, for what I feel like is the best choice for me. While you could argue this book is in the same vein as The Alchemist and Illusions, this one hits more of the having faith part. Having faith in the universe, having faith in your abilities, and most importantly having faith in yourself.

It’s about birds who go on a journey to find their bird king, Smorgh. It’s a long journey and some will make it, some won’t. Some will be afraid and some will be courageous. It has a lot to do with perspective.

books to help you through pt 1-7

The illustrations are stunning. The poem is beautiful. Please read it.

Get it here: Amazon 

Let me know if any of these books help you, or if you have any suggestions for books that will help others through tough times. I might do a series on this for books to help you through tough times, with different angles to help you through those tough times.

Have a lovely day, you’re worth it.

Mid-Year Book Freak Out tag

I saw this on BookTube and thought it would be fun to do, even if it is almost August. It was created by Read Like Wildfire. It’s about only what you’ve read in 2016.

The best book I’ve read so far… 

Hands down Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee. Nothing so far has topped it for me. 


Best sequel…

I’ve only read one sequel this year so far, so this wins by default but it was pretty good. 


A new release that I haven’t read but want to…

I really want to read The Fireman by Joe Hill. The premise of the story sounds so interesting! 


Most anticipated release of the second half of 2016…

I didn’t have an answer for this because I seriously have no clue what is being released. I should keep up more, but I generally read more backlist books. 

Biggest disappointment…


I love MaryJanice Davidson, usually. I’ve read most of the Undead and UnWed series and her Alaskan Royals series. I’m starting to notice a lot of similarities between all of her main protagonists and not seeing a lot of differences. 

Biggest surprise… 

I don’t know why I didn’t think I’d like this book but I ended up loving it. It was short but very impactful. 


New favorite author…

Sunil Yapa, Alexander Chee, Cheryl Strayed… I read so many “new to me” authors this year that I have loved. 

Newest Fictional Crush: 

I hate this question.  I don’t really get fictional “crushes,” but if I had to choose… I finally read The Great Gatsby this year and I love the hope that Jay Gatsby is full of. However, I don’t think I’d ever enter a relationship with a guy like Gatsby. 

Newest Favorite Character…

Lilliet Berne from Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee. She’s so interesting and the journey she takes in her story is so fascinating. She has a gift that will eventually disappear, and what she does with her life knowing that… It’s just such a good book, please read it because I don’t think enough people have. 

A book that made you cry…


A Storied Life of A. J. Fikry;  it’s a book about a very curmudgeon guy that sells books, and also second chances. 

I should add that Wild by Cheryl Strayed had me in tears and also The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton made me a sobbing mess. 

A book that made you happy…


I don’t really care for Romeo and Juliet. I understand the value of it, it’s just not my favorite. So naturally, I pick up a book where I can change the story. I’m not even sure how you consider this book “read” as there are so many different ways this book can end, depending on what you choose. I mean… There’s even cyborgs. 

The most beautiful book I bought…


I am in love with these editions of Dracula and Frankenstein. Not pictured: the edges of these pages are black (Dracula) and red (Frankenstein). The covers feel like leather, but I don’t think they are, and there’s a ribbon bookmark. They’re just so pretty. 

A book I need to finish by the end of the year…

I am cheating and picking two, because I’ve never read these and apparently that’s a big deal. 


I hope you enjoyed this and if you want to do it I would love to read it 🙂 

Book Nerd Problems

I’m not sure how long ago it was that I made a post about things that only matter to me as a book nerd. Today I have another thing that only matters to me as a book nerd.

I need a book friend. I have friends who read, but they don’t read like I do. Meaning, they read maybe 2-3 books a year. Which is fine for them, but I need a bookish nerdy friend. I read more than that and lately have been trying to challenge myself as far as reading goes.

I realize how sad that sounds but I realized this as I was taking a walk and listening to an audio book (Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates) and I texted a friend about it and her disinterest in the book and others that I’m reading (A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas — I have strong feelings about this book and I’m 450 pages in – if you follow my twitter or at least see it on the side of my blog you might have an idea what those feelings are.) is pretty obvious, and my other friends aren’t reading and haven’t read the same books as me. Which again, is fine, if I could at least talk to them about the books.

Upcoming this week: I have a tag that I’m going to do and that blog post won’t be as depressing or poor me as this one is, I promise! Just a moment of melancholy, I guess.