This has been quite a week for bookish news.

This week has been pretty crazy with news of the bookish sort. We have had BEA, a return of Reading Rainbow, and the death of Maya Angelou. So for today’s post, I’ve decided to post a few videos to give us some inspiration for the weekend.

Levar Burton raised over 2 million dollars for the return of Reading Rainbow as an app that can be used by both teachers and parents to foster the love of reading in children. As a teacher (even though I’m not currently teaching) I understand and appreciate the need for programs that teach children the power an importance of reading. If this love is built at a young age, it is sure to flourish as a child grows older.

If you haven’t seen this article or watched the attached video, please do so. Levar Burton’s joy at reaching his goal of 1 million dollars in less than one day is beautiful.

We also lost a literary icon this week, someone who has been a writer, civil rights advocate, and inspiration to so many people, Maya Angelou. I was first exposed to her poetry in high school and read more of it later on in college. She has such a beautiful and unique voice that transcends so many boundaries. Rest in Peace Maya Angelou.

Maya Angelou, reading her poem “Phenomenal Woman.”

Maya Angelou, reciting her poem “And Still I Rise.”


 

And finally, just because it’s interesting, fun, and I love John Green.

 

Liebster Award

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Today I was nominated for another Liebster Award by my friend Alex in Bookland. Thank you so much for this nomination, it means so much to me that I have readers who read and enjoy my blog and I very much enjoy writing and talking to all of you about books and such.

The Liebster Award is a blog award that is given by other bloggers in appreciation and to help bloggers gain more followers. Typically, those awarded with the Liebster Award have less than 300 followers. So thank you Alex in Bookland for spreading the blog-love.

Since I participated in the Liebster Award earlier this year, I will only be answering Alex’s questions, but be sure to go to her blog and check out the other blogs that she has nominated.

1. Favourite Genre to Read?

I read mainly YA, but I really the paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi genres within YA. I can’t pick just one!!!

2. Least Favourite Genre to Read?

Eeek. I can’t do straight-up romance or chick-lit. I know some people love those genres, but they just aren’t for me.

3. All-Time Book Character Crush?

Right now? Four from the Divergent trilogy. Even before seeing the movie, I loved his sense of humor and just thought he was damn sexy.

4. What would you want as your ideal mode of transportation? (a standard car? A unicorn? A magic carpet?)

A flying car like in the Jetsons. It would be cool if it could go in all different terrains: water, land, and air.

5. If you could be in one character’s shoes of a day; who would it be? Why? What would you do?

In a lot of the books I read I love the main character, but I definitely wouldn’t trade places with them. I guess I would choose Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Not only does she have amazing hair, she also kicks a lot of ass and is a very smart and strong female character. I would also get to meet her chimera friends (which would be amazing) and Akiva,  Zuzanna, and Akiva (I have to mention him twice).

6. What book do you really want to see as a TV show or movie?

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. I am currently reading the second book in the trilogy, and would love to see how the chimera and angels play out on the screen, either as a TV show or a movie.

7. What is your favourite season and why?

Summer. The winters where I live are so cold and snowy (which is perfect for reading but not much else) but the summers almost make the long winters worth it. Plus I love sitting on the beach or in the grass at a park with a book.

8. What fictional job would you love to have?

I would love to be a professor at Hogwarts (I went to school to be a teacher)

9. (Including all fictional verses) What would you want to do/Where would you like to go as a First Date?

Hmmmm…. This is such a hard question and really shouldn’t be!!!  I need to think more about this one.

10. What book are you currently obsessing over?

Both Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (can’t you tell??!?!) and The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. They are such great books and very fun reads.

11. What fictional food or drink would you love to try?

I would love to have dinner in the Great Hall at Hogwarts and eat all of those tasty dishes that they describe in the books. I would also love to try Butterbeer (the real kind— does anyone have a recipe for that?)

Confessions of a Book Blogger: Reading Slump Update

bloggraphicInstead of a What I’m Reading & Writing Wednesday this week, I will be writing a Confessions of a Book Blogger (because I have still yet to finish either of the books I’ve been reading for about 3 weeks now). So. Frustrating.

harry-potter-4Last week, I expressed my frustration because for the first time ever, I felt like I was in a reading slump. I was feeling entirely overwhelmed with work other than reading (because I do 99% of my reading for pleasure— it shouldn’t feel like work!). But it did feel like work. I was about 1/4 of the way through a really good book and still didn’t want to pick it up and read it. So it stayed on my nightstand and stared me in the face, or I carried it around in my bag every day and felt guilty when I didn’t pick it up on my break.

tumblr_m0l1c9JE6X1r6gc77Aww, poor Dean, don’t cry— the book isn’t really mocking you.

So I asked all of you– what do you think I should do? And asked if you have ever experienced this before. I was so excited to see the support that I got from fellow book bloggers and readers. Some had advice and tips and others told me that they were feeling the same way. I would just like to say, that you guys and gals are amazing— this is such a supportive community.

Last weekend was a busy one, but I made myself sit outside in the sun and read for about an hour on both Saturday and Sunday. It wasn’t a cure for my slump, but I felt so much better for having read something and for making progress. I am hoping to finish Days of Blood and Starlight by this weekend and I am going to read How to Write Irresistible Kidlit when I start writing again. “Kidlit” is good, it’s more of an informational book— not something that I would really read for pleasure. And with my reading slump I want to do more pleasure reading— and less what I feel I should be reading.

74370So after I finish Days of Blood and Starlight, I’m not going to jump directly into the third book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. I think I need to wait and read a shorter book or two before I do that. Dreams of Gods and Monsters is a pretty darn chunky book and I think I need to re-read a shorter favorite and maybe read a shorter book I haven’t read before. Then I will take on Dreams of Gods and Monsters.

One of the books I am planning to read is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. I haven’t read this book in so long and I picked up an anniversary edition of it at the bookstore a month or so ago.

What are some other shorter books you would recommend I read?

Do you think I should be doing something differently?

Top Ten Most Unique Books That I've Ever Read.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is a freebie (yayyy)! I am choosing to talk about the top ten most unique books that I’ve ever read.

1. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

lunarchronicles

Nearly every one knows or has heard the stories of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and Rapunzel. However, if you make Cinderella a cyborg from another planet whose goal is to stop an evil queen from marrying a Prince and taking over the world with the help of Little Red and Rapunzel, you have The Lunar Chronicles. In my opinion, this whole series has been perfect so far and has surprised me more than once. It takes your typical fairy tales and flips them and I love that idea. Read my reviews of Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress.

2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

thebookthief

If not for the beautiful story, this book is very unique because of the narrator. The Book Thief, if you haven’t yet read it is narrated by Death himself, but he’s not a creepy, lurking character. He is gentle, kind, and compassionate and I love how he pauses and talks directly to the reader. While this takes  us out of this stunning work of art, his insight is helpful.

3. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

daughterofsmokeandboneI loved everything about this book, from it’s amazing main character to the unique way it looks at both angels and demons. It’s a beautiful story that is so easy to get lost inside. Read my review here.

4. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Steifvater

scorpioThe Scorpio Races was more than I had ever even expected, and I was surprised at how powerful and unique a tale it really was. I loved the two main characters and loved that Puck was such a strong female character, despite being told that she couldn’t race because of her sex. Read my review here.

5. I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak

messengerOne thing I loved about this book was how it showed that ordinary people are capable of doing extraordinary things. Ed, the main character in this book is going nowhere with his life when he starts recieving playing cards with directions on them in the mail, when he becomes the messenger. Like Zusak’s book The Book Thief, the narration was very unusual and the writing vivid and descriptive.

6. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznik

hugo_intro_cover2This book may look large and intimidating, but the story is told mainly through photos that progress almost as if it were a film. There is very little text, but it helps to read dialogue between characters. The illustrations in this novel are powerful and so detailed that it is easy to get lost in them.

7. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

TheGraveyardBook_HardcoverThe Graveyard Book was one of the very first books by Neil Gaiman that I have read and I was blown away at how unique the characters were in this book (and there were a lot of them). Gaiman paints such beautiful and memorable scenes that stick with you long after you are done reading.

8. Going Bovine by Libba Bray

goingbovineGoing Bovine is a hilarious and moving tale about a slacker who contacts Mad Cow Disease. While it tackles a tough subject and some of it is hard to read, the laugh-out-loud moments should not be overlooked. Read my review here.

9. The Diviners by Libba Bray

7728889I loved this book for so many reasons: it takes place during the roaring twenties, there is a supernatural serial killer on the loose in Manhattan, and a diverse and exciting group of characters that I can’t wait to see more of.

10. The BFG by Roald Dahl

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There is just something about the way Roald Dahl writes his heroes and his villains that keeps his books in your mind and heart for your whole life. This unique story of unlikely friendship between a young girl and a goofy giant has a wonderful message and is one of Dahl’s most memorable stories.

 

Confessions of a Book Blogger: Welcome to my First Reading Slump

bloggraphicLast week I started to read two very good and interesting books, but due to what I then thought was time constraints (between Matt graduating and getting ready for a craft show) I didn’t get much of anything read last week. This week has come and gone (almost) and I think that I have read maybe a handful of short-ish chapters in one of the books (Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor). I still love the book, the characters, and the world… but I am having trouble finding the motivation to read and I just don’t feel like I am in the mood to read.

Could this be my first real reading slump?

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These books sit on my nightstand or I carry them around in my bag on a daily basis, yet I just don’t pick them up and read.

What do you do when you feel this way about reading or books in general?

 

I was surfing around the net earlier today and found a bunch of tips on how to turn my situation around. Here are a couple of ones that I thought might help me out a bit.

  • Make time to read. How can someone fit reading into their busy daily lives if they don’t set aside time to read? Even if it is only 20 minutes at a time. This could honestly be my biggest problem. I have so much going on at work and at home that I don’t feel like I have time to read. Since it’s Friday and a long weekend. Maybe I should set aside an hour a day for the next couple of days and get some reading done.
  • Get cozy. Find a comfy place with little distraction and get to reading. For me, reading in bed just isn’t comfy. I get all slouchy or fall asleep with the book in my hands and end up loosing my place. But, I love curling up on the corner piece of our couch with a blanket and a book and just reading. When it’s nice out and the sun is shining I like to grab a blanket sit in the grass and read.
  •  Re-read an old favorite. This is one of the suggestions I see the most when people talk about reading slumps. The only problem I have with this is that I am currently reading two books and don’t want to completely forget what is going on in them. Maybe after I finish one of them I can do a re-read (see next point).
  • Read a shorter book. Days of Blood and Starlight is a pretty chunky book. As a book blogger, I have found it really difficult to constantly read chunky books because they take longer and I want to read at least one book a week (which I already haven’t been doing lately). I think what I might do is re-read an old favorite that is a nice, short book. Recently I picked up a new copy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Maybe this book will help me out a bit and break up the longer books I’ve been reading.

What are some ways that you have gotten out of a reading slump? Do you have any tips?

Postmark Soceity

J81WZeoyThis week has not been a good week for blogging. I am still reading the same two books that I was last week (and haven’t gotten much further along in them) but I did get a letter from my new penpal this week!

A couple of weeks ago, I joined the Postmark Society, a community for bloggers to find blogger penpals.

Years ago we used to get so excited to get an email because most of our communication came via mail. Today in the age of internet communication with email, blogs, and text messages we don’t get much hand-written mail, so it’s a treat when we do get some.

I sent my letter in response to my penpal this afternoon and I will be excited to hear back from her.

If you are interested in joining the Postmark Society check it out here!!!

If you’d like to be one of my penpals, let me know! I love sending/receiving letters and postcards!

Hopefully this weekend/next week I will be able to catch up with the book blog posts!

 

The Chocolate Book Tag!

I saw that my friend Marianne from Boricuan Bookworms posted this cute meme this morning, and while I wasn’t tagged, I figured that I would give it a shot and see what I come up with!

Dark Chocolate: A book that covers a dark topic. (abuse, domestic violence, rape, loneliness, bullying, death etc):

Speak_1st_Edition_Cover

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson covers the topics of sexual assault and bullying. The main character, Melinda is sexually assaulted at a party before she begins her 9th grade year and as a result of her calling the police, she is bullied and taunted by her peers to the point where she stops speaking altogether. Although this book is about a difficult topic, it has helped many victims of sexual assault speak up about what happened to them.

White Chocolate: Your favorite light hearted/humorous read

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Attachments by the wonderful Rainbow Rowell is the funniest book I have read in a really long time! While looking through books that I’ve read in the past couple of years, I realized that I haven’t read many funny books.

Do you have any light hearted/ humorous books that you recommend?

Milk Chocolate: A Book that Has a Lot of Hype that You’re Dying to Read

13618440Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor. I am currently reading Days of Blood and Starlight, and have quite a bit left in the book, but I have heard such amazing things about this book and I love the world that Taylor has created.

Chocolate With a Caramel Center: Name a book that made you feel all gooey in the middle while you were reading it

EleanorandPark

 

I know Rainbow Rowell is on here once already, but Eleanor & Park gave me all the feels. All of them. I laughed, I cried, I even got quite pissed at one point. But, overall this book is a wonderful, beautiful, and heart-wrenching read.

Water Free Kit Kat: Name a Book That  Surprised You Lately

indexCinder by Marissa Meyer. I had been hearing about this book and it’s sequels all over Booktube and on blogs and I thought that it might just be one of those books that would fall flat. I’d read so many retellings before that didn’t impress me, but WOW! I loved this book (and it’s sequels).

Snickers: A Book That You Are Going Nuts About

daughterofsmokeandboneOne of it’s sequels made the list already, but I am going crazy for Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I love the beautiful writing and the way it brings two very different worlds together. I’ve been talking about this book non-stop since I finished reading it.

Hot Chocolate With Cream and Marshmallows: What Book Would You Turn to for a Comforting Read?

tokillamockingbirdI often return to To Kill a Mockingbird when I need a familiar and comforting read. While some of the subject matter is difficult, I love Scout and Jem and their innocence and imagination. This book just reminds me of childhood and a simpler time in life.

Box of Chocolates: What series have you read that you feel has a wide variety and a little something for everyone?

HohseriesThe Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan is one of those series that I feel MG, YA, and adult readers can enjoy. It is jam-packed with action and drama, yet has plenty of mythology and fantasy. It’s a great way to learn about different Greek and Roman myths.

 

I tag:

Chrissi Reads

Hot Tea and a Good Book

Nadia Reads

Alex in Bookland

 

Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer- I want more Lunar Chronicles!

cressHaven’t started the Lunar Chronicles yet? Don’t spoil it for yourselves! Take a peek at my reviews of Cinder or Scarlet (depending on where you are in the series!)

Synopsis:

In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has

Why I love Cress!

  • I didn’t read Cress nearly as quickly as I would have liked, but the book itself was a fast-paced adventure. I loved how it was split between the perspective of the three heroines: Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress. The multiple perspectives allowed me to have a fuller experience while reading the novel because I knew what was happening on all sides of things, especially towards the end when things started to get real exciting.
  • Cress is a much different heroine than we see in the other two books. She has been holed up in a satellite spying on Earth since she was a small child and therefore she doesn’t exactly have the social skills that the others have. Cress is a very lonely person who kept herself entertained with stories that she made up for herself and she dreamed of herself being a damsel in distress saved by a hero. While I’m not a fan of the damsel in distress idea, I love how this was not your typical story that uses this trope. Cress grows more and more sure of herself over the course of the novel, which I loved.
  • There is so much Carswell Thorne goodness and oh gosh I freaking love him. He brings the right amount of cheeky and flirty humor that had me loving him from the get-go, but I love how he is with Cress. They have a very funny and interesting relationship, especially after an unfortunate series of events that leaves Carswell blind. He is definitely my favorite character in this book.

And now I have to wait for Winter and all I can say is this…

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Confessions of a Book Blogger: I may need a shelf purge.

bloggraphicI consider myself a reader and a blogger, but also a collector of books. I have a large shelf stuffed full of books (most of which I have managed to have two rows deep on the shelf and in any space on top of the rows that I can possibly fit them). It’s embarrassing actually and there is no way to display my favorites (as they are usually  at the back of the pile).

When I was in undergraduate and graduate school, I had a professor that had dollar book sales a couple of times a semester (I took multiple classes with this professor). What she did was pick up books at garage sales and such for a dollar or so and sold them back to us for what she bought them for. However, I always went quite a bit overboard with this, buying quite a few books each time she had a sale.

So much of my bookshelf are books from these sales. I bought them with the hopes that they would one day go into my future classroom (which doesn’t look like it will happen any time soon, or at all). I’ve never read them, and some of them (or most of them) I don’t think I will ever read.

I think it might be time to do a bookshelf purge.

*hides*cringes*covers eyes with hands and peeks between fingers*

I’ve seen a couple of bloggers talk about bookshelf purges and never really had any opinion on the topic. However now that it comes down to me having to do one of my own I have mixed feelings.

My collection of books is one of my most prized possessions, so I’m torn. I love how excited other readers get when they browse through the titles on my shelves. But you can’t really see the books on my shelf and they look like a mess. I am running out of room for them.

But will I honestly read these books? And will someone else enjoy and actually read them?

It’s just so sad, and difficult for me to accept that I have to get rid of them.

crying-rain-gifHave you ever had to do a shelf purge? If so, how did you go about it and what did you do with the books?

Even if you haven’t, how do you feel about getting rid of books?

What I'm Reading & Writing Wednesday!

whatimreadingandwritingwednesdayHello there friends and happy Wednesday!!!

What I just finished reading…

cressMy review of Cress is scheduled to post tomorrow but for now I can say that I absolutely loved this book. Come back tomorrow to read my thoughts.

What I am reading now….

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor (which I just started yesterday) and Writing Irresistible Kidlit by Mary Kole.

While I have a lot of difficulty accepting a lot of YA being labeled as Kidlit, this book has been really helpful thus far and is insightful as to what teens expect from the books that they read. This will help me a lot when I begin writing Confessions of an Ice Cream Girl in July (woohoo— it’s only been on hiatus for years now)!

What I’m Writing…

I am beginning to re-outline last year’s NaNo novel using a new plot structure that will help me push my plot along. I have changed it from a multiple perspective novel to having a single narrator (which might actually be difficult, but we will see how it works.

What Else Am I Up To???

Everything. My boyfriend is graduating this weekend and we are having a huge party for him at our house.

I am still getting ready for that craft show and have made a couple more cute critters and am working on others.

So things are a bit overwhelming and sometimes I would really like to do this…

tumblr_mckr3peO6t1r7r93bBut the crazy stress is almost over and I can start enjoying this beautiful weather.