Thursday, December 31, 2015

Non-Fiction TBR

I thought I would do a quick post about some of the nonfiction books I own and hope to read soon. I have owned quite a few of these for a very long time, so I really need to get to them in 2016. My nonfiction also seems to have a feminist theme which I'm quite excited for

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert 
Summary from Goodreads:
In her early thirties, Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern American woman was supposed to want--husband, country home, successful career--but instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she felt consumed by panic and confusion. This wise and rapturous book is the story of how she left behind all these outward marks of success, and of what she found in their place. Following a divorce and a crushing depression, Gilbert set out to examine three different aspects of her nature, set against the backdrop of three different cultures: pleasure in Italy, devotion in India, and on the Indonesian island of Bali, a balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence. 

The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel
Summary from Goodreads:
As America's Mercury Seven astronauts were launched on death-defying missions, television cameras focused on the brave smiles of their young wives. Overnight, these women were transformed from military spouses into American royalty. They had tea with Jackie Kennedy, appeared on the cover of Life magazine, and quickly grew into fashion icons.

Annie Glenn, with her picture-perfect marriage, was the envy of the other wives; JFK made it clear that platinum-blonde Rene Carpenter was his favorite; and licensed pilot Trudy Cooper arrived with a secret that needed to stay hidden from NASA. Together with the other wives they formed the Astronaut Wives Club, providing one another with support and friendship, coffee and cocktails.

As their celebrity rose-and as divorce and tragedy began to touch their lives-the wives continued to rally together, forming bonds that would withstand the test of time, and they have stayed friends for over half a century. THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB tells the story of the women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history.

How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
Summary from Goodreads:
Though they have the vote and the Pill and haven't been burned as witches since 1727, life isn't exactly a stroll down the catwalk for modern women. They are beset by uncertainties and questions: Why are they supposed to get Brazilians? Why do bras hurt? Why the incessant talk about babies? And do men secretly hate them? Caitlin Moran interweaves provocative observations on women's lives with laugh-out-loud funny scenes from her own, from adolescence to her development as a writer, wife, and mother.

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
Summary from Goodreads:
Every Thursday morning for two years in the Islamic Republic of Iran, a bold and inspired teacher named Azar Nafisi secretly gathered seven of her most committed female students to read forbidden Western classics. As Islamic morality squads staged arbitrary raids in Tehran, fundamentalists seized hold of the universities, and a blind censor stifled artistic expression, the girls in Azar Nafisi's living room risked removing their veils and immersed themselves in the worlds of Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry James, and Vladimir Nabokov. In this extraordinary memoir, their stories become intertwined with the ones they are reading. Reading Lolita in Tehran is a remarkable exploration of resilience in the face of tyranny and a celebration of the liberating power of literature.

Memoirs of a Beatnik by Diane Di Prima
Summary from Goodreads:
Long regarded as an underground classic for its gritty and unabashedly erotic portrayal of the Beat years, Memoirs of a Beatnik is a moving account of a powerful woman artist coming of age sensually and intellectually in a movement dominated by a small confederacy of men, many of whom she lived with and loved. Filled with anecdotes about her adventures in New York City, Diane di Prima's memoir shows her learning to "raise her rebellion into art," and making her way toward literary success.Memoirs of a Beatnik offers a fascinating narrative about the courage and triumphs of the imagination.

Leave me some recommendations for nonfiction! 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 Goals Wrap-Up

At the beginning of the year, I made a list of goals I wanted to achieve reading wise and on the blog, so I thought I would look back on them today and see how I did before I make any new goals for 2016. You can read the original post where I made these goals here. And my summer check in here.

Book Titles Link to Reviews

Reading Goals 
1. Reread at least ten books Rereading didn't happen very much this year, even though I would have loved to reread more, I just didn't get the chance. I reread a few things this year, but not as many as I planned. 
I reread:
Harry Potter and the Soccer's Stone (The Illustrated Edition)
Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas (Currently Reading)

2. Complete my reread and classics lists Another goal that just didn't happen. I still want to read or reread all of these books, and I will try to work them into 2016. Here's the list, and here's what I did read

3. Read 75 books My original Goodreads goal was 75 books, but I changed it to 65 just after half-way through the year because I underestimated how much school work I would have. I did reach my goal of 65 books, and I'm really happy with that number and the books that I read this year! 

4. Read more new releases I think I did rather well on this goal too. I read quite a few new releases this year, and even better than that, I got most of them from the library. Here's which 2015 releases I read:
Ms. Marvel vol. 3 Crushed by Willow Wilson
9/13 came from the library! 

5. Read newly purchased books sooner after purchasing them This goal is a little hard to gauge the success of because I don't really keep track of when I buy and when I read books. But I will say this goal will probably be around next year too, because I have way too many unread books right now (mostly thanks to Bookoutlet) and lots of books I bought at the end of the year that I need to read. 
Blogging Goals 
6. Continue my literary look series These posts take a while to put together, so I'm really happy with the number of posts I was able to put up this year and the quality of them.
Other Goals 
7. Relax! I'm really happy with the progress I made towards this goal this year! This year was extremely stressful and busy, but I managed to keep a cool head and keep everything in perspective; I've made huge improvements since last year! 

I learned a lot from my goals this year. This year, I took the max amounts of credits each semester and I'll be doing the same next year so I will be able to adjust 2016's goals appropriately. School really took over my life and wiped out all of the energy I had for reading at some points in the year, so these goals just weren't possible. I don't mind not completing goals; reading is something I do for fun and enjoy, and I would never want to do anything that makes it feel like work or not fun anymore. I love setting goals and making lists, so I will be making some more for next year, but they will likely be smaller.

How did you do on your goals in 2015? Do you like setting goals?

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: 2016 Releases on my Radar

I've spent a lot of time on Goodreads browsing the 2016 releases lately, and I've come across quite a few that I'm excited for. I left off some of the more obvious sequels and novels like The Raven King, The Winners Kiss, and Truthwitch in order to highlight other releases, but I'm excited for them too of course. Leave me your link below so I can check out your list and expand my 2016 releases TBR!
Hosted by: The Broke and the Bookish
Book Titles Link to Goodreads


1. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi  
Release Date: May 3rd
I'm really loving how YA fantasy has been taking inspiration from non-western cultures and traditions lately.

2. A Tyranny of Petticoats edited by Jessica Spotswood  
Release Date: March 8th  
This sounds like an amazing collection of historical fiction, girl-power short stories! I love a lot of the authors in this collection, and I have high hopes for this one.

3. The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude
Release Date: May 3rd 
This one sounds like a creepy thriller about small town life and more importantly, look at this cover!

4. The Steep and Thorny Way by Cat Winters
Release Date: March 8th
Cat Winters is doing a retelling of Hamlet in 1902 Oregon featuring the Ku Klux Klan?! Sign me up.

5. All The Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
Release Date: January 26th
This one sounds really interesting, and possibly a bit complicated. It's got elements of romance, time travel, and magic so you can't go wrong.

6. The Sleeping Prince byMelinda Salsibury 
Release Date: April 26th
The first book in this series was intriguing, but left a lot of things unanswered. After reading the synopsis for this one, it looks like this book is about different characters. I'm confused, yet also interested. And I know people think the cover is beautiful, but I find the prince to be a bit creepy.

7. Heir to the Sky by Amanda Sun
Release Date: April 26th  
This premise has got me really intrigued! It sounds like a cool mix of sci-fi and fantasy

8. The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman 
Release Date: January 26th 
I'm up for any and all historical fiction with fantasy elements.

9. This Savage Song, by Victoria Swab 
Release Date: June 7th
Swab has quite the reputation and I have yet to read many of her works. This one sounds action packed.

10. Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Banderia 
Release Date: January 12th 
This isn't something I would normally pick up, but it looks fluffy and light, which I do get in the mood for every once and a while. 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Recently Read: A Darker Shade of Magic

Author: V.E. Schawb 
Genre: Adult fantasy
Publication Date: 2015
Page Count: 398
Rating: 4/5

Kell is an Antari; he is able to travel to parallel Londons with magic, and he is one of only two like him in the world. He carries messages to the crowns of each London, Red, Grey, and White, and works for the crown of Red London. The worlds were once connected, but Black London has been destroyed by bad magic and the other worlds sealed themselves off from one another as a form of protection. When Kell comes across a relic of that evil magic from Black London, he teams up with a wannabe pirate, Delilah Bard to keep the remaining worlds safe. 

This was my first Schwab novel; I'd been hearing quite a bit about her books for a while now but never got around to picking one up until now. I really enjoyed the writing in this novel and the world building. Details about the world and the magic system are revealed throughout the story and I much prefer that method to the big boring info dump at the beginning of the novel. I loved the idea of parallel worlds and traveling through them, and I think that this series has a lot of potential because the world is so interesting. 

The characters and their relationships were not quite as developed as I wished they were. Kell and Rhy are adopted brothers and are supposed to be extremely close, but there wasn't enough scenes with the two of them together to build that relationship for me. Kell and Delilah are both likable characters, but Delilah is the more interesting of the two. She is a cross-dressing thief who wants to be a pirate more than anything, and I'm really eager to see her story and character develop in the sequel and the third book, as I believe this is going to be a trilogy. 

This book was a lot of fun, It was the perfect mix of magic, adventure, action, and wit. I'm eagerly awaiting the sequel, and I will be checking out some of Schwab's other works as well, both her YA and her adult novels. Plus, the covers for this series are just gorgeous, here is the sequel's cover, which comes out in February.
Which Schwab book should I read next? 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Things I'm Loving Lately

I thought I would compile a little list of things that I have been loving lately. I would love to know what you have been loving lately, in any or all categories, so let me know!
T.V. Gilmore Girls 
I'm currently making my way through Gilmore Girls on Netflix, I'm on season three right now, and I'm obsessed! I love the humor and heart in this show and the complex dynamics of all the different relationships. I love Stars Hollow and Rory's reading taste. I'm planning to watch more over break, but so far I have been resisting so I can get some reading done. I will be so sad to finish this show, as I love it so much, but I have heard a few details about a reboot in the near future which makes me very, very happy!
People Frida Kahlo 
Over the summer, I went to see the Frida Kahlo and Diego Riviera exhibit at The Detroit Art Institute and ever since seeing her artwork and learning more about her life, I have been really interested in her. She was such an exceptional painter, and all of her works are so personal and moving. A lot of her works deal with pregnancy and the miscarriage she suffered and it's heartbreaking but I love the raw element of womanhood that it brings to her art. I would really love to read some biographies on her and have added a few to my Goodreads TBR.

The Two Fridas 
Music Justin Beiber and The Neighbourhood
I have been loving Beiber's newest album Purpose which I think we can all agree that everyone was surprised at how enjoyable it was. But I have also been loving The Neighbourhood, who I have been listening to for years. I just bought their latest release from earlier this year, Wiped Out! and I have been playing it on constant repeat. I really like these guys, their lyrics double as poetry and have a darkness to them, but just a hint. They are the band that sings Sweater Weather which you may remember from a few years ago as it was on the radio every other second for a while. So check them out if you are looking for some new music!

Movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens and particularly BB8  
I grew up in a Star Wars home. My younger brother has loved, and I mean LOVED, the series since he was about four (he's almost 18 now) so my house has always been covered in memorabilia and talk about Star Wars. I have of course seen all the movies, but I never considered myself a mega-fan, but I really loved the new movie. I loved the strong female lead (amazing, amazing!) and I loved the nostalgic feeling I got while watching the movie even though I was never a mega-fan myself. I think it's amazing when stories can bring so many different people together for so long like this franchise has, and the energy and loyalty that comes with it is amazing. It was cool to see my brother so excited and nervous for it, and BB8 is the cutest thing I have seen in forever! I'm on a mission to buy myself a plush BB8 for my bed now. So, if you haven't seen The Force Awakens yet, I recommend that you do, even if you aren't a super-fan. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

End of 2015 Book Survey!

Jamie @ the Perpetual Page Turner has posted her annual End of the Year Book Survey, and I have decided to participate again! This is my second year participating (read 2014's answer's here) and I loved looking back at my reading year to put this post together.

2015 Reading Stats

Number Of Books You Read: 63 so far
Number of Re-Reads:
Genre You Read The Most From: Young Adult

Average Rating on Goodreads: 4.0 

Best in Books

1. Best Book You Read In 2015?

Love this book!

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Ended up not even finishing this one

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

I was really surprised at how much I liked this one! 

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

I constantly recommended Cat Winters this year

 5. Best series you started in 2015? 

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?

Love Cat Winters

And Elizabeth Wein

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?


 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Love the action in this series 
(and the girl power)

 9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?

11. Most memorable character of 2015?

Jude is one of the best characters I have read in a very long time.
You'll probably be sick of this cover by the end of this survey.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015?

Both are inspiring and call for action! 
Half the Sky calls you to help others.
Just One Day calls you to help yourself.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read? 

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?

(SELF PORTRAIT: Boy Remakes World Before World Remakes Boy)
I'll Give You the Sky by Jandy Neslon
And, all of the poetry written by Rose in Rose Under Fire- specifically "Love Song & Self Portrait"  

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?

64 pages

516 pages

17. Book That Shocked You The Most

(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)
I was very surprised by this book. I was surprised
with how much I needed to know what happened next
and by what happened next. 

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

Emma and Mr. Knightly <3

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

So much bromance in this series! 

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

21. Best Book You Read In 2015 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?

I was definitely swooning over Mr. Knightly 

23. Best 2015 debut you read?

So cute and funny! 

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015?

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

A very honest look at mental illness with
beautiful writing

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Code Name Verity made me cry,
but Rose crushed my soul 

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015?

LOVE Sedgwick, he is a genius 

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

I was prepared for this to wrap up the story,
but all it was was a filler book to 
set up the story for another one or two books.
Not impressed, but the first two books 
were so good! 

 Blogging/Bookish Life

 1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2015?

All of them! I love all of the blogs I follow!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2015?

I love my Emma and The Ghosts of Heaven reviews, but mainly because I loved the books so much!

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

I posted a few discussion/thought posts this year ( I call them 1 A.M. posts as that is when I am likely to think of a topic for one and write it.) My favorites include one discussing The Power of a Name another asking if Book Boys are Dangerous and one where I talk a little about What Literature Means to Me

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

I didn't do too much in the way of events this year, as school was overwhelming, but I have some planned for next year already. I loved starting a few new series on my blog though! I started my Tale as Old as Time series where I showcase some beautiful old books I have picked up over the years and the Which Adaptation is Right for You? series where I compare adaptations of books. I've done Romeo and Juliet, Jane Eyre, and Pride and Prejudice, with plans for more next year!  

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015?

I would say the best moment for me this year was beginning to recognize my regular readers (and the fact that I have "regular readers"!!) I loved that this year I got comfortable with some bloggers and that I regularly comment on their blogs, and that people feel the same way about my blog!

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

Definitely keeping up with school, finding time to read, and blog. I had to take some breaks this year because school was taking over, but I was alright with that. I like blogging, but it's not my job, so it was nice to be able to put it on the back-burner without feeling any pressure when school got hectic. 

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

Most Popular: 2016 Debuts I'm Excited For
Most Popular Review: Emma by Jane Austen

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Bookoutlet!! Best and worst books discovery of the year

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

This was a bad year for book challenges for me as school pretty much took over my life! But I did reach my Goodreads goal.  I didn't finish my list of rereads and classics for this year, but I don't feel too bad about it. 
Looking Ahead


1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016?

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)?

Honestly, I think it might be the next illustrated Harry Potter! 

3. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016?

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2016?

Read more of the books I already own! My TBR is out of control right now! 

Well, there is another year in the books. I hope you had as good of a reading year as I have had. Leave me the link to your end of the year survey so I can check it out! Happy Holidays!