Friday, October 10, 2014

Stepping out for a bit: be back soon!

Hi all! Like always, life gets in the way and the culprit this time is grad school applications. I'm consumed with getting things done (essay, letters of recommendation, paying all the annoying fees!) as well as working so until I can rest easy and be certain that everything has been submitted properly, the blog will be quiet until then. Hopefully things will work out sooner than later! Anyway, I hope everyone has a good weekend and happy reading! :D

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Monthly Wrap-Up: September 2014

September 2014: The month where I read two books, and had way more happening irl.

I had so many things happening in September, I'm kind of amazed at how I even managed to fit in time to read for fun. I've been helping a friend prepare lessons for her new part-time teaching position, I've been working more, and I am starting to get the ball rolling on grad school. So anyway, I read two books in September but I reviewed three (you'll see what I mean):

This was an impulse read after discovering it at my library and let me tell you, I had WORDS to describe this book. And they were not positive

Then this NA title by Ann Aguirre made its way into my hands. I had requested it from my public library and did not expect to get it so soon (the date online said I would receive it in October). Then the following day I got a text from the library saying it was ready for pickup! So I read this with high hopes....and I wasn't disappointed exactly but I wasn't enthused either.

Oh, and then this gorgeous book. I had read it in August but I took forever in reviewing it. I don't know how many times I rewrote/added onto the first draft of my review for FANGIRL but it took ages. I had a lot to say about this story but all you need to know is that I, like so many others, loved it to pieces. 

Snapshot of September 

Next Month's Reads 

I *still* need to catch up with THE ARCHIVED that you all voted for and I've been in such a weird, moody phase when it comes to reading that I'm not planning anything for October. I'm just going to pick up whatever strikes my fancy and focus on review pile along with the picks my readers have chosen for me. So along with THE ARCHIVED, I'll eventually be reading....

It was close between this and THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE but IF I STAY won. So I'll be picking it up sometime soon. Thanks to all that voted!!! 

What's going on with me: 
  • I am LOVING the arrival of the fall season. I'm tired of summer and flip flops so I'm totes ready for colder weather, multi-colored leaves and Halloween! :D
  • I got an instagram!!! And it's SO addictive. Forever Young Adult had their photo-a-day challenge which I decided to participate in which meant getting one and I don't regret it! It's so much fun.
  • I mentioned before that I'm starting the process to apply for grad school and I have decided to go for library science! I'm not sure why I didn't think of doing this sooner but I am excited, I have a program in mind and now I need to get my stuff ready for admissions. I'm legit ready to be a student again, I miss school. 

So how are you doing, my lovely readers? Happy for fall? Ready for pumpkin-flavored treats and drinks? ;)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: September 10th, 2013
Source: Library 

Synopsis: Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan...

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere. Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone. For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Review: I'm going to do my best to review this because I loved so many aspects of this book. I'll try to pin down each of these and explain them in a rational way versus me typing in caps that YOU NEED TO READ THIS. (Although that seems to be effective?)

Cath's character really resonated with me, even though at times she was not the most likeable person. She is extremely anti-social, concerns herself with her Simon Snow fanfic and though she is exceptionally talented and smart, she doesn't try to branch out. She is comfortable with her routine and is very resistant to change. Was it frustrating to read about this? Yes, but it was so rewarding for me as a reader when Cath finally makes those steps to move forward. It was interesting for me how I could understand her viewpoint about herself, her relationship with Wren (and how in her mind Wren was in the wrong) and other things but I could also step out of Cath's head and think, "girl, you make things harder than they have to be!" I rooted for her and liked her in spite of her flaws. 

I also have to mention the multiple narratives in this novel. FANGIRL is told in third person through Cath's point of view, but Rainbow Rowell also gives us a glimpse of Cath's fanfiction along with the actual writings of the author of the Simon Snow series. Rowell juggles these three narratives like a pro and I really enjoyed reading snippets of Cath's fanfics and comparing them to the original Simon Snow stories. (Which had a similar vibe to Harry Potter and I loved that! Can Simon Snow become an actual thing?) 

Two characters that stood out to me in FANGIRL were Levi and Cath's twin sister, Wren.  However, I have to start with Levi: such a sweet, decent guy who is completely different to Cath but they compliment each other so well. Undoubtedly he is the catalyst in Cath's life and their interactions all the way to the very end of FANGIRL had me hooked. I need to find me a real life Levi. ♥ Wren's character on the other hand presents interesting situations: unlike her sister, Wren wants change and actively seeks it. The sisterly bond is tested many times during the story but I have to say, I liked that Wren and Cath fought just as siblings would but also loved each other as fiercely.

One more thing I feel I should add is how Rowell depicts the Simon Snow fandom and how Cath fits within it. It's interesting that for someone who has quite the following for her SS fanfiction wouldn't be more interactive online with readers or have more internet friends since she is rather anti-social in real life. But I think that for Cath's personality (as someone who does indeed suffer from social anxiety), this fits with the story. While online communication isn't face-to-face, it is still a form of social interaction and our prickly but lovable Cath does not do well at first with any kind of social interaction.  

Final Verdict: FANGIRL is definitely up there as a favorite of 2014. I love that this is a book I can come back to and that no matter if you like it or dislike it, there's so many themes and characters that you can dissect. I, for one, adored FANGIRL. I can't recommend this book enough for anyone that wants to read something that will either introduce you to firsts of college, falling in love or trying new things. Or perhaps for anyone that has since graduated from having these "firsts" experiences and would like to reminisce. I had a little of both when I read Cath's story and I will undoubtedly be rereading this in the future. It gave me so many feels :) 

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In a nutshell? THIS.
Rainbow, you have no idea how much I love this book. Thank you for writing it!

Book Tag: The (Bookish!) Seven Deadly Sins

image source
I was tagged by the fabulous Alex who runs Anime Girl's Bookshelf. This tag was created by BookishlyMalyza. 

GREED: What is your most expensive book? What is your least expensive book?
Not counting my textbooks? My most expensive book is definitely my special edition of FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell. Which honestly wasn't even that much! But once I saw it, I *had* to have it. As for my least expensive book, probably the Y A hardcovers that I bought from Book Off in New York City which cost $1 each. 

WRATH:What author do you have a love/hate relationship with?

I try to see books as works by an author, not a reflection of how the author is as a person. I have to say that as of now I don't have any authors that I love/hate. So I guess I have no answer for this one!

GLUTTONY:What book have you deliciously devoured over and over with no shame whatsoever?

I'm a huge rereader so I've devoured many books without shame. I'll have to say Lisa Kleypas' THE DEVIL IN WINTER. I read it over and over for the swoon and the sexy times, yes, but I also marvel at how well crafted the two main characters are and happily trace their steps as they fall in love with each other ♥ 

SLOTH: What book have you neglected reading due to laziness?

Definitely George R.R. Martin's GAME OF THRONES series and perhaps Brandon Sanderson. Have you seen either of these authors' books? They resemble bricks! I feel like I need to be in the right mindset and not have any other books waiting to be read.

PRIDE: What book do you most talk about in order to sound like a very intellectual reader?
I always fall back on my Spanish lit degree and mention Don Quixote de la Mancha. I read portions of it for my lit course along with epics like Mio Cid and plays by famous Spanish playwrights. (Fuenteovejuna by Lope de Vega anyone?) I ate this stuff up as I studied it so I can definitely chat about it :)

LUST: What attributes do you find most attractive in male or female characters?

It depends! For guys, I go for the ones that are sweet, supportive and can make me laugh. So Levi from FANGIRL is a good example. But I don't mind if my fictional guys have a little bit of a toughness to them--I'm thinking along the lines of Noah's character from PUSHING THE LIMITS. Basically a guy that is inherently good on the inside and is willing to fight for you as well as alongside you :) 

For girls, give me a level-headed lady who is smart, compassionate and knows what she wants! I'd be remiss if I didn't include Hermione as one of my favorite literary ladies but others include Blue from the RAVEN CYCLE series, Evie from THE DEVIL IN WINTER or Ismae from GRAVE MERCY. All of these ladies are different from each other but they each encompass the qualities that I think are very important. And they're badasses so.... ;)

ENVY: What books would you most like to receive as a gift?

I'm falling in love with graphic novels and picture books so anything from either genre would make me happy. In terms of graphic novels, I'd love something like EL DEAFO by Cece Bell or HABIBI by Craig Thompson. As for picture books I'd be so happy to receive STELLALUNA by Janell Cannon.  

I had a lot of fun with this book tag! So I'll choose some peeps now. I tag:
Donna @ Lit Bites 
Leah @ YA Book Queen
...and anyone else that would like to join! :)