My Half-ass Attempt at T5W: SF/F Auto-buy Authors

Omigosh guyyysss…. I want to blog so bad but I’m so tired. Like… my eye won’t stop twitching, why aren’t these kids of mine in bed, wish I could focus on something… TIRED!


So Top 5 Wednesday. I wish I had the energy to put more thought into it but here’s a quick list of my Top 5 Auto-Buy Sci Fi/Fantasy Authors:

  1. Marissa Meyer
  2. Victoria/VE Schwab
  3. Rick Riordan
  4. Leigh Bardugo
  5. Neil Gaiman
  6. Gregory Maguire

Oh yeah… look at me going above and beyond with 6.

Now, that doesn’t mean I own all of these author’s books. Not even close. I haven’t even read everything by these authors. This just means that I see the name and know that it’s something I would enjoy without having to know what it’s about, and that I look forward to enjoying their work.

The T5W prompt specified SF/F genre… but I would add Benjamin Alire Saenz and Alice Hoffman to my list of auto-buy authors.

What authors do you trust to not let you down… and what happens if they do?! Are you more cautious of their next book you come across? Or do you shrug it off and maintain an optimistic enthusiasm for the rest of their books…. can’t hit a home run every time, right?

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Bookish LOLs

Happy Sunday Reader Friends!

These are some things that I have come across on the internets this week that gave me…if not a laugh, at least a chuckle.

My sleeping habits have been…not good lately.

My book buying is out of control

I still get warm and fuzzy feelings when I remember scholastic order forms and book fair days.

And this gem: πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

If you come across any good memes send them my way. You can tag me on Instagram @read.craft.repeat

Let’s Talk About Illuminae…

So here is where I wish I had the camera and the face to make YouTube videos. I need to talk about Illuminae. It would be so much easier to just start filming and purge all my thoughts… but that’s not going to happen. Instead I have to try to type as fast as my brain flies as I get out my thoughts about this book, before I move onto reading Gemina.

This is going to be loooooong and FULL OF SPOILERS… I’m warning you now. I know that I am in the minority, that most people are already done with the entire series, so I think this will be okay to post.

okay…. ready….SPOILERS AHEAD…

Let me start out by saying I had no idea what I was getting into with this book other than it was written as a compilation of documents. That seemed gimmicky, but the consensus seemed to be that it was done well. I didn’t pay much attention to what the actual story was about. Something about space… something about teenagers…. emails… text messages… ok, I’ll bite. So I checked out a copy from my library.

I started off pretty slow with the book, but could tell it was going to be easy to read and follow, and that I would probably enjoy it. I liked Kady and Ezra’s sarcasm and reactions to the interviewers in the beginning, when they were first evacuated from their mining planet, Kerenza IV.

I figured it would be a kind of Star Warsy story… their planet got destroyed as part of some intergalactic war. But then…. oh man…. Phobos.

Let me pause for a minute and discuss ‘trigger warnings.’ I have to be honest, these annoy the crap out of me. When I hear or read “Trigger warning… this character is a homophobe…. that character is sexist…. violence…. abuse…. etc” I’m not saying these things are not serious and upsetting, but I don’t feel like readers should be coddled like this. How many years did we get by with just picking up a book and deciding for ourselves how to react to it, whether it was too upsetting to continue… I don’t know. I just wonder if all these trigger warnings all the time are necessary.

So back to Illuminae…. I get to page 145 and the briefing note says “read with the lights on,” and all of a sudden I’m wondering where the heck my trigger warnings are! No one EVER said anything about a highly contagious virus turning people into zombies.

For the record, my three biggest irrational fears are:

  1. Super Viruses (especially weaponized)
  2. Zombies
  3. Rogue A.I.

Omigosh… reading about that first report of the guy who killed his wife and children and cut out their eyes….and the report from a lab tech that you can tell is just tell is dissolving into paranoid madness…. so creepy!!!

I did NOT see this turn of events coming! I guess I should have, but I just figured the black cloud that spread over Kerenza during the attack from BT was just going to be a degenerative CNS affliction. That’s bad enough. But turning everyone into… well, not technically zombies…. but yeah basically zombies. Worse than zombies! They maintained their memories and critical thinking and were able to organize into hunting parties. ahhhhhhhh!!!!

I told my husband about this point in the plot and his response was “Uh oh.” Honestly, that’s the highest amount of enthusiasm he can muster when I go on reading induced bouts of hysteria. But at least he lets me vent, and he knew that this was going to be an issue for me. He was quite surprised later when I told him I was loving the book. So I’m actually glad I didn’t have those warnings about viruses and zombies or I might not have read this.

And now for biggest fear #3… rogue A.I.

When AIDAN got turned back on and the damaged systems were trying to reboot. Wow. I loved how he started making inferences and conjectures and getting <error> messages… because, he’s not coded to think that way. Genius! These authors are geniuses!

I got to thinking about some other examples of AI that I’ve enjoyed. Iko in the Lunar Chronicles, and Mech6.0 from the short story The Little Android, both by Marissa Meyer. I also thought about a book I read called A Working Theory of Love in which a man uses his late father’s journals to develop a personality for an AI program that doesn’t know that it isn’t actually human. All of these get you feeling so confused and raise moral quandaries about what makes a person a person. Sentience? Reasoning? Empathy? The ability to Love?

You come to believe AIDAN did the right thing when he took out Copernicus…. kind of… I mean… he shouldn’t have made that call by himself, but yeah in the end… it was the right call wasn’t it? And he saved the Alexander by dropping the logic bomb on the Lincoln. But then…. he goes all HAL on them.

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If you don’t know, HAL 9000 is the AI from the classic SciFi movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.

I saw this movie when I was may 12…ugh quick math puts that at nearly 20 years ago. Damn, I’m old. So it is definitely time for a re-watch. But the impact it had on me has certainly been lasting. To date… I have NOT hooked up the Echo Dot that my mom gave us, and Alexa makes me uncomfortable. I know, I know. I’m crazy.

ANYWAY, Illuminae is very obviously influenced by Space Odyssey when it comes to this point in the plot.

It was just so disturbing to me when AIDAN’s logs reflect his growing emotions (I guess they’re emotions) and his feelings of love toward Kad. And then at the end, her attachment to him! WHAT? She plans on rebuilding that sociopath computer?! Disturbing… and yet, it’s kind of great.

But I have a hard time with AIDAN’s logic systems. I was waiting for someone to point out the fault in his reasoning that his actions were saving the fleet. I agree the General was a threat… but AIDAN’s actions decimated the Alexander… how was that protecting them? I feel like I missed something. I understand how ultimately he needed Kady to be on board to help defend against the Lincoln, but I don’t get why AIDAN allowed Phobos to spread like that.

I need to wind down now. But before I go I want to mention that Ezra is my favorite character, and I was nervous there for a minute. Luckily I was pretty sure I had heard he was in the second book, so I never totally believed he was gone.

I LOVED the format. Especially the parts when AIDAN is recording the battles with the Lincoln and the text takes the shapes of the pilots in formation, of their flight paths, and the chaos of the battle. And how the shape of the text bounces in the way Kady does when she has to don an Enviro-suit and travel down the outside of the ship. So good!

This book was so good!

Is anyone still reading this post? gosh it’s a long one. I think this was more for myself, since I have no one to talk to while I read it. I was tempted to try Instagram live, but I don’t like being filmed, and I really don’t have the following to do something like that. I did post a picture and my reaction when I got to the first part with the virus. I would love to find a way to incorporate reaction AS I’m reading. I started a Twitter account (@AReadsandBlogs) so I could maybe try sharing on there as I read… but I don’t really know how to Twitter.

What exactly is buddy reading? Where do I find these buddies? Maybe I could try that.

Anyway, I’m really looking forward to watching (and reading maybe?) A Space Odyssey, and to reading Gemina and Obsidio.

April TBR

There is SO MUCH I want to read this month!

Heaven knows I have enough to pick from!Β  My goal is to get through a lot of what I own without getting any more from the library than I already have checked out, and WITHOUT BUYING ANY MORE BOOKS!!!

To compile my TBR for the month, I decided to play along with two different challenges:

The Game of Books, hosted by Bibliobibuli, a new group on Facebook.

  • For this, there is a game board that we roll the dice to move along and use the prompts on the spaces to select books to read for the month.
  • The same book can be used for up to two criteria.

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latest.jpgMagical Readathon, hosted by Book Roast on YouTube.

  • This readathon, as I’m sure you already know, is based off of the O.W.L. exams in Harry Potter.
  • The subjects are as follows:
    • Ancient Runes- Read a book with a symbol on the cover
    • Arithmacy- Read a book with a number on the cover or in the title
    • Astronomy- Read a science fiction novel
    • Care of Magical Creatures- Read a book that includes magical creatures OR features a magical creature on the cover
    • Charms- Read a fantasy book
    • Defense Against the Dark Arts- Read a book about/featuring secret societies/clubs
    • Divination- Read a book featuring prophecies
    • Herbology- Read a book with a nature word in the cover
    • History of Magic- Read a historical fiction book
    • Muggle Studies- Read a muggle non-fiction book
    • Potions- Read a book about/with alchemy
    • Transfiguration- Read a book that deals with transfiguration or similar theme OR a book with a cat on the cover
  • For an Outstanding grade on you must sit for (start) and pass (finish) at least 5 O.W.L.s
  • Here is the letter from Hogwarts with full details and grading levels.

In order to not overwhelm myself I tried to pick books that worked for both challenges simultaneously.Β  This way my TBR stays small enough that I have plenty of room for mood reading.

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My April TBR

Illuminae, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

  • Finish (started in March)

A Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J Maas

  • Finish (started in March)

Gemina, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

  • Game of Books: Book that’s Part of a Series
  • OWLs: Astronomy

Obsidio, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

  • Game of Books: Freebie
  • OWLs: N/A

The Sister’s Brothers, by Patrick DeWitt

  • Game of Books: Black Cover
  • OWLs: History of Magic

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, by Patricia A McKillip

  • Game of Books: Freebie
  • OWLs: Care of Magical Creatures

The Motion of Puppets, by Keith Donahue

  • Game of Books:
  • OWLs: Transfiguration

A Court of Mist and Fury, by Sarah J Maas

  • Game of Books: Freebie
  • OWLs: Charms

Simon vs. the Homo Sapien’s Agenda, by Becky Albertalli

  • Game of Books: Red Cover
  • OWLs: N/A

I would also like to read some graphic novels this month, particularly a few volumes of Fables, and Wires and Nerve.Β  I’m really hoping to be able to get my hands on Saga vol 8, too!

What do you plan on reading this month?

Book Ban Fail

In the spirit of full disclosure, I must confess to you fellow readers- almost IMMEDIATELY after posting my March Book Haul and announcing that I NEED.TO.STOP! with all the book buying… my sister in law called to talk about her Easter visit and we made a plan to check out my local used book store, Books & Co.

(Not my photo)

We decided it was our duty to go and rescue books that have already been abandoned once, poor things, and give them nice forever homes.

I ended up buying four books there:

  • Wires and Nerves by Marissa Meyer
  • The Penderwicks at Point Mouette, by Jeanne Birdsall
  • The Titan’s Curse, by Rick Riordan
  • Incantation, by Alice Hoffman

So, yes, while I had said I was putting myself on a book buying ban… I never said when I would start it. This was technically still March (it was the 31st) and it just makes sense to finish off the month with a bang before starting fresh in April. Right? Right.

From there we went to Barnes and Noble and I didn’t buy anything. I kept to caressing the books and swooning and whispering promises to return for them someday. Oh that was hard!

Wish me luck sticking to my guns in April.

I will not buy books.I will not buy books.I will not buy books……

March Wrap Up

Hello Readers!

I hope you all have read some great books this month. I have been pretty satisfied with my reading choices, and I think part of that was being okay with putting down the things I was not enjoying.

I did not do well at all with my NetGalley e-Arcs. I only managed to read one and it wasn’t even one from my TBR post. I started two others, but just could not get into them and gave up. Despite having three DNFs this month I still managed FIVE five-star reads.


Here is a breakdown of my March reading-

Total pages read: 3,860 (page count according to Goodreads of the books I finished. I didn’t include the number of pages I read of the books I DNF’d)

Number of Books Started: 19

Number of Books Finished: 14 (3 DNFs, 3 finished beginning of April)

  • Physical Books- 8
  • Ebooks- 5
  • Audiobooks- 5
  • Graphic Novels- 4

 

I’m not sure if you have ever noticed that my reading format numbers don’t add up to my total books started for the month. In some cases I read the same book over multiple formats, so that explains that.

And here is a closer look-

Wintersong, by S Jae Jones 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

  • Oh boy did I love this book! It was my first read of the month and I fangirled HARD over it. It got 5 STARS from me. I was so surprised to have liked it so much based on what I’d been hearing about it. I haven’t read the sequel yet, even though I did buy it immediately upon finishing this book. I wrote about how much I was enjoying Wintersong in my first Currently Reading post of the month. I definitely will be re-reading this whenever I feel nostalgic for the Goblin King.

 

The Goblin Market and other Poems, by Christina Rosetti 🌟🌟🌟🌟

  • I read this on the Kindle app because it was 60 cents on Amazon and heavily referenced in Wintersong. It was a really great read and I would certainly love a physical illustrated copy.

 

My Boyfriend is a Bear, by Pamela Ribon 🌟🌟🌟

  • This is a graphic novel I read via NetGalley as an eARC. I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting, but I don’t think it was this. As the title suggests, this girl was in a romantic relationship with a bear. A literal bear. It was a cute story, though. And that bear actually was a really good boyfriend, but I think I was expecting it to be more of a metaphorical situation. It was interesting that some people were able to accept the relationship, and others were attempting to sabotage it. I actually found myself angry at her blonde friend who invited an ex to her birthday party. Here I am thinking ‘how dare she disrespect their relationship?!’ and then checking myself… “but this is a literal bear… how can this end well?” I was waiting for that disastrous event that I was sure was coming… I mean, it’s a bear… around people…. but it never did. Happy Ending. Cute. This was simply a cute story with very appealing art.

 

The Life and Death Parade, by Eliza Wass

  • This was another eARC from NetGalley. I could not connect with this book. The plot summary definitely seems like something I would enjoy. I typically like dark, moody, emotional magical realism. In this case though, I could not connect with the characters and was therefor not interested in the story. The writing seemed a little choppy and abrupt to me too. I ultimately chose not to continue reading this book rather quickly. I was really struggling with it and decided there are too many things that I want to read to invest any more time in something I was not enjoying. I saw plenty of other rave reviews for this, so I may pick it up as a finished version later… sometimes a book just has to be read at the right time in order to enjoy it.

 

Hillbilly Elegy, by JD Vance 🌟

  • I listened to this audiobook SOLELY because it was my book club’s choice for the month… and then I didn’t even get to go to the meetup! I HATED THIS! I initially gave it two stars on Goodreads, but ended up bumping it back to one. The family drama was the only interesting part of this. Eventually it turned into Vance basically talking about why he is better than everyone, else especially since he overcame so much. He comes off as a smarmy bull-shitter to me. Just my opinion though, apparently I’m in the minority.

 

Fire Song, by Adam Garnet Jones 🌟🌟🌟

  • I was so excited to receive this eARC from NetGalley. I posted a review of it here.

 

Educated, by Tara Westover🌟🌟🌟🌟

  • This is the second memoir I read this month! I don’t usually read nonfiction, so I really don’t know what got into me. But this was very good. I recommend it to anyone who wants to read about an abusive religious fanatic father. I kind of couldn’t believe that I am the same age as the author, what a different experience she had growing up!

 

806, by Cynthia Weil

  • Another eARC from NetGalley that I just couldn’t connect with, 806 is about an unlikely trio who discover they were conceived using the same sperm donor. YA Contemporary is a very hit or miss genre for me. This one was a miss. Someone who reads this type of book might enjoy it, but I found this particular story really cheesy. None of the characters were very likable, least of all the main character KT. I also found almost every scene to be unbelievable. And also, I just have issue with the premise of looking for a sperm donor as a parent. If they were adoptive siblings looking for bio parents, I may have been more invested. But I feel like nothing about sperm donators feels very paternal to me. I feel like, a one night stand pregnancy, or abandoning a mother mid pregnancy… something like that… would make more sense as someone to look for. But not a sperm donor. I don’t know, just my thought on the subject/plot in general.

 

Fables volumes 1 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟, 2 🌟🌟🌟, and 3🌟🌟🌟🌟, by Bill Willingham

  • Volume 1 hooked me, I gave it five stars. It felt like I was reading a really edgy version of Once Upon a Time (remember when that was a good show?) to the point were I read Snow White’s dialogue in Regina’s voice, and Bigby’s in Gold’s voice. Bigby is easily my favorite character. Volume 2 was really dark, as you might expect anything called ‘Animal Farm’ would be. I didn’t enjoy it as much, giving it 3 stars, but I liked getting more information on the structure of how things have worked for the fairy tale characters since they had to leave their land. Volume 3 was definitely better than 2 and got four stars out of me. I can’t wait to see how the series continues.

 

American Gods, by Neil Gaiman🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

  • As I mentioned in my March TBR post, this book was chosen for the Marauder’s Book Club group read this month. I read a paperback as well as listened to a full cast audio version of this. The version of the audio that I had (the 10th anniversary edition) was amazing. I loved reading about the gods of old living in modern America. Yes, this book was slow in a lot of places… but that is just Neil Gaiman for you. Even when the plot progression slows way down, the writing is still captivating and purposeful. It’s a five star book for me.

 

The Upside of Unrequited, by Becky Albertalli 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

  • I would NEVER have picked this up based on the cover alone. But when I learned more about the book I knew I had to give it a read. I understood everything the main character felt. I underlined the crap out of that book whenever I came across a thought that mirrored my own when I was in high school. This is an example of YA Contemporary that totally worked for me. And it was an easy book to read all at once on a snow day while my husband entertained the kids. Five Stars! I loved it. I really want to read more by this author. I’m hoping Simon vs the Homo Sapien’s Agenda gives me all the feels.

 

Nimona, by Noelle Stevenson 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

  • I got this as an audiobook on the Overdrive app because it is narrated by a full cast, with Rebecca Soler narrating as the title character (She narrated all of the Lunar Chronicles books, and amazingly so). I had no idea this was written as a graphic novel. When I learned that, I was hesitant to listen because… well… how in the world would that go? Well, let me tell you. It went. I went so well. I felt like I was watching a movie… with my ears. And the story itself was so good! I definitely want to get get my boys a copy of the graphic novel. It plays a lot on the perceptions of good and evil, and separating the heroes from the villains. FIVE STARS!

 

The End of Oz, by Danielle Page🌟🌟🌟

  • I really didn’t think I would finish this series. I didn’t think I cared that much. But one day I needed something to listen to that I wasn’t terribly invested in, so I listened to this while I did some housework. I gave this book three stars, which happens to be how I would rate the entire series (I didn’t read the novellas that go with it, and I don’t feel the need to). None of these books are written very well, but they are fun enough. Especially the first (Dorothy Must Die). I absolutely hated the ending of this book, and thus the series. It made everything so damn pointless. I do wonder though if there will be another series to come. I would probably read more by this author. I won’t expect greatness, but you don’t need every book to be great now do you?

 

Stars Above, by Marissa Meyer 🌟🌟🌟🌟

  • I love the Lunar Chronicles and I will take more of it wherever I can! I loved these short stories. I read the first one in February when I got the book, (two or three of them I had already read on Wattpad) I technically finished this book on April 1st, but I read most of it in March. I’m going to go story by story at another time I think, but I gave the book overall four stars.

 

Other books I started, but didn’t finish, in March-

  • Illuminae, by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J Maas

 

Hopefully you enjoyed your reading this month. Let me know if you have read any of these and what you thought of them.

I’m really excited about all the reading I want to do in April. I feel like I’m already off to a good start.

MARVEL Book Tag

I have no idea where this tag originated… so if you know, clue me in… and I’m pretty sure it’s on the older side, but it is clever and fun so I wanted to play along.

I actually haven’t seen all that many of the Marvel movies, but my husband and I recently decided to go back and watch them all. When? Who knows… between his work schedule and homeschooled kids that stay up too late…we don’t get much time for movies. But yeah we are excited to watch them all at some point.


1. IRON MAN- Favorite first book

I’m going to have to go with A Darker Shade of Magic as my favorite first book because it got me so pumped and excited for what comes next. I’m so glad this came up in my book club, and that the timing was so perfect and it was just before the 3rd book came out and I got to devour them all.

2. CAPTAIN AMERICA- A book that takes place in another time period

Outlander. Holy hot and steamy time travel, Batman! Oh wait that’s DC not Marvel…sorry. But yeah, this book WRECKED me. I never had a book hangover like I did after this one. To the point were its been years and I can’t continue the series or watch the show for fear my heart can’t handle it.

3. THOR- a character you liked more after they were cast.

This is tough, because I am rarely happy with movie adaptations and how they’re cast. But I will say that back in my silly Twilight fan days I was 100% Team Edward, but absolutely Team Taylor over Team Robert when it came to the actors. But now I have a feeling if I were to reread the books…I wont, but IF… I would probably be Team Jacob.

4. QUICKSILVER & SCARLET WITCH- a book with a sibling duo

If you want a book featuring sisters who have each other’s backs… We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. Really good. An eerie story that makes you wonder what exactly is going on.

5. LOKI- a villain you love and can’t help but be attracted to

I am going to cheat and pick to booms for this one. The Goblin King in the first half of Wintersong is a sexy antagonist, but then he isn’t the villain at all for the second half of the book, so I am strengthening my answer by adding Holland from the Shades of Magic series. I pictured him as Eric Bana for some reason…it works for me. Mm.

6. ANTMAN- a book you’ve been meaning to read

Why haven’t I read Shadow and Bone? Dunno. I know I’m going to love it. I made the mistake of reading the Six of Crows duology first so I’m a little spoiled, which stinks, but I don’t mind that much, I’m still excited and plan to read this soon.

7. HULK- a book you can’t talk about without getting angry

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton I don’t even want this book on here it makes me so fucking angry. Ugh.. i hate it. But like the whole world loves it? Why!? There were so many places this could have gone… so may good ideas that just got dropped. And the book ended and that was that. So many holes. Funnily enough though, my book club’s meetup for this was probably my favorite. We had a BLAST ranting about it.

8. BLACK WIDOW- a side character that you wish had their own book

Hatta from Marissa Meyer’s Heartless. I would love a prequel that told his story.

March Book Haul

Guys…. woah. What did I do? I went a little crazy is what I did.

Remember my 2018 Reader Goals? When I said I didn’t want to put myself on a book buying ban…. oh I’m going on a ban!

No more buying books until I’ve read or gotten rid of the books I already have!!!

This is literally me.

I didn’t even remember all the books I bought this month! I forgot to include my first book purchase of March in that larger than life stack of books!

I borrowed Wintersong by S Jae Jones from the library, and IMMEDIATELY upon finishing it I went to Barnes and Noble to buy my own copy and the sequel. I have not yet read Shadowsong. For shame. Shame!

My next splurge happened at Target. I bought 3 paperbacks: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, and The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli.

I hit up the used book store at not one, but TWO, different libraries… on at least three different occasions. And yes, yes I did buy the same book twice. Because I’m trash. Honestly, I maybe shouldn’t have bought the Southern Vampire Mystery books… but they were fifty cents each, and they’re such easy reads, and I enjoy them for the brain numbing urban fantasy smut they are… so yeah, I bought them.

And lastly… I TRIED to tell myself not to do it- to just drop off the bag of donations and drive away. But I did it. I went INTO Savers and I browsed those thrifty book shelves. I browsed them hard.

Buy 4 get 1 free means I leave with at least 10 books. Every time. But there are only 9 books there? My son picked a Disney Princess comic book collection and took it before I could get a picture. It’s adorable, trust me.

I also got this book from TJ Maxx last week:

Every Friday we do pizza and a movie or games. I thought it might be fun to include a page or two from this in our family nights. It’s full of prompts about things we like to do together, and nice things to say to each other, etc. I think it’s sweet. So I bought it. Because I’m a monster.

WHAT HAPPENED TO ME!?

I showed zero self control. I have an addiction! Yikes!

How did you do? Did you splurge or save this month?

Happy Reading (and/or Shopping)!

Book Reviews vs. Reactions- is there a difference?

I find that I’ve been having a hard time sitting down to write a review when I finish a book.Β  I didn’t expect to have this problem when I started this blog, but here is why:

I read for fun.Β  I don’t dissect a book as I read it.Β  I don’t really even know how to discuss the more technical successes or failures of a story.

My opinion is my opinion.Β  I love books other people hate.Β  I hate books other people love.Β  I don’t like defining a book as good or bad.Β  More often it is just not for me.

My opinion changes.Β  Once upon a time, I loved Twilight.Β  I swooned over 50 Shades.Β  GAG! Some time passed… my new-mom hormones balanced back out… and now I HATE THOSE BOOKS!

My reviews are not always relevant.Β  I read books late.Β  I wait for a series to finish before jumping into it.Β  I read old books- books that I bought and forgot about, never got around to, or that I found cheap at a thrift store/library sale.Β  I plan on reading Jurassic Park soon.Β  I think it’s basically accepted that it’s a very good book.Β  Me reviewing it seems kind of pointless. I just started ACOTAR for the first time (gasp! I know right!?), and 99.9% of the bookish community already knows what it is about, has read it, and (likely) enjoyed it.Β  Again… a review from me is pointless when the rest of the world has been there, done that.

Ain’t nobody got time for that!Β  I can’t blog every day.Β  I can’t find the time to review books as I finish them, and by the time I sit down, I’ve read something else and don’t feel like going back.

There are other ways to share my thoughts and opinions of a book.Β  In my opinion, a reaction to a book is different than a review of a book.Β  Often, my Currently Reading and monthly Wrap Up posts include how I felt about a book.Β  My opinions are purely subjective.Β  My emotional state, my mood, my kids’ behavior, the weather, the amount of dishes in the sink… all factors that can affect how I relate to a book.Β  It is so personal.Β  Like I said, I don’t read books technically.Β  I read to lose myself.Β  I just don’t feel like I can be unbiased enough to assess the quality of a book… BUT I can’t tell you how I felt about it, and how I personally connected to it.

Never say never.Β  I’m not saying that I am never going to post anymore book reviews on my blog.Β  But I’m not going to stress about not getting to them anymore, because I am going to accept that they just aren’t my cup of tea.Β  Actually tea isn’t my cup of tea either…. I’m a coffee drinker.

I will definitely give my opinions in the form of a star rating and short reaction in my reading wrap up posts.Β  Just know that my star ratings are completely selfish and subjective, and have more to do with me, the reader, and whether I found what I needed from the book.

Also, I am going to make more of an effort to make notes on Goodreads and not just select a star rating.Β  I typically open up the Goodreads app on my phone as soon as I finish a book, so I think I am more likely to include a line or two there than to make the time to sit down and compose a full blog post for every book I read.Β  And then I can link to that when I wrap up my month.

I don’t even know if any of this make sense or if I’m just rambling.Β  I guess I just feel like a review is more of a critical break down of a book, and a reaction is more of a personal opinion/reflection.

What do you think?Β  Is there a difference?Β  Can a book blogger blog without blogging book reviews? (Say that ten times fast).

My Ancestry DNA Results & Reading Goals

I believe I’ve mentioned this briefly in another post, about reading books from or about the countries of my heritage… with that said, I promise this post will tie into books eventually.


For Christmas, I received an Ancestry DNA testing kit. I’d been dying to do this for so long, can we say great advertising!?

I know that my mother was born in Ecuador and has lots of family there. I know my father’s parents are from Peru and that there’s an Italian great-grandfather on that side as well.

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My first trip to Ecuador that I can remember. In the 90s I loved the Chicago Bulls and Tazmanian Devil… which explains the shirt.

My skin is light, but my features dark; my first name originates from Greece, and my last name is Spanish.

I’ve been asked if I was Greek, Israeli, or Egyptian by people from those places.Β  Could there be some influence from these places?

 

 

My maternal grandmother is from the Ecuadorian city, Guayaquil, and my grandfather comes from the mountains (Riobamba). My paternal grandfather spoke of the Peruvian jungles and his brother the shaman.

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My sister and I with our Great Grandfather, on our way to Pallatanga, Jul 2001.

I’ve been told that there is a large German influence in Ecuador, and I’ve read that the late 1800’s brought Chinese (slave?) laborers to the Andes, so I kind of expect to see some low percentage of ancestry derived from these places.

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In Riobamba meeting my mother’s paternal grandparents, Jul 2001.

 


I have been so excited to get these results, and I wanted to do something special with them. Maybe have a map printed with the results highlighted to display in my living room. Maybe get my hands on some cultural art work. Maybe I will do those things… but then I thought, how can I really connect to the results? And then my inner bookworm spoke up: read.

I was inspired by the Around the World in 1000 Pages book club, hosted by Russell on Ink and Paper Blog. I love the idea of experiencing new places and cultures through literature, and while I will watch all of Russell’s videos and browse the Goodreads discussions, I don’t think I will read along with this book club every month.

BUT, I will go on my own journey. I will use my AncestryDNA test to build a list of books that take place in or are written by an author from each country listed in my results.


It felt like forever, but I FINALLY got my DNA report back from Ancestry last week. It took well over the estimated 6 weeks because apparently the whole world got this for Christmas.Β  There wasn’t anything particularly surprising, I pretty much got the results I expected.Β  Seeing Native American on there was really important to me for some reason; even though I know that the indigenous groups of South America differ greatly from the tribes of North America which I am more familiar with.

 

The above map is an overview of my results including the low confidence regions (percentages listed in the summary screenshot). My maternal grandmother also did the test so it was fun to see the results side by side. She had 5% Nigerian listed on her results where I had 0%… but the current book for the Around the World in 1000 Pages club is Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngoze Adichie, and I wanted to read it anyway… so I will read it in honor of my grandmother’s 5% result!

I am going to create a page on which to list my DNA results and compile a reading list. This way I have a place to link everything back to and not lose posts in my blog history.


If you’ve made it to the end of this long post… good job! Let me know if you have done anything like this- ancestryDNA testing, family interviews, a pilgrimage… whatever! I feel like it is so important to realize that we are all a beautiful mix of people and places.

Also let me know if you have any book recommendations for me.

Happy Reading Everyone!