10 Ways to Read More

Helloooo. In the world we live in, everyone is BUSY. Busy studying, busy doing homework, busy working, busy, busy, busy. Sometimes it can be hard to find and make time to read, but I believe that reading is a wonderful balance to all that business! So I’ve composed a list of ten tricks that might help all the busy people out there with balancing their lives with reading. Let me know if you have any tips that I didn’t think of!

  1. Listen to audiobooks.
    Audiobooks are great. Nowadays, they are such a portable book format and you can listen to them at times when you couldn’t actually read a book: while driving, showering, brushing your teeth, getting dressed, making coffee… The list goes on. Audiobooks are an especially good option if you’re like me and can’t read during car rides because of motion sickness!
  2. Always have a book with you (physical copy, ebook on your phone, audiobook, etc.).
    You never know when the opportunity to read will arise. You’d be surprised how many spare minutes here and there you can take advantage of, and how much they add up.
  3. Read whenever you can.
    In between classes, during a lull in instruction, during lunch, while walking (jk)… You get the idea.
  4. Read wherever you can.
    On the subway, at the bus stop, in the car, on a plane, under your desk… I think you catch my drift.
  5. Read before bed.
    Even if you’re tired, read a few pages! It’ll help your mind relax and improve your sleep.
  6. Re-read.
    Re-reading books you’ve previously read consumes less of your time and energy. Plus, reading a book you know you love may help you get back into the swing of reading regularly.
  7. Buy books.
    I’ve found that I’m less likely to brush aside a book if I paid for it because I’ve already invested in it and I hate waste. I’m not saying you should buy all your books though, mind you.
  8. Read adaptations.
    If you love films or TV, try reading the print version. Or better yet, read the book first and then treat yourself to the screen adaptation!
  9. Prioritize.
    Instead of insisting that you don’t have time for reading, make time for reading. If you really want to read more, prioritize it. Carve out time every day, or as often as you’d like, for reading. You can try scheduling regular reading time, or just make room for it as you go.
  10. Make it fun.
    This goes for everyone, whether you’re trying to get out of a reading slump or trying to get into reading. Have fun with it. Read books you’re interested in. Don’t pressure yourself. Find a cozy reading niche and curl up with a cup of tea. Treat reading like it’s a luxury, because for many people it is.

What are your tips for reading more?

Thanks for reading.

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Red Rising by Pierce Brown

20766595Novel: Red Rising by Pierce Brown | Goodreads
Release Date: January 28, 2014
Publisher: Del Ray (Random House)
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Rating: DNF

The Earth is dying.
Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it.
The Reds are humanity’s last hope.

Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it’s all a lie.

That Mars has been habitable – and inhabited – for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds.
A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought. Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside.

But the command school is a battlefield – and Darrow isn’t the only student with an agenda.

Break the chains.

Live for more.

I wanted to love Red Rising. It’s been on my “to-read” shelf on Goodreads for awhile, but it wasn’t a priority until I binge watched Natasha of Tashapolis’ videos with author Pierce Brown a few weeks ago. Pierce Brown is incredibly handsome, funny, nerdy, and charming, so naturally I had to read his debut novel ASAP.

I made it 124 pages into the paperback edition of Red Rising, up to the beginning of chapter 17. That is when I realized that this is more of a library book for me, rather than I book I need to own. I returned both Red Rising and its sequel, Golden Sun, to the bookstore, and I have placed a request at my local library for the first installment. I definitely think my impression of Red Rising would be different if I had originally read it from the library, because I expect so much more from books I buy; I expect to love them. Red Rising is definitely good and intriguing, but it didn’t pull me in enough to keep it on my shelves.

You might be wondering why I am reviewing a book I haven’t finished, but I didn’t not finish Red Rising because I thought it was bad. It just wasn’t quite my cup of tea. The writing style is informal, and takes a little getting used to. I didn’t connect deeply with Darrow, the narrator and protagonist, though admittedly, I didn’t give him much time. The world Pierce Brown has created is very unique and cool and interesting, and I liked the influence of Greek and Roman mythology. Red Rising feels like a mix of dystopian and science fiction, though one could easily pretend it’s also fantasy. My main problem, I think, is that dystopian and science fiction are two genres that don’t hold much appeal for me. What I read of Red Rising was promising; I believe it is a good book. But maybe it just wasn’t a good enough book for me. What I’ve come to realize is that a really popular/good/hyped book may be all of those things for the right audience. But that doesn’t mean every one of those books will be amazing to me. Some people can’t get into Harry Potter; I have a friend who reads classics and romance and thinks that Harry Potter is rubbish because she never connected to it. I think that I may still finish and enjoy Red Rising, but for now, it’s not worth the time and energy for me to read it, and it wasn’t worth the money I spent to buy it because I know that I would never re-read it. I recommend Red Rising to readers who enjoy science fiction and space, have an interest in dystopian fiction, or think the premise of the novel sounds appealing. I’m positive that Red Rising will be an amazing book to some people; it just didn’t resound with me.

Thanks for reading.

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Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

18053135Novel: Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi | Goodreads
Release Date: February 4, 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Rating: 4.5 stars
Originally Published On: A Charming Reverie

The heart-stopping conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, which Ransom Riggs, bestselling author of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, called “a thrilling, high-stakes saga of self-discovery and forbidden love.”

With Omega Point destroyed, Juliette doesn’t know if the rebels, her friends, or even Adam are alive. But that won’t keep her from trying to take down The Reestablishment once and for all. Now she must rely on Warner, the handsome commander of Sector 45. The one person she never thought she could trust. The same person who saved her life. He promises to help Juliette master her powers and save their dying world . . . but that’s not all he wants with her.

The Shatter Me series is perfect for fans who crave action-packed young adult novels with tantalizing romance like Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Legend by Marie Lu. Tahereh Mafi has created a captivating and original story that combines the best of dystopian and paranormal, and was praised by Publishers Weekly as “a gripping read from an author who’s not afraid to take risks.” Now this final book brings the series to a shocking and satisfying end.

This is the third (and sadly the final) book in the Shatter Me trilogy. THIS BOOK WAS *ALMOST* PERFECT. I loved it- it was everything I hoped for it to be without even realizing it. As far as dystopian trilogy conclusions go, this was by far one of the best. Everything happened the way I wanted it to without being dragged out unnecessarily and annoyingly. WARNER, sigh. Juliette was so incredibly, surprisingly strong in this book. She completely redeemed herself in my eyes and I found myself really admiring her strength as a protagonist. Tahereh Mafi’s writing was beautiful as always, and possibly even more poetic than in the previous two books. No strike-throughs, which showed Juliette’s internal development.

*SPOILERS*

Wuliette. Jarner. Warniette. Jaaron. I give up. Tahereh Mafi has made it impossible to ship Juliette and Warner with a cool name but it doesn’t matter because they’re going to be together forever, HALLELUJAH. I love Warner. Aaron. Whatever his name is. So. Freaking. Much. I’d like a Warner in my life, please. It was agony when they were cordially distant in the middle of this book. I think I squealed when Juliette finallydeclared her love for him.

I was so thankful that Juliette wasn’t wishy-washy with Adam; I appreciated that she made her decision and stuck to it unwaveringly. Speaking of Adam, what a jerk. I understood where he was coming from completely, I really did. But the way he lashed out at Juliette was very surprising to me, and at times in this book he reminded me of his father (much more so than Warner). I feel *slightly* bad for Adam, and I wish we got more of an ending for him, but I know that this needed to happen for my sanity and Juliette’s character development. But mostly for my sanity. Adam changed a lot throughout this installment. He behaved quite appallingly for most of the book. By the end, he was tolerable. I knew after Unravel Me that I wanted Juliette to be with Warner, but I still cared about Adam a lot as a love interest and a character. I think Mafi did a good job of smoothly transitioning the romantic plot from Adam’s favor to Warner’s. She explained and proved why Warner was a better match for Juliette very well, showing that the choice represents more than just romance- Juliette is stronger as an individual with Warner.

If Adam hadn’t been so hurtful in Ignite Me, I would’ve felt more torn- I still would’ve shipped Warniette, but would’ve wanted a super happy ending for Adam and probably would’ve resented Juliette for hurting him. But Mafi did an excellent job of changing readers’ opinions realistically and gradually so that everyone can logically (and emotionally) accept the ending to this fantastic love triangle.

I also thought it was awesome that Juliette learned to project and control her power so that she could be invincible or turn it off. Now she can touch Kenji (who is one of my favorite characters in this series). I loved all of the Warner scenes, especially the ones that occurred in Adam’s house. Laughed. Out. Loud. Warner is a boss. I also loved learning about Warner’s true motives in the early chapters of the book, when he revealed to Juliette why he had first studied her journal that he retrieved from the asylum. We learned a bit in his novella, Destroy Me, but having it all pieced together changed both Juliette’s and my impression of him. He is a truly unique, fascinating, and wonderful character to read about.

*END OF SPOILERS*

My single qualm with this book (other than the continuation of lackluster world-building that was present in the previous two installments) is the rather abrupt ending. The rebellion was a bit rushed, but I honestly didn’t mind that. After the final chapter, I was expecting either another chapter, an epilogue, SOMETHING. It left off almost as if there would be a fourth book, but then there was an author’s note that made it very clear that the series was finished. *SLIGHT SPOILER* After all these characters have worked so hard to bring down The Reestablishment, I feel like we deserve to see how their lives have changed and how they have changed the world. I would have liked a “One Year Later” or “Five Years Later” or a novella to show us the aftermath of this revolution. The last page in this book didn’t feel like the last page in a series- it felt like a cliffhanger that would be followed by another book. I want some closure! How are Juliette and Warner doing? How is the new government? What is the world like now? How’s Adam? Is he with Alia now? Have Warner and Adam bonded? Does James know Warner is his brother? ETC., ETC., ETC. Also, I was hoping for a really cute, sweet, sentimental Juliette-Warner scene at the end, kind of like Bella and Edward’s “forever” scene at the end of Breaking Dawn. *OKAY SLIGHT SPOILER IS OVER*

So up until the final page, when I said “Seriously? That’s it?” I loved the book wholeheartedly. I still do for the most part. I just think it could’ve really, really used something in addition to the original ending to give readers closure for the future and a chance to contentedly say goodbye to the characters we’ve grown to love, knowing that they are thriving. The non-ending is rather frustrating. Okay, extremely frustrating the more I think about it… I feel like I haven’t said goodbye to these characters yet because I keep expecting something more that is never coming. And the more I think about it, the more I think that everything was almost too easy. Everything worked out exactly the way I wanted it to, which was awesome when I was reading the book because that hardly ever (okay never) happens.

But now, two days later, I don’t find myself still thinking about this book. Because I didn’t encounter any struggles while reading in getting what I wanted, I can blissfully forget the book. I think of it positively and with happy thoughts, but I don’t think “Yeah, everything almost went wrong, but then I ended up being satisfied.” This wasn’t a Champion or a Mockingjay where I felt like I’d lost some and won some. I won everything with this book. So why am I strangely disappointed? Because when I am too satisfied with a book, it tends to be less memorable after awhile in my mind. I’ll remember liking it and being happy at the end, but not much else. Whereas other dystopian trilogy conclusions I may not have liked or enjoyed reading as much, but I remember more. This all made more sense in my head. (Pulls hair out in frustration at not being able to properly express nonsensical feelings.)

Overall, I found Ignite Me to be a very beautiful, well-written book and conclusion to this wonderful trilogy. I also think this would’ve been a great book to have dual POVs or a second POV sprinkled in occasionally, but Juliette’s POV was very interesting and much more than bearable. I hope this review doesn’t come across as negative- I thought the book was phenomenal so I can only pick apart the things I didn’t like (otherwise this would be ten pages of absolute gushing). The ending was more like a non-ending, but otherwise I loved this book and don’t think anyone who has loved this trilogy will be (very) disappointed!

Thanks for reading.

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Top 10 Female Characters

I love reading about fantastic female characters, whether they be protagonists or side characters, so I thought I’d compose a list of my top ten fictional female characters to share with you. I wouldn’t say that they are in order necessarily, with the exception of the first four. Let me know if we share any favorites!

  1. Celaena Sardothien//Aelin Galanthynius
    (Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas)
    My favorite, favorite, FAVORITE heroine of all time. I will say nothing other than to order you to read the Throne of Glass series. You won’t be disappointed.
  2. Lia
    (The Remnant Chronicles trilogy by Mary E. Pearson)
    Lia is a bomb female protagonist. She is sharp-witted, sharp-tongued, and just awesome all around. I would love to be her!
  3. Hermione Granger
    (Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling)
    I feel like if I were a fictional character, I would be Hermione. She’s so bookish and loves learning, but she also has a sense of justice. Not to mention, she doesn’t put up with much crap. I love and respect her so much.
  4. Katniss Everdeen
    (The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins)
    Katniss is just a classic at this point. She’s so badass and strong-willed, and Jennifer Lawrence really brings her to life in the film adaptations.
  5. Arya Stark
    (A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin)
    Okay, so this is cheating a little bit because I mainly picked Arya because I love her character in the show Game of Thrones. However, I have read the first book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, A Game of Thrones, and Arya is boss.
  6. Annabeth Chase
    (Percy Jackson & the Olympians series by Rick Riordan)
    Annabeth, like Hermione, is always seeking wisdom and knowledge. She’s courageous and keeps Percy humble… She and Hermione would make great friends!
  7. Rose Hathaway
    (Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead)
    Strong-willed, sassy, and loyal… How can you NOT love Rose Hathaway?
  8. Sydney Sage
    (Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead)
    Sydney is another intellectual one. If I weren’t Hermione, I’d probably be Sydney. She’s a rule follower as long as the rules are just and good, and she always strives to do what’s right. I love her development and find her very relatable.
  9. Cammie Morgan
    (Gallagher Girl series by Ally Carter)
    My 12-year-old dream was to become a spy thanks to Cammie. She’s fun, relatable, and has an AWESOME occupation!
  10. Professor McGonagall
    (Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling)
    Minerva is such a beloved character in the Harry Potter fandom. Stern, just, and loyal, she’s a fantastic teacher, leader, and role model for her students and her House.

Who’s your favorite fictional female character?

Thanks for reading.

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Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

15839984Novel: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge | Goodreads
Release Date: January 28, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Rating: 4.25 stars
Originally Published On: A Charming Reverie

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle—a shifting maze of magical rooms—enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

I really liked this book. It’s a very unique retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It was different than any book I’ve ever read, and that’s why I was able to overlook all the minor flaws. Because it’s an original fairytale retelling, with a very original world/setting, an interesting plot, and interesting characters. It’s a puzzle; the plot is a problem to solve. I loved the mystery. I liked the protagonist, Nyx. She’s someone I could be myself with- we’d be super sarcastic and pessimistic together. I liked Ignifex- he reminded me of Adrian from VA, Warner from Shatter Me, Noah from Mara Dyer. Not exactly the same as any of those characters, but he’s the guy you try to hate because you think (know) he’s no good for you, but you’re inexplicably drawn to him- his chiseled jaw, his sardonic wit. And somehow, he ends up being perfect for you all along. By you, I mean the main character because as unfortunate as it is, we the readers are unable to engage physically or otherwise with a fictional character (trust me I’ve tried). Thus, we live vicariously through the protagonist (sigh). But I digress.

Don’t be put off by the “love triangle”. It isn’t what it seems at all. Just wait until you get closer to the end and you’ll find yourself a nice little twist. The author doesn’t ever come right out and blatantly explain things. There’s no scene at the end where everything is explained. You are given hints and have to piece it together yourself. Hodge helps you, and by the end you think you know everything. But it’s all based on predictions, inferences, and implications. I liked that though. I found the plot and history easy to infer and understand by the end, even if it wasn’t all laid out on the table like a Thanksgiving feast. It keeps me thinking and wondering (in a very good way) even after I’ve finished the book. It keeps me curious.

This book felt like a standalone novel to me. I definitely would like to see a companion novel, a prequel, or another book/fairytale retelling set in this world. There are fantasy elements, demons, Greek mythology, even older mythology, and historical fiction elements in this book. It was such a unique and wonderful read and it has made me thoughtful even hours after finishing it. I definitely recommend it!

Thanks for reading.

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