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August 16, 2017

The dangerous difference between unlikeable and intolerable


There is a fine line between annoying and intolerable. Personally, I have danced across this line so often that I am very familiar with the difference. Unfortunately, there are some characters who are completely unaware that there even is a line. 

All readers have met unlikeable characters sometime in their book adventures. These are the characters who make your blood boil and your veins bulge in frustration. For some reason or another, they get on your nerves. In fact, they are a common literary tool used to stir up emotion within the reader. Think about all of the romances that are hate-to-love. In the beginning, we all hated Rhys from A Court of Thorns and Roses (and even though some of us still hate him, you get the point), Will Herondale from The Infernal Devices, the Darkling from The Grisha series, even Haymitch from The Hunger Games. When I think about it, there are a lot of characters who started pretty high on my "I'd-love-to-watch-you-burn" list, but ended up on my list of favorite characters. I classify these characters as "unlikeable" since they rub me the wrong way sometimes, but have not completely lost their chance for my respect


But, there is another kind of annoying character. The kind that crosses the line between decent indecency and hateful scumbag. These characters are definitely unbearable, but sometimes it can be hard to discern when they changed from merely unlikeable to full-blown intolerable.


August 1, 2017

The month of coming back (again) | July 2017



Even though summer is on its way out for the year, things are just heating up on the blog. I am finally feeling back into the groove of reading and blogging, even if I am still a tad behind.

I detailed all of the nitty gritty detail about my three-month absence in my earlier post, which you can feel free to read if you want. But, the point is that I am focused on the future of my blog, and I hope you are too. 


What's Up Next?


In the upcoming months, I have quite a few things planned, one of them being actually posting on the blog. I want to revive my book memes of Classic Conversations and Book Battles in the near future. And of course, post more reviews and discussions. Secondly, I want to diversify (literally and metaphorically) the content on my blog. Essentially, I want to start writing about more things (like TV shows, the occasional movie, and some discussions that lean outside of the book universe). I would love to hear any suggestions for non-book related topics you want to see here!

I am also painstakingly attempting to fine-tune my blogging style. The first one you probably did not notice, but it makes a HUGE difference to me. I am trying to make my blog graphics more cohesive and recognizable. 

I am also adding a new feature to the bottom of most of my posts called "Takeaways" as sort of a highlights reel of the post. For me, reading is important not only for the occasional laugh and OTP romance, but also to widen my perspective and learn something new. The true value of literature is not how it makes you feel while reading it, but how the words leave an impression after the book is closed. So, at the bottom of every review, I will recap what impact the book actually ended up having on me, if any. 


July 28, 2017

Questioning my entire existence, but in a good way | All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

All Our Wrong TodaysAll Our Wrong Todays
By Elan Mastai
Published on February 7, 2017
384 pages
Adult, Science Fiction, Time Travel






You know the future that people in the 1950s imagined we'd have? Well, it happened. In Tom Barren's 2016, humanity thrives in a techno-utopian paradise of flying cars, moving sidewalks, and moon bases, where avocados never go bad and punk rock never existed . . . because it wasn't necessary.
Except Tom just can't seem to find his place in this dazzling, idealistic world, and that's before his life gets turned upside down. Utterly blindsided by an accident of fate, Tom makes a rash decision that drastically changes not only his own life but the very fabric of the universe itself. In a time-travel mishap, Tom finds himself stranded in our 2016, what we think of as the real world. For Tom, our normal reality seems like a dystopian wasteland.
But when he discovers wonderfully unexpected versions of his family, his career, and—maybe, just maybe—his soul mate, Tom has a decision to make. Does he fix the flow of history, bringing his utopian universe back into existence, or does he try to forge a new life in our messy, unpredictable reality? Tom’s search for the answer takes him across countries, continents, and timelines in a quest to figure out, finally, who he really is and what his future—our future—is supposed to be.

July 10, 2017

Mission Impossible | Books I have to catch up on


At the beginning of the year, I had a few reading goals. This year, I did not just want to read more, but also broaden my bookshelf. Most importantly, I wanted to read more diverse books, especially debuts. Unfortunately, my reading life was derailed due to the difficulty of the last few months (you can read all of the juicy details here). 

I fell behind on a lot of things during the time I was away from blogging, but my Goodreads challenge has taken the most notable bit. Out of my goal of 80 books this year, I have only read 13. Thanks to the friendly reminder on Goodreads homepage, I know that I am about 28 books behind schedule. While I may not be a math person, I know that those numbers aren't what I was hoping for. 

Fortunately, of the 13 books I have read this year, most have been out of the realm of what I normally read. I have delved into adult science fiction, classics that I have always wanted to read but never mustered the motivation, and quite a few amazingly diverse reads. Even though I may not reach my numerical goal of 80 books, I have been pretty well on my diversifying. 

But, I still have some work to do. 2017 is a big year for releases, and I want to try to get ahead before falling even more behind. (What is the literary equivalent of a marathon? I need to know so I can start training.) So, I compiled a list of ten of the books that I REALLY need to catch up on.  



The Hate U Give
By Angie Thomas
Diverse, 


A Court of Wings and Ruin
By Sarah J. Maas


When Dimple Met Rishi

By Sandhya Menon


Once and For All
By Sarah Dessen


Saints and Misfits
By S. K. Ali



Strange the Dreamer
By Laini Taylor


The Names They Gave Us
By Emery Lord


Bad Romance
By Heather Demetrios


The Crown's Fate
By Evelyn Skye


Flame in the Mist
By Renee Ahdieh


Have you ever fallen behind on your reading goals? Are there any books that you need to catch up on this summer? What other books do you think I need to read soon?




July 5, 2017

Is there still a blog here? | On my absence and plans for the future (again)



Is a three-month absence too long to blame on technical issues? 

Unfortunately, it was not a broken computer, slow Internet, or a three-month long blackout that prevented me from blogging. 


The Details


For the last three months or so, I have attended two funerals, spent many long weekends consoling family, and tried to complete my last semester of high school without flunking everything. In between the crying, studying, and traveling, I have not had any time to read, let alone blog. 

While blogging has been an important part of my life (admittedly on and off) for the past five years, my family, and ultimately my sanity, were more important to me in the last couple of months. 

To be completely honest, there were times when I did not think I could ever return to blogging. The thought of writing a new blog post filled me with anxiety. There was a voice in the back of my head whispering that I was gone too long, no one would remember me, and that I was not even a good blogger in the first place. 

On that note, I would like to give the biggest shout-out to Roberta @ Offbeat YA and anyone else who had faith that I did not abandon this little blog of mine. It turns out you were right, even when I had doubts. I know my blog isn't the biggest, the prettiest, the funniest, or the most consistent, but it warms my bookish heart to know people care about my ramblings. You guys make everything worth it.

Anyway, I have learned quite a bit in the past weeks. Most lessons are painful and private that you don't want to hear about anyway. But, there is one that we all know, but we don't always appreciate. It is in the darkest times when books can be the most beneficial. In the past two weeks, I started reading again. Did reading fix all of my family's problems? No. But the real magic is that books don't have to fix everything. Picking up a book again made me feel like myself. In a world where our lives are chaotic, destructive, and sometimes downright depressing, books are a constant. The words on a page never change and characters never abandon their books. Even when life seems like a Hallmark movie that someone decided didn't deserve a happy ending, you can take comfort in your passions. 

Earlier in the year, I promised myself that I would never apologize for my blogging habits, no matter how sporadic they become. If you want to read the whole post about not giving into regret about blogging, click here. If you were too lazy to click the link, here is the quick and dirty: I am tired of being anxious, guilty, and sad about the state of my blog. Books have provided a safe place for me throughout my entire life, and I don't want blogging to erode that passion. So, I don't want blogging to become a chore to me, or else reading will as well. 

For better or worse, this means that I need to take breaks from blogging as needed. Over the last couple of months, I have definitely needed a break. I hope you can forgive me for my absence, but I have comfort in the fact that I have already forgiven myself.


Takeaways


1. I am not dead.
2. I am not quitting. New posts will be up by the end of the week, and hopefully, pretty consistently after that.
3. Reading is not a cure-all, but books can go a long way in the healing process.
4. I appreciate each and every one of you who continue to follow my blog despite the sudden disappearances, silence, and craziness. 
5. I have some catching up to do, with reading, blogging, commenting, and getting back into the groove of things. (And let's not even talk about the state of my Goodreads challenge right now). 


So, what did I miss? What books have you been reading lately? What are the latest releases I need to catch up with? How has your life been in the past three months? Tell me everything!