WRAP-UP // JUNE 2017

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THE MONTH OF JUNE

This is the part where I’m supposed to crack some jokes on the ups and downs of the adulthood and reading, followed by telling you what I’ve accomplished this month. But instead, I want to dedicate this section to something else. To someome else.

PEANUT

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On June 28, 2017, my dearest Peanut passed away. I knew he was getting old as he recently aged to seven, but I think we can all agree that when you’ve had someone in you life for so long, you don’t expect them to leave. Of course I know all things must come to an end, but Peanut seemed like my magical little partner who would never leave. But when I woke up one day to find him limping, I knew his days were coming to an end.

I can’t begin to describe how heartbroken I was to watch my little Peanut go from hopping to walking to crawling, until all he could do was lay down. Thankfully, he didn’t appear to be in any pain and went peacefully within his own home.

I felt empty. Lost. In a way, I still do. But I think Peanut passing gave me a lot of perspective on life, on appreciating what we have and the world around us. Peanut taught me a lot about life, believe it or not.

Peanut, I miss you so much. Even as I write this, tears fill my eyes. I hope you know how loved you were and will continue to be. You have filled so much joy and laughter. You were such a light in my life, and you will forever live on in my heart. And I swear, I get these signs that you’re here with me, as though you’ve never left.

And to everyone who sent me love through these last couple of weeks, who held me as I cried, thank you. Without your love and support, I don’t know where I would be. So thank you.

Now let’s move on to the books of this month before I continue with all of my sappiness.

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THE BOOKS OF JUNE

HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX (HARRY POTTER #5)

REVIEW:

I know, I know. I STILL haven’t finished the Harry Potter series. There’s no need to blame my TBR on this one. I simply keep postponing reading this series because it is GIANT and honestly, I often have trouble getting into each book in the beginning.

But after reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, I had high hopes for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Unfortunately though, I found this segment in the series to be unnecessarily long and lackluster. There were many moments while I was reading that my mind would wander, thinking, why the bloody hell is this scene necessary?

I understand this novel is supposed to mainly provide character development and back story. I get that. But this was so, so very long. It dragged on for me. I don’t mean to sound negative because I did still enjoy this book and I know millions adore this series, but I really had trouble with this one.

Nonetheless, I look forward to completing the rest of the series in due time. (And yes, I said I was going to binge the rest of it, but I’m looking at those giant books on my shelves and NO THANK YOU. I’m leaving this one up to the TBR jar.)

RATING: ★★

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GRAY WOLF ISLAND

REVIEW:

Reminiscent of The Raven Boys and your classic treasure hunting story, Gray Wolf Island is a fantastic, eerie book that will keep you guessing. Much like The Raven Boys, these characters were strange, raw and touched with a little magic. Their interactions will leave you smiling, laughing and maybe even crying.

But that’s the thing: in a flash, alone becomes lonely. Maybe I’ve been waiting for someone to push me. That’s what these boys are doing, I think. They’re forcing their way under my skin.

The story is told from two perspectives, one being Ruby, who lost her twin sister after promising her to find the treasure of Gray Wolf Island, and then Cooper, a mysterious boy who has a strange tie to the treasure.

I adored Neithercott’s style, how she constructed and captured the setting of Gray Wolf Island with such precision. I felt like I was in the misty trees, smelling the flowers and damp soil. I felt completely and utterly transported into this book, feeling the pain and wonder the characters went through.

For my full review on this mysterious treasure hunting tale, click here.

Thank you to Random House for approving me to read an ARC of Gray Wolf Island. This ARC was received through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Gray Wolf Island is expected to be released October 10, 2017.

RATING: ★★

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IN THE AFTER BY DEMITRIA LUNETTA

REVIEW:

In the After is a post-apocalyptic tale similar to The 5th Wave. (Except we don’t have too much teen angst or a love triangle, thankfully.) Our main character Amy is left alone at her home when the Florae (zombie-aliens) strike. She learns to survive alongside Baby, a toddler she found years ago.

The first part of the story was amazing. I loved the relationship between Amy and Baby, how they lived in this new world. I was in love with their story.

But then the second and third parts struck, and I’m afraid I started losing interest. The perspective went from first-person, to third and first person, the third person being told from the future. This shift in perspective, along with the environment, made the novel feel disjointed.

I still enjoyed the whole of the story, but not enough to reach for the second novel. Unfortunately, I won’t be continuing this series, but I did enjoy parts of this book, especially the first section.

RATING: ★★

{GoodreadsAmazonBook Depository}

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LET’S CHAT

I apologize for that sorrowful beginning of the wrap-up, but I wanted to be honest with all of you. I don’t want to be one of those bloggers who pretends their life is perfect, that nothing tragic ever happens. I typically make jokes about going through the minor blemishes in life, but I haven’t really expressed some bigger issues, so I wanted to be real. (Or, as the kids would say, I want to keep it 💯.)

But enough about me. How was your June? How many books did you read? Any new favorites? As always, be sure to let me know! I love getting recommendations and hearing about your reading endeavors.

taysignoff

 

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GOODREADS 2017 READING CHALLENGE [UPDATE #2]

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UPDATE

We have reached the sixth month of 2017, which means it’s time to take another look at my Goodreads 2017 reading challenge and see where I stand. Now, if you keep up with me on social media, you may already be aware that I switched my Goodreads reading goal from 100 to 50, then finally to 80. (I swear, I will not alter it any longer.) If you didn’t know this, then yeah. I changed my reading goal from 100 to 80.

(BUT, before you read this, be sure to read my first update here.)

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I know, I know. I was adamant to read 100 books this year, but I’m sure as most of you can understand, life can become chaotic and destructive, ruining the plans we’ve worked so hard to cultivate. Between work and writing, along with other dilemmas I’ve experienced this last year, I finally decided to reduce my goal.

Believe me, I’d love to spend more hours of the day devouring books, but as of now, I simply can’t do that. (Well, not all the time.) So since my goal was 60 last year, I figured 70 was a good step up. And as of know, I’ve read 34 books, keeping right on track with my goal.

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Since March, I have only added one more shelf—magical-realism. For some reason, I had yet to make a magical realism shelf, but after reading The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, I realized I need to make a shelf for magical realism. (By the way, if you haven’t read The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, you should give it a go.)

Other than that, my shelves are the same, beautifully organized masterpiece. (Not to pat myself on the back or anything. *pats self on the back*) Now since I haven’t read that much since March, there isn’t a huge difference here. I’ve only read a couple more fantasy (who’s surprised?), sci-fi, and contemporary novels, along with some poetry. I’m hoping to add more diversity to my shelves as I continue knocking down my TBR. (But let’s be real: most of it is fantasy.)

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WELL WOULD YOU LOOK AT THAT, I WAS WRONG. I suppose fantasy is not the majority of my TBR considering my stats show otherwise. If we discount young-adult and adult, my most read genre this year (so far) is contemporary. Contemporary. And these are my stats. I’m sorry, but who have I turned into?

As someone who rarely reaches for contemporary, I’m shocked. But also, I’m proud for reading new things and expanding my shelves. On top of that, I’ve also read several great books since March, many of which are four stars. (Five stars is like I would die for this book, so four is pretty generous.)

Oh yeah, and I also finally finished reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. And yes, I will finish the series hopefully soon! Those books are just massive and intimidating and honestly *whispers* I have trouble getting into them. (Please don’t hate me.)

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LET’S CHAT

So tell me, what have you been reading this year? What are your favorites so far? What is your goal and how many have you read as of today? I want to know all of the bookish details of your life!

I know I’ve said this many times before, but I’ll say it again: please remember that reading should be fun. If having a hefty goal isn’t for you, then don’t. Read as many or as little books as you want. It isn’t meant to be a competition. Enjoy every bit of your literary life, and don’t rush it.

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#5BOOKISHFACTS

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5 BOOKISH FACTS ABOUT ME

1. I HAVE BOUGHT MANY PROPS SPECIFICALLY FOR BOOKSTAGRAM

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When I started out on bookstagram, I took pictures of books in their simple beauty. Over time, I began incorporating little things around my room, threads of nature from the garden, and any other piece of magic I could find. But once I was upgrading to a DSLR, it was time to take this bookstagram thing REALLY seriously.

So I bought some props. Like, a lot of them.

I have no regrets.

2. MY BOOKSHELVES MUST BE ORGANIZED IN A SPECIFIC WAY

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I’m not about that messy life. (Well, at least not aesthetically.) My room and my things must be organized in a particular manner, especially my bookshelves because they are my children.

I’ve changed the layout over time, but as of now, my stand-alone/unfinished series bookshelf (right) is organized by color and covers. Meaning, my hardbacks are all together at the top, while my paperbacks sit atop the last two shelves.

My series bookshelf (left) is sorted by genre and age group. So it goes: fantasy, paranormal, science-fiction, contemporary, with graphic novels at the very top (which are obviously sorted by DC and Marvel because I’m not a monster). Each genre goes from the youngest age to group to the oldest: children’s, middle-grade, young adult, and finally, adult.

Can you tell I like to be organized?

3. I WILL TAKE HARDBACKS OVER PAPERBACKS OR EBOOKS ANY DAY

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I don’t discriminate, especially when it comes to books. I love all of my little stories, no matter how they come. BUT, if I had to choose one format for the rest of my days, I would select hardbacks.

Yes, they can be a bit tedious to hold or travel with, but they are SO pretty. I love the structured feel of the spines and the details that can often be found beneath the dust jacket. They also tend to be the same size as most novels, which completes my need for a clean, even look.

But again, I love all books. They are clearly my life.

4. I USED TO HATE READING AND ANYTHING LITERARY

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That’s right. I used to despise reading and writing. Crazy, right? This is only because of school, which I associated with stress and anxiety. The thing is, I love learning, but I didn’t love school. I didn’t love the repetitiveness, the lack of creative freedom, and just everything. So when I thought of books or writing, I thought of school, and I cringed.

But about three years ago, my sister, who has been a bookworm since her childhood, encouraged me to try reading for fun. I did, and it quickly stuck. After reading the Divergent series, I finally decided to start writing this idea down that had been in my head for over a year.

Three years later, I’ve read close to two hundred novels and written two novels, both of which stemmed from that very first idea of mine. And now, I couldn’t imagine my life without reading or writing.

Moral of the story: give second chances and never say never.

5. BOOKS ARE MY BEST FRIENDS

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I have carried them with me to the sea and the desert. To the sun and the stars. I have stayed awake in the peak of the night despite my old lady sleeping patterns, ecstatically flipping page after page. I have stained the ink with my tears, both out of joy and sorrow. I have filled my room with their spines and stories to admire with every breath of my life. They have carried me through my times of flight and saved me in my days of drowning. They are my dearest companions, and I love them with the whole of my heart.

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LET’S CHAT

I know this tag is usually presented as a casual post on Instagram, but I decided to bring it over to my blog to allow myself to be a bit more creative with it. If you’ve read this all the way through, then consider yourself tagged and tell your followers five bookish facts about you.

Thank you to the lovely and magical Sofia @ The Literary Casanova. This girl is always tagging me to participate in the absolute best tags of the bookstagram community. If you aren’t already following this girl, head on over to her blog and other social media outlets and give her a follow.

Have a happy Friday! *blows kisses*

taysignoff