Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Where Do I Find the Time to Read?

Last year I took a gap year between school and study, and was working full time, but I had plenty of time to read. I thought when I started university it would be similar, but I was so wrong. My first month here I got barely any reading done because I just didn't know where to fit it in, my whole routine had changed. I'm getting there though and at the rate I'm going, I should be back up to reading at least four books a month.

So what changed? I found the time to read. In-between working, studying, blogging and having a social life I managed to sneak a few books in here and there. It's definitely not as much as I used to read, but it's something. And I'm here to impart some of my wisdom on anyone else who is struggling to find the time to read (also please tell me your secrets too, I need to know where everyone else finds the time to read).

Moments in the day when you can sneak a page (or two) in

1. When you're travelling (car, bus, boat, plane, train, bike... etc)

This is when I get the majority of reading done - when I'm travelling. I'm only a two minute work from university so that doesn't really work, but I work in the weekends and it's a half hour bus ride during which I can get plenty of reading done. If you drive or bike, then don't read a physical book (that's unsafe), get an audiobook! Audiobooks are awesome, there are so many more opportunities to read if you're listening to an audiobook.

2. At the gym (as if I go anymore, but it's still a good idea)

When I first moved out I started going to the gym and I would listen to an audiobook while I was there. The motivation to go to the gym is totally gone now and I hardly ever go (I'd rather just sit on the couch and watch crap TV), but if (and this is a very big if) I started going again, I would definitely get the audiobooks out.

3. In the evenings.... (or not)

I went into university thinking that this would be the time to read, but no. I live in a flat with five other girls. If we're not going out, we're studying or watching TV or doing nothing. Most nights we don't get into bed before midnight and by that time I just want to hit the pillow and sleep. Sorry books!

4. During the ad breaks

Our flat religiously watches Married at First Sight most nights so I've started whipping out a book in the ad breaks (at first I found the ads kind of riveting because I haven't watched actual TV in so long, but the novelty of that wore off pretty quickly).

5. When you're supposed to be studying for an important test

I find that this is when the motivation to read an entire book really hits me... I'm not sure why and I'm not sure if I should be indulging myself in a book when I should be studying, but a chapter or two can't hurt. Right? Just one more chapter and then I'll go back to studying.... 

6. In the toilet

Yes, this is why I'm in the bathroom for so long. Sorry to my other flatmates who need to use it.

Where do you find the time to read? Let me know your secrets because I'm keen to sneak a few more chapters into everyday!


Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy || OBSESSED!

Because You Love to Hate Me
Leave it to the heroes to save the world--villains just want to rule the world.

In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains' points of view.

These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like "Medusa," Sherlock Holmes, and "Jack and the Beanstalk" provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains' acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage--and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!

I'm pretty hard to please when it comes to short story collections. I usually love a couple, hate a couple and feel pretty meh about the rest of them so I was pleasantly surprised when I LOVED (or at least enjoyed) pretty much all the stories in this collection. I think what often bothers me about short stories is that they lack some of the world building and depth of full length novels (obviously because they are short stories), but because a lot of these were based around fairytales or stories I already knew, it didn't feel like they lacked that world building.

The Best of the Best

1. Beautiful Venom, by Cindy Pon

Beautiful Venom is a gorgeous twist on the original Greek Medusa. It's about a girl who is seduced by a man and is then punished by the god of purity as though it were completely her fault, and thus she become Mei Du, a girl with snakes for hair who just wants revenge. It was not only an interesting cultural twist, but it also reminded me a lot of everything that has happened in the world recently with all the sexual harassment allegations and the times that it has been blamed on the victim and they have been punished for it. For a short story there were really so many levels to this and it really made me think.

2. Death Knell, by Victoria Schwab

I've always liked stories where death is personified (I think that might be why I liked The Book Thief so much), so this story was no exception. Death was a boy who would take people by the hand when it was their turn to die, but this story in particular was about a girl whose time it was to go, but wasn't ready. I just thought that for a story about death it was also a really sweet read in a way... does that even make sense?

3. Julian Breaks Every Rule, by Andrew Smith

I'm slightly obsessed with stories about sociopaths. Sociopaths are people who blend into everyday life, but they're actually capable of some really messed up stuff... Your neighbour, the check-out girl at the supermarket, your teacher, the kid you sit next to in statistics... You don't know what's going on in their head. They seem normal, but maybe they're plotting your demise. Who knows? That's what's so scary about sociopaths. 

If you're a fan of Gone Girl, or Dangerous Girls, or any book with some seriously deranged characters then you will love this short story!

Plus 10 More Short Stories

(But this post would be far too long if I talked about every single short story so I guess you have to go read it yourself.)

About Villains

I love reading stories about villains because when it comes down to it and you hear about their background you always start questioning whether they really are a villain after all. Maybe they're just a misunderstood soul who bad things has happened to. It really makes you question your own morals and makes you think. Also there's just something really interesting about reading from the point of view of someone who is just really and truly messed up and just completely psychotic. It can be a nice break from the usual heroes and heroines in YA.

That Little Bit Extra

What made this collection of short stories stand out far more than any of the other ones I've ever read was the fact that each short story was accompanied by a short commentary from a booktuber. How cool is that?! To read a commentary written by people like us who sit at home in front of a camera or in front of their computer to share their love for all things bookish. It was such an amazing idea to include this booktuber commentary and hooooopefully one day, us bookish bloggers will get to be involved in something like that too.

Have you read any short story collections that you enjoyed recently? What's your take on villain stories... love 'em or hate 'em? And if you love them, please recommend me more!


Wednesday, 28 February 2018

February, 2018 || Where Have I Been??

February has been a quiet month in the blogging and bookish world for me... The quietest since I've restarted my blog I think. BUT that doesn't mean that I haven't been busy as a bee (more about that later) and more importantly, it doesn't mean that I haven't been blogging. I'm back on top of things and I have some posts that (I think) are pretty exciting scheduled for next month AND I also have some ah-mazing books lined up to read. February has been hectic AF but I am ready for March!

(what did I read this month?)

Reading slowed down this month... Considerably. But I still read two books and I am still ahead of my Goodreads reading challenge (so go me!).

(what happened on the blog?)

Last month was seven books read and seven posts on the blog. Now we're down to two books read and two blog posts... Maybe this is a pattern? So if I up my reading in March, my blog posts will probably go up as well.... Yes? I think so.

  1. I reviewed Wild Beauty. Basically it was just beautifully distracting.... Does that even make sense? I still don't know.
  2. I realised that I've been 'currently reading' Empire of Storms for two years now and I think that's because of how intense all the feels are. Sooo of course I wrote a post about when a book is just too much.

(all about meeeeeeee)

I thought that January was busy, but February was even more hectic! I'm trying to think about everything that happened this month, but it's all a pretty huge blur... I (finally) started university so it's taken me a bit of time to figure out how that all works and the best way to keep up with everything (which is also why I took a bit of a step back from blogging), but I'm a few weeks in now and definitely starting to make sense of everything. I've made some amazing new friends and am thoroughly enjoying my courses so YAY!

Speaking of new friends, I met up with some fellow bookish people(!)... twice(!!). When I started blogging I never thought I'd be able to meet up with my online friends in real life, but this month it actually happened. New Zealand is so small and us kiwi bloggers are definitely a rarer breed, but somehow Ella (from A Bookish Time), Shanti and Shar (from Virtually Read) and I managed to make it happen. It was definitely a highlight of this month having coffee with these girls and just talking books. That definitely won't be the last I see of them!

What was the most exciting thing that happened this month for you? Did you read/blog more or less than last month? What's on your TBR for March?


Monday, 12 February 2018

When A Book Is Just Too Much

I have a confession.... It's taken me two years to read Empire of Storms and I'm still not finished. It's not that I don't like it; I'm loving it. It's just too much. There's so much happening and it's too intense and I have to keep taking breaks. Sarah J. Maas is one of those authors who I can't just sit down and read in one go because I would most likely be destroyed with feels. I just can't handle all the emotion that her books cause. So what do you do when a book is just too much....?

1. Take plenty of breaks

I've taken so many breaks while reading Empire of Storms. Those breaks range from ten minutes to a year and a half (I know, I have a problem), but without those breaks I think my head might have actually exploded.

2. Talk to people

The bookish community is here for you. I am here for you. I've talked to so many people while reading Empire of Storms. So many people have fangirled/ranted/cried with me and I've realised that everyone on Twitter is down for a chat about books!

3. Collapse in a puddle of emotions

This will probably happen multiple times. It's okay. Just accept it.

4. Scream into the void

Not advisable if you live with other people.

5. Or just read something else

I like to read short story collections or poetry collections in-between chapters of Empire of Storms. (This is basically proof that there can be too much of a good thing because I love EoS but I need breaks). I will keep going back to Empire of Storms and I promise I will finish it, but for now I'm stuck at halfway...

Have you ever read a book that is just too much? Which one?? Also someone talk to me about EoS and how intense it is...  


Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Wild Beauty, by Anna-Marie McLemore || Just Wildly Beautiful

Wild Beauty
For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They've also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.

The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he's even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.

I have never read a book that so perfectly matched it's cover. I could stare at this cover all day and kudos to whoever it was who designed it because they did an absolutely amazing job of capturing the story. Sorry, I could fully spend this whole review just talking about covers.

Onto the actual book! I have to start by saying that the writing, was absolutely beautiful. It's been so long since I've read a book with such stunning prose that the writing itself actually distracted me a bit from the story... You know how the cover is distracting? You just want to sit there and stare at it, right? The writing is like that too. Am I even making sense right now...? And the more I think about it the more I'm unsure what to even rate this book.

To me, the actual plot of the story dragged a bit in the middle (although it definitely got more interesting towards the end) and it was generally a pretty slow read because more time was taken for the flowery descriptions than any actual moving forward of the plot. So if you're looking for something fast paced, maybe look elsewhere. It's been a couple of weeks since I've read this now and I'm actually struggling to remember a lot of what happened, all I remember is the beautiful writing.. okay I'll shut-up about that now 

In amongst the almost lyrical writing, the author touched on some important topics. And also, I loved the diversity and the LGBTQ+ rep in this book.

"Hearts that loved boys and girls were no more reckless or easily won than any other heart. They loved who they loved. They broke how they broke. And the way it happened depended less on what was under their lovers’ clothes and more on what was wrapped inside their spirits."

Read this for the beautifully distracting writing and the beautifully distracting cover.

Have you ever read a book in which the writing was so beautiful that it was distracting? If you've read Wild Beauty let me know what you thought! I'd love to know.