Top 5 Wednesday | Books I’m Thankful For

Hi and I hope everyone’s Wednesday is going great! Top 5 Wednesday was created by gingerreadslainey on youtube and anyone can join the goodreads group. There are tons of books I’m thankful to have read and these are just the top five that I’m especially thankful for.

  1. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White – This is the first chapter book that my dad read to my sister and I before bed so of course it had to be included in this list. It’s what fueled my love of reading and made me the bookworm I am today.
  2. Harry Potter (series 1-7) by J. K. Rowling – I have to include this series because it made me love the fantasy genre. Also, I have met so many friends (both online and in real life) because of Harry Potter.
  3. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman – Best magical realism I’ve read. I love everything about this novel. Gaiman’s writing is just beautiful, too.
  4. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – I just love the 80s retro/nerdy feel of this novel. That’s it. Love it.
  5. The Martian by Andy Weir – Favorite hard sci fi with a mixture of dark humor. Watney is by far my favorite sci fi character ever.

And that’s it. What are the books you’re most thankful for? Are any of these books in your top five, too?

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Inside and Out Book Tag

It’s been a while since I’ve done a book tag and I feel like I need to change that. This tag was created by MathomBooks on youtube. I found this tag over at astrangersguidetonovels, so check out her post.

I – Inside flap / Back of the book summaries: Too much info? Or not enough (Discuss)

Personally, I’m not synopsis reader. I’ll read the synopsis once, maybe twice, but other than that I just dive straight into the book. Even if it’s been months (or years) since I read the synopsis, if it’s on my to-read list, then the chances of me reading it is greater than a random book (unless it’s an ARC or some other book I won in a giveaway). And even ARCs I just skim over the synopsis before I read it, if that. The cover is what entices me… also the genre (I’m more of a fantasy / sci fi reader). Emphasis on fantasy.

N – New Book: What form do you want it in? Audiobook, E-book, Paperback, or Hardcover?

I’m a fan of paperbacks because they’re more durable and I feel like they can handle more damage, especially if I’m camping, at the springs, go the beach, or really anywhere. I’ve taken books to many different places. But I do like hardcovers if it’s a book/series that I’m most anticipating and that I already know that I want it in my collection.

S – Scribble while you read? Do you like to write in  your books, taking notes, making comments, or do you keep your books clean clean clean? (Tell us why)

It varies from book to book. When I was in university I wrote comments/notes in the margins of all my textbooks/novels that I had to read for my classes because it helped for when I had to write papers afterward. It’s something that carried over to my pleasure reading, whether it’s a nonfiction or fiction book. I love going back to reread a book that I loved the first go around to discover my markings in the margins and I’ll sometimes add some more comments, too. I also love buying used books and discovering other readers’ comments/notes because it just feels like you’re reading with those people.

I – In your best voice, read for us your favorite first sentence from a book.

Mr and Mrs Dursley of Number four Privet Drive were proud to say they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.

I have so many memories surrounding the Harry Potter books in my childhood that I can’t not choose this first line. These books just fueled my love of reading.

D – Does it matter to you whether the author is male or female when you’re deciding on a book? What if you’re unsure of the author’s gender?

I honestly don’t put much thought into the author’s gender when I read a book. If I liked the book, then I may go look the author up on goodreads to see what else they’ve written, but that’s it. I do tend to read more female authors, but a lot of my favorite authors are male? But it’s usually the genre/cover/synopsis that pulls me in.

E – Ever read ahead? Or have you ever read the last page before you got there? (Do confess thy sins, foul demon!)

NEVER! I consider it a breach of sacrilege to read the last page before you reach the end of a book. You just don’t do it. You wouldn’t watch a movie backwards, would you? Then don’t do that with a book.

AND

O – Organized bookshelves, or Outrageous bookshelves?

My bookshelves aren’t organized, per se, but I do keep my books neatly arranged on the shelves. I just don’t organize my books by author/genre/color/etc like some (v)bloggers do.

U – Under oath: have you ever bought a book based on the cover (alone)?

I’ve already answered this question in my previous answers so I’ll just keep it short and sweet: Yes, I have.

T – Take it outside to read, or stay in?

Either, though I do enjoy curling up on the couch with this soft, fleece blanket I have with a good book and cup of coffee/tea.

That was a fun tag… I tag any of you that want to do this tag, and let me know if you do because I’ll read & comment.

Update on Reading/Writing/Life

This past month I’ve been so emotionally stressed with work that my training schedule (running) has dipped (only been making it out to the Thursday evening group runs) because I’ve been too drained to summon the motivation I usually have for running. It’s driving me crazy that I’ve only been doing 1-2 runs per week, yet I just don’t feel like forcing myself to hit the pavement.

The whole situation at work has been pretty on-going since school started this year because I’m with a different teacher this year (a teacher that a couple of the assistants that worked with her last year felt the same way I’m feeling and requested a move for this year, which is how I got stuck in it). I’ve been blessed with the other two classrooms that I’ve been in because I was well-matched with the teacher and other assistants that I’ve worked with in both those rooms, but this one not so much. I just have a more nurturing/easy-going personality when it comes to dealing with the kids than the teacher and one of the other assistants I’m working with now. I also feel this teacher is a bit more rough on the kids, verbally speaking, than she should be, which is also what’s tying me up in knots. I also feel like ever since I spoke with the principal last week, this teacher has been putting me under a microscope to find errors in anything and everything I do. My introverted personality can only handle so much at a time and working with two people that have very high-strung, extroverted personalities is a lot. All the stress just has been building up until the exhaustion finally caught up.

I am thankful and blessed for my parents, who have been really helping to make me enjoy my weekends and forget about all the work-stress I’ve been experiencing. And if I’ve had particularly stressful day, I know I can pop over for dinner and a movie/game night to de-stress.

But enough of this heavy, depressing state-of-mind I’ve been plunged into. I have 9 full days off for Thanksgiving break and I fully intend on writing and reading loads in that time. I want to finish the first draft of my MG Fantasy (Art Matters), as well as write more on my official nano plot. I sense some 10K days are on the horizon.

I also had a great interview with a day care for a 3pm-6pm teacher position. One of the women that works in the high school cafeteria with my mom told my mom about the available position and how much they needed help because she works at the day care after-school. I have a working interview on Monday at 10pm to get a feel for the 2-year-old classroom and the other two teachers that are in it. I’ll have to do some online courses through myflorida/child care since day care requires different certifications than working for the school board, but I think it’ll be worth it in the end. Plus, my horoscope and career horoscope were spot on yesterday and today, which I’m generally skeptical when it comes to astrology, but I’m taking it as a good sign that adding this afternoon job would truly be beneficially toward gaining even more teaching experience for me in the long run. Plus, I love working with the little kids. They’re a lot of fun and they love school. And this position is Mon-Fri, so it’ll be great to have a guaranteed second income.

Reading update – I’m currently reading an ebook on my nook when I’m out and about, and a hardcover when I’m home.

  • Dragon’s Keeper by Robin Hobb – (I’m around 15% into this and loving it). It’s the first Robin Hobb novel I’ve picked up and already I can tell that I’ve found a new favorite fantasy author.
  • Winter (Lunar Chronicles, #4) – I started this earlier this week an am 80 pages into (only been doing a little reading before bedtime each night this week, but I’ll more than likely finish this over Thanksgiving break because I’m enjoying it so far.

And that’s a wrap. If you made it through this whole post, then I appreciate you for reading my downtrodden rants. Writing this post has helped me to vent out a lot of my stress. That’s usually how I deal with things. Writing everything down is the main transference that works when I’m under stress because I don’t handle conflict well (usually shutting down and isolating myself is what I end up doing, like a startled deer). I try to get through it, and usually I can, but this time is different. The verbal incidents are just leaving too much stressful trauma in its wake, especially considering anything that is done incorrectly falls on my shoulders with this teacher, even if I wasn’t the one to do the task. I basically feel like a scapegoat. But that’s enough of that. Onward full speed ahead!

Book Review | Never Never by Brianna Shrum

I received an eARC from the publishers through netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This is a novel that had been on  my radar and that I kept my eyes peeled for to request an eARC.

Here’s a synopsis of Never Never by Brianna Shrum that can be found on goodreads:

James Hook is a child who only wants to grow up.

When he meets Peter Pan, a boy who loves to pretend and is intent on never becoming a man, James decides he could try being a child – at least briefly. James joins Peter Pan on a holiday to Neverland, a place of adventure created by children’s dreams, but Neverland is not for the faint of heart. Soon James finds himself longing for home, determined that he is destined to be a man. But Peter refuses to take him back, leaving James trapped in a world just beyond the one he loves. A world where children are to never grow up.

But grow up he does.

And thus begins the epic adventure of a Lost Boy and a Pirate.

This story isn’t about Peter Pan; it’s about the boy whose life he stole. It’s about a man in a world that hates men. It’s about the feared Captain James Hook and his passionate quest to kill the Pan, an impossible feat in a magical land where everyone loves Peter Pan.

The best part about this Peter Pan retelling is that the main character is Captain James Hook. I enjoy reading from the villain’s perspective, especially when the author can get the reader to sympathize with the villain. I truly felt sad for Hook being stuck in Neverland when all he wanted was to return back to London after a couple weeks. In this Peter Pan is more of a villain than Hook is, and it’s Pan’s actions that result in Hook’s becoming vengeful.

If you’ve read the original tale of Peter Pan, then this retelling is perhaps the closest to that concept in the sense that Pan comes off as more villainous. Personally, I enjoyed this retelling. It was painted over all lovely with sprinkles like Disney’s version of Peter Pan. There was no holding back from the ugly. Overall rating on goodreads: 3.5 out of 5 stars, but I’ll round it up to 4 stars.

Top 5 Wednesdays | Books I Have Yet to Finish

It’s time for another Top 5 Wednesday, which was created by gingerreadslainey. Each Wednesday a group of us book v/bloggers post our top five books in relation to the theme for each week. Anyone is welcome to join the goodreads group to become a Top 5 Wednesday poster. Today’s topic is books that you DNF (did not finish). Here are books that I haven’t finished yet, but have every intention on picking back up in the future. I’m usually not one to completely DNF a book. Usually I set a book down and return to it when I’m in the mood to read it.

  1. Armada by Ernest Cline – I got about halfway through this before I had to set it down because I needed to read a non-sci fi book. Plus there were other books on my TBR pile that was more excited to read. I’ll eventually get back to this because I’m planning on writing a review of it once I’ve finished it.
  2. In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson – This is a slow burn read, meaning I pick it up to read a chapter here or there from it. Most history texts are good for that type of reading. That said, I’m loving what I’ve read of this and am actually quite close to finishing it (more than halfway through it). Some books are better savored when read at a slower pace.
  3. The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling – I’m listening to the audiobook of this, though I took a break from it. It was information overload so I’m spacing out listens.
  4. Bzrk by Michael Grant – I liked what I read of this, but I didn’t get far in before I put it down because another book was calling me. I’ll get back to it eventually, though.
  5. Don’t Let Go by Michelle Gagnon (the final book in the Don’t Turn Around trilogy) – I loved the first two books (own them both) and I’m looking forward to reading the conclusion to this trilogy. I just haven’t been able to get to it yet with all the other books on my TBR pile that I’m trying to get through.

There are other books/series that I have started and haven’t finished yet that I have every intention on getting back to reading, but these are the top ones on my DNF radar. What about you? What books did you have to DNF, or otherwise set aside until a later date? Do you DNF books often, or rarely? Hope all of you are having a great Wednesday!

NaNoWriMo 2015 | day nine

Day 9 – I wrote 4,056 words this evening, which brings up my total to 20,244 words written in November. I only wrote on my MG fantasy. I’ll write more on this year’s nano tomorrow. I just got caught up writing on my WIP, plus I am now sitting at 60K written on this first draft, which exciting. I’m also at a good point in the plot of this novel. I’m basically have more fun writing more of my MG fantasy than the novel I came up with specifically for this month. But it is nice to switch back and forth between the two.

How’s your novel going? Happy writing!

NaNoWriMo 2015 | day eight

Day 8 – I was aiming for a 10K day, but only managed to write 6,122 words, though I’m counting it as a success at any rate. It got me to a total of 16,188. I’m hoping to write 4K words later today because I’d like to break 20K, but we’ll see how stressed I am after work. At least this week is a short work week.

I’m still going back and forth between novels. Yesterday I wrote 2K total on my MG fantasy, and 4K toward my official nano novel, which totals it up to just over 6K written. So far I’m not having any sort of difficulty switching between the two stories.