Monday, March 16, 2015

On the Topic of Big Books

Hello there. As you might know, I'm currently reading the Mistborn trilogy and the fact that I've avoided picking these books up for several months, even though I've only heard the best things, has got me thinking. The only thing that kept me from reading the books sooner was their size. They're each about 600 to 800 pages long and that scared me.

I used to be the exact opposite. The longest books were always my favorites and I would think that the more pages, the better the book. But when I started to structure my reading more and tried to accomplish the goodreads reading challenge last year, I simply aimed to read as many books per month as possible. And therefore started to avoid longer books because they would obviously take more time to read. I'm getting more and more scared to commit to a big book or also a series and I really hate that.

This year, I intend to read several bigger books that might take me a while to get through - like the Mistborn series. But I keep putting it off. Somehow, I need to convince myself that I shouldn't be worried about getting through a specific amount of books per month. So I thought I would address this on here and maybe some of you struggle with similar problems?

I generally love how my reading habits have changed since I discovered the online book community - I read a lot more and most importantly, I'm loving it more than I ever have before. I've always been a reader but by discovering all these amazing books through goodreads and booktube and blogs, it's become a much bigger part of my life and I think that's fantastic. But unfortunately, I sometimes also feel pressured because I want to read as much as possible in order to keep up with everyone else - and considering some people manage to read 100 to 200 books a year, that's very hard to accomplish especially because I have university and work to focus on as well.

So, as I said, I started to avoid bigger books and I want to change that again. I want to go back to  when I read the entire A Song of Ice and Fire series, five books with around 800 pages each, and didn't worry about it at all. I just took as much time as I needed, about half a year at least, to get through all the books. At the moment, everything with more than 300 pages seems like a big deal and I tend to avoid those books.

I'm glad I decided to finally start the Mistborn trilogy - something I had avoided for almost half a year, even though the books have been sitting on my shelf - and I hope to continue on with this trend. Since I'm starting to get a little bored by all the YA I'm reading, I think it's the perfect time to start adult series that I want to read and the Mistborn books are hopefully only the first step in the right direction. I really want to read the Outlander series this year and I'm gonna have to come to terms with the fact that it's an eight book series with about 800 pages per book. Then I also want to read the Lord of the Rings books - maybe not as big but I'm sure it won't be an easy and quick read for me. And I just have to accept that it's going to take me longer to get through all these books than it would if I only read YA contemporaries. So don't judge me if I don't read as many books this year as other people (I don't actually think anyone would judge me but it still feels like I'm losing some sort of contest). 

Do you ever struggle with big books or 
are hesitant to start a new series?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

ARC Review: Twisted Souls (Twisted #1)

I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion or my review of the book in any way. Many thanks to the publisher for providing me with this eARC!

Twisted Souls
by L.L. Collins
Series: Twisted #1
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Published by: L.L. Collins
Kindle edition, 217 pages
My rating: DNF at 50%

What if your soul is so intertwined with someone else's that it's impossible to imagine yourself without them?

Blake McIntyre and Liane Kelly’s families have spent their vacations together on Sanibel Island their entire lives, and the two have always been the best of friends. But as they get ready to go to college, they admit that friendship isn’t enough for them anymore and spend a whirlwind two weeks daring to dream of their future together.

But building sandcastles and lazy beach walks filled with moonlight kisses isn't the same as real life, and soon they are faced with a new reality. Can their hope of forever survive past their summer, or does fate have its own twisted plan?

Twisted Souls is a story of friends falling in love - something I usually love to read about. However, this book unfortunately didn't work for me. It's told from both Liane and Blake's perspective and actually started out pretty good - I liked the characters and was excited that Collins had tried a different turn on New Adult. There wasn't much drama in the beginning, Liane and Blake actually talked about stuff, including their feelings, and I thought that was great.

But once they figured everything out and became an actual couple, it went downhill for me. There was SO MUCH talk about how in love they are and how they want to get married and have babies and so on. Maybe I should mention at this point that they're both 18 and Liane got out of a two year relationship (her boyfriend broke up with her and she was therefore heartbroken) days before seeing Blake and falling madly in love with him. It all just went a little fast for me. 

Trust me, I tried to be understanding. They had been friends their entire lives, so they knew each other very well. Developing stronger feelings over time seems only natural and I could understand that completely. But Liane had been in a relationship only a few days before and had talked about how she was going to marry that guy; that sounds pretty serious! Being able to simply toss a relationship like that aside and already thinking about marrying the new guy just felt wrong to me. Plus, despite all the big talk, Liane seemed pretty immature which only annoyed me more.

What really bothered me and the reason I put down the book in the end was how repetitive everything felt. Literally every two pages there was a statement like 'oh, he's the love of my life but now the summer is almost over, what am I going to do?' I couldn't take it anymore. I was constantly rolling my eyes and I couldn't think of anything that could possibly happen in the second part of the book that I hadn't read three times already. So I gave up.

I have never not finished a book before and I feel bad about Twisted Souls. But I decided there really is no use in pushing through this book when I can read books I'm really enjoying instead.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Review: Wish (Indigo Dreams #1)

by Grier Cooper
Series: Indigo Dreams #1
Publication date: December 2, 2014
Published by: Dancing Poodle Press
Ebook, 264 pages
My rating: 3/5 ★

A big thank you to Grier Cooper for sending me a free pdf-copy.
For Indigo Stevens, ballet classes at Miss Roberta’s ballet studio offer the stability and structure that are missing from her crazy home life. At almost 16, she hopes this is the year she will be accepted into the New York School of Ballet. First she must prove she’s ready, and that means ignoring Jesse Sanders – the cute boy with dimples who is definitely at the top of Miss Roberta’s List of Forbidden Things for Dancers.

But Jesse is the least of Indigo’s concerns. When she discovers her mom is an alcoholic, it simultaneously explains everything and heaps more worry on Indigo’s shoulders. As her mom’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic, Indigo fights to maintain balance, protect her younger brothers from abuse, and keep her mother from going over the edge. When the violence at home escalates, Indigo realizes she can no longer dance around the issue. At the risk of losing everything, she must take matters into her own hands before it’s too late.

I don't really know what to think of Wish. While I liked the story overall, I also had some problems with it. But let's start with the positive aspects. I loved that the dancing was such a big part of this book. I'm not a dancer myself but I've always ben fascinated with it and I really liked getting to know a little more about ballet. 

Indigo was a great main character; she felt real and I liked hearing the story from her point of view. As always, I would've handled certain things differently or reacted in a different way at times, but it wasn't annoying in any way. Indigo's family was a different story for me. First of all, I would've preferred a proper introduction to them. It took me a while to figure out how many brothers Indigo had and then there was the dog that was mentioned maybe twice throughout the book. I ended up liking Indigo's brothers, but her parents not so much. Her mom seemed a little over the top - I don't have any experience with her situation but it felt a little over the top for me. And then Indigo's dad was also completely irrational. I know that there are people that can't cope with situations like the one he was in but his denial was extreme in my opinion. But still, these things were just minor problems for me.

What really bothered me was how the story was structured. First of all, there is a lot of jumping around and we never get any kind indication as to how much time has passed since the last scene and things like that. I felt disoriented with every new chapter and that got a little annoying with time. Then, there are a lot of unimportant details that are mentioned but never actually play an important role in the story. For example the family dog. I don't even remember his name but I think he was mentioned once or maybe twice. During the time when the family was really struggling, I was always wondering, who is looking after the dog? I think it would've been best to just leave him out entirely. The same goes for the tutoring Indigo was supposed to do for some random person. This happened rather early in the book when Indigo meets some woman she doesn't like and is asked to tutor her daughter. Indigo is really stressed out about it but it never comes into play later in the book. I don't think Indigo went to a single tutoring session, so why not leave that part out?

I would've preferred if there had been more explanations about certain things that are important to the story, rather than focusing on these side comments. With the main story, everything seemed to happen very quickly and abruptly, without giving us the chance to figure things out on their own. The reader is often confronted with facts in a way that 'this has always been this way' and just has to be accepted. I don't know if that makes sense or not but I feel like most of the important stuff has either happened before the book takes place or is happening during a break in the story and then the story continues after that's finished. Sometimes I just needed to know more about what happened after a chapter ends for example.

But as I've said, I liked the book overall and maybe I was just too picky about these things that bothered me. I hope there will be a sequel where we'll get to know more about Indigo's dance career and I would also like to know what happens with her relationship with Jesse. I realize I haven't really talked about the romance in this book, which is, let's be honest here, quite strange for me. But I simply don't have a lot to say about it, the romance aspect certainly wasn't the main focus of the book and I liked that - otherwise I think it would've been a little much with all the rest that's going on. And it wasn't really swoon-worthy in my opinion. In fact, I think that's why I only gave this book three stars - it just didn't really make me feel anything even though it was a nice and enjoyable read.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

February Wrap-Up

Hello there. I can't believe it's already the end of February, but then again I feel like I say that after every month. February has been an okay month reading wise - I read a total of 7 books - but considering that University started again, I'm quite okay with that. As you may have noticed, it's taking me a while to get back into the swing of things and I'm trying hard (and kind of failing) to fit all the blogging and reading into my Uni and work schedule. Hopefully, things will get better in March, but the workload certainly won't go down.

What I Read

Here are the 7 books I managed to read in February:
  • The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan & Maureen Johnson, ★★★★
    I love Magnus, he's my favorite character in TMI series and I was so excited to read a bunch of short stories just about him. I liked most of the stories but only the Malec ones I really LOVED. The rest was interesting but also somewhat boring at times, hence the four star rating.
  • The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger, ★★★★
    I really liked this one and wrote a full review here.
  • Beautiful Redemption by Jamie McGuire, ★★★★
    One of my most anticipated books of 2015 and it was good but unfortunately not as good as the other books in this 'series'. I've loved the Maddox brothers ever since I read Beautiful Disaster and I was super excited to get to know Thomas a little better. Whereas I loved the first half of the book, the second half was a bit of a let down - too much drama and Liis got kind of annoying with time. 
  • These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, ★★★★
    Another four star read, another book I really liked but didn't completely fall in love with. The Sci-Fi got slightly too much for me in the end and the world building lacked a little, but the romance was a-ma-zing.
  • Wish by Grier Cooper (ebook), ★★★
    A full length review for this one will be going up soon but for now, let me say that, again, I liked this book but didn't love it. 
  • Clipped Wings by Helena Hunting (ebook), ★★★★
    Andie (@_halfbl00dprincess) recommended this one on Instagram and I felt like reading some NA, so I picked it up. It was completely worth it and if you're a NA fan, I highly recommend reading this duology.
  • Inked Armour by Helena Hunting (ebook), ★★★★
    This is the sequel to Clipped Wings and I think I liked it even slightly better than the first book.

What I Bought

(I forgot to include Beautiful Redemption)
I bought 6 books in February which is a lot less than I thought I got. I also read more than I bought but considering that three of the 7 I read were ebooks that I will most likely purchase at some point, I can't really be proud of that. But still, 6 books is okay in my opinion and I'm really happy with these new additions to my bookshelves.
  • Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
    I've heard so many good things about this one and can't wait to finally read it. Also, it is absolutely gorgeous, and just for that I'm happy it's now sitting on my shelf.
  • This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
    Of course I had to get this after reading These Broken Stars. I'm a little sad that it's about two completely different people, but it still sounds very cool so I'm excited!
  • I Was Here by Gayle Forman
    I don't think I have to explain why I bought this one but why have I not read it yet? I DON'T KNOW. I'll read this in March, I promise.
  • You Were Mine by Abbi Glines
    I already read this one as an ebook but (as I said) I always end up ordering a physical copy anyway. Even if the cover is horrible.
  • Beautiful Redemption by Jamie McGuire
    I read this right away so no bad feelings here.
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
    My boyfriend and I watched all the episodes of the TV series (that are out so far) this month and I fell in love and had to order this book right away. When do I have time to read an 8 book (I think) series where each book is absolutely huge? I have no clue but I will do it, eventually.

March TBR

I never do actual TBRs that I stick to but I like to prioritize a few books that I really want to read soon. I'm currently reading The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson, which is the first book in the Mistborn trilogy. If it's as good as everyone says it is, I'll most likely read the second and third book right after the first one and I'm sure that is going to take quite a bit of time since these books are pretty big. Then I really want to get to I Was Here by Gayle Forman and (if there's time and I feel like picking up another big book) Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. But as always, I'll see what I feel like reading and pick up that book.

So, that's it for February. I hope you had a great month and thank you for reading!

What was your favorite February read?
What are you planning to read in March?