Thursday, 23 November 2017

The Benefits of Reading Books

Hey everyone, so I know I haven't been super active on my social media and stuff lately. I've had a ton of assignments, and with the end of the semester coming up, I've had to study for tests and exams too. Hopefully once the winter break arrives, I'll be able to post more often!

I was thinking about the benefits of reading books, on a personal level. While I've read lots of articles describing generalized benefits of reading books, citing studies, I wanted to talk about the ways that reading books has personally helped me out!

1) Stress relief: Sometimes, you just have to take a break from what's stressing you out, and read a book. When I write my assignments, I often take little breaks to read and relax. It helps me to keep my focus.

2) Better grades: I've noticed that the more I read, the better my grades at school are! That's remained true throughout high school, college, and so far at university!

Evernight (Evernight, #1)

While I may not go to a vampire school like Evernight, I'm sure that upon my inevitable transformation into a vampire, my reading habits will continue to assist me as I adjust to life in a vampire boarding school.

3) Empathy: I find that reading has given me increased empathy for others. I'm able to step into another person's shoes in the fictional world, and I think this has assisted me in mentally doing this in the real world. I think reading has made me a better person.

4) Representation: While I'm not of the belief that every book must be diverse, or that authors are under any obligation to represent any group within their works, I must admit that representation within books is an exciting thing for me. I often feel very alone because of some of the groups I fall into, and when I see representation of people like me in books, it eases that feeling a little bit.

Symptoms of Being Human

Symptoms of Being Human was the first book I read with a genderfluid protagonist. (Also sorry if anyone is annoyed by me talking about gender identity a lot on here and on Instagram....I'm just very alone and it's nice to have a place where people will listen. There's not many people I can talk to about this kind of stuff so it just builds up you know? Also I'd like to show others like me that they aren't alone, and that they can be awesome people and achieve their goals. Anyways.)

5) Goals: Books can sometimes portray characters who I look up to and want to be like in some way. Whether that's being more confident, open, or social, books can give me ideas on how I could change for the better. I also find myself discovering my own flaws through books....sometimes I'll read a character who bothers me a lot and then I realize we share some negative traits in common. I can then easily identify some of my flaws and consider changes I should make to become a better person.

So, what are some personal benefits you've found to reading books? How have books changed your life in a positive way?

Friday, 17 November 2017

50/50 Friday - Book You Were Early/Late to the Party in Reading

This meme is hosted at The Butterfly Reader and Blue Eye Books

This week's topic is book you were early / late to the party in reading


 Nevermore (Nevermore, #1)

I don't think there's a ton of books I've been early to the party in reading. I mean, maybe Nevermore? When in doubt, answer Nevermore.  


 Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)   City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)

There are a lot of books I was late to the party reading. Throne of Glass and City of Bones are two that stand out 

What books were you early or late to the party reading?

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams + Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes


 Series: N/A
Author: Carolyn Lee Adams
Page Count: 256
Published: July 14th, 2015
Publisher: Simon Pulse
  4 Stars ★★★★

Ruth wakes up in a pickup truck, unaware of how she got there. She soon discovers that she was taken by a man, and he's transporting her to his cabin in the woods. Her captor thinks that he has the right to kidnap and "fix" or punish girls like Ruth, girls who are "bad". Ruth soon learns that he's done this at least six times before....none of the previous girls survived. Ruth, however, is determined that she will live and bring this sick man to justice. She just has to survive against her captor's guns, unhelpful locals, and the dangers of the forest. 

So this was a great book. I really loved the majority of it! I read most of it in one sitting. This book is fairly short, however the length was perfect for the events that the author described. The pacing was well done, there was never a dull moment. 

This story is told in the present and in flashbacks from both Ruth and her captor's lives. This provided not only mystery but important context to help the reader understand the characters on a deeper level. I found myself both disgusted by Ruth's captor, but also a bit sorry for him. As for Ruth herself, she did have a history of being rude and inconsiderate, however I admired her for her determination and change of heart. 

I feel like some parts of this book were too unrealistic.... people refused to help Ruth when she was clearly in trouble. Maybe I'm naive but I have trouble believing that people would be that heartless. I also think that her captor wasn't depicted as being as cautious and thorough as I'd assume one would be in his situation.... I won't say much else because I'd spoil parts of the book, but I think that someone committing crimes as he did would be more careful. 

Overall this was a great book! If you'd like a short, thrilling book about a kidnapping, this is a great pick. 

~ ~ ~ 

Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms, #1)

 Series: Falling Kingdoms
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Page Count: 412
Published: December 11th, 2012
Publisher: Razorbill
  4.5 Stars ★★★★

Mytica is a continent with the countries Auranos, Limeros, and Paelsia. Jonas lives in Paelsia where the people live off of money earned from their wine, while Lucia and Magnus live in Limeros with the "King of Blood", and Cleo is the princess of Auranos. When Cleo's visit to Paelsia ends in tragedy, a chain of events starts that sparks a full-out war. Meanwhile, witches hide in plain sight, forbidden desires plague Magnus, and the Kindred, a set of four magic crystals, are sought after. Who will survive the coming conflict?

I loved this book so much! It was almost perfect, it only lost .5 stars because I feel like some characters rushed into things (i.e Cleo's romantic feelings... can't say much else without spoiling). Besides that, I loved it. 

I loved the different cultures in the different countries. They were so unique compared to each other, they seemed like they could be real places. Injustices suffered by the Paelsian people were heartbreaking and kept me reading on, while conflicts faced by the Limerian and Auranian characters left me conflicted and reading for hours!

I like the way that the author combined magic with medieval-style royalty and castles, along with romantic tension and violence. Yes, this book had a lot of violence, I was actually really surprised by this. However I don't mind fictional violence so I enjoyed the tensions and fear that this created. There were many emotional moments, and a lot of people died. Be prepared when you're reading this to possibly have your heart shattered!

This was a great book! I had some minor issues with it but overall it was really awesome. I recommend this to fans of fantasy books and books with many characters, violence, and multiple viewpoints. 

Friday, 10 November 2017

50/50 Friday - Favorite/Least Favorite Movie Tie-In Cover

50 / 50 Friday is hosted at The Butterfly Reader and Blue Eye Books

This week's topic is favourite / least favourite movie tie in cover


 Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, #1)

My favourite has to be Beautiful Creatures. I like the way the characters are arranged and I love the colours! 

Least favourite 

The Host

The Host by Stephenie Meyer. I think the positioning of the characters, especially the guys, seems really awkward. I'm also not a fan of the glowing O. I think it contrasts too much with the more muted colour scheme of the rest of the cover.

Monday, 6 November 2017

The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher + Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin

The Killing Woods

Series: N/A
Author: Lucy Christopher
Page Count: 369
Published: October 3rd, 2013
Publisher: Chicken House
  3.5 Stars ★★★

Emily's father is accused of killing a teenage girl when he comes home with her dead body one night. Emily's "friends" turn on her, and Damon, the boyfriend of the girl who was killed, is angry at Emily and Emily's father for what happened.

A war veteran with PTSD, her father's lawyers say that he might have had a flashback, killing the girl not on purpose, but in a horrible accident. But Emily is determined to find out the truth, which takes her into the woods where the girl died.

I enjoyed Stolen by Lucy Christopher, so I was excited to see that she wrote a thriller! This book really was nothing like Stolen, but enjoyable in it's own way. However, I was slightly disappointed.

I liked the way that the issue of Emily's father suffering from PTSD was added into the narrative. It made me wonder if he truly was innocent, or if he had killed the girl, either by accident or not. It added to the mystery! I suspected many different people throughout the book, but I must say that the big reveal was truly surprising for me.

I loved the woods. The descriptions of the woods throughout the book made them sound beautiful and creepy and menacing and mysterious all at once! I found myself wanting to visit these woods. Emily's father's bunker in the woods was another interesting location, with a bit of mystery and a possibility of sinister happenings. The setting was truly the strong point of the book, in my opinion.

I feel like sometimes the characters did not act realistically. For example, Emily's "friends" turning on her after her father is suspected of the murder. It's not like she was going around defending murder! She was just hopeful that her father was innocent...wouldn't anyone be? Yet those she trusted became nasty towards her. It seemed very out of place, like an extreme reaction, especially since I'd consider a friend in that predicament as a friends in need of love more than ever. Maybe I'm just too nice or naive.... but that's how I interpreted the characters' actions. Unrealistic.

I also wish that this book had a bit more creepiness in it. There definitely was some, especially with the setting of the woods. But there should have been more clues adding to the mystery. I would have liked more big reveals! More twists and turns!

This was an enjoyable book. However, something was missing.... the characters seemed a bit off, and I wish the author had added a big more creepiness to the story. However, the setting was marvelous.

Find The Killing Woods on Goodreads


Low Red Moon

Series: Low Red Moon
Author: Ivy Devlin
Page Count: 244
Published: September 14th, 2010
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
  2.5 Stars ★★

Avery's parents were murdered. She doesn't remember much about that fateful night, except that she was covered in their blood, and she saw a flash of silver. Leaving her house in the woods to go live with her grandmother, she is haunted by her parents' deaths. 

Ben is a new boy at school. Despite her being called "cursed" due to the blood-red pieces that appeared in her hair, he is drawn to her, and her to him. Soon, Avery learns that the legends of wolves, who are more than merely wolves, are true, and that something evil is after her. 

So this book had a few good things. First off, the mystery of who murdered Avery's parents. Really, that's the main thing that kept me reading. I also felt some empathy towards Avery's character as she struggled through the difficult time after their deaths, trying to untangle her memories and remember her childhood home in a more positive light. 

The rest of the book wasn't all that great. Ben was just a pretty face. Literally. I had no clue who he was as a person besides pretty and caring about Avery. He needed wayyyyyyy more character development. 

Then there's the romance between Avery and Ben. While their attraction is more of a paranormal or supernatural nature, it still bothered me how Avery literally falls for Ben after her parents are barely dead. And it's not a slow, building attraction. No, and a slight spoiler alert here, but she kisses him after visiting her childhood home in the middle of the night! And he's there with no explanation! I feel like the traumatic memories of her dead parents would probably overshadow her crush on this pretty boy but I guess not....

This book had a lot of potential. If it had been longer, it may have been a lot better. The author needed to develop the character a lot more, and the romance needed more development as well. Not to mention, the ending....very unsatisfying, in my opinion. 

I'd also like to mention that the sequel, Moonrise, doesn't appear to be available anywhere so...if you wanted to read the sequel, you've run out of luck. 

Overall, disappointing. I liked the murder mystery and Avery's struggles with coping with her parents' deaths, but the book was too short and the romance was not at all believable.

Find Low Red Moon on Goodreads