Book Review: On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

On the Come Up is about a sixteen-year-old named Bri who wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least to make it out of her neighborhood one day. She has to live up to her dad’s name, the name of an underground rap legend who died before he had the chance to make it big. She has some big shoes to fill. But her mom lost her job, they’re struggling to keep food on the table and the lights on in the house. Bri feels like she doesn’t just want to make it, she has to. To keep her family above water.

This is Angie Thomas’ second novel, following her debut that was released in 2017, The Hate U Give, which quickly became a NY Times Bestseller. It received the National Book Awards in 2017 for Young People’s Literature. And for good reason; that book was absolutely heartbreaking considering it was about the main character witnessing a police shooting her best friend.

On the Come Up is just as heartbreaking. And it was a book that I was looking forward to reading since it came out this year. And I’m so glad that I did. I didn’t know much about what it was about until I started reading it; I didn’t need to know much since it was by Angie Thomas and I loved her debut novel. They aren’t in a series, so you wouldn’t have to read them in order, but I would definitely recommend reading both of them. They’re both powerful and hard-hitting. On the Come Up was such a fantastic read. Like I honestly have no words for how great this book is.

I listened to it on audiobook, and I definitely would recommend it. Something about listening to it made the reading experience so much more impactful. It almost felt like I was watching a movie as I listened. I liked the way that the narrator, Bahni Turpin, told the story because she was able to give the story and the characters more life. I was able to hear the dialect of the characters, and it just felt more engaging that way.

I only read this book in three days, which says something about the book itself. That, and the fact that I listened to it on audiobook. I haven’t read a book that fast in a while, and I know a book is good when I can’t stop reading it. Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and I would strongly suggest you pick it up. It deserves all the hype that surrounds it.

Book Review: The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30312855-the-last-magician

This takes place in modern-day New York, where magic is all but extinct. Those who do have an affinity for magic (Mageus), live in the shadows and have to hide who they really are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan gets trapped by a dark energy barrier called the Brink. If anyone crosses it, they lose their power, and in most cases, their lives.

Esta is a thief, a very talented one. She was raised to steal magical artifacts from the Order that created the Brink. She’s able to manipulate time, and in doing so, Esta can pilfer from the past in order to collect these artifacts before the Order realizes she’s there. In all of her training, Esta has been preparing for one job: traveling to 1902 to steal an ancient book that contains the secrets of the Order – and the Brink – before the Magician can destroy it.

But of course nothing goes according to plan. Old New York is ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, where magic isn’t at all extinct. Nothing is as it seems, even the Magician himself. But if Esta is to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past. But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Esta to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past.

This book was a lot of fun, and nothing that I expected it to be. I went into it not knowing what I was getting myself into, and came out of it loving the ride I was taken on. I really enjoyed Esta’s affinity to manipulate time, and it was so cool reading about it every time she did it and how much she put at risk when she did jump through time. Just one misstep would change the future as she knew it.

I didn’t know who to trust, and that alone kept me on the edge of my seat while I was reading it. Especially towards the end. The stakes were getting really high and intense that I couldn’t stop reading. I didn’t see any of what happened coming.

I definitely have to get the sequel as soon as possible to see what happens next because it definitely was set up for a sequel. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys fantasy, especially the kind of fantasy that includes magic and gangs and secret societies.

Audiobooks to Read in 2019

Or in this case, books I want to listen to.

Something that I’ve really gotten into last year was audiobooks. In the middle of 2018, I decided to give Audible a try. I had already began listening to audiobooks through my local library, but there wasn’t a large selection of books that I was really interested in. So I figured Audible would allow me to have a larger selection. And let me tell you, I was hooked.

I was getting through so many more books because of audiobooks. I was listening to them while I showered, while I put my laundry away, while I drove to work, while I painted my nails, while I colored. I fell in love with them because of the ability to multitask. I wasn’t stuck reading a book on my bed and not doing anything else. It opened up the opportunity to do so much more while I was reading that it didn’t even feel like I was reading.

Okay, so this isn’t a paid promotion for Audible, though I do recommend checking it out if you’re interested in listening to audiobooks. It’s just one of the apps I’ve used to listen to audiobooks. I also use my local library, especially when I don’t feel like spending money on a book and they have it in their catalog.

This is just a short list of the audiobooks that I want to get to this year; they’re a few that I have on my wishlist or ones that are my top audiobooks I want to get to at some point this year. This isn’t a complete list; I’m sure there are so many others that I want to get to.

And I know it’s already March, and I’ve already gotten some of these read, but I wanted to create a list to look back on so I can hold myself accountable.

The Wicked King by Holly Black is the second book after The Cruel Prince. I listened to that book last year, and really enjoyed it. It followed a girl, Jude, and her two sisters who was stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. She wants to belong at the court, even though she is human. As she becomes more involved in the palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself. It was a fast-paced, action-packed first book to the series, and I have been waiting to dive into the sequel since it came out in January 2019.

Winter by Marissa Meyer is the fourth book in the Lunar Chronicles. I have slowly been making my way through this series, and I’m really looking forward to getting to this installment. The first book, Cinder, is a retelling of Cinderella, where Cinder is a cyborg. Each book in the series follows her in her escape from danger; each book is a retelling of a fairy tale. Scarlet is the retelling of Little Red Riding Hood and Cress is the retelling of Rapunzel. This one is a retelling of Snow White. Seige and Storm by Leigh Bardugo Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas is Angie Thomas’ second book released. Her debut novel, The Hate U Give was released in 2017, and quickly became a NY Times Bestseller. It also got the National Book Awards in 2017 for Young People’s Literature. And for good reason; that book was heartbreaking, and an absolutely necessary book to read. And if possible, listened to on audiobook because it was an amazing reading experience.

On the Come Upis one that I have been looking forward to reading since it came out in February of this year. These two books aren’t connected in any way, so you wouldn’t have to read one in order to read the other, but I definitely recommend reading Thomas’ debut novel. From what I can tell, On the Come Up is about a girl who wants to become the greatest rapper of all time, and has some pretty big shoes to fill since her dad was an underground rap legend.

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas is one that I should have gotten to a long time ago. It’s the 6th and final book in the Throne of Glass series, which is essentially about a female assassin. It came out in September of 2018, and I have had it on my TBR shelf since then. Not only do I have the audiobook, but I also have the physical book. The thing that is keeping me from picking this book up is the size of it. It’s nearly 1,000 pages, which translates to over 30 hours for the audiobook. So I know if I start it, I have to invest a lot of time in it. It’s also the finale, so I’ve kind of been putting it off because I don’t want the series to end.

Like I said, this isn’t the complete list of audiobooks I want to get to this year, but a few of the main ones. I’m sure there are more that I’ll probably listen to even though they’re not listed here.

What are some books that you want to get to this year? Do you listen to audiobooks? Which ones are your favorites? I’d love to know in the comments below.

Books to Read in March

I know we’re already a week into March, but I’m just getting around to posting the list of books that I want to get through this month. I might be a little ambitious in what I plan to read, but I’m going to try my best. And considering I didn’t read that much last month, I don’t have high hopes that I’ll be successful in reading all of these.

I’ve already finished two books so far this month, though they were the two I had started last month and I was really close to finishing them before February was over.

I didn’t have much left of Battle Angel Alitato read, and I pretty much flew through it when I did end up reading it. The only reason I wasn’t able to finish it in February was because of work and school.

The same went for Radio Silence. I was surprised I didn’t get this one read faster, mainly because I was listening to it on audiobook, and normally I fly through audiobooks. But I powered through it once I found some time to actually listen to it.

As soon as I finished those two books, I picked up The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell. I’ve been in the mood to read a physical book, and also a fantasy book. Which this is both of those things. I’ve heard really good things about it, and so far it’s been a quick read. If I weren’t so busy with school, I’d be reading a lot more of it. Plus I’ve been sick these past couple days, which doesn’t make matters any better.

I definitely want to read another Sailor Moon volume this month. I’ve been trying to get through at least one a month because I want to get through the entire manga series this year.

Another book I want to finally get to is On the Come Up by Angie Thomas. I listened to her debut novel The Hate U Give last year and really enjoyed it. And even though it was a tough book to get through at times, it was really impactful. I’m sure this one is gong to be the same way. Plus it’s an audiobook, so I feel like I could fly through it one weekend.

I also really want to try to read some more poetry this month. I recently got a book of poetry the last time I went to the bookstore. It’s called Pillow Thoughts by Courtney Peppernell, and I read a few of the poems before I bought it, and I knew I had to get it. So I did. And I haven’t read it yet. I want that to change this month. I loved the ones I read, and I’m sure I’m going to love the rest of them.

There are also some books I’m not sure if I want to get to this month, but have on my list anyway.

I’m not sure if I’m emotionally ready for The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith. I had this on my list last month, and I didn’t get to it. I put it on this month’s TBR mainly as overflow, and I’m not sure if I’m going to get around to it.

The same goes for Vicious by V.E. Schwab. I put this one on my TBR last month because I want to reread it before getting into the sequel, but I haven’t yet. Not that I don’t want to. It’s just a matter of when I’ll get to it.

As always, these aren’t set in stone. I don’t like to hold myself to reading these books. If I decide to pick up a different book that’s not on this list, then that’s fine. As long as I’m reading, then I’m happy.

What is a book you are most looking forward to reading this month? For me, it’s definitely The Last Magician and On the Come Up. I’d love to know what yours are!

February 2019 Wrap Up

This month was not the greatest reading months that I’ve had. I don’t know if that’s because it was a short month or because I was so caught up with work and school that I didn’t have enough time to read. I’m not sure, but whatever the reason, I only read 2 books.

Well correction, I finished one I had started in January, and I’m in the middle of 2 that I know I’ll probably finish in March.

I finally got around to reading the third volume of Sailor Moon this month, and I really enjoyed it. I don’t know what’s taking me so long to get through these volumes. I’m really enjoying the story and they don’t take that long to get through. I think I just need to sit down and read them. Or at least the volumes I own so far.

I also picked up Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson this month. It wasn’t on my TBR, but I’d been hearing some really good things about it, and my library had it, so I figured I’d give it a shot. And I was pleasantly surprised, especially since it was a murder mystery type book that takes place in a boarding school. I had never read something like that before, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to like it. But I did.

Those were the only books I started and finished in February. I had started The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah in January, but didn’t get to finish it until the first few days of February.

The two books I’m in the middle of are Radio Silence by Alice Oseman and Battle Angel Alita by Yukito Kishiro. After finishing Truly Devious, I needed something that I thought I could get through pretty quickly. So I picked up Radio Silence on audiobook. And I had just seen the movie Alita: Battle Angel, which made me want to read the manga so I bought it and started it right away.

Then I got sick with the stomach bug and couldn’t do any kind of reading. So those books were put on hold until I was better. Which is why I didn’t the chance to finish them this month. If I hadn’t gotten sick, I know I would have been able to finish them in no problem. But they’re my first priority for March’s reads.

So there you have it. Those were the few books I got through this month. It wasn’t the best, but I’m just lucky I was able to find time to read.

What were some books you read this month? Which one was your favorite? I’d love to know!

Reading Habits Book Tag

I have never done a book tag on here yet, and I found this one on Melting Pages. It seemed like a good one to start out with considering it’s basically just answering questions about my reading habits.

Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

I tend to read a lot in my room. My bed is the most comfortable place in my room where I love to read since I have a bunch of pillows and blankets. And since it’s the winter, I love to wrap myself up in a warm, fuzzy blanket and lay on my bed to read.

Bookmark or random piece of paper?

I am obsessed with bookmarks. I have more than I could possibly use at once. I like to switch back and forth among them whenever I read something new.

Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/a certain amount of pages?

Usually, I just stop whenever, no matter where I am in the chapter. But ideally, I like to stop at the end of a chapter, or at least at a break in the chapter. When it comes to a certain amount of pages, I like to stop after 50 or so pages, mainly because I tend to get really distracted while I’m reading.

Do you eat or drink while reading?

Sometimes. I have trouble keeping the book open (if it’s a physical book) while I’m eating something, especially if it’s something that requires my full attention. I like to snack a lot when I read, though. But I always have a water bottle near me while I read just to keep hydrated.

Multitasking: Music or TV while reading?

I used to be able to read while listening to music, but lately, I need it to be almost completely silent. As I mentioned, I get really distracted when I read. So if the TV is on while I’m reading, I wouldn’t be able to focus on what I’m reading. I would constantly stop to see what was going on in the show or movie. Music isn’t as distracting, but I still have some trouble tuning everything out.

One book at a time or several at once?

It depends on the format of the book I’m reading. I like to only read one physical book at a time. However, I can read a physical book and listen to an audiobook, and alternate between them. Or if I pick up a novel, I may also read a manga or graphic novel or book of poetry at the same time.

Reading at home or everywhere?

I read mainly at home. Sometimes I may feel stir-crazy and go to the library or Starbucks to read, but mainly I’m at home. I don’t tend to go many places, though whenever I do go somewhere, I do try to take my book with me to get some reading done. I do this a lot when I listen to audiobooks.

Reading out loud or silently in your head?

Definitely in my head. I don’t think I’d be able to read as fast if I read out loud.

Do you read ahead or even skip pages?

Never. I try really hard not to look at the next page, especially if something really suspenseful is about to happen.

Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

It depends on the book, to be honest. I don’t like breaking the spines of hardcovers, though most of the time, they lay flat pretty well without having to. When it comes to paperbacks, it depends on how floppy they are. If they are floppy to the point that they lay flat when opened, I don’t break the spine. If they aren’t, then I might have to. In most cases, I like to keep them like new if possible.

Do you write in your books?

I don’t normally write in my books, unless it’s for school. I try to keep my books as pristine as possible, unless they’re secondhand. Some of the classics I own are secondhand, and with those, I don’t feel too bad annotating in them. But the ones I buy new, I like to try to keep new.

I don’t know anyone to tag to do this tag, so if you’re interested, have a go at it! What are some reading habits you have? I’d love to know!

Book Discussion: Where My Love of Reading Started

Everyone’s reading journey starts somewhere. Some people have a love of reading since the day they first started reading. Others’ love of reading started later in life. Mine is somewhere in the middle.

I distinctly remember that I was in 6th grade when I first began reading more. Before that, I honestly didn’t enjoy reading much. I struggled getting through the required books that we were supposed to read in my English classes, so there was really no way that I would have wanted to pick up a book outside of school.

I do have some memories of my mom reading to me before bed, specifically Arthur by Marc Brown or The Magic Treehouse series, but that was mainly before I started to be able to read more on my own. I enjoyed listening to her read to me, but I still wasn’t inclined to pick up a book on my own. Like I said, it wasn’t until probably 6th grade that I became more interested in reading.

I had a really close friend back then who used to read a lot, and being that I was an impressionable 12-year-old, I decided to pick up some of the books she was reading. And it just blossomed from there. I literally picked up and read anything I could get my hands on. Any book one of my friends was reading at the time, I read. I got into The Maximum Ride series, and so many other series. My love of reading just grew after that.

I remember devouring anything by Sarah Dessen, many times when I was in 8th grade and into early high school. I think that’s where my love of contemporary fiction came from. Because that is a majority of what I read now, and the genre of my book that I’m writing.

And soon, I was transfixed by the Twilight saga, and every other vampire book that was being released at the time. Anything from Twilight to The Vampire Academy to The Sookie Stackhouse series, before it became a HBO tv show. Those series may be kind of problematic now that I’m older, but I don’t think I’d be the type of reader I am now without them.

Reading has become something that I can’t imagine my life without. I don’t know how I wasn’t able to get into it when I was younger. I wish I had read some of the series that many other kids my age were reading. But I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for my reading journey.

Book Review: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21853621-the-nightingale?from_search=true

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is a historical fiction novel that is set in Nazi-occupied France. It follows two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle. Vianne doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France, until they do. She is forced to take an enemy in her house and she is constantly on watch. She is forced to make many terrible choices as danger increases around her.

Isabelle is a rebellious teen, and she is searching for a purpose. She races headlong into danger, and joins the Resistance. She doesn’t give any thought about the real or deadly consequences.

This book was a hard read. One that I, at first, wasn’t sure if I was going to pick up because of the subject matter. But I have always been interested in World War II and the Holocaust. It’s such a heartbreaking time in our history, and I can’t imagine what it would have been like to have gone through any of what these people went through.

In terms of this book, I listened to it on audiobook, and I’m so glad that I did. That’s because it made the reading experience so much more immersive. I could get lost in the story of these two sisters. I became invested in their lives and what they had gone through during this time. I felt for their losses and their traumas that they experienced.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction, especially books about the Holocaust and World War II. This isn’t a genre that I normally pick up, and I’m so glad that I finally got around to this one. It made me want to read more historical fiction, though not right away because I need a break from the dark subject matter.

Book Discussion: Reading More

How do people read so much even when it seems like they’re always really busy? That is a question that I am constantly asking myself now that the semester started and I’m working full time. Before, I had all the time in the world to read as much as I wanted. Now I feel like I can barely keep my eyes open to read a page.

I may not have all the answers. But I have noticed a few things that worked in order for me to read more while also being super busy.

The main thing that I’ve been doing different is listening to audiobooks. I will admit that I have become addicted to listening to them, especially when I do laundry or color or any other mundane task that I couldn’t read while doing. It’s so easy to get lost in a book when I’m able to multitask, and it puts the cherry on top if the narrator really gets into the reading of the story. Or if there is a full cast of narrators to make it feel like I’m watching a movie in my head. Audiobooks also help when I’m too tired to use my eyes to read; I can just listen and close my eyes.

The other is reading shorter books. Lately, I’ve been really into manga. That’s mainly because my boyfriend kind of got me into them. Specifically the One Piece series, which is outrageously long. Like 90 volumes. But that’s besides the point. I flew through the first five volumes in the matter of a couple weeks. That’s mainly because not only are they short in length, but they also consist mostly of pictures. So it makes getting through a volume really easy.

But if you’re not one for manga (though I encourage you to give them a try. I did and I don’t regret a thing), you could always opt for shorter books. Or maybe even children’s books. Not like picture books, but chapter books. Percy Jackson, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and others are super short that would be easy to breeze through.

There are other ways to read more. Like reading a bit during any kind of break you may have during the day. A lunch break at work. Time in between classes. A few minutes before bed. Or even scheduling a block of time specifically for reading into your day. All that time would add up in the end and before you know it, you’re done with a book.

What are some of your ways of finding time to read more? Let me know; I’d love to know what you guys do to beat this.

Books To Read in February

There aren’t that many books that I actually want to get to this month, mainly because I know that I won’t have much time to read them. With work and school, I’m pretty tired by the end of the day that I can barely keep my eyes open to read before bed. So I’m thinking, I might make this a month of audiobooks. That way, I can do other things while I read, like laundry and lay in bed with my eyes closed.

I’ve already started one audiobook this month, which is The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. It’s a historical fiction novel set in the WWII era, and even though I’m only a little more than 100 pages into it, I’m really enjoying it. But I know it’s going to break me by the end of it, so I’m trying to listen to it really slow.

I’ve been really getting into manga lately, and they’re really easy to read. I’m currently in the middle of Sailor Moon, so I want to get to the next volume, which is volume 3. And if I really get invested in the story, I might dive right into the next as soon as I finish this volume.

And to continue my audiobook trend, I want to read Radio Silence by Alice Oseman. From what I heard, it sounds like it would be perfect listened to in audiobook format. It also deals with themes of identity and diversity, so those things right there hooked me to want to pick this book up.

Crazy Rich Asians is a book that I’d like to get to this month, and one that I’ve had on my bookshelf for a few months now. I’ve heard really good things about it, and it’s also now a movie. I want to see what all the fuss is surrounding it, so I’m intrigued to pick it up. I’m thinking it’s going to be a light, fluffy read that I can pretty much fly through. Even though it’s over 500 pages long.

The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith I picked up on a whim when I was ordering books online with my Barnes and Noble gift card. From what I can tell, it’s a really intense book about some really intense topics, like the trauma of rape. It’s a really dark topic, and one that I don’t read about often. I probably have to be in the right mindset when I pick it up, so I might not get to this month if that’s the case.

I’m also thinking about rereading Vicious by V.E. Schwab because I recently purchased the sequel Vengeful, and I would want to be refreshed before I jump into the next book. But none of these are set in stone. I never know what I want to read until I actually pick up a book. But I also like to have an idea of a few books that I would like to get to.

What are you guys planning on reading this month?