Reviews · Lets Talk

Let’s Talk |Fall Book Recommendation Test & Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs Review

LetsTalk12:17

So, I don’t know about you, but I always see quizzes where they ask you to answer a bunch of questions and then will recommend you a book. I don’t do many of them, but I decided to do the following one that was created by bookish.com. This one asked a bunch of questions and then in theory would recommend me a book I would love to read this fall.

So I answered a bunch of questions, some you can see how they would relate to a book recommendation, others not so much. There was a question about the type of Halloween candy I liked most and I still cannot understand what the connection between a book and a candy. Not to mention they didn’t even have the candy I liked the most.

That is one thing that has made me skeptical in the past about these quizzes, sometimes the answers don’t really apply to myself. I wish there was a Other option for some of them, but I can see how they would not be an option so I just pick the closest thing. When I was done with the quiz I was given Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs. Now I was curious to see if they actually recommended me a book I would enjoy reading or not.

Divider

What Happened

So I started reading this book in the middle of November, it was a perfect book to read during non-fiction November. So, at this point the quiz is in the positive.

This was a very honest book, which I was not sure if I was going to get. I thought it would not be as deep and show so much of the negative aspects of her relationship with her father. The main reason I thought this was because he has passed and people tend to get rose colored glasses when someone has passed. People focus on the good things, which I think is a great thing to do, don’t get me wrong. But, I really liked that she was honest about the downs as much as the ups in her relationship with her father.

Another thing I liked about this book is that it was really well laid out and the story of her life slows very well. I have read memoirs that read choppy and seemed to be disjointed at times. This one is quite the opposite. Also, I really enjoyed that she didn’t just talk about her father even though he is a very well known individual. I really enjoyed learning about her and her story. I liked hearing about her experience in college and as a child even though I had no idea who she was before reading this book, to me that says a lot.

I would say the only reason why I did not give this story a full five stars is because I didn’t really get anything that affected how I saw things in my own life. I know that can sound bad, but when I read a memoir about a person the only way I would give it a five is if it impacted how I lived my life or influenced how I saw a particular event or idea. I hope that make sense. I do highly suggest this book if you are looking to read a good memoir.

Divider

Have you read a book that was recommended to you by a quiz?

SignOff12:17

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Lets Talk · Reviews

Let’s Talk | Book Breeze App Review

LetsTalk12:17

So a few weeks ago you will notice that I started using the app the bookish app Book Breeze created by Zendo Mobile. As far as I am aware this app is only available on the App Store, hopefully this will change in the future. This app is a reading tracker that focuses on collecting data regarding your reading speed, how many hours you spend reading, and how many pages you read. Now the version I am going to be talking about is the paid version of the app. While the free version has everything BUT the speed data and the ability to read more than one book. So a lot of the things I talk about will still be relevant to those using the free version.

Image result for book breeze

What I Liked

So, Book Breeze has a lot going for it as a reading tracker. It is easy to snap a picture of the book you are reading and manually add author, title, and numbers of pages. It also allows you to add a book even if you are in the middle by adding what page you are on. This process is straight forward and you don’t need to add any other information to get to using the app.

Starting a new reading session is easy, you go right to your books pages and click on the cover of the book you want to continue, then click “continue reading”. As soon as you start reading it will start the stopwatch of sorts and record you time until you click stop or pause. I love the fast that you can pause your reading instead of needed to hit stop every time you need to get up real fast for one reason or another. Another great thing is that if you forget to start your session you can add a session by adding the numbers of pages you read and how long you were reading at any point. Sometimes I still forget, but it is easy to fix with the way they set this up.

The last thing I thing they do wonderful is having a straight forward and interface that is not overwhelming. It is easy to navigate and new users I feel will be pros fairly quickly. The graphs and data that is shown is not complex and are very usable then it comes to actually looking at the data. Some apps I have come across make things more complicated then they need to be, Book Breeze does it right.

What I Didn’t Like

You cannot DNF a book without loosing all the data for the book or is stays on your current list forever. I am someone who often DNFs books because I don’t like to force myself to read something I am not enjoying. One thing I think they need to add to this app is either the ability to DNF a book or add a tab to the book category that would remove the book from Current, but allow you to keep pages read data.

Another thing I do not like is the fact that under stats you can only see 2 weeks, 1 month, 1 year, and 10 years. While we do have This week under the reading tab, if you do not take a screen shot to write down what you read this past week on Saturday night you will now have to do some math to figure out what you read in a single week. While it is not a lot of hard work, it is something that I think could be improved upon.

Overall Thoughts

Overall, I think this is a wonderful app and if you are on the market to find an app to track your reading habits or get more insight into your reading pattern it is worth giving a shot. While it does have its faults in my eyes, I am still going to use the app and hopefully they will make some great updates in the future.

Divider

Do you use a reading tracker, if so which one do you use?

SignOff12:17

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

I paid for this app on my own, this post is not sponsored in anyway.

Lets Talk

Let’s Talk | TBR Jar Experiment

LetsTalk12:17

So I know a lot of us book lovers have a huge owned TBR or TBR list and some of us in this community use a TBR jar. In the past I have made one or two of them, but I never really stuck with them for one reason of another. It might have been because I had so many incoming books I didn’t keep up with adding them, I am not really sure. Either way I always failed even though I have even posted a DIY for one a year or maybe even longer. You can see that DIY here: DIY | TBR JAR.

So for the month of October I decided that I would try the famious TBR jar once again and really commit myself to the process. So I went to the thrift store and picked up a small TBR jar and wrote down every book I owned that I still needed to read.

As you can see from the picture above my little jar was VERY full. I might have needed to get a larger one or I need to hurry up and get reading. Now, once I wrote down all the titles It was time to pick my next book.

Divider

So this was the first book I picked out of the jar I picked a very recent addition to my TBR, Salem’s Witch House. I read it pretty quickly and I am glad I picked it up sooner rather than later. If you want to see what I thought in detail about this book you can read my post: A Week in Review | October 1st -October 6th. I will say I did not like it as much as I thought I would, but it was just not what I thought it was. It really stinks when a description was a bit misleading.

The next book I picked was a book my aunt lent to me and wanted to hear my opinion on. I was very happy to picked this book because I did not want to put it off since she is interested in hearing my opinion. I will say that this book was a wild ride and it was truly all over the place. If you want to know what I thought in a lot of detail you can read my post: A Week in Review | October 7th -October 13th.

When I picked this from the jar I was so happy and excited to pick this book. Mainly because I needed to read it for the BN book club and I did not think about that when I started this experiment. Sadly, I ended up loosing this book and needing to pick up another book.

Divider

Reflection

So, upon having used this method for a few weeks. I can say it has its pros and cons. The first thing I liked about this was how easy it was to just pick a book and read. There was no staring at the bookshelf and being overwhelmed by choices. This happens to be from time to time and I can see that it really did cut down on that. The second pro is the fact that it really does show you how many unread books you own. Even though I have 2 book shelves that are pact with books, I mainly just see that I am lucky enough to have those books. I don’t see how many I truly have left unread because they are all spread out. This really forces you to see a visual representation that cannot be ignored and is more meaningful, at least to me, than just seeing a number.

Now, while there are some pretty serious pros to having and using a TBR jar, there are some cons as well. The first you can mainly see in my last pick. I was planning on taking part in the book club, but if I did not pick it there was no way I could have. So having books with a deadline would not work well with this format. Another con would be not really being able to pick what you are in the mood for. While this kind of helps in some situation when you are not in a specific mood, if you want to read a thriller and you picked a nonfiction or a general fiction book you would not be very thrilled. Being a mood reader, this was something I was really afraid of.

Overall I really think a TBR jar has its place in a bookworms life, especially for a mood reader like me. Sometimes I have no idea what I want to read and this could help me. Moving forward I plan on only using my TBR jar for when I am stuck on what to read next. I also think it would be fun to pick a book from the jar once a month just to get me to read some of the books I have been putting off.

I made the decision to kind of mix Books and Lala’s Closet unhaul series and My Reading is Odd TBR jar. Both of these youtubers are amazing and you should check them out ASAP! Anyway, I think I will be pulling a book per month, My Reading is Odd normally pulls more than this, but I don’t want to overwhelmed myself too much.  Now, if I do not read that book in that month off it goes from my shelves, kinda like Lala did in her series.

Divider

What do you think about TBR Jars? Do you use one? How come?

SignOff12:17

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Lets Talk

#Blogoween | Character Inspired Costume

Blogoween

Prompt:

Monday 15th: Shapeshifter
What characters would you like to dress up as at Halloween?

For me I think one of the best book characters to dress up as would be Coraline Jones from Coraline written by Neil Gaiman. The first reason I would say this is because even though this is a kids book, it is creepy and really has halloween vibes to it. I mean other mother and a black cat? The first time I saw other mother illustrated I was spooked and the black cat is just icing on the halloween cake.

Related image
Comic and Cosplay

The second reason might be very obvious if you look at the picture above. Dressing up as Coraline is a comfortable costume. I can wear jeans and sweaters so I wont be too cold and if it is too cold I can wear a rain jacket as another layer and it wont take away from my costume, it only adds. Also, thanks to Comic and Cosplay you can see there are different outfits you can wear depending on your own personal style. I know I would prefer to wear the blue and white stared sweater and black jeans with blue booties. That is my comfort zone. While someone else would feel better in a red and white stripped shirt and jeans.

I have to admit that Comic and Cosplay did a great job with creating these board and helping others to dress up as this character. They really were able to look at the character at a few points in the story and find real world equivalents for people to wear. I might even use this as my costume this year, time will tell on what I decide to be.

Divider

What are you dressing up as for Halloween?

SignOff12:17

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Lets Talk

#Blogoween | Bookish Monster Bender

Blogoween

Prompt:

Tuesday 9th: Bookish Monster Bender
You’re transported into a random book but a bad surprise awaits you. Everything is horror and death, because the story is now a monster version of what you know. The objective is to create a monster bender version of book characters. You can choose who you want and imagine a dark horror version of them and their novels.

So the first book that popped into my head was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Chances are that is no surprise to you, it is always the book I think about first. Anyway, I was thinking an interesting twist on this story would be if our dear Beth became a zombie.

SPOILERS AHEAD! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Image result for beth from little women

So in the story little women Beth, one of the four sisters, tragically dies from an illness about halfway through. She is very young and she is one of the kindest and sweetest souls. As you can see in the image above, she looks very ill. She has dark circles and is very pale. Most zombies are described as having pale skin and their eyes are darkened and sunken. So it would not be hard to imagine Jo turns to discover that Beth has died, but then an hour later while her sisters and Marmee are preparing her body. Her eyes spring open and lock eyes with Jo. Jo, who had slept on the couch in her room and kept her company day and night.

Now, the story changes. There is no loss, but the family now needs to care for ailing Beth in a whole different way. They now need to track down brains of freshly passed individuals or even animals. They need to keep her occupied and under control in the house. How would they explain her absence or the accountant of death, but people can see the shadow of her at night due to the flickering flame?

Would the family continue to be the family that are, or would this terrible secret change them?

Divider

I know this might not be quite what the prompt wanted, but I thought it was an interesting idea. It is fun to think what would certain characters do if they were faced with something like this.

SignOff12:17

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Lets Talk

#Blogoween | Creepy Crawlies

Blogoween

Prompt: Friday 5th: Creepy Crawlies
What fictional monsters/creatures would you hate to encounter?

Image result for dementor

Alright, I thought long and hard about this and I think the worst fictional creature or monster, one that I would really hate to meet and it would have to be a Dementor from Harry Potter. I mean it is a faceless creature shrouded in torn and eerie black cloak, if you can even call it that. It makes everything cold, I absolutely hate the cold. It takes all of the happiness and makes you feel like it will never come back. It is a horrid creature even if you are passing by it on the street. If you happen to get its attention it can give you a “kiss” and steal your soul. I don’t know about you, but I want nothing what so ever to do with a dementor.

Divider

What creature would you hate to meet?

SignOff12:17

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Lets Talk

#Blogoween | Trick of Treat!

Blogoween

Prompt: Wednesday 3rd: Trick of Treat!
Woo, you get to go Trick or Treating! Choose who and/or where you would love to go trick or treating.

While I find this prompt to be really fun and festive, I don’t know why I had such a hard time thinking of who and where I would go trick of treating with. I would have to say the where was the really difficult part for a few reasons, but I will go more into that later.

If I could go trick or treating with anyone I think I would have to go with Fred and George Weasley. They are fun, and lets be honest, their tricks would be amazing! I think it would be fun following them around and seeing the fun they would have hiding behind some really awesome costumes and a few original tricks to try out on muggles.

Image result for fred and george

Now, you may have noticed I said trying these tricks out on muggles, that is because I don’t think there is any trick or treating going on in the wizarding world, but maybe I am wrong? But, if there does happen to be trick or treating in the wizarding world I would have to pick Godrics Hallow.

Image result for Godric’s Hollow

The reason I ended up picking this location was for a few reasons. The significance of the location to the books is founded. Not only did Harry Potter first meet Voldmort here, but also those scenes of Harry at the graveyard was so emotional. But, apart from it being a significant place I also think it would be a great place to get into the spirit. There are a bunch of homes owned by witches and wizards, there is a large cemetery, and if the movies are anything to go off of, it is a beautiful town.

Divider

Who would you go trick or treating with?

SignOff12:17

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

 

Lets Talk

Let’s Talk | Try a Chapter September 2018

LetsTalk12:17

Hello everyone, as of late I have been getting more and more uninterested in the books on my TBR. I am not sure if it is because I am more excited about the new edition to my shelf, my tastes are changing once again, or I wasn’t actually as  interested as I once thought. So, because I want me TBR to be filled with books I am actually excited about I want to do another Try a Chapter where I read the first chapter of a few books and decide if I want to keep them on my TBR or unhaul them. I hope you enjoy!

Previous Posts: Let’s Talk | Try a Chapter April 2018Try a Chapter | August 2017, and Try a Chapter | June 2017.

Divider

The Books

The Honey Farm by Harriet Alida Lye

The Honey Farm

  • goodreads rating: 3.23
  • pages: 328
  • genre: Fiction/Thriller

Outcome: I previously tried to pick up this book for the original OWLs readathon back in April. I only made it to page 24 before I changed it out for another book. I didn’t unhaul this book at the time because I just thought it was a slow read because I was in such a rush to read… if that makes any sense. Anyway, after giving this book another try I am still not totally thrilled. So I am going to be unhauling this book.

All the Ever Afters: The Untold Story of Cinderella’s Stepmother by Danielle Teller

All the Ever Afters: The Untold Story of Cinderella’s Stepmother

  • goodreads rating: 3.79
  • pages: 376
  • genre: Fantasy/Fiction

Outcome: This is a story that is dedicated to the evil step-mother in Cinderella. I have always loved the story of cinderella. Mainly due to the Roger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella movie from 1997, that cast was just amazing. Anyway, I picked up this book because I thought it would be interesting to have another option of the evil step mother. Well, as it turns out I am not as interested as I thought. So I am going to unhaul this book.

Tin Man by Sarah Winman

Tin Man

  • goodreads rating: 4.02
  • pages: 214
  • genre: Fiction/Contemporary

Outcome: While I really wanted to like this book, the first 15 pages I found to be a bit dull. I don’t know, I just was not feeling it too much. It pains me because the description has so much promise and the cover is beautiful. Anyway, I am going to unhaul this book.

The Dutch Wife by Ellen Keith

The Dutch Wife

  • goodreads rating: 3.8
  • pages: 384
  • genre: Historical Fiction

Outcome: While I do love historical fiction and I do enjoy hearing different views and the possible different experiences individuals had during the war. I was not to thrilled with this one. There was no real build and then wham big things happened without real explanation. I didn’t like being thrown into it like that and not really knowing more about the backgrounds of the characters. I am deciding to unhaul this book.

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

The Impossible Knife of Memory

  • goodreads rating: 3.92
  • pages: 416
  • genre: Young Adult/Contemporary

Outcome: I originally picked this book up because it was on sale on Amazon and I heard from a few people that this an emotional and powerful read. For these types of book, I have a hard time picking them up mainly because I read as an escape and why would I want to escape into an emotional roller coaster? Even with this I picked the book up, but it has been months and I have had no thought about it since. Since reading the first chapter I can say the writing is well, but I don’t think this book is something I will read any time soon even though it is interesting. So I am going to unhaul this novel.

Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller

Tropic Of Cancer

  • goodreads rating: 3.71
  • pages: 318
  • genre: Fiction/Classic

Outcome: I got this book from my aunt, she said she wanted to know my thoughts about it and she did not share  hers. I feel like this is an experiment on me for some reason. Anyway, I decided to throw this book in her because I wanted to make the decision now if I was ever going to read it or let it turn to dust on my shelf. Well, I have to admit that this novel is just all over the place. It is overly descriptive, yet talks in circles and all over the place at once. Because of this I am going to keep it because I am very intrigued. What is this book?!

Divider

What do you think about unhauling books?

What is your TBR currently?

SignOff12:17

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

 

 

 

 

Lets Talk

Lets Talk | My Read 5, Buy 1 Challenge

LetsTalk12:17

So years ago I had an owned TBR that was totally out of control. I had over 100 and something unread books and it stressed me out like you may or may not be able to imagine. I felt guilty about reading newer books and buying any book, I even told people not to buy me anymore books because I felt like I was not appreciating their present enough because it took me way to long to read. This was years ago, maybe 5 years ago? I can’t remember off the top of my head, but it was around this time I tried everything to help my TBR shrink.

I tried buying bans, I tried setting monthly book goals, and I tried unhauling a ton as well. But, that just didn’t work for me. Buying bans are not realistic for me, I like adding new books to my owned TBR. I watch booktude and run a bookblog, How am I never going to buy a new book until I read all of my old ones? It is unrealistic, so it failed.

I tried saying I must read x amount of books a month to get to 0 by this date…. Yeah, that was way to much pressure for me and I ended up reading less than I ever had. On top of that I felt pressured and just donated a ton of books. That didn’t work as well because I did really want to read them so I ended up buying them again anyway. All the “typical” getting your TBR lower didn’t work for me.

So one day on tumblr, yes I started on tumblr and I am proud of that, I saw someone say “I need to read 5 books!” I wish I remembered who because I would send them so many thank you notes constantly. This simple phrase led me into figuring out a system that worked for my personality and my TBR.

Divider

What is Read 5, Buy 1?

Well, Read 5, Buy 1 is something I used to get my TBR down to 30 earlier this year. It is now nearly at 60 thanks to bookcon, which I am okay with. This is a very straight forward system that is easy to track. You read 5 books, any books, old or new, just read any 5 books. Then you are able to go to the store and buy 1 without any guilt.

I have used this “Challenge” to get from over 150 books down to normally 30 book on and off for years. I recently started it again on April 23rd, 2018. Now, you may have been read Amy’s post New Goal: Reducing My TBR and crediting me, but I think that was just because I kept talking about it so much. One thing that makes this work so well for me is I need to find ways to make myself accountable. I tell people, I make lists, chat, and annoy people with it. You can even see it in my bullet journal posts, Bullet Journal | June 2018. The more people know you are doing it the less likely you will want to disappoint them. Also, Amy if you are reading this YOU CAN DO IT!

Divider

My Current Read 5, Buy 1 Update

  • Irena’s Children
  • Fingerprints of Previous Owners
  • Circe
  • Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde
  • The Female Persuasion
    • The Nest
  • The Haunting of Hill House
  • My Lady’s Choosing
  • The Storm of the Century
  • When Dimple Met Rishi
  • Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
    • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
  • The Pieces
  • Sleeping Beauties
  • And Then There Were None
  • Every Exquisite Thing
  • Cleopatra
    • All The Ugly and Wonderful Things
  • Of Mice and Men
  • End of Watch
  • The Red Pony
  • West
  • The Nest
    • NOS4A2
  • The Death of Mrs. Westaway
  • Your Soul is a River
  • Perdy Vol. 1
  • The Universe Has Your Back
  • The Little Princess
    • The Poppy War
  • Lying in Wait
  • In the Days of Rain
  • The Pillars of Earth
  • The Invisible Man
  • TBDDivider

As you can see from this challenge I read 29 books, but I only added 5 books to my collection through buying. I am not counting that books I picked up at bookcon, because that would defeat the purpose of bookcon. But, you can see I was able to remove 29 books from my TBR and not miss out on books everyone has been talking about. That is why this is the best method for me personally.

DividerHow do you keep your TBR under control?

Would you consider this challenge?

SignOff12:17

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Lets Talk

Lets Talk | Buddy Reading vs Book Club

LetsTalk12:17Hello everyone, this month I wanted to discuss something I have heard/seen questions going around the book community on various platforms. This month I wanted to talk about both Buddy Reading and Book Clubs. But, before I dive into this new topic I wanted to talk about the outcome of our last discussion.

Previous Discussion: Lets Talk | Preordering Books

DividerLast month we talked about pre-ordering books. It seems from both of the poll questions that 72.7% of the individuals who voted have in the past pre-ordered books. While the second question, dealing with the idea of pre-ordering, 100% thought it was a good idea. I find it interesting that there is a 27.3% difference, while I do understand the reason for the difference. While it is a good idea to pre-order and support authors, it is not always practical and/or a possibility. Thanks again to those who voted!

8 yes, 3 no
11 yes

Divider

First I thought it would be important to define both of these terms that are often thrown around.

Definition of book club via merriam-webster

1: an organization that ships selected books to members usually on a regular schedule and often at discount prices
2: a group of people who meet regularly to discuss books they are reading

Definition of Buddy Read via Moderators of NBRC

A “Buddy Read” has a discussion leader and a reading date is set to start the book. A reading schedule is posted prior to the start date and discussion questions are posted each day regarding that section of the book. More information about these types of reads is below. An example is here, showing a reading schedule here.

I just want to also say that the Buddy reads that I have been part of have a reading schedule and the book is usually broken into 50 page increments. One individual picked the book and the person who chooses the book rotates so others have a chance to be a leader. Discussion days are set, but I have not always had discussion questions set prior sometimes they are set and other times the conversations are just organic. Divider

When looking at a bookclub the main thing that stands out in the definition is that an organization/entity chooses the books for the members, there is not a  discussion over the book that is picked and there is not a rotation of this power. For me I find that having someone always having control of picking the book leaves me to skip months or I end up loosing an interest because I have no equity in the bookclub or the outcome. While this can be a positive for some by getting them to try new books or different genres for me it is not. One example of this is Barns and Nobles new Book Club that was accounted last month. I only joined it because The Female Persuasion was already on my anticipated releases of April. If it has not been I would not have even thought about joining.

Another thing that stands out is the fact that is has a regulated schedule that sits usually at once a month. I really enjoy this format because I can read the book in a single day or take the entire month to read it. It is totally up to me. I can break it down by how much to read per week or just wing it.

Now, looking at buddy reads there are a few things that stand out to me. The first being Is that there is a reading schedule set. As I said earlier I do like how bookclubs give you more flexibility here, but to be honest I enjoy having a weekly goal. For me it allows me to be the mood-reader that I am by allowing me to read more than one book at a time. I can read by 50 pages earlier in the week and then explore other books the rest of the time. Also, chances are, depending on the size of the book, can take more than a single month to read.

Another thing that I like is that there is a leader who chooses the book, for me the person who chooses always changes. There is not a single entity who is in charge. That way, I as a reader, get to pick something I really want to read with others, but I also get to explore what others want to read. I have equity in the group and that give it value. For me this keeps me involved and excited about reading with a group.

Realistically I will never have to choose one over the other, but if I had to pick between only taking part in a bookclub or in buddy reads chances are I would choose buddy reads. For my reading style and my personality they work better.

I hope this post explained a little bit more about what these terms actually mean and is helpful in some way. If you have any questions or want to point out more positive and negatives of either of these please share in the comments, I would love to hear them. Also, there is once again a poll at the end of this post. I am curious to see what everyone thinks.

Divider

What do you think about buddy reads and book clubs?

Have you ever taken part in either of these?

SignOff12:17

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads