Book #1 of 2014

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The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
(Fire and Thorns #1)

It’s the eleventh day of January and I finished my first book of 2014! Which is terrible, actually, if I plan to read 50 over the course of this year. Apparently, I need to read like 4 and a little bit of a another each month to make that goal. So…let’s reader MORE and FASTER!

Anyway, the first book I finished with The Girl of FIre and Thorns by Rae Carson and it is the first in the Fire and Thorns trilogy.

I really enjoyed this book for many reasons. First, the main protagonist had a weight/eating issue that seemed to center around anxiety and that is very common among women in general. When the princess is kidnapped and forced to another city by traveling in the desert, the weight begins to shed from her. Surprisingly, a lot of people were furious with this; I saw things like “fat-shaming” and “oh, so you made the fat girl thin, so you’re saying that being fat/overweight is bad.”  Well, I mean, it’s not good, is it?  I’m allowed to say this because I am no skinny-minny. I have struggled with weight issues for the last couple of years (a terrible side-effect of quitting smoking).  But, I know that when I look at myself that I’m not healthy. I’m not in shape, my body is not up to par and there is nothing wrong with that being a bad thing.  Because it is a bad thing. It could kill you. So, yeah, be careful of how you word things in YA when it comes to sensitive subjects like weight but don’t tiptoe over it and pretend it’s not a growing issue.

Anyway, let me just step down from my soapbox here.

Another thing I loved about this book was Rae Carson’s bravery. She is not afraid to kill off her characters for the sake of the plot. I’m not going to pretend I enjoy losing character’s I’ve grown fond of, but I understand the purpose (I’m looking at you, Veronica Roth).  

And, as always, I enjoy a good fantasy, especially intermingled with royal families. It’s always a good mix. I am curious to see how the second book goes (the beautiful part of starting a series once it’s already out).  

So, this is my first book of 2014, onto the next.

Peace, Love, & Empathy.

Bargain Book Buying

So, as I’ve said before, I am a recent graduate working part-time as a bookseller and that doesn’t compute to a large amount of money.  But I still love books and that’s something I can’t give up.  Thankfully, I have an extremely large TBR pile and therefore could probably spend the next few months not buying any new books and I’d still have something new to read. But where’s the fun in that? So, I have a few paths I take in order to buy books when money is tight. Some of these are well-known, some not so much. If I help one fellow reader save some money, I’ve done my job.

1. Kindle Daily Deals.  I believe the only stipulation for this subscription is that you have a Kindle. When I signed up for it back in May 2013, they had a promotion going on where I would get to pick one free book upon subscription. And subscription is free (that may be because I have Amazon Prime). Regardless, Kindle Daily Deals is exactly like it says; every day Amazon sends an email with a link to the EBooks that are discounted up to 80%.  You’d be surprised to see some of the books they drop.

2.  The Fussy Librarian.  This is also a free subscription.  You give your email, select the types of books you enjoy, if you’re against cursing/sexual content and within 24 hours you receive an email with some options (all EBook). Like Kindle Daily Deals, you’ll get an email every day with new selections. Granted, some of the choices are random but I think that makes it even better.  Because of the current market, we’re only subjected to the books that get the proper marketing and we could potentially be missing out on some hidden gems.

3. Book Outlet.  Formerly known as BookCloseOuts, Book Outlet is a website with a ton of EXTREMELY cheap books. I have found hardcovers of newer books for less than $5. It’s like stealing. Also, they always seem to have a sale going on; even now, you can get 50% off health & fitness books and 50% off of 2014 calendars.  Also, they ship internationally for those of you across the sea. Shipping rates are reasonable and if you’re like me and you just prefer the physical books as opposed to EBooks, this website is for you.

4.  Book Depository.  While this website isn’t as good about the discounts, it is FREE shipping worldwide and sometimes that’s all the discount you need.  Also, titles are usually in stock on Book Depository whereas the Book Outlet has some trouble, but that’s because their prices are ridiculously low.  A lot of Booktubers are Book Depository affiliates and so if there is one you love to watch, check and see if they are and they could receive a small commission for directing you to the site.

5. 2nd and Charles.  This is not a website. This is a store and this store rocks. It’s a lot like Half Price Books (another discounted book store) but it’s even better. First of all, the selection is ridiculous, so many books, it takes me an hour just to go through the bookcases. Second of all, it has a lot more than books, like nerd junk and that’s always a plus.  And lastly, when you sell your stuff back to them you are offered WAY more than anywhere else, including Half Price Books. I’ve already racked up $70 in credit since it opened in my town a few months ago.  Go to their website and find one near you.

These are just a few of the ways I continue to buy books and not break the bank.  I hope that some of these suggestions will allow you to keep reading and keep saving.

Until next time!

Top Ten Tuesday – Goals/Resolutions for 2014

So, this is late, but that’s because it’s been a cluster (you know what) here. First, the weather dropped to -50 (Even for Chicago, that’s ridiculous and almost unheard of) and we had two snow storms, one right after the other, and then our electricity was knocked out on the coldest day of the year, and then the heat couldn’t catch back up once it came back on (cue layers and gloves IN the house) and after all of that my kitchen flooded when I tried to do laundry (that still isn’t fixed). It’s been…interesting.

Anyway! My top ten goals/resolutions will be a blend of bookish and non-bookish. So, here we go.

1. Read 50 books.  I set that same goal for me last year but it proved too difficult for such a busy year. I graduated college as did my boyfriend and then we quit our jobs, moved five hours north, found new jobs, got our first place together, and adopted a dog. I read 30 and I’m proud of that.

2.  Dwindle TBR pile.  The pile is huge, guys. I can’t even. I have never had so many unread books. I used to be the kind of reader who would buy a book, read it immediately, and then go back and get a new one. I’ve begun making the mistake of buying books I want but don’t necessarily have time to read. This has got to change.

3.  Read Epic Fantasy. I love fantasy, it’s probably my favorite genre. Unfortunately, very few YA books can be considered EPIC fantasy and that’s something I’ve been missing. I want to be totally engulfed in a new world. I have three different series in mind: A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin, Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson, and Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss. Any other suggestions? I need all that I can get.

4.  Limit Book Buying.  I have never been too bad with this. I’m reasonable enough to understand that money is a constant struggle for those of us who are newly graduated and just now realizing how terrible the job market is. When I do buy a book it’s usually on sale or used. I have racked up quite a bit of store credit at 2nd and Charles (best used book store ever) by selling back books I’ve already read or never plan to read. So, if I need a book and I can’t find it used or discounted, I’m shit out of luck.

5.  Keep Blog up-to-date.  I blogged for a while last year and I really enjoyed it but once I began my part-time job as a bookseller I was informed that reviewing books could pose a threat to my job. I stopped my blog, deleted it, but I’ve never stopped wanting to do it. So, screw it. I’m doing it. I may only post a synopsis, books I’m currently reading, or books I’ve fallen in love it, but I’m still doing it.

6.  Write.  First and foremost, I’m a writer. I’m no published but that’s my ultimate goal and I can’t let doubt and fear hold me back any longer. I have too much desire to succeed not to keep trying. I have yet to finish a book but I’ve started a million. One will be finished this year.

7.  New Job.  Don’t get me wrong, working around books is amazing and if I didn’t work retail I assume I’d enjoy it even more. But the fact remains, I work retail and retail is hard. It’s not about the books, the quality of books, the diversity of books. It’s about what’s selling and that’s all we carry. I want to know books, I want to be surrounded by all different genres and authors. This just isn’t possible working for a big corporation. I plan to start volunteering at my local library, gain some experience, and go from there. Who knows, I could become a librarian one day.

8.  Comic-Con.  I have only been to Comic-Con once and that was last year in St. Louis, Mo.  Apparently, that one is tiny compared to the one in Chicago. Of course, New York or California would be even more preferable. But that kind of travel requires a lot of money, and I’m not in possession of that, so since Chicago is 20 miles away, that’s my plan. Can’t wait.

9.  Get healthy.  This doesn’t just mean lose weight, although that is definitely part of it. But I’m not healthy. I haven’t been in a long time. I struggle with anxiety in a way that has only gotten worse as I’ve gotten older (something I’ve discovered is pretty common). It’s too easy to fall off the wagon and grab a burger on the way home or grab chocolate instead of fruit. I always have an excuse ready. Not anymore. Well, just let me finish this Reeses Valentine Heart and I’ll be good.

10.  Get Organized.  I love being organized but I don’t love keeping up with it on a daily basis. It’s easy to spend a day off organizing the kitchen or the bathroom. It’s no so easy to come home after work and show the same dedication. I want my house clean looking nice always. I need that kind of stability, it’s a thing.

So, whew, there’s ten. Didn’t think I’d make it. So, what are your resolutions? Do any of yours mirror mine? Let me know!

Until next time.

*Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish

Welcome to my Madness

I’ve been a writer ever since I drew a picture of a mud pile, gave it a name, and gave it a story (it was called a Muddywalk, by the way). It seems that most writers have a strange beginning and that just makes what they write that much more interesting. Writing isn’t for the faint of heart. If you actually plan to break into this kind of gig in a public sort of way you need to be prepared for the rejection and the criticism. You need to trust that you are pouring your heart into whatever you are writing and that the right people will find it.

But, what do I know?

Don’t let me lead you into believing I’m published or accomplished in any way in the author world. Though I did win a contest for my Father’s Day poem back in elementary. Even won Chicago White Sox tickets which was cool until I realized that my dad, being a Chicago Cubs fan, would never be caught dead at the other stadium. Still, that’s about all the luck I’ve had.

To be completely honest, I have never attempted to send out anything. That’s a scary step and I’m not even past the scariest step which is actually finishing something and letting someone else read it. I convince myself to keep reading, keep writing, and then read some more; this is all just a clever tactic to avoid actually putting my focus on a single piece of work.  But that’s why there are New Year’s resolutions, right? Well, 2014 will be the year I find a project and stick to it, to the bitter end. For better or worse.

I don’t care about sleep deprivation or the crazy eyes you get from staring at a computer screen too long; it’s getting done.  That being said, I’ve also set myself a reading challenge of 50 new books this year. Some might say I’m setting myself up for failure and I’m inclined to agree with you, but whatever.

What was the point of this post? I have no idea. Maybe to really convince myself that this is my plan. Now that I’ve admitted it for the whole internets to hear, there’s no turning back. So ha!…to myself.

The good news is I’ve already picked the book I started that I plan to finish. It was one that I began back in November for NaNoWriMo, which I failed, and I am still puzzling over it which, to me, means that it is something worth taking a second look at. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to convince myself this story will be the one that I publish, you’re too far ahead in the game. I just want to FINISH something, anything really.

I don’t have a good enough synopsis to give you at the moment but I will tell you that it takes a little history and a little medieval and a little bit of intrigue and combines them all together. I have already determined that this story would not make a very good stand-alone, that it would need to be a trilogy at least. Irregardless, I’m excited to start. and I have, I have like half a page of words!

Alright, that’s it for now.