Booked til Tuesday

Life, Law & Libros

2016 Book Stats Survey

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Thank you to Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner for hosting this fun end-of-year survey!


2016 Reading Stats
Number Of Books You Read: 54
Number of Re-Reads: 2
Genre You Read The Most From:
Over half was some form of sci-fi/fantasy, but the real surprise was the HUGE jump in romance. Apparently, my reading habits go wacko during law school semesters.



1. Best Book You Read In 2016


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Seriously Shifted by Tina Connolly (3 stars)

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I reviewed Seriously Wicked by Tina Connolly last year. Despite the broom on the cover, it felt more like a contemporary YA novel with a tiny sprinkling of magic. The sequel, Seriously Shifted, shifted gears and brought on a lot more magic and fantastical elements without losing the down-to-earth, "teen finding herself" core.

This book was provided by the publisher for review. Thank you, Tor Teen!
Seriously Shifted by Tina Connolly
Series: Seriously Wicked #2
Genres: YA, Paranormal
Published on November 1, 2016
Published by Tor Teen
Final Rating: 3 stars
Synopsis:
Teenage witch Cam isn’t crazy about the idea of learning magic. She’d rather be no witch than a bad one. But when a trio of her mother’s wicked witch friends decide to wreak havoc in her high school, Cam has no choice but to try to stop them.

Esmerelda is the mean girl of the witches. Valda likes to drop anvils on people’s heads. And Malkin—well, Malkin is just plain terrifying. Their idea of fun is a little game—they each pick a student from Cam’s high school and compete to see who can make their teen the most miserable. But Cam suspects one of the witches may have an ulterior motive…which means someone at school could be in worse danger yet.

Now Cam’s learning invisibility spells, dodging exploding cars, and pondering the ethics of love potions. All while trying to keep her grades up and go on a first date with her crush. If the witches don’t get him first, that is.
Can’t a good witch ever catch a break?

Review:
Seriously Shifted pits good witch-in-training Cam against a wicked witch reunion, and her mom's old college buddies are in town for more than drinks and laughs. After an ill-made wager, with more on the line than she realizes, Cam's in for a week of new secrets, new friends, new spells and new danger.

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Merry Christmas

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Merry Christmas, happy holidays and happy three-day weekend to those in the US!

Finals were ROUGH this semester. Thank God for my study buddies keeping me sane and on track. I'm not sure how I did, but we'll find out in January. At least it's done. :)

In other news, I participated in #TBTBSanta (The Broke and the Bookish's amazing Secret Santa project). I sent out my gifts a little while back and was thrilled my Santee liked them! I'll be opening my Secret Santa's box tomorrow.


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Happy Thanksgiving

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It's been a year of big changes and new opportunities. I started my second year of law school. I became a club president and scheduled debates. I had to buy a new car. I started a new job, which sadly meant leaving people I loved working with.

I've messed up and cried and wished for it to be Friday already A LOT. I've laughed and smiled and fed people Pop-Tarts and ramen from my locker stash. I got life right sometimes, and sometimes I...got it less right. ;)

I'm thankful for my family's support, for my friends keeping me sane and for God keeping life going, even and especially when I have no clue what I'm doing.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday.

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Apparently I'm a Romance Reader?

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I'm generally not a big romance person. I'll take it as a subplot, but even then I'm super picky about which romances I like. So it's super weird to look at my 2016 reading stats and realize I've read a lot of romance novels this year.
Like...weird. I can probably attribute the shift to reading a lot of free e-books that I can breeze through in a night or two. They're good for an escape from law school homework--no pressure, no high expectations, etc.

Unfortunately, a large number of these romance reads were 1-stars for me. So I got through them quickly, but when it came time to review, I couldn't say I liked them. :P

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Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews Review

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Because when one finds oneself in the fortunate position of having acquired a $5 Amazon gift card, one immediately spends it on two to three ebooks. Obviously. (How many of you just pictured Snape saying that?)

I think I first saw this recommended by Anya a while back. Since then, I've consistently enjoyed all the books in Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels series, and this sounded like fun. Spoiler: it was. :)


Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews
Series:  Innkeeper Chronicles#1
Genres: SFF, Adventure, Urban Fantasy(?)
Published on January 1, 2012
Published by Ilona Andrews
Synopsis:
On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is...different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, "normal" is a bit of a stretch for Dina.

And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night....Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.

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Halloween Reading Recs & Giveaway

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If you're in the mood for scary this Halloween, there are lots of classics to choose from: Frankenstein, Dracula, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Edgar Allan Poe to name a few. If you're looking for something a little more contemporary, there are still lots of great tales features monsters, ghosts, vampires and witches.

Giveaways are always a great place to start. ;)

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Discussion: Race and the Diversity Conversation

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I struggled a lot over how to write this and whether to post it. I reached out to a friend to give it a first look, and I'm still not sure it adequately conveys the thought bunnies running around my head. I know it isn't everything (because that would be more of a 500-page thesis than a blog post), but I decided it was worth throwing out there and seeing what you guys thought. I think it's worth discussing.

I've talked a little about diversity in YA in previous discussion posts, and I've followed the general discussion regarding diversity in literature on Twitter lately. I wondered about some of the following questions:

  1. When you think "diversity," do you think "non-white/straight/able, etc. minorities" or the "full spectrum of people including those who are white/straight/able, etc."?
  2. When you think "diversity" do you think 1) race, gender, sexuality, ability, etc.; 2) character, culture, belief, etc.; or 3) mix of both?

I'm really curious about the ways people think about this topic.

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September Roundup

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The semester is in full swing and it's been BUSY. I decided to go for a little more this fall so I'd have some flexibility with my spring schedule, but whew. This is probably the closest I've come to overload in a long while, and God dragging me out of bed is the only way I get up to face traffic some mornings. Morning traffic = not fun.

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All the Thoughts: Social Media Manners

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I have thoughts about Twitter (and social media in general). They are too long to fit inside a tweet, and I haven't posted here in a bit, so blog. :)

In a nutshell, Twitter has become a very depressing place.

I'm not a huge social media user. I'm not on Twitter 24/7. I just check in once in a while when I'm bored, avoiding homework or responding to a mention. Yet in the last three weeks, I haven't been able to log on once without seeing the aftermath of some book community incident.

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Ghostly Echoes Sneak Peek

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Sneak peeks can be really good or really bad. Or both. I remember reading the first chapter of Six of Crows online and being SO excited for the full book (which I stood in line for forever at BEA); then the full book disappointed in a major way. I have a good feeling this one will prove a good sneak peek for an even better full story.

If you haven't read the second book yet, feel free to check out my review of Beastly Bones instead.

This 6-chapter sneak peek was provided by the publisher for review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Ghostly Echoes by William Ritter
Series: Jackaby #3
Genres: YA, Paranormal, Historical
Published on August 23, 2016
Published by Algonquin Young Readers
Synopsis:
Jenny Cavanaugh, the ghostly landlord of 926 Augur Lane, has enlisted the services of her detective-agency tenants to solve a decade-old murder--her own. Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer, R. F. Jackaby, dive into the cold case, starting with a search for Jenny’s fiancĂ©, who went missing the night she died. But when a new, gruesome murder closely mirrors the events of ten years prior, Abigail and Jackaby realize that Jenny’s case isn’t so cold after all, and her killer may be far more dangerous than they suspected.

Fantasy and folklore mix with mad science as Abigail’s race to unravel the mystery leads her across the cold cobblestones of nineteenth-century New England, down to the mythical underworld, and deep into her colleagues’ grim histories to battle the most deadly foe she has ever faced.

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Is Kindle Unlimited Worth It?

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I'm just over a week into my Kindle Unlimited 30-day trial. I talked about different subscription reading services a year ago, but this is the first time I've tried any of them myself.

So far, I've read Seirsha of Errinton (which was a major disappointment) and Dead Spots (which wasn't bad), and I'm currently reading No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished (so HAPPY to finally get book 3 of this series).



The Good:
Kindle Unlimited has a couple of big name titles (e.g., Harry Potter and The Hunger Games), but the majority of its offerings appear to be small press (like Skyscape and 47North) or indie. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, depending on what you're looking for. For instance, if you're a voracious romance reader who goes through five novels a week, $9.99 a month here might be a good deal for you.

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Blogger Meetup, DC Conference & Superhero Reads

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In the weeks since I last posted (whoever said summer is relaxing and quiet and slow LIED), quite a bit has happened. I survived my first sourcing and spading assignments for the law journal. I grabbed dinner with an old high school buddy (at a place with a dress code...in a dress...and heels--all those who deny me my jeans and flip-flops shall feel my wrath).

On a really fun note, I had the pleasure of finally meeting Alyssa from The Eater of Books in person!

We've talked online for years but never crossed paths in the real world. I'm so glad that changed! She's literally one of the nicest people you'll meet, and it was so great to sit down and chat with her.

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Journal Success and Successful Book Trades

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Good news: I got the results from the law journal write-on competition, and I'm in! I was invited to join one of, if not the, most prestigious journals at my school. Which is awesome! And will be a TON of work. Starting now. *sobs uncontrollably*

On the bright side, my first three Twitter #booksfortrade deals went through without a hitch!



I'm super happy with my trades! The only problem: making time to read all these books and more before school starts again. ;)

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Discussion: When You Lose Interest Halfway

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I've been reading The Aeronaut's Windlass, Book 1 of the new Cinder Spires series by Jim Butcher. It's a monster of a book at 630 pages, but when I started, those pages flew by. Now...

The beginning of the book grabbed me. The characters and setting intrigued me. I was excited to see what kind of trouble Gwendolyn, Grimm, Bridget and Rowl got into next. The action builds, the world expands--there's an air battle, a duel and WAR! And then...bluh. I know it can't be rising action all the time, but this valley is dragging on a little too long, and I'm kind of, well, losing interest.

I'm barely halfway through the book, so I know there have to be great things ahead, but I find myself in a bit of a dilemma--to continue or cut my losses?

To be fair, I think I'd have more patience with the slower parts of a book like this were I not busy and distracted with other things. (Like the internship and recent foray into #booksfortrade. That second one took a lot more time and energy than expected. And the first one required baking brownies.)

Still, is it worth it to drag myself through another however many pages until the action picks up (and not lose the time already invested in the book)? Or should I just DNF it, call it a day and maybe come back to it when I'm in the mood? (Although, let's face it, that almost never happens.)

What do you do when you're losing interest halfway through a book, but you're sure you'll enjoy it again if you can just make it through the next chapter or three?

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Interning and #booksfortrade

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The internship is going well. Which is good since it's short. There's really only enough time for it to go well or badly, one or the other. Luckily, it looks like we'll be sticking with the former. :) The only dark side is the somewhat lengthy commute, but the work day starts and ends earlier than my usual, so I still get home around the same time.

In other news, I decided to try this whole #booksfortrade and #booksforsale thing on Twitter.


I've never felt pickier in my life, and I feel so bad saying no to people who want these books. My inner librarian just wants to get books into the hands of excited readers! But I also don't want to trade for stuff I know I'll never read. Unfortunately, I bought a lot of the older books I wanted in recent years, so most of the stuff on my wishlist is newer. (I'm sorry!)

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5 Free E-books Worth Downloading

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I downloaded a lot of free e-books on my laptop in between classes this year. I stopped reading most after a page or two, but a few of them were worth the time and definitely worth a click.


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Updates: BN Teen Fest & Kiss of Deception

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I went to the Saturday events at my local store for Barnes & Noble's Teen Book Festival. (I thought about going Friday and Sunday, but Friday night I got sushi and watched Pride, Prejudice & Zombies; and Sunday I went to a free brunch, got home and was deeply saddened by the events in Orlando (and further depressed by some angry, vicious tweets in my Twitter feed), and went down to the pool to do some quiet reflection and reading.)

While they weren't quite as organized (or clear about what was going on when) as I'd have liked, it was still a pretty fun time. I ran into a couple of people from my undergrad alma mater (same writing program and everything!), and we hung out and chatted in between events.

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The Neverland Wars by Audrey Greathouse

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A big thank you to Audrey for sending me a review copy! I was intrigued by the idea of a Peter Pan retelling. Confession: I've only seen the movie versions (Disney's animated and the Jeremy Sumpter live-action), but the idea of a magical island full of adventure and no grown-ups--what kid, or teenager, could turn that down? Cue this book!

This e-book was provided by the author for review.
The Neverland Wars by Audrey Greathouse
Series: #1 in a planned trilogy(?)
Genres: YA, SFF, Retelling
Published on May 9, 2016
Published by Clean Teen Publishing
Synopsis:
Magic can do a lot—give you flight, show you mermaids, help you taste the stars, and… solve the budget crisis? That's what the grown-ups will do with it if they ever make it to Neverland to steal its magic and bring their children home.

However, Gwen doesn't know this. She's just a sixteen-year-old girl with a place on the debate team and a powerful crush on Jay, the soon-to-be homecoming king. She doesn't know her little sister could actually run away with Peter Pan, or that she might have to chase after her to bring her home safe. Gwen will find out though—and when she does, she'll discover she's in the middle of a looming war between Neverland and reality.

She'll be out of place as a teenager in Neverland, but she won't be the only one. Peter Pan's constant treks back to the mainland have slowly aged him into adolescence as well. Soon, Gwen will have to decide whether she's going to join impish, playful Peter in his fight for eternal youth… or if she's going to scramble back to reality in time for the homecoming dance.

Review:
The Neverland Wars is a Peter Pan-inspired tale that takes Peter's original fight against aging and turns it into a full scale war against all the adults who monopolize magic and don't give kids a choice about whether to grow up.

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Those Who Can't Draw...

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...Use online doll maker games!

Have any of you ever messed around with these before? There are whole sites full of them! Granted, some games have so-so art or, like, 3 clothes/hair/eye choices, but some of these things are really pretty and super in-depth!

I got the creative itch last weekend looking at some of Happy Hello Art's magnetic bookmarks on Etsy. They're really cute (and not super expensive). I definitely recommend checking out her Etsy store. There are a lot of options!


Unfortunately, a lot of them are from books I haven't read or didn't love, and then there's the whole "unnecessary spending" ban (which I almost broke yesterday when I saw a hardcover of Dreamer's Pool at ShopRite for $3!!). So, I started wondering whether I could make something comparable for cheap.

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Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop

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I'm still loving The Others series! If you haven't started it yet and want to avoid spoilers in the synopsis/review below, check out my reviews of the first three books:


It's rare I find a series that consistently entertains me book after book, but this is one of them. Highly recommended for adult (urban) fantasy readers looking for good characters and a plot not overwhelmed by romance!


Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop
Series: The Others #4
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Published on March 8, 2016
Published by Roc
Synopsis:
For centuries, the Others and humans have lived side by side in uneasy peace. But when humankind oversteps its bounds, the Others will have to decide how much humanity they’re willing to tolerate—both within themselves and within their community...

Since the Others allied themselves with the cassandra sangue, the fragile yet powerful human blood prophets who were being exploited by their own kind, the delicate dynamic between humans and Others changed. Some, like Simon Wolfgard, wolf shifter and leader of the Lakeside Courtyard, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn, see the new, closer companionship as beneficial—both personally and practically.

But not everyone is convinced. A group of radical humans is seeking to usurp land through a series of violent attacks on the Others. What they don’t realize is that there are older and more dangerous forces than shifters and vampires protecting the land that belongs to the Others—and those forces are willing to do whatever is necessary to protect what is theirs…

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Summer "Vacation" Begins

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It has been a seriously crazy week. School is over (except for the journal competition, which is due Friday), but I probably won't have grades until June/July.

The crazy parts of the week: my car was totaled at the start, and I bought a new one at the end. No details because online is not the place, but suffice it to say I'm okay (thank God)--except for a mild case of sticker shock. The financing lady was all, "You don't look very excited about your new car," and I was like, "I'm still mourning the extraordinary amount of money it costs."

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The Lost Compass by Joel Ross eARC

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Last year, I read Joel Ross' middle grade debut, The Fog Diver, and really enjoyed it. I was excited for the further adventures of Chess and his scavenging crew. Unfortunately, despite a few high points, the sequel has some significant weaknesses.

This eARC was provided through Edelweiss for review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
The Lost Compass by Joel Ross
Series: The Fog Diver #2
Genres: MG, SFF, Dystopian
Published on May 24, 2016
Published by HarperCollins
Synopsis:
In the high-stakes sequel to The Fog Diver, thirteen-year-old Chess and his crew must stop the deadly and mysterious Fog from enveloping the city of Port Oro and destroying their world.

Chess and his crew—Hazel, Swedish, and Bea—may have escaped the slums, but they cannot escape the Fog that threatens to swallow the entire mountaintop city of Port Oro.

Only one thing can stop the fog: an ancient machine known as the Compass. Only one person can find it: Chess. With the help of his crew, Chess faces dangerous encounters, brutal battles, and deadly driftsharks to unearth the hidden instrument. It’s a race against time to save this high-altitude sanctuary.

With adventure at every turn, peril behind every corner, and a few determined slum kids who are up to the task, Joel Ross presents a fantastic world in this fast-paced follow-up to The Fog Diver.

Review:
The Lost Compass's biggest problem is its slow start. The main action, quest and danger don't really get started until a few chapters in. The first book, The Fog Diver, had near constant conflict, tension and danger. Perhaps this was an issue of expectations, but by comparison, The Lost Compass had too many slow moments, especially at the beginning where I expected to be grabbed.

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As Doomsday Approaches

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The first doomsday (Property final) is Friday. And I need a 5-minute break from studying, so here goes.

I fit in a couple of free ebooks from Amazon while dogsitting this past week. Pippa of Lauramore was decent; not amazing, but I recommend it if you're looking for a free, quick, clean romance with a tiny helping of fantasy. Justice Calling had a lot of the same elements as Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels series, but the protagonist was a D&D-playing nerd and less capable of kicking butt. If you're looking for an urban fantasy with shape-shifters and magic, I'd recommend Kate Daniels for more fleshed-out characters and plots.


Now I leave you with a few property memes. :)

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Still Alive (Mostly)

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So life is kicking my butt right now.

I have finals in two weeks. SO much work to do this weekend for that. Can you hear my mini heart attack? Yeah, that's normal. Ish. Normal-ish.

On the bright side, before the panic set in, I finally got to read Marked in Flesh! Full review to come as soon as I get a chance. But meanwhile, just know it's good. The Others series is good, I'm still enjoying it, and go read it all. :)

(Reviews of the first 3 books in The Others series: Written in Red, Murder of Crows, Vision in Silver)

I'm still keeping on with the two pro bono projects and work and all that good stuff. I'm also waiting for second winter to end. It's so weird. When I get in the car in the morning, it's like 39 degrees, but it's 60-something or even 70 come afternoon. And it snowed! In April! Crazy.

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Happy Easter

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And here's a little GIF story version to celebrate!

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Mid-Week Update

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I'm halfway through spring break. I got my work desk mostly in order, I shipped out some textbooks (here's hoping Amazon takes them), I've made progress on my brief...and there's still a bucketload of stuff to go. D:

On the bright side, I was able to fit in a little reading! I started an eARC of The Lost Compass by Joel Ross. It's the sequel to The Fog Diver, a middle grade adventure from last year that I really liked. Here's hoping this one lives up to its predecessor!

I also did my first Street Law class this week! It's a pro bono program where you get matched with a school or center (based on availability) and give a weekly lesson to kids or adults about the law. It's completely new to me, but I think it's going to be a great learning experience--definitely for me and hopefully for them, too.

In other news, make-up and I are not getting along. I've never been a big make-up person. Aside from a few isolated events in middle school, zip. But I figure, law school, professional look, networking events...so I picked up some mascara, lip gloss and blush. Didn't even think about it before I put it on, but I had a bad reaction to the blush. Turns out my face is pretty sensitive, even more so now on this one spot. So it looks like I'm going to be a mascara and and lipgloss only (or lipgloss only) girl. :P At least until I'm feeling brave enough to try Almay or some other hypoallergenic stuff.

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5 Steps to a Productive Spring Break

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As all university students know, there is no "break" in spring break. It's more of a non-stop, mad dash to catch up on homework and projects. (I'm also trying to clear the mountains sitting on my desk at work.)

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But honestly, as soon as class ends, homework is the last thing you want to do. So here are 5 steps to avoid spending the whole week on the couch watching Netflix:

1. Complete a task - any task.
Especially on the first day or two when school sounds abhorrent, tackle those little jobs you don't have time for during the semester. (For me, this was cleaning up the giant pile of junk on the kitchen table, trading in old textbooks, hanging up winter coats and shelving the piles of books on the living room floor.)

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Heartstrikers Series by Rachel Aaron (3 stars)

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I'm really liking this series! It's urban fantasy with just the right touch of silly, strange and irreverent.

Julius is a nice dragon. That's not a good thing in a family where ambition, backstabbing and manipulation are prerequisites for success and social standing. (If you've seen "Stardust," he's basically Tristan, but growing up surrounded by his murdering uncles/grandpa.) Marci, Julius' partner in crime, is not a mage to be messed with; but her thirst for knowledge (and staying in the black) never overwhelms her compassionate, friendly nature. Julius' family is awesome. They're all so different and crazy and draconic, and they're so much fun!

Also, there is a dragon seer named Bob with a pet pigeon. If that doesn't get you to read the first book, nothing will.


Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron
Series: Heartstrikers #1
Genres: YA/Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Published on July 13, 2014
Published by Rachel Aaron
Final Rating: 3 stars
Synopsis:
As the smallest dragon in the Heartstriker clan, Julius survives by a simple code: keep quiet, don’t cause trouble, and stay out of the way of bigger dragons. But this meek behavior doesn't fly in a family of ambitious magical predators, and his mother, Bethesda the Heartstriker, has finally reached the end of her patience.

Now, sealed in human form and banished to the DFZ--a vertical metropolis built on the ruins of Old Detroit--Julius has one month to prove that he can be a ruthless dragon or kiss his true shape goodbye forever. But in a city of modern mages and vengeful spirits where dragons are considered monsters to be exterminated, he’s going to need some serious help to survive this test.

He only hopes humans are more trustworthy than dragons...

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Inhuman by Kat Falls (2 stars)

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This copy was gifted to me by the lovely Tabitha (Pabkins) of Not Yet Read ages ago. Thank you, Tabitha! I feel bad it took me so long, but I finally got to it. Better late than never?


Inhuman by Kat Falls
Series: Fetch #1
Genres: YA, Dystopian, Action-Adventure, Sci-fi
Published on September 24, 2013
Published by Scholastic
Final Rating: 2 stars
Synopsis:
In a world ravaged by mutation, a teenage girl must travel into the forbidden Savage Zone to recover lost artifacts or her father’s life is forfeit.

America has been ravaged by a war that has left the eastern half of the country riddled with mutation. Many of the people there exhibit varying degrees of animal traits. Even the plantlife has gone feral.

Crossing from west to east is supposed to be forbidden, but sometimes it’s necessary. Some enter the Savage Zone to provide humanitarian relief. Sixteen-year-old Lane’s father goes there to retrieve lost artifacts—he is a Fetch. It’s a dangerous life, but rewarding—until he’s caught.

Desperate to save her father, Lane agrees to complete his latest job. That means leaving behind her life of comfort and risking life and limb—and her very DNA—in the Savage Zone. But she’s not alone. In order to complete her objective, Lane strikes a deal with handsome, roguish Rafe. In exchange for his help as a guide, Lane is supposed to sneak him back west. But though Rafe doesn’t exhibit any signs of “manimal” mutation, he’s hardly civilized . . . and he may not be trustworthy.

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Quick Life Update

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It is a busy semester. I spent my last two weekends at school for pro bono program training and I have a bunch of writing assignment due dates coming up. I'm learning interesting things about myself through the one pro bono project in particular, and also from my attempts at networking events. (Prime example: I NEED pockets or a drink in my hand or else I fidget like crazy.)

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This semester has been really bad for fun reading. I feel a little like a failure or a traitor to books, but when I finally get a break from work and classes and textbooks, I just want to sleep or do some mindless couch-potato-ing.

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This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab eARC (3 stars)

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This eARC was provided through Edelweiss for review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
Series: Monsters of Verity #1
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Published on June 7, 2016
Published by Greenwillow Books
Final Rating: 3 stars
Synopsis:
The city of Verity has been overrun with monsters, born from the worst of human evil. In North Verity, the Corsai and the Malchai run free. Under the rule of Callum Harker, the monsters kill any human who has not paid for protection. In the South, Henry Flynn hunts the monsters who cross the border into his territory, aided by the most dangerous and darkest monsters of them all—the Sunai, dark creatures who use music to steal their victim’s souls.

As one of only three Sunai in existence, August Flynn has always wanted to play a bigger role in the war between the north and the south. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate Harker, daughter of the leader of North Verity, August jumps on it.

When Kate discovers August’s secret, the pair find themselves running for their lives and battling monsters from both sides of the wall. As the city dissolves into chaos, it’s up to them to foster a peace between monsters and humans.

A unique, fast-paced adventure that looks at the monsters we face every day—including the monster within.

Review:
This Savage Song is an engrossing mix of Disney's Hercules meets Supernatural.

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Winter by Marissa Meyer (3 stars)

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I've finally completed the Lunar Chronicles! I still wish they'd released Winter when first planned and then Fairest, but I can see why they changed the schedule.

Heads up: though I'll try not to spoil anything in the final book, there may be spoilers for the rest of the series in the synopsis and/or review. If you're still mid-series, feel free to check out my reviews of Cinder, Cress and Fairest instead. :)

Winter by Marissa Meyer
Series: Lunar Chronicles #4
Genres: YA, SFF
Published on November 10, 2015
Published by Feiwel and Friends
Final Rating: 3 stars
Synopsis:
Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

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Lois Lane: Fallout by Gwenda Bond (4 stars)

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First read of 2016!

Fallout by Gwenda Bond
Series: Lois Lane #1
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Sci-fi, Mystery
Published on May 1, 2015
Published by Switch Press
Final Rating: 4 stars
Synopsis:
Lois Lane is starting a new life in Metropolis. An Army brat, Lois has lived all over—and seen all kinds of things. (Some of them defy explanation, like the near-disaster she witnessed in Kansas in the middle of one night.) But now her family is putting down roots in the big city, and Lois is determined to fit in. Stay quiet. Fly straight. As soon as she steps into her new high school, though, she can see it won’t be that easy. A group known as the Warheads is making life miserable for another girl at school. They’re messing with her mind, somehow, via the high-tech immersive videogame they all play. Not cool. Armed with her wit and her new snazzy job as a reporter, Lois has her sights set on solving this mystery. But sometimes it’s all a bit much. Thank goodness for her maybe-more-than-a friend, a guy she knows only by his screenname, SmallvilleGuy.

Review:
I have a longstanding love of superhero stories dating back to elementary school Saturday morning cartoons. I typically love them most in cartoon or movie form, where the action and movement is actually in motion, but I'm happy to say Lois Lane: Fallout is a successful adaptation.

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Law School Episode II: Attack of the Law

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I admit: I've seen the new Star Wars movie twice. No shame.

But yeah, I just realized I'll have 6 semesters of law school, just like the first 6 episodes of Star Wars. I missed semester 1, but I guess it would be something like: Law School Episode I: The Legal Menace.

Spring semester starts Monday. I have plans to read and post more this semester than last, but I'm trying to stay flexible. Second semester is when a ton of volunteer projects open up to 1Ls, and I want to take advantage of that. And not just because my scholarship requires a certain number of volunteer hours. ;) It does, but I'm excited to get back to volunteering. I had to cut my library tutor time when school started and I miss it.

Also, after a spectacularly warm Christmas, winter is here.
Image source

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2015 Reading Stats

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My friend Alyssa over at Eater of Books is ridiculously amazing. Not only does she do an insane amount of reading in addition to school, but she has missed 0 posting days since December 2012. ... I have no words to describe this awesomeness.

Anyway, last year I saw her end-of-year reading stats post and thought, hey, I should keep a spreadsheet, too. I'd love to see what my reading patterns look like. So I did. Until law school started, and then just no. But I went back and filled in a couple of the columns because curiosity = Gollum and does not give up. :)

So, I read 75 books this year. Not every chart includes all 75 because I didn't fill in all the boxes for everything, especially the graphic novels which were a little hard to sort. Now, charts!

 Including the YA-crossovers, YA still has a clear majority, but I expanded into Adult and Middle Grade books more this year.

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The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig eARC (2 stars)

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This eARC was provided through Edelweiss for review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
Series: The Girl from Everywhere #1
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Historical
Published on February 16, 2016
Published by Greenwillow Books
Final Rating: 2 stars
Synopsis:
Heidi Heilig’s debut teen fantasy sweeps from modern-day New York City to nineteenth-century Hawaii to places of myth and legend. Sixteen-year-old Nix has sailed across the globe and through centuries aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. But when he gambles with her very existence, it all may be about to end. The Girl from Everywhere, the first of two books, will dazzle readers of Sabaa Tahir, Rae Carson, and Rachel Hartman.

Nix’s life began in Honolulu in 1868. Since then she has traveled to mythic Scandinavia, a land from the tales of One Thousand and One Nights, modern-day New York City, and many more places both real and imagined. As long as he has a map, Nix’s father can sail his ship, The Temptation, to any place, any time. But now he’s uncovered the one map he’s always sought—1868 Honolulu, before Nix’s mother died in childbirth. Nix’s life—her entire existence—is at stake. No one knows what will happen if her father changes the past. It could erase Nix’s future, her dreams, her adventures . . . her connection with the charming Persian thief, Kash, who’s been part of their crew for two years. If Nix helps her father reunite with the love of his life, it will cost her her own.

Review:
The Girl from Everywhere is a love letter to historic Hawaii with a dash of Dr. Who-like time travel and adventure.

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