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Life, Law & Libros

2017 End of Year Book Survey

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I just realized today that this month marks my 4-year blogoversary!!! Yay me!

Now, on to a look at this year's reading with a survey brought to us by the ever-amazing Jamie of The Perpetual Page-Turner!


Number Of Books You Read: 44
(I'm hoping to squeeze in one more before New Year's)

Number of Re-Reads: 0

Genre You Read The Most From: Fantasy



1. Best Book You Read In 2017? There were a number of good ones this year, but I'm going to give it to Invictus. This book delivered the time-travel adventure I'd been waiting for.

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Merry Christmas and a Happy Book Year!

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Merry Christmas, everyone! It's been a long road to December 25th, but we made it.

Since I last posted, I've finished finals, read a few books, checked out some Philly holiday traditions, and put in extra hours at work (because money).

I'm not going to lie. Finals were rough this semester. I wound up trying to teach myself and a classmate a whole course in a week--after my first exam, but before my last paper. I can't tell you how glad I am it's over.

I squeezed in a few more books during and after finals. I've mentioned a number of times how much I love Anne Bishop's The Others series, right? Well, I happened upon an omnibus paperback of her older Black Jewels trilogy at a library sale and picked it up.


I read all three quickly, but I can't say I enjoyed any of them. It takes place in a seriously messed up world with sexual violence galore, and the story remains focused on a couple of emo super special snowflakes while showing next to nothing of the more interesting side characters. If you haven't read any Anne Bishop, I recommend skipping these and trying The Others series instead. If you've already read The Others and want more . . . a lot of people seem to like the Black Jewels, so maybe you will? But if you can't read sexual violence stuff (including some truly awful characters and their dealings with children), definitely stay away.


On a happier note, I read Vengeance Road, which my super awesome OTSP secret sister Morgan sent, and really liked it! It has that spaghetti western vibe (and dialect), disputed gold, a stubborn-as-a-mule protagonist, and a teensy bit of romance properly playing second fiddle to revenge and, you know, people shooting at them.

In between studying and work, I finally checked out some of Philadelphia's holiday events, mostly light shows.

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November Wrap-Up: What Just Happened?

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A monthly recap of books I've read, posts I've written, things of interest
from the blogosphere, and life.

I'm not entirely sure where this month went. There's a vague memory of school and Thanksgiving and mild panic over papers and finals... Oh! And I made some special plans for Christmas break, so there's that. :)

November Reads:

Dealing with Dragons was amazing! If you haven't read it yet, go do so.

There's Always a Catch was less amazing. Actually, it was a total bust for me, but I can see why others would enjoy it.


November Post:

October 2017 Wrap-Up: Counts, Birthdays, Giveaways & Panels Galore


November Life:
Clearly November was not my best month for blogging. I'm hoping to do a little better (and do a lot more reading) in December once finals are over.

This month feels like it's flown by. I literally have to take out my calendar to figure out what all happened. As I said in my last post, I pulled off hosting my final panel event of the semester. Then followed that up a week later with a "we survived" celebration and e-board elections. Good news: there's a brand new e-board and I'M NOT ON IT! :D I'm still around in an advisory capacity (and let's face it: I'm totally the puppet master lurking in the shadows when I want to be), but I am no longer the responsible person for these events. Whoo!

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October 2017 Wrap-Up: Counts, Birthdays, Giveaways & Panels Galore

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A monthly recap of books I've read, posts I've written, things of
interest from the blogosphere, and life.

I'm a little late on the monthly wrap-up post (technically halfway into November), but it's been a while, I wanted to check in, and yes, I'm avoiding homework.

October Reads:

The Count of Monte Cristo as a manga adaptation is better for some purposes than others, but the art is pretty. More details in my review. :)

The Look of Love didn't wow me. The bulk of the couple's problem probably could have been resolved with better communication, and their thoughts got too repetitive with too little happening. On the bright side, I won this e-book from a Goodreads giveaway, which hasn't happened in YEARS. :)


October Posts:
September 2017 Wrap-Up: Magic Eggs, Tennis and Panels

The Count of Monte Cristo's Manga Makeover


October Life:
Law school is always crazy, but this last month or so was a little crazier than usual.

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The Count of Monte Cristo's Manga Makeover

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Udon's Manga Classics line brings us a manga-style take on Alexandre Dumas' masterpiece, The Count of Monte Cristo. It stays closer to the original than the movie with Jim Caviezel, but I'm still mulling over how successful it was--as both an adaptation and a story.

This e-book was provided through NetGalley for review.
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Story adapted by Crystal S. Chan, Art by Nokman Poon
Series: n/a
Genres: Action/adventure, Graphic novel, Manga, Classic
Published on April 1, 2017
Published by Udon Entertainment
Final Rating: 3 stars
Synopsis:
A Conspiracy and a miscarriage of justice turn the gentle Edmond Dant├Ęs into an implacable agent of fate: The Count of Monte Cristo . Obsessed by vengeance and empowered by providence, the Count avenges himself on whose who have wronged him - but is this justice, or is this hubris? In the end, does even the Count know?

Alexandre Dumas' skillful narrative combines intrigue, betrayal, and triumphant revenge into a powerful conflict between good and evil. Now this exciting saga, rich and diverse, takes on an entirely new life in this Manga Classics adaptation!

Review:
I LOVE the source material, The Count of Monte Cristo. It's the ultimate tale of revenge (with a little redemption thrown in), and it's one of my all-time favorite novels.

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September 2017 Wrap-Up: Magic Eggs, Tennis and Panels

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A monthly recap of books I've read, posts I've written, things of interest
from the blogosphere, and life.


September is over! I'm still trying to figure out if that's a good or bad thing, but it's done.


September Reads:


A big thank you to my lovely OTSP secret sister for sending this fun middle grade read my way! It was a welcome break from school/work/life. Otherwise, it was a slow reading month.



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Blogging When You're Buried by Life

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I feel like a bit of a blogging failure. I don't necessarily feel bad about being a failure, but I don't like to leave the blog stagnant for too long either.

I like to fix things and find solutions, so here are a few ideas for writing blog posts when you're tired, drained, buried under homework, or just don't feel like it! No guarantees that I'll actually put my own advice to use since, like I said, I don't feel super bad about being a failure. Yet. I'm sure it'll come. ;)

5 Easy Ways to Create New Content When You're Buried by Life

1. Repurpose/Reuse an Old Post
Chances are you have old posts whose topics are still relevant. Why not give them a makeover? A few updates to make them current, maybe a new shiny graphic, and you're good to go!

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5 Sci-fi Shows Invictus is Like and Why I Loved It

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Invictus has gotten a lot of hype, which usually doesn't end well for me. This time, I am thrilled to report the hype did not lie. Ryan Graudin has done an amazing job, and this is one of my new favorite time-travel adventures.


This eARC was provided through NetGalley for review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Invictus by Ryan Graudin
Series: n/a
Genres: YA, Sci-fi
Published on September 26, 2017
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Final Rating: 4 stars
Synopsis:
Time flies when you're plundering history.


Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far's birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he's ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past.

But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far's very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.

5 SCI-FI SHOWS INVICTUS IS LIKE

Burn Notice - The Adventures that Await When the Government Kicks You Out

Farway is all set to follow in his mom's footsteps and begin an illustrious career as a glorified camcorder. Burn Notice technically isn't sci-fi, but like burned spy Michael Weston, Far has to make some new plans when the government gives him the boot. The good news for readers: his new game plan is much more exciting than the old.

Firefly - The Team

Far and his crew reminded me a lot of the Firefly team. You have these super different personalities and approaches all operating together in one small ship. But even though the crew's vibe reminded me of Firefly, it's a completely different crew, not Firefly knockoffs. The characters are all pretty well fleshed out. I wish I had gotten a better sense of one crew member sooner, but I was ultimately satisfied with her portrayal. Also, there is an awesome red panda. I want one.

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August 2017 Wrap-Up: Fire, Dating Fails and Time Travel

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A monthly recap of books I've read, posts I've written, things of interest 
from the blogosphere, and life.

August went by really fast. It feels like it shouldn't be September yet, but it is. :P

August Reads:


The Piper's Price - This is the second book in a Peter Pan inspired series. Unfortunately, it had all the problems of the first and then some. The author very kindly sent me a copy for review, so I'm sad I didn't enjoy it more.

Breath of Fire - This was disappointing. Despite several issues, I enjoyed the first book in this trilogy, Promise of Fire. This time around . . . I was super bored. There's no plot (except a really stupid miscommunication) for the first quarter of the book. For the rest, where the first book had tension and mystery and danger on all sides all the time, it feels like all of that is gone now--even when there is danger. Just, bluh.

The Last Single Girl - I grabbed this novella for free, but I'm majorly tempted to continue the series. It was short and all kinds of silly. Sarah is the last single girl in her friend group and desperate to ditch the title. What follows is a journey into the online dating world and one disastrous blind date after another. I've been craving more humor lately, and this was full of it.

Invictus - Full review to come soon, but it's awesome. Like, 4 stars from me awesome.

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My Favorite Hidden Gems

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This week's Top 10 Tuesday topic is all about the "hidden gems" we've read. I'm never sure whether my gems are really "hidden," or just not at the front of a mega hype machine, but whatever. These books could always use more love. :)

My Favorite Hidden Gems



Everyone's heard of these authors, but these two gems seem to get lost in the shuffle, hidden behind the more well-known titles like Redwall and Howl's Moving Castle. Castaways is brilliant and has a talking dog, and Enchanted Glass has a family just as crazy, zany and magical as Howl's.

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Why I Love My OTSP Secret Sister Already

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It's my first round of #OTSPsecretsister, and I'm having so much fun already! It's also kind of funny/ironic to think that I'm in my twenties and doing something as old school as pen pals and having a blast. Granted, my handwriting is really out of practice and I've considered typing everything to save us all a few headaches/hand aches, but the illegibility is part of the charm, right? ;)

For those who don't know, the "On the Same Page Secret Sister" project is a 6-month cheer club with monthly letters and gifts sent by a "secret sister." The emphasis is on the cheer and letters, but the gifts are a nice bonus. So, long-term Secret Santa. It's hosted and run by the amazing Alyssa (@withthebanned), Amy(@trippingbooks), and Brittany (@bookaddictguide)! Words are not enough thanks for all the hard work they do running this project and assigning sisters.

I LOVED my first letter and cheer package! My secret sister is super sweet and thoughtful, and we've already chatted about everything from Jane Austen movies to Disney to Marvel to our lacking Spanish skills, lol.


Can I just say, isn't this a perfect start-of-semester cheer box? A fun middle grade book, coloring sheets, chocolate, protein, relaxation, and Disney villains!

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July 2017 Wrap-Up: Detectives, Healers and Spies

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A monthly recap of books I've read, posts I've written, things of interest
from the blogosphere, and life.


I'm a little late on this one, but the start of August has been a whirlwind of buying textbooks (complete with wrong orders), finishing the internship, law journal work, etc., etc. Finally catching a little breather, so let's catch up!

July Reads:


Lock & Mori - A young, modern day Moriarty and Sherlock team up to catch a killer. The mystery element was decent, but I didn't love these detectives as much as I'd hoped. I'm not entirely sure why except that the story left me feeling a bit...depressed? I'm not sure whether I'll continue this series.

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Beauty & the Beast Retellings for Fairy Tale Lovers

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I wanted to give my bookshelves and backlist a little attention, and I love fairy tale retellings, so why not combine the two to form the MEGAZORD? Or, when that doesn't work, a blog post about Beauty and the Beast retellings I've read. ;)



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Book Tag from Down Under

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Thanks to Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight for letting me steal this tag! I've never been to Australia (someday!), but I thought this looked like a blast. I mean, the first category is "Koala." How can you resist that?



I don't really do cuddles.
image source
Maybe if it were a baby dragon or something?


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How to Make a DIY Book Subscription Box

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How many of us stare and drool at all the beautiful photos of the latest subscription box? Between Fairy Loot, OwlCrate, Uppercase, Once Upon a Book Club, BookLoot, LitJoy Crate, Whimsify, SpearCraft, Book Boyfriend Box, Unicorn Crate, Shelflove Crate, My YA Reading Club, LitCube, HootLoot, and more, they're everywhere. It's all the excitement of opening your Happy Meal toy, but, you know, for teens/adults. ;) And they're so pretty!

But, they're pricey. Most of these boxes are around $30 plus shipping. Yikes! Between those numbers and my general pickiness with books, I probably won't be getting one of these preciouses unless I win a giveaway or something.

BUT, that doesn't mean I can't hack the anatomy of these boxes and make cheaper versions for myself and others. I just signed up for #OTSPsecretsister for the first time and, while my budget won't afford big productions, I'm looking forward to being creative and putting together some cheer-filled packages and letters! :)

Without further ado . . .

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June 2017 Wrap-Up

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A monthly recap of books I've read, posts I've written, things of interest from the blogosphere, and life.

June Reads:


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