August Favorites + Autumn Playlist

Summer vacation is coming to a close for me, and I start school again in less than a week!  I’m excited and motivated, and I hope I can keep hold of this motivation for the duration of the school year.

This month I really enjoyed the anime Black Butler and binged through its two seasons in about a week.  It was such a funny show, and I don’t usually turn to anime when I want to watch something, but I had a strong urge to find an anime to watch, and I’m glad I did!

I also celebrated my birthday this month, and my present was a new iPod touch to replace my old fourth generation iPod.  I can’t believe I used that on the daily for almost four years and was so excited about the improvements made to the new iPod touch.  I also got a really pretty case to go with it ❤

Another favorite was my birthday brunch at Red Lobster, which was amazing.  Here’s a picture of what I got!


For me, back to school equals autumn, even though it’s still summery and warm.  It has cooled down a bit, and I’m so excited for cooler weather.  I made a playlist of music I’ve been liking this month for the upcoming season, which you can check out here on Spotify!

My last favorites are the camera on my iPod and my mom’s garden, where flowers are finally blossoming after an impatient two-month wait.


That’s everything I have for today! 🙂 I’ll talk to you again in my next post!


2014 End of Year Book Survey


Hello, everyone, and welcome to the 2014 End of Year Book Survey!  Jamie @ The Perpetual Page-Turner created this awesome survey, and this is my second year participating.  I wasn’t sure if I was going to participate this year, because it has been a very slow year in reading for me.  My reading count is way lower than last year’s, but hey, at least I read!

I hope you enjoy reading my survey, and I look forward to reading yours if you’re participating 😀

reading stats

Number of Books You Read: 44
Number of Rereads: 1*
Genre You Read The Most From: Fantasy

*The book I reread was The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.  The first time I read it was last year, though, so I’m not sure if it counts.


1. Best book you read in 2014?

This is a tie between Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins and In The Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken.  I’m cheating a little, but since they’re from different genres, I think we can let this slide xD Hex Hall is a really fun series, and I’m currently reading the last book in the trilogy.  I really love Sophie, the main character, who’s super sassy, and the love interests are LIFE.  Plus, the plot is amazing ;D

In The Afterlight was perfection.  I’ve read quite a few series finales this year, and this one hands down is the best.  My initial post-book feelings haven’t changed, and I’ve had a good couple months to ponder this.  I loved The Darkest Minds series, which I started earlier this year.  If you haven’t read it and are looking for a good dystopian read, I highly recommend this series.

2. Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love more but didn’t?

I’m really sad to say that I’ve chosen The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan for this category.  I talked about my disappointments in my review, but the whole book was just kind of… meh.  Don’t get me wrong, there were several enjoyable moments, but I feel like the disappointing moments outweighed the good ones.

3. Most surprising book (in a good way or bad way) you read in 2014?

Definitely The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle.  Lauren Myracle is one of my favorite authors ever.  Her books are phenomenal… but this one was awful.  I didn’t even finish it.  I remember being up at 5 AM, reading review on Goodreads about this book when I was halfway through it, and a lot of people had similar feelings that I did.  Blah.

4. Book you “pushed” the most people to read (and they did) in 2014?

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken was a book that I raved about after I finished it.  It was simply amazing, and I talked about it with everyone, and surprisingly, a few people actually read it (and finished the series, too)!

5. Best series you started in 2014?  Best sequel of 2014?  Best series ender of 2014?

Best Series: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Best Sequel: Origin by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Best Series Finale: In The Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?

Rainbow Rowell!  I’d heard a lot about her in 2013, but I didn’t pick up one of her books until this year, and I LOVED it.  Her writing is so eerily relatable and fluffy and ahh.  I can’t wait to read more of her books.  (And I love how she makes playlists for her books on Spotify <3)

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger.  This book wasn’t necessarily out of my comfort zone (although it did touch on topics that are more mature).  I know classics aren’t really a genre, but just in general I don’t really read many of them.  Anyway, this book was fantastic!  I loved Holden Caulfield’s voice and how he reflected on things that happened in the book.  Definitely not what I was expecting, but I really enjoyed it.

8. Most action-packed, thrilling, unputdownable book of the year?

Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout.  This book was awesome.  If you’ve read this series, you pretty much already know why I love Katy (hello, fellow book blogger ;D).  One of the only things I found wrong with this book, and I’ve noticed this has been a common theme with a lot of series finales, is the lackluster, brief final battles.  What do you think about that topic?

9. Book you read in 2014 that you are most-likely to reread next year?

yolo by Lauren Myracle.  Although I’m not a fan of the acronym, I’m really happy that she continued her Internet Girls series.  In this book, Maddie, Zoe, and Angela were freshmen in college, and they were all having totally different experiences.  I love that Zoe grew even more as a character, and the other ladies were just as awesome.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?

Of Neptune by Anna Banks.  I didn’t like this book, and everyone was confused about the fact that Anna Banks was continuing this series.  Like… everything had been resolved.  Whyyyy?  But, I must admit, this series had some fine covers.  Just look at this!

Of neptune

You can’t go wrong with this.  These covers are so beautiful ❤

11. Most memorable character of 2014?

This is a really difficult one.  I’ve read about so many memorable characters, but one of the most memorable is Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  I don’t know why.  Maybe because he’s a bit more relatable than characters in fantasy and dystopian books.  I really loved Charlie, and I actually watched the movie this year, and OMG.  Logan Lerman is life xD

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?

I honestly don’t have an answer for this one.  I didn’t really read anything by poetic authors (like Lauren Oliver) this year.  I’d say The Infinite Moment of Us, but one: I didn’t like that book.  Two: I didn’t finish it.  And three: I felt like Lauren Myracle was trying too hard to sound philosophical and poetic and stuff.  I hate it when authors try to do that, and it’s much better when it flows naturally (hello, Lauren Oliver).

13. Most thought-provoking, life changing book of 2014?

Leap Day by Wendy Mass was pretty thought-provoking.  It was written so amazingly.  There was the main character, Josie’s POV, but then there were also the POVs of several other people Josie encountered.  Their POVs were short, but they were all interesting and I was left slightly in awe.  I think that by writing about several other characters alongside Josie, Wendy Mass makes her readers realize that everyone is going through something.  Everyone is dealing with something difficult in their lives.  I really liked that message.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to read?

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead.  I haven’t finished this series, but I was so surprised to find that I actually liked it when I was done!

15. Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2014?

“He’s not feeling well,” Clary said, catching at Simon’s wrist.  “We’re going.”

“No,” Simon said.  “No, I—I need to talk to him.  To the Inquisitor.”  Robert reached into his jacket and drew out a crucifix.  Clary stared in shock as he held it up between himself and Simon.  “I speak to the Night’s Children Council representative, or to the head of the New York clan,” he said.  “Not to any vampire who comes to knock at my door—”

Simon reached out and plucked the cross out of Robert’s hand.  “Wrong religion,” he said. -Cassandra Clare, “City of Heavenly Fire”

16. Shortest and longest book you read in 2014?

Shortest Book: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Longest Book: Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

17. Book that shocked you the most?

Champion by Marie Lu.  I’m not going to say much, but let’s just say it had to do with a character…

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)?


19. Favorite non-romantic relationship of the year?

Sophie and Jenna from Hex Hall.  I love those two ❤

20. Favorite book you read in 2014 from an author you’ve read previously?

Teardrop by Lauren Kate.  She and I had a rocky start with her book Fallen, but I really enjoyed Teardrop.  I’M SO MAD THAT THIS SERIES GOT A COVER CHANGE.  *sobs* The cover was so beautiful…

21. Best book you read in 2014 that you read based solely on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure?

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.  I really enjoyed this book, and it was recommended to me a little while ago ^-^ I haven’t finished the series, but I was spoiled when I read a review >.> Le sigh.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?

Levi from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.  Need I say more?

23. Best 2014 debut you read?

I said pretty much the same thing in my 2013 Survey, but I haven’t read any books that debuted in 2014! :O

24. Best world building/ most vivid setting you read this year?

Frostbite by Richelle Mead.  For some reason, the world building in this book stuck with me a lot.  I liked the change in scenery.

25. Book that put a smile on your face/was the most fun to read?

Fruits Basket Vol. 1 by Natsuki Takaya.  This manga series was introduced to me by a friend, and it’s just such a fun, cutesy series, though it does have its darker undertones.  I haven’t finished it yet, but I did watch the anime and ahh ❤

26. Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2014?

In The Afterlight.  This book was just… TEARS.  Tears.

27. Hidden gem of the year?

This one was a little difficult, but I’m going to go with Ask The Passengers by A.S. King.  I haven’t heard too many people talking about this book, and I definitely want to reread it.

28. Book that crushed your soul?

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.  This book was indeed soul-crushing.

29. Most unique book you read in 2014?

The Archived by Victoria Schwab.  Although I wasn’t a fan of this book, I loved Mackenzie’s powers, which were super unique.  If I remember correctly, she could touch any surface and see memories/what happened there from a certain time… it was pretty awesome.

30. Book that made you the most mad?

Again, I’m going to have to go with The Blood of Olympus.  Argh.  So many angry feels.


1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014?

Ah, this is a difficult one.  Mainly because I can’t quite remember when I discovered some of my favorites!  But here are some of my newer favorites:

the writing hufflepuff
The Loony Teen Writer
Books, Tea and a Onesie

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2014?

My favorite review of this year is my review for The Blood of Olympus.  I really love my new reviewing format, and I think I was so organized and I’m giving myself extra points because I remembered all the points I wanted to make without taking notes while reading.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

I think my Dystopian Themes In Music post was a pretty interesting discussion, and I still think about that topic a lot.  Sometimes books and music fit hand in hand ❤

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

Does BookBlogWriMo count? XD I loved participating in that, and what’s great is that I got to meet more fantastic book bloggers ^-^ I also went to an author signing with three science fiction authors earlier this year, which was pretty fun.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2014? 

I think the best moment in my bookish life this year was going to Barnes & Noble for the first time.  If you didn’t know, I actually hadn’t gone to a Barnes & Noble until earlier this year, because I lived much closer to an indie bookstore.  But, I started going to B&N, and life changed.  Drastically. XD

6. Most popular post this year on your blog?

This year, my most popular post has been my review for The Blood of Olympus 😀

7. Post you wish got a little more love?

Hmm, I’m not sure.  I’m pretty happy with the attention my posts have gotten this year 😀

8. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, bookstores, etc.)? 

Barnes & Noble (see #5).

9. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

Sadly, I didn’t complete my reading goals that I’d set, which was 115 books.  I read less than half of that, which is sooo disappointing, but homework got in the way D: Oh well.  Hopefully I’ll do better next year!


1. One book you didn’t get to in 2014 but will be your number one priority in 2015?

This is a difficult one.  Probably anything by Cassandra Clare that came out after CoHF.  I saw a few signed copies of The Bane Chronicles at the bookstore and just about died :O

2. Book you are most anticipating for 2015 (non-debut)?

THE MAGNUS CHASE BOOKS.  That’s set to come out in 2015, right?  It better be >.>

3. 2015 debut you are most anticipating?

I don’t think there are any debuts that I’m anticipating for 2015.

4. Series ending/sequel that you are most anticipating for 2015?

That’s hard, too, but only because so many series endings for books I’ve read came out this year.  Maybe the last book in the Bloodlines series, although I haven’t finished Silver Shadows, so no spoilers!

5. One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging life of 2015?

For my reading life, I really want to get back to a place where I can just pick up a book and not have to force myself to do so.  This year has been the year of reading slumps for me, and it hasn’t been enjoyable.  I think part of the reason is that I’ve been reading a lot of books that just haven’t been doing it for me.

6. A 2015 release you’ve already read and recommend to everyone? 

I can’t answer this question, because I haven’t read anything that’s due to come out in 2015.  But if you have, what do you recommend?

That’s all for the 2014 End of Year Book Survey!  I’m so glad that I decided to participate in this.  I hope you all have a happy New Year, and I’ll see you in 2015!

A-Z Inventory of My Music Library

Hey, everyone!  It’s been a while, has it not?  How are you all?  I know I’ve been really inactive lately, and that’s because of all the homework I’ve been getting, which is making me read a lot less, which means I don’t have any new book reviews.  On top of that, I haven’t really been in the blogging mood in general 😦 Hopefully I can change all of that, since I’m currently on winter break 😀

To kick off my return, I decided to do a music post, which I found originally at Books, Tea and a Onesie.  The post is basically going through the music on your phone/iPod and choosing one for each letter of the alphabet.  Here’s her original post, so be sure to check it out!  I’m going to cheat a little and use my Spotify library, as my regular library is kind of, ahem, boring at the moment. *sheepish grin* Let’s get started!

All or Nothing by Theory Of A Deadman
“Looking at all or nothing, babe, it’s you and I.” 

Bad Company by Five Finger Death Punch (cover)
“Yeah, and that’s why they call me bad company, I can’t deny.”

Carolyn by Black Veil Brides
“So here’s my song I wrote in time when it was needed.” 

Devil in Disguise by Lecrae, feat. Kevin Ross
“Why?  Lord, I know the truth, but I’m good in my lies.”

Emily by From First To Last
“Smiles and her laughter, it’s the only thing that I’ve been waiting for.”

For You by Staind
“I sit here, locked inside my head, remembering everything you said.”

Give ‘Em Hell, Kid by My Chemical Romance
“If you were here I’d never have a fear.  So go on, live your life, but I miss you more than I did yesterday.”

Headstrong by Trapt
“Back off, I’ll take you on.  Headstrong to take on anyone.”

Island In The Sun by Weezer
“On an island in the sun, we’ll be playin’ and havin’ fun.  And it makes me feel so fine, I can’t control my brain.”

Just What I Needed by The Cars
“I don’t mind you comin’ here, and wastin’ all my time.”

King For A Day by Pierce The Veil feat. Kellin Quinn
“You told me think about it, well I did.  Now I don’t wanna feel a thing anymore.”

Lights Out by Breaking Benjamin
“Now you want to take me down, as if I even care.  I am the monster in your head.”

Misery by Good Charlotte
“Don’t you know that misery loves company?  Yeah, I heard that misery was looking for me.”

Never Too Late by Three Days Grace
“This world will never be what I expected, and if I don’t belong, who would have guessed it?”

On My Own by Three Days Grace
“Standing on my own remembering the one I left at home.”

Private Parts by Halestorm feat. James Michael
“And how can you blame me for feeling the way I feel?
I’m not blaming you, I’m just trying to figure it out.”

Read My Mind by The Killers
“Oh, well, I don’t mind, if you don’t mind, ’cause I don’t shine if you don’t shine.”

Sorry by Sleeping With Sirens
“And I hope you know you never left my head, and if I ever let you down, I’m sorry.” 

Time To Dance by Panic! At The Disco
“Have some composure, where is your posture?” 

Unwell by Matchbox Twenty
“But I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell.”

Work by Jimmy Eat World
“Can we take a ride?  Get out of this place, while we still have time.”

Your Guardian Angel by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
“I will never let you fall, I’ll stand up with you forever.”

Zombie by The Pretty Reckless
“Dear all of you who’ve wronged me, I am, I am a zombie.”

That is my music inventory!  I tried not to repeat any artists to accurately represent my taste in music, but it was really hard to find some of these songs, so I did have to turn to artists I’d already named.  As you can see, I totally failed at finding songs that started with “Q” and “X”.  Those are difficult letters!

So, what have you gathered about my music tastes after reading this? XD If you’re interested in any of the songs, I linked all of them to their music videos or lyric videos.  Tell me if you recognize any of your favorite songs or artists!

Once again, I’m so, so sorry for being so absent on my blog (and all of yours!).  I really do miss reading your posts, and I miss interacting with you all.  Luckily, I’m finally on winter break, so I can relax and hopefully get some posts up, and catch up with all of you.  Have a merry Christmas, happy holidays, and a happy New Year!  I’ll see you next year!


BookBlogWriMo: Your Favorite Subgenres

BookblogwrimoHello, people of the blogosphere and beyond!  Welcome to #BookBlogWriMo day eighteen!  Today’s prompt is about our favorite subgenres.  Now, I actually had to look this one up to see if I would be listing the correct categories that are actually listed under “subgenre.”  And I learned quite a bit (thank you, Wikipedia!  What a trustworthy source.)

  • Young Adult Fiction
  • Science Fiction
  • Dystopian
  • Post-Apocalyptic
  • Supernatural/Paranormal (listed under “horror” and “speculative fiction)
  • Fantasy (speculative fiction)
  • Urban Fantasy
  • Magic Realism
  • Time Travel

Now, if you want to get really specific, some of these are actually subgenres of subgenres:

Children’s Fiction

  • Young Adult Fiction

Speculative Fiction

  • Science Fiction
    •  Dystopian
    •  Post-Apocalyptic
  • Horror
    •  Supernatural/Paranormal
  • Fantasy
    •  Magic Fantasy
    •  Urban Fantasy

Anyway, sorry to get to specific… I’m just a list person XD What are your favorite subgenres?  Do we have any in common?  I have a sneaking suspicion that we do ;D


BookBlogWriMo: Days 16 & 17

BookblogwrimoHello, everyone, and welcome to #BookBlogWriMo day seventeen!  I apologize for not posting yesterday.  I was really lazy and didn’t feel like typing anything… I definitely regretted not scheduling anything for yesterday! XD I look forward to catching up with your posts and seeing what you have to say about yesterday’s and today’s topics.

Sunday’s prompt was about our least favorite book blogging things, countering Saturday’s prompt.

malfoyYou mean… I’m supposed to have things that I don’t like about book blogging?  Absurd!

Just kidding xD There are a few things that I’m not particularly fond of.  Like when you get that feeling that you need to put up a book review.  I don’t know if you get this feeling, but I’ve been feeling like this a lot, especially since this year hasn’t been my best year in reading.  I know I don’t focus solely on book reviews, but when I go a month or even more without writing a review… it makes me feel guilty.

saddd*Cough, cough* Anyway… moving on…

Another thing I don’t like about book blogging is the fact that I can’t write a short review to save my life!  All of my reviews are dreadfully long (and some are very disorganized XD).  I guess they’re more for me, so I can release all the feels xD But I do want to work on writing shorter reviews, though I have a feeling that won’t be any time soon.

But other than those two things, I can’t think of anything else that bugs me about book blogging.  I’m probably forgetting something that I’ll remember in the future, and then I’ll mentally facepalm, but oh well.

Day seventeen of #BookBlogWriMo is about our favorite book tropes.  I only knew a vague definition of what a “trope” was before looking it up, but I was definitely headed in the right direction.  Here are just a few things I could never get tired of, no matter how cliché they may be:

  • Resurrection: I love books with the whole resurrection romancey story line.  You know the drill.  Boy and girl meet.  Girl dies at a certain age.  Boy spends the rest of his life finding girl.  Boy finds girl in present day.  Girl thinks boy is familiar.  Let the drama commence!  Sometimes it does get on my nerves, but there are quite a few books that I’ve read that feature this storyline.
  • Schools for the Gifted: Like Hogwarts, or Hex Hall, etc.  Even Camp Half-Blood qualifies.  I love this kind of thing.  I would love to go to Hogwarts or any of those places.  I bet Twilight would have been more awesome if she went to a vampire/werewolf boarding school…


  • Boarding Schools: I love boarding schools.  I’ve never been to one, but based on every single book about boarding school I’ve read, I’m down xD More specifically, though, I like boarding schools based in New England, c. 1920.  And it’s not like I’ve even read that many books that fit the criteria, but I love this style.
  • Wizards: I suppose I’m using “wizards” to represent lots of “supernatural” things, like vampires, or werewolves, stuff like that.  I love fantasy.  If I had to choose a genre that I’ve read the most of, it would probably be narrowed down to fantasy or dystopian.
  • Journal Format: I’m not really sure if this counts, but I love books that are written in the journal or diary format, or even letter format, like The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  I have no idea why I like this so much, but if you tell me to read a book and also say that it’s got one of these formats, there’s a pretty good chance that I’d pick it up without even seeing what it’s about.

That’s all I have for you all today!  Let me know your thoughts on what your least favorite book blogging things are, and what literary tropes you like 😀 Until then,


P.S. Mockingjay, Part I comes out very soon!  Will you be going to the midnight premiere?  I’ll be seeing the movie the day after it comes out, so I’ll definitely be talking about that soon!

BookBlogWriMo: Favorite Book Blogging Things

BookblogwrimoWelcome #BookBlogWriMo day fifteen!  We’re halfway there, everyone!  I wonder how the NaNoWriMo-ers are doing 😀 Anyway, today’s prompt is about our favorite things about book blogging, one of my favorite topics.

excitementAhem.  Let’s begin xD

One of my favorite things about book blogging is about reading books and being able to share my feels with the world.  I don’t know many people who read, let alone anyone who reads books that are in my favorite genres, so it’s nice to have a community to talk to, and to see if they liked or didn’t like a book.

The next thing I love about book blogging is the community!  I’m not exactly sure what planted the idea in my head that I wanted blog about books, and I’m not sure how other book bloggers found me, or how I found them for that matter!  But the majority of people I’ve interacted with in the book blogging community are really nice and easy to chat with 😀

I wish I could say another favorite was about free books, but unfortunately I’m not with Netgalley or anything like that.  It sounds really interesting, but also super stressful from what I’ve heard xD Plus, I already have a ton of books that need reading.

Those are just a couple reasons why I love book blogging, but what are your favorite things about book blogging?  Let me know!


BookBlogWriMo: Your Ratings System

BookblogwrimoHey, guys, and welcome to #BookBlogWriMo day fourteen!  Today’s prompt is about how we rate the books we read, and this kind of overlaps with yesterday’s prompt, which was about how we reviewed books.

fangirlingMy rating system is pretty generic.  I’m not intricate with my ratings at all, but if you are, thumbs up!  Sometimes when I have mixed feelings about a book, it’s hard to rate it with my boring rating system, which is why it’s great to have a more detailed rating system.  In these cases, I kind of break down the book and rate each category, like the plot, the characters, etc.

I have a 1-5 star rating system, and here is how I define my stars:

5 Stars: This book was fan-freaking-tastic!  I thought (nearly) everything was perfect, I loved the plot, and the characters were magnificent.  This was a truly gripping read.

4 Stars: This book was amazing, and though I did find a few flaws, I still think it was great!  The [blank] was really good, but [insert complaint] annoyed me a bit.  I still definitely recommend this book!

3 Stars: This book was good.  No more, no less.  It was an interesting book, but there were quite a few things that annoyed me.  I liked it, but it’s probably something I won’t revisit in the future.

2 Stars: This book was okay.  (When it comes to books for me, there’s a grand difference between “good” and “okay.”)  There were a lot of things that annoyed me, but something about it kept me reading.  If you were looking something intriguing, though, I probably wouldn’t recommend it.

1 Star: Nope.

I want to make clear that my ratings don’t have to mean a thing to you.  They are simply my opinion, and I certainly wouldn’t want you to disregard a book because I said I didn’t like it, or take my word for it when I say something is perfection.  I really believe that you should experience the books for yourselves and form your own opinions 😀

As you can see, my rating system is pretty standard.  In the end, though, it all depends on what my gut is telling me to rate a book.  How do you rate books?  Have you crafted a unique rating system for yourself, or do you use the “standard” system?  Let me know!


BookBlogWriMo: Your Review Process


Welcome to #BookBlogWriMo day thirteen! Today’s prompt is about our review process, or how we review books. I don’t think I’ve ever gone into detail about this before, so this will be new information. I’m actually trying out a new reviewing system, so it’s in the experimental phase at the moment, but I’ll talk about it anyway.

Step 1: Take Notes


The first step of my personal reviewing process is to read a book (obviously). While reading, I almost always take notes about the book for my review. I don’t trust myself to remember everything I’d like to talk about, so taking notes is a bit of a safety blanket xD But, taking notes can also hold me back from reading, because I feel the need to write full on, grammatically correct sentences about the book in my drafting phase (which is the note-taking phase), rather than short phrases. I’m definitely working on breaking this habit.

For example, yesterday I finished reading In The Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken (which was amazing, by the way, and if you haven’t read this series, I don’t know what you’re doing with your time!), and I pulled out my notebook that I’ll be using for review notes. Then, I sectioned off a few pages for where I’d talk about certain characters. I used another section to talk about general thoughts about happenings in the book, and then I used another section for favorite quotes. This is a more organized way of note-taking, rather than the way I used to take my notes, which was in chronological order.

Now, instead of writing, “I was really impressed with Ruby’s character development throughout the series,” I would write, “impressed w/ character development” under the “Ruby” section. That way, I could cut down the time it took to write basically the same thing, but still feel secure in knowing that I’d know what to translate that to when it came time to start writing the actual review.

Step 2: Step Away From The Book

With my old reviewing process, I would finish a book and then immediately start the review, letting my feels spill out onto the keyboard. While this isn’t a bad thing, it isn’t always a good thing, either. By writing my reviews right after finishing the book, I feel like my opinions were biased. If I loved a book (or thought I loved it), I would do nothing but rave about it (see Allegiant review). If I didn’t love a book, I wouldn’t exactly be positive about it (though I do try!).

By stepping away from the book and my notes for at least a day, I’m allowing my feels and fangirl-y emotions to settle down, so I can form opinions that are semi-decent xD

This is the procedure I’m following for In The Afterlight, so I’ll probably start writing the actual review today. But in this case, my thoughts about ITA haven’t changed one bit.

Step 3: Pull Out Your Laptop, It’s Review Time


We’ve now reached step 3 of my reviewing process, which is when I start crafting the review. This is when I sift through my notes and decide what I do and do not want to include in the final review (I’m not too big on editing… *sheepish grin*). This can take a while if my notes are extensive. Just take my Clockwork Princess review. I think it took me five months before I actually started going through my notes, because there was so much I’d written! It can definitely get overwhelming to the point where you don’t even want to see your notes.

Just like the notes I took, I will section off certain places in my post to talk about the characters, etc. This is when I’ll also (obviously) start making the phrases in my notes actual sentences. For example, in my notes for In The Afterlight, I wrote under my Ruby section, “changed so much since TDM,” which I can easily translate to: “Ruby’s character transformed immensely since The Darkest Minds.” It’s like magic!

(I’m totally using that example sentence in my review… *coughs*)

Step 4: Rate The Book

Rating the book used to be something I’d do right after finishing a book. I’m trying not to do that because, like I said, I like to let my feels settle down before proceeding. I feel like this step ties in with step 3. I do sometimes try to gauge what I’d rate the book I’m reading as I’m reading it. I’m not going to get into too much detail about how I rate my reads, because that’s something I’m saving for tomorrow’s post 😀 But I will tell you that my ratings are solely “gut feelings.” I usually feel a “pull” to a certain rating, if that makes any sense.

Step 5: My Review Just Went Live!

iron man

After rating the book, I “edit” my post (lol, not really… I rarely edit anything… that sounded unprofessional, wow xD), tag it, and send it off into the World Wide Web for you to read!

My reviews tend to be on the longer side, and I’ve tried to cut down, but I have too much to say. I think the reviews are more for my benefit, just so I can get my feelings out of my head and somewhere else… if I don’t do that, I’ll never sleep at night!

My reviews are also almost always spoilery, so I really think that they’re more aimed at people who’ve already read the book in question. I am trying to start something new where I put a small “non-spoilery” section in the beginning of my review, so I can try to reach everyone 😀

And then… rinse and repeat!

That’s all for my reviewing process. How do you review books? Are your rituals anything similar to mine? Or nowhere close? Let me know, and leave me links!



Book Review: In The Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken

inn the afterlightTitle: In The Afterlight

Series: The Darkest Minds, #3

Author: Alexandra Bracken

Summary: Ruby can’t look back. Fractured by an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government’s attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. With them is a prisoner: Clancy Gray, son of the president, and one of the few people Ruby has encountered with abilities like hers. Only Ruby has any power over him, and just one slip could lead to Clancy wreaking havoc on their minds.

They are armed only with a volatile secret: proof of a government conspiracy to cover up the real cause of IAAN, the disease that has killed most of America’s children and left Ruby and others like her with powers the government will kill to keep contained. But internal strife may destroy their only chance to free the “rehabilitation camps” housing thousands of other Psi kids.

Meanwhile, reunited with Liam, the boy she would-and did-sacrifice everything for to keep alive, Ruby must face the painful repercussions of having tampered with his memories of her. She turns to Cole, his older brother, to provide the intense training she knows she will need to take down Gray and the government. But Cole has demons of his own, and one fatal mistake may be the spark that sets the world on fire. -Goodreads


*Non-Spoilery Section

In The Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken is the last book in The Darkest Minds series, which is one of the most amazing series I’ve ever read. I started it on April 4th, 2014 and ended it on November 11th, 2014… it has been quite the ride.

I feel like In The Afterlight is one of the few series finales I’ve been impressed with and truly satisfied with. It was so incredibly satisfying, and I’m happy to say that Alexandra Bracken is officially one of my favorite authors. This is one of the best series I’ve read this year and it’s definitely on my favorites list.

The plot in this book is so intricate and well written. I really need to take a moment to applaud Bracken, because I could easily envision this world and the characters. And don’t even get me started on the characters! The characters are quite the bunch, especially the main characters. They’re all so different and come from totally different backgrounds, but it works. The characters are really deep as well, and Bracken did a wonderful job depicting their raw emotions, the high tensions, and the depth of this book.

One of the reasons I’m so impressed with this book is because of how well the characters are written. Ruby, especially, is a character who has had so much visual growth, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it in any other book. We almost literally got to watch her character development from page one of the series, and that, I thought, was incredible.

We also got to see Ruby’s flaws. She was and wasn’t your typical heroine at the same time, and I’m not saying that in a bad way. She is such a flawed character, and Bracken doesn’t mask it. Ruby just blossomed in these books, even if the journey getting there wasn’t easy.

In The Afterlight was definitely heavier than the other books, and there was a lot going down. Some of the characters just put you on edge so badly. It was insane.

Of course, Alexandra Bracken wrapped up this series beautifully, which made me so happy. I was a little scared, considering that a few of the series finales I’ve read this year have been a bit lackluster (definitely reconsidering my City of Heavenly Fire review). I know it’s really hard to wrap up a series, and it must be a stressful process, trying to please everyone, but I just thought this was fantastic. Fan. Tastic.

I really hope you all enjoyed it, and if you have yet to start this series, then you’re in luck! The first book, The Darkest Minds, is on the Apple store and the Kindle store for free for a week! This might just be the push you needed… ;D

Anyway, that’s all for the non-spoilery section. If you haven’t read the book, I strongly suggest you stop here, because I will spoil the plot. If you have read the book, then I urge you to go on so we can discuss!

Thank you, Alexandra Bracken, for this amazing reading experience. Your books will definitely stick with me forever.

*Warning: Spoilery Section

“…It is the smoke.

It is the fire.

The spark.

Black is the color of memory.

It is our color.

The only one they’ll use to tell our story.” In The Afterlight, prologue; p. 1-2


When I read the prologue of In The Afterlight, I thought it was just breathtaking. Now you know me, always making musical references, but definitely check out the song “In The End” by Black Veil Brides, because I feel like that song is too perfect for the prologue, and even the whole book.  I was also reminded of “O Children” by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.

Let’s talk about the characters, now. Once again, I’d like to say that I am so impressed with how Bracken wrote her characters. Gah!

POVs: I was really happy that we stuck to the basics, reading only from Ruby’s POV. I feel like a lot of authors are going all crazy with their series finale POVs, so I’m happy that Bracken kept it nice and simple (though Ruby is anything but a simple character).

Ruby: Ruby is one of the main characters, and she developed so much throughout these books. I mean, remember that scared little girl from The Darkest Minds? I think on the inside, she’ll always be a bit scared, but now she can defend herself. She can fight. She is a fighter. She went from being this innocent character to being tough as nails. But as her character developed, Bracken made sure to put Ruby’s flaws on display for us all to see. She is also one of the few main characters I like, despite her sometimes annoying traits. (Spoilers for Allegiant: Because I was so partial to Ruby, I was quite scared for her life. Someone pointed out that the whole thing with Ruby insisting on going back to Thurmond herself was very Tris-esque, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that that was way too accurate. I mean, Ruby was even going back into Thurmond in place of Nico, the traitor… sound familiar? Tris and freaking Caleb. But luckily, Bracken didn’t take that path, which I was very happy about. Also, Ruby reminded me of Tris a little more when she was holding Liam at arm’s length (which I’ll talk about in the next paragraph). Didn’t Tris do that to Four a lot? End of Allegiant Spoilers.)

I noticed that in this book, there seemed to be a lack of communication between Ruby and Liam. I wished she’d stop pushing him away! One moment they were all lovey-dovey, the next they weren’t speaking.

I really liked the relationship between Ruby and Cole, Liam’s brother, but I was worried that a love triangle would form… something I didn’t want to occur. At this moment, I kind of have mixed feelings about a love triangle (if it had been something that happened in the book), because I really liked Cole. I also loved that Ruby had stuck up for Cole when Liam and Alice had kind of formed an “army” against Cole and Ruby. I feel like Cole was being a jerk to protect himself, and the others, and he really was making progress. I hated to see everyone immediately turn to Liam for assistance, but I still love Liam. Liam is life, guys.

When Ruby found the note Liam wrote to himself… UGH, it broke my fangirl heart. I also noticed that Ruby always needed to be in control, but not necessarily in a bad way. If she wasn’t, she’d drive herself crazy wondering if her friends were alright. The Ruby/Liam fight was too much to bear. That was heartbreaking. So upsetting, and I was really beginning to wonder if that was the end of Riam D: Luckily, though, they made up and EVERYTHING WAS PERFECT, GUYS.

I feel like Ruby is a really strong character, but she was easily overwhelmed, and when things got to be too much for her, she’d shut down, and it seemed like she was very… claustrophobic.

Let’s talk about that whole Clancy/Ruby thing. Okay, so apparently he was SNEAKING INTO HER MIND WHILE SHE SLEPT AND… god, I can’t even. I cannot even. He snuck into her mind while she slept and made her send those tips to the camp that Cole and Liam were invading and… good lord. Oh my god… We’ll talk about that later.

I’m so happy about the reunions Ruby had with her friends from Thurmond and her family. Kinda something lacking in other recent releases *cough, cough* The reunion with Ruby and her grandmother was so amazing, but I was kind of “eh” on the reunion with her parents. I mean, I know they couldn’t remember her, but still… eh.

I was slightly confused about what went down at the end between Ruby and Clancy, but I guess she took all of his memories and left him with one to give him a fresh start… that was very good of her. I’m surprised. I know, of course, that Ruby is a good person, but after everything that went down toward the end, I was surprised that Ruby gave him mercy.

(I also wanted to point out that I thought it was so adorable that both Stewart brothers had nicknames for Ruby. Liam called her “darlin’.” Cole called her “Gem.”)

Liam: First things first… Liam is my book boyfriend for life. HE IS SUCH A SWEETIE, LIKE, WHAT. I WANT A LIAM. In the beginning I melted every time he was in a scene and gahh, fangirl feels. He was really loyal, even when Ruby did something wrong, but there were quite a few times when he and Ruby were at odds, and Liam soon took matters into his own hands. I guess his plans proved to be successful, but still. He was quite careless at times, which made me groan. Like, why, Liam? Why?

Like when Liam contacted Amplify? That’s when I got scared about the love triangle thing, because Ruby was just as pissed about that as Cole was.

Learning about Liam’s family history was really upsetting. And the memory Ruby saw of how Liam had gotten the scar on his lip… ack. Ugh. Feels. Cole had actually told Liam that he’d gotten it when he pushed Liam off his bed, but Ruby knew the truth.

Cole lying to Liam about how he obtained the scar is just another clue that made me feel like he was really trying to protect his brother and that he loved him. I wish that they’d talked more. If there’s one thing I wish was included in this book, it’s that I wanted Cole and Liam to have a heart-to-heart and try to understand each other.

Liam was getting frustrated with Ruby when he figured out that she was keeping secrets… and Ruby was very surprised when she found out that he too was keeping secrets. Sometimes I feel like Ruby kind of took him for granted, but I know she loves him.

Vida: Vida was awesome. Just plain awesome. I loved her sense of humor, and she lightened the mood at times. I totally shipped Chida, and it was SO ADORABLE when she got Chubs his new glasses 😀

I was really sad when Vida thought Ruby never cared about her and Jude, but I’m glad they talked it out, and Vida just kind of broke down, but Ruby protected her and shielded Vida from anyone seeing. I love how Vida and Ruby’s friendship grew, because in the beginning, they weren’t friends at all.

I also loved Vida and Zu’s relationship. After they got over their rocky beginnings, Vida was so supportive of Zu. And I loved that scene with Vida and Zu and she was dying her hair and put a streak of color in Zu’s hair ^-^

I’d really wanted to see Vida and Chubs’ first kiss, so it was a bit disappointing when we didn’t. But I’m still really happy that they got together in the end. They’re so different, but like I said, the contrast between these characters just works perfectly.

Chubs: I loved Chubs. I actually wasn’t scared that he was going to die, but now that I think of it, I TOTALLY SHOULD HAVE BEEN SCARED. He made every scene perfection.

When Chubsie got into all the politics and stuff… That was awesome. I’m glad that he protested when they were told that people who didn’t agree to have the cure had to live in special communities.

Zu: I’m so incredibly happy that Zu came back into the series. I was really worried about her, and her reunion with the gang was pure awesomeness. WHEN SHE SPOKE, THOUGH. WHAAAT? Dude, I was flipping out! Ruby and Liam and Chubs were flipping out. And Vida was being all supportive and Chubsie cried and it was so sweet 😀

Jude: Although Jude died in Never Fade, he was mentioned quite a lot, which I was so happy about. I’m glad he wasn’t just shoved to the side after his death. People were so torn up about him. Jude was… Jude. He was such a good person and, why do the good people always have bad things happen to them?! I’m happy they held onto his memory. (I’m getting all emotional here… just wait till you read the next paragraph!)

Nico: I really liked Nico, and I was glad that he and Ruby were friends in the end.  I have to admit, though… this Nico was very similar to the PJO Nico.  It actually didn’t bother me, though.  I’m also incredibly happy that he didn’t die, and I’m glad that he proved himself.

Cole: Something about Cole made me suspicious in the beginning, like he had ulterior motives or something. But in the end… no. No, it was nothing like that.

Cole really grew on me in this book. I really loved his character, and I loved how he and Ruby just clicked so easily. They understood each other. They knew what it was like to be the dangerous ones. She was an Orange. But Cole was a Red. And the reds got a lot of heat (no pun intended).

I was really scared when Cole was starting to bring Clancy his meals personally, and I was like, “Oh my god, he’s totally going to take over Cole’s mind and make him do something to Ruby or Liam.” But in the end, the only friggin mind Clancy entered was the ONE PERSON WE ALL THOUGHT COULD WARD HIM OFF.

Yeah. Ruby. Granted, it wasn’t her fault, since she couldn’t sense him while asleep, but while Cole brought Clancy his food, they were getting all buddy buddy and strategizing… and Clancy sneakily put the idea in Cole’s mind that there were more Reds like him.

And when Cole has his mind set on something, you know he won’t turn back. God, stupid Clancy. Stupid, stupid everyone, for trusting Cole. In the end he did no good! He wasn’t at all helpful!

Basically, with that idea in Cole’s head… Clancy pretty much sent Cole to his death without lifting a finger. All he had to do was get Ruby to send those god-awful messages to warn the camp to be on the lookout.

Cole and Liam weren’t supposed to go inside… but they did because of stupid Clancy. And when they went inside…

…Cole died. Liam survived. And they were at each other’s throats for the entire time. That’s what kills me. That made his death even more upsetting. I honestly couldn’t sleep for hours after reading that (true fangirl, here XD). He died fighting. I’m glad that Ruby held onto him at the end, that she insisted on walking out of Thurmond.

After Cole, though, I wasn’t sure if a romantic relationship between him and Ruby was being implied. I’m a bit curious. I’m not sure how I’d feel about it, though.

Cole’s death was a hard blow, and Bracken definitely hasn’t played it safe with playing with these characters’ lives in these books. Part of me is happy that she’s so daring and risky, but the other part is like, “…that’s okay… I mean, it’s not like I needed my heart or anything…”

The Final Battle: I was really happy with how the “final battle” happened, even though it felt like we didn’t exactly witness much of it. The buildup was great, and I loved how all of the freed children were reunited with their parents. I liked how the army stepped down. Everything was brilliant.

General Thoughts: Alexandra Bracken has a way with words. The way she describes things is so perfect. I’d give an example (I think I have in a previous review), but unfortunately I didn’t write down any. I felt like I was standing right there, though.

One complaint, and this is a pretty minor one: I seemed to have trouble understanding a few descriptions of what was happening. The way Bracken words the occurrences was magnificent, but sometimes I felt a bit lost, and I think this happened occasionally throughout the series. It’s all good, though.

Of course, the book was very actiony and heart wrenching, and it pretty much killed me.

The End: I felt so happy that the books started with Ruby at Thurmond, and they ended with Ruby at Thurmond. I liked that she saw Jude’s version of their future. Hit me in the feels. The end of this book was extremely satisfying. I just wish Cole had been there to see the progress their country was making, but I’m glad he was part of the battle.

Recap: I said in a previous book review that the last book in a series will always be hit or miss. And this was definitely hit. It punched me in the feels so many times, and I don’t know when I’ll recover. Alexandra Bracken is so talented, and she made this series such a satisfying experience. I loved these books so much, and I need to buy a copy of Never Fade pronto. I’m so sad to see this series end, and I was a bit late on the bandwagon (as usual), but it was so worth it.

This book is 5/5 stars, just like its predecessors, and this series as a whole deserves a 5/5 stars. These were such amazing books. I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t read them before I did.

Thank you, Alexandra Bracken, for this emotional, thrilling, amazing journey you’ve sent us on. Thank you for sharing your characters and stories with us. I’m so excited to see what else you have planned, and until then, I’m going to have to read the novellas!

“The Darkest Minds Never Fade In The Afterlight.”

“I have fought
And with flesh and blood, I commanded an army
Through it all
I have given my heart for a moment of glory.”
-Black Veil Brides, “In The End”

“Hey, little train, wait for me!
I was held in chains, but now I’m free
I’m hanging in there, don’t you see
In this process of elimination.”
-Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, “O Children”

“They’d never fade, not even in the afterlight of all of this.” -p. 199

 “I hope that when you have the chance to crack your world open wide with new possibilities, to meet new people, and to take a turn down an unexpected, new road, you do just one thing: carpe the hell out of that diem.” -Alexandra Bracken, In The Afterlight, Acknowledgements

BookBlogWriMo: Advice for Newbie Bloggers

BookblogwrimoHey, guys, and welcome to day twelve of #BookBlogWriMo!  Today’s topic is about giving advice to new bloggers, which is a super fun prompt!  Let’s begin!

yoda1. My first piece of advice would be to establish some sort of schedule, at least in the beginning.  That way, people know when to visit your blog because they’ll know when you’ll have a new post up.  I don’t think I’ve ever had a “schedule,” but when I was a newbie I tried to post at least once a week, sometimes even more than that.  Then, after a while, you can drop your initial schedule if you want and play around with different ones!  For me, I’ve never been able to blog on a schedule, because I think you have to be in the right mood to blog.  If I were to have a schedule and I wasn’t in the mood, I’d feel really bad about not blogging on the day I was supposed to.  I’d feel really unreliable.

2. Take advantage of the tools WordPress has!  For a long time I didn’t put pictures or gifs into my posts, simply because I didn’t know how and I thought it would be too difficult.  Pictures and gifs are a really good way to make your posts fun, especially if you find funny ones.  Also, make sure to tag your posts appropriately, so your posts will come up in search results if people type in those keywords.

3. Keep at it.  Don’t give up on your blog.  You may be frustrated because you haven’t gotten any likes or comments yet, but don’t give up!  When you establish a foundation and certain topics that you want to talk about, you’ll find that other people with your interests will find you sooner or later.  You’ll also find your “blogging voice” 😀

4. Visit other blogs!  This is a great way to get yourself a little more known.  Comment on and like other people’s posts, and they’ll check out your blog, too.

5. My last tip, and this is more directed at book bloggers, would be to participate in tags and memes, even if you haven’t been tagged.  Add in your post that you noticed the tag at so-and-so’s blog and you thought it looked fun.  Link to the blog where you found the post, and they’ll probably find you and tell you what they think!

Bonus Tip: When linking to different blogs or websites, make sure your links are working!  This is something I always forget to do >.<

Those are all the tips I have, and here are some websites that you might find useful:

Canva and PicMonkey are great for editing photos and making blog graphics.

For finding pictures and gifs, Tumblr, PhotoBucket, and Giphy are some of my favorite sites to use, especially for funny gifs!  Using gifs from your favorite TV shows or movies is even better 😀

For finding tags and memes to participate in, check out these blogs, whose bloggers have created their own!

Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
Sunday Funday, hosted by Cristina @ Girl in the Pages
Waiting On Wednesday, hosted by Breaking the Spine
The TBR Tag
Harry Potter Spell Book Tag
The Book Blogger Test Tag

That’s all I have for you!  I really hope this was helpful and that I was able to provide some new information for new and older bloggers 😀 I’m excited to see what advice you have for us!