Reading Recap: March 2018

Another month has come and gone, and I’ve been busy reading!  Because, really, what else do I have to do with my time?  Actually, I’m quite thrilled because my massive pile of library books that I’ve been chipping away at since January is now reduced to ZERO!  Which is a good feeling!

I was on a roll early in the month, but slowed down near the end due to being out of town.  This month features a ridiculous amount of YA (what else is new?), some new releases, some rereads, some hyped books, and some that had me less than thrilled.

My thoughts on the following books are all spoiler-free.  If you want to talk about any of the titles, feel free to leave a comment!

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Reading Recap: February 2018

It’s time for another reading recap!  Wow, I can’t believe it’s been a month since I last posted.

February was an underwhelming reading month for me.  I read a lot of books I enjoyed, but only a few that fully sucked me in and captured my imagination.  My highest rating was a reread and the majority of my ratings were in the 3-4 range.  The whole month, I felt overwhelmed by a massive pile of library holds that I felt obligated to read right away.  I did read a few books that I own that have been sitting on my shelf for a long time, so that felt good.

Time to plunge into the books!  My thoughts are all spoiler-free.  If you want to talk about any of the titles, feel free do drop by the comments!

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Reading Recap: January 2018

It’s time for my first reading recap of the year!

As part of a project to better track my reading habits, at the end of each month, I’m sharing some statistics from what books I covered. Being a graduate student on top of working full time, I really don’t have the mental capacity to review each book I read.  So this is a way to share what I’m reading.  These posts will also be handy summaries that I can use later for personal purposes.

I do share some brief thoughts about each book and I do my best to phrase things in a way that don’t have spoilers.  These aren’t reviews, just scattered thoughts that I put in my notebook to help me remember my impression of the book.  If you have any questions or want to talk further about anything you see on this list, I’d be happy to do that with you in the comments!  Or, feel free to add me on Goodreads!

If you want more information about each book, follow the links embedded in the titles.  That will bring you to the book’s Goodreads page.

So here we go!

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New Year, New Semester: A Brief Update

A New Years post at the end of January?  Amelia, shouldn’t you have posted this weeks ago?  Yes, yes I should have.  However, life, school, and laziness has kept me away from my blog.  Better late than never, right?

My second semester of graduate school is underway and I’m sitting here wondering, WHERE did my winter break go?!  And why didn’t I do any writing during my time off?!

Since I’ve been hard-core neglecting my blog, here’s a brief recap of things in Amelia land:

  • I finished my first semester of grad school just before the holidays and managed straight A’s!
  • The holidays were a busy, but wonderful time with family
  • I applied and interviewed for a librarian position within my current system that is much closer to where I live, but didn’t get it.  When the choice is between you and a former library director with 30 years of experience, there’s not much of a choice.  But, since breaking the bad news to me, my supervisor has asked me to be on a number of new committees, which is exciting!
  • I read a ridiculous amount of books
  • I spent a wonderful weekend at a friend’s cabin in northern Wisconsin

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Farewell, 2017

We’ve hit the season when everyone reflects on what has occurred during the past year and dreams of the year to come.  I am no exception.

What strikes me, though, is time’s beautiful ability to slip elegantly from one minute to one day to one year.  Tomorrow may be a new year, but take away the countdowns, the parties, the reflection, it is simply a new day.  Just as today was a new day.  I love that.

It is difficult to pinpoint the significance of 2017.  Before, each year had deep meaning, filled with momentous occasions and deep soul searching.  2015 was the year I finished college, filled with questions and striving.  2016 was the year I trekked across Europe and stumbled into my life’s work.

But 2017?  I suppose it is an extension of all the years before, as if all the momentous occasions, questions, journeys, and stumbles were leading to what I am doing now: living day by day, moment by moment.

This year, I continued life in the small town library where I work.  I experienced my first Summer Reading Program, started a Lego Club, and continued building relationships with my patrons.

This year, I applied, was accepted, and began graduate school online through the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.  Grad school is not easy, but it’s taught me to make time for self-care and that sanity is more important than grades.  This attitude helped me get through my first semester with my sanity and GPA in tact.  Already, pursing my Masters in Library and Information Science has helped improve my skills and understanding of my work.  While I frequently whine and complain about the stress of my studies, I am deeply thankful for this opportunity.

This year, I continued living with my parents.  All year, I have bounced back and forth.  Should I move closer to work?  Do I want to live in that community?  Is it worth it to continue driving an hour to work and back each day?  I’m still struggling with these questions.  While I like living with my parents, I’m ready to be on my own.  But I have absolutely no desire to live in the community where I work and cannot afford to both pay rent and continue commuting.  This is something I’ll continue to wrestle with as the new year comes.

This year, I made new friends and continued walking with old ones.  From road trip buddies to coffee shop chats monthly letters, I am extremely blessed in the friendship department and am so, so thankful.

This year, my faith journey brought me somewhere between the desert and the river valley.  I’m attending church again and am encouraged by friendships, but still feel like I’m walking alone.  In college, my faith journey was wild, frantic, and I pursued the path with relentless passion.  My faith has changed dramatically since then.  I’ve evened out.  I’ve simultaneously rejected the fundamentalism of my upbringing while holding firmly to my spiritual beliefs and heritage.  I’m calmer now.  I continue to study, but I hold my faith with open hands.  I long to be a person of high character, quietly bettering the world around me, letting my actions speak louder than my words.  2017 was a step in that direction.

This year, I spent each day with Wendell Berry.  As part of my devotions each morning, I ended by reading one of his Sabbath poems.  Of all my routines, this was my favorite.  Morning by morning, his words brought me into still forests, quiet fields, and sunlit meadows.  I reached the end of the book in October and went right back to the beginning.

This year, I continued my never ending love affair with the written word.  Thanks to audiobooks during my long commute and a deepening passion for YA, I blew past my previous reading records, making it through 212 books in a mere 12 months.  For more about my reading year, check out my previous post.

I suppose, in light of all these things, 2017 was a pretty good year.  (Minus the dumpster fires of national politics and natural disasters, of course.)  I grew, I worked, I learned.  What more can one ask for?

Tonight, when the clock strikes twelve, we will slip elegantly into a 2018.  Where will this year take us?  What decisions will I make?  What people will I meet?  What places will I go?  What words will I be writing one year from now?  I haven’t the slightest clue, and that is a very exciting thing.

Whoever you are, wherever you may be, I wish you a very happy New Year!

2017 in Books

Why hello there, everyone!  Long time, no see!  I hope to post a general life update soon (yes, I survived my first semester of grad school), but first, BOOKS!

I feel like 2017 is going to go down as a one of the most significant years in my reading life.  Looking back, I not only read more books than ever before, but I discovered countless new writers who I now cannot imagine my life without.

This year, I read 211 books.  Holy cats, that’s a lot!  This includes audiobooks and stand-alone graphic novels.  I did not include comic volumes or things I read twice in one year.  This number feels like a HUGE accomplishment.  It smashes last year’s record by 64 books!

The theme this year was all about YA.  I’ve always enjoyed the genre, but this year stepped it up several notches.  Being a librarian, I work to stay on top of new releases and up-and-coming titles so I can successfully help my patrons find things to read.  A perk (and curse) of this is that I’m painfully aware of what’s being published, when it’s coming out, and how to get my hands on it for free.

And, oh, the authors I’ve discovered this year.  It was a fantastic year for discovering YA fantasy writers.  Sarah J. Maas, Leigh Bardugo, V.E. Schwab, Laini Taylor, where have you been all my life?!  I cannot imagine my life without the Court of Thorns and Roses Series or Six of Crows duology.  (I read A Court of Mist and Fury five times and have zero regrets.) I was charmed by Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer and swept away by Marie Lu’s Warcross.  I reread Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles and fell in love with them all over again. There were some excellent Asian-inspired fantasies released this year; I really enjoyed Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao and Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh.  I’m currently in the midst of Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle, which I am loving so far.

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What I’m Reading: Early November Part 2

And… here’s part two of my recent reads list!  As always, let me know what you’ve been reading in the comments.

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Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Oh, what an absolute pleasure to be immersed in a John Green novel!  I’ve been a fan of his work for nearly ten years now and have loved watching his stories progress.  His writing, as always, is rich and deep and leaves me longing for more.  A lot of people criticize Green for creating overly pretentious and deep-thinking protagonists and Turtles definitely falls in line.  But I find it endearing.  This book explores sixteen year old Asa’s experience with mental illness.  The story takes you deep into her mind and I came out with better understanding of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  I feel like this is one of those books that will become richer each time I read it.

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

This book was sooooo hyped on bookstagram.  It had everything going for it: gorgeous cover, ACOTAR-like plot… but I was definitely underwhelmed.  The writing was good, but the story just didn’t suck me in.  The season-themed courts seemed used and the characters did nothing for me.  If there was chemistry, I missed it.  And, good grief, don’t get me started on insta-love.  How come supposedly smart, practical leading ladies constantly lose their minds the second an attractive man (or fairy) walks into their life?  I did love the cultural/biological differences between the fairies and humans.  Each longs for what the other has, in their own way.  Fairies long for the ability to create and humans long for eternal youth and beauty.  I did like that this book conveys that these human longings result in nothing but emptiness.

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

This was such a delightful comfort read.  It’s my second book by Lord and I’ve been so impressed with her writing.  It’s the story of sixteen-year-old Paige, who is best known at school as the girl whose boyfriend tragically drowned a year before. It’s not a story of grief, rather a story of figuring out life after grief.  How to put yourself out there and begin anew.  Surrounded by her best friends, Paige goes through her junior year of high school.  Along the way, she meets Max, the nerdy Quiz Bowl captain with whom she becomes close.  I wish I had been able to read this book at the age of sixteen because Max is everything my high school self wanted in a boyfriend.  Sometimes, it’s a treat to lose yourself in a low-key high school novel, and Lord did not disappoint.

The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

Kaur is the darling of Instagram and… I don’t know.  I’m so torn when it comes to her poetry.  On the one hand, I adore the content.  It’s raw, realistic, and I appreciate the honesty.  I like the way the poems look on the page and love the art that accompanies them.  This collection addresses topics like heartbreak, immigration, and self love… all great subjects!  On the other hand, I don’t think the poems are actually well written.  They’re just thoughts on the page, spaced and formatted to look like poems.  There’s little rhythm, rhyme, or structure to them.  Call me a snob, but I’ve studied and read plenty of poetry.  Technical structures add so much depth and richness.  They’re challenging to implement, but almost always pay off.  I want to like Kaur’s work… but am always left wanting more.


For more of my reading adventures, add me on Goodreads

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What I’m Reading: Early November Part 1

Hello, there!  I’m back and ready to share this past month’s batch of reads.  I’m running a bit behind, so this will come in two parts.  Keep a lookout for the next installment sometime next week!  Enjoy, and be sure to let me know what you’ve been reading in the comments.

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What I’m Reading: YA Fall Releases

It’s Thursday night and I’ve managed to talk myself down from the “I should be studying” ledge.  So, since I’ve decided that grad school is no excuse to not read for fun, why not talk about all the books I’ve been cramming in my spare time?  Thanks to my library, I’ve been on the top of the list for many of this fall’s hottest YA releases.

My mini reviews are spoiler-free, so no worries if you haven’t read them.

Here’s my lineup:

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Meeting Leigh Bardugo

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Last night, I had the chance to meet Leigh Bardugo, author of the Grisha Trilogy and Six of Crows duology.  While I’ve only discovered her work this year, she’s quickly become one of my favorite authors.

Bardugo has been busy this fall, with two books released in September.  At the beginning of the month, Wonder Woman: Warbringer (the first of the D.C. Icons series) came out.  I just finished listening to it on audiobook and it was really fun.  This week, A Language of Thorns was released, which is a beautifully illustrated collection of folktales set in the Grishaverse world.

As part of my job as a librarian, I frequently host author talks, but this was my first time attending one that is part of a national tour.  I’m the kind of girl who gets nervous around people I admire and frequently feel like I make a total fool of myself.  (Seriously, it’s the worst when talking to attractive guys… I get sooo awkward.)  Thus, coming face to face with an author whose work I love was really intimidating.  But this was too good a chance to pass up. Continue reading