Around the Blog #8 – Bookish movies, the truth about Dumbledore (?!) & more!

Hello, friends!

The weather is starting to change. Last week, it was nice and sunny, but while the sun is still out, this week it’s a bit colder, windy, and we’re having a lot more rain. Basically, it’s starting to feel more Autumn-y and I’m more than okay with that. I’m looking forward to reading books while covered up with a blanket 🙂

Aside from the weather, it’s been an okay week for me. Not spectacular but not bad either. I got stuck on my WIP for a day or two but I think I’ve sorted it out so I’m happy about that. Blogging-wise, I’m keeping up with my schedule so that’s good too.

What about you? How’s your week been? Let me know down below.

And speaking of blogging, let’s get on with my favourite posts this week…

Around the Blog is a weekly post that will feature my favourite posts I’ve read during that week. It’s my way of appreciating other bloggers’ content and to share the love for the chosen posts and bloggers with my followers in the hope they’ll love them as much as I do.

Six Bookish Movies I’m Excited About by Michelle @ I’m an Adventurist: I know many people are getting tired of book to movie adaptations (especially YA books) but not me! If it’s done right, there’s nothing better than seeing your favourite book on the screen. I’m most excited about Simons vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. I really really really hope they’ve done it justice and it’s going to be AH-MAZING.

Dumbledore, Saviour or Just as Bad as Voldemort by Sarah @ Sarah Withers Blog: if that title doesn’t get you to click I don’t know what will. Title aside, I thought this was a very interesting discussion post. Sarah brought up some good arguments as to why Dumbledore might not be as good as you thought he was. Go check it out!

My Blog Design Resources by Bridget @ Bridget and Books: I love this post because it gives us non-artistic people some tips and tricks on how to make our blog prettier. And who better to listen to than Bridget? She’s got one of the prettiest designs around so you should definitely visit her blog and have a look around.

Rain Day Reads by @Thrice Read: like I said, I love reading a good book while it’s raining outside so this is the perfect post for me. Thrice Read shares five books that are perfect for reading while it’s pouring outside.

That’s it for this week!

So… how do you feel about Dumbledore? What are your favourite rain day reads? Are you looking forward to the Simon vs. movie as much as I am? And what are some of your favourite blog designs? Let me know and/or drop a comment on the original post!

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The New York Times “By the Book” Tag

Hello, friends!

I’m not a New York Times reader, but I’ve been wanting to go to New York City for as long as I can remember so that’s a good enough excuse to do this tag. Thank you to Beth @Reading Every Night for tagging me. I hope you enjoy reading my answers as much as I did yours.

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Turtles All the Way Down: Countdown + John Green reads Chapter 1

Hello, friends!

I’m interrupting my weekly schedule to bring you a new post today. This was unplanned but I stumbled upon this article and decided I had to talk about it. Which article?

It’s an article (or an announcement, I guess) by Penguin Random House International. They’re preparing for John Green’s new book, Turtles All the Way Down, by reading one of his previous books each week leading up to the release on October 10th and they’re inviting us to read along with them. You can share thoughts, quotes, and pictures through #TurtlesAlltheWayCountDown and there’s a chance for you to win one of his books!

Here’s the schedule they’re following.

Week 1: Looking for Alaska (Sept 4- Sept 10)
Read and discuss the book/share your favorite quotes/share your photos using #TurtlesAlltheWayCountDown
Looking for Alaska Giveaway (open for entries Sept 4-11): Enter here

Week 2: An Abundance of Katherines (Sept 11- Sept 17)
Read and discuss the book/share your favorite quotes/share your photos using #TurtlesAlltheWayCountDown
An Abundance of Katherines Giveaway (open for entries Sept 11-18): Enter here

Week 3: Paper Towns (Sept 18- Sept 24)
Read and discuss the book/share your favorite quotes/share your photos using #TurtlesAlltheWayCountDown
Paper Towns Signed (!) Copy Giveaway (open for entries Sept 18-25): Enter here

Week 4: Will Grayson, Will Grayson (Sept 25- Oct 1)
Read and discuss the book/share your favorite quotes/share your photos using #TurtlesAlltheWayCountDown
Will Grayson, Will Grayson Giveaway (open for entries Sept 25-Oct 2): Enter here

Week 5: The Fault in Our Stars (Oct 2- Oct 8)
Read and discuss the book/share your favorite quotes/share your photos using #TurtlesAlltheWayCountDown
The Fault in Our Stars Giveaway (open for entries Oct 2-Oct 9): Enter here

Week 6: Turtles All the Way Down (Oct 10- Oct 17)
Hooray! A new John Green novel is HERE! Read Turtles All the Way Down and let us know what you think. Tag @PRHGlobal on Twitter and Penguin Random House International USA on Facebook.
Turtles All the Way Down Giveaway (open for entries Oct 10-Oct 17): Enter here

I love the idea of reading all his books before the new one releases and I’d love to do it. I’m not going to commit myself 100%, but I am going to try and read as many of his books as possible before Turtles All the Way Down releases.

Are you curious what Turtles All the Way Down is all about? Here’s John reading Chapter 1

I have to say, this sounds like it’s going to be an intense read. Those of you who’ve watched John’s videos over the years and / or listened to Dear Hank and John know that John struggles with anxiety (and OCD) himself and it shows from the first chapter he’s read. I can’t imagine what it must’ve been like for him to write about such a personal topic but I applaud him for it even if the books turns out to be not-so-great (which I doubt!) All in all, I’m excited to read it when it comes out!

Are you looking forward to Turtles All the Way Down? Are you going to participate in the countdown? What did you think of Chapter 1? Yay or nay? Let me know in the comments!

 

Review: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

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Details & Summary:

Title: The Serpent King
Author: Jeff Zentner
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers/Random House
Release Date: March 8th 2016
Pages: 384

Dill has had to wrestle with vipers his whole life at home, as the only son of a Pentecostal minister who urges him to handle poisonous rattlesnakes, and at school, where he faces down bullies who target him for his father’s extreme faith and very public fall from grace.
The only antidote to all this venom is his friendship with fellow outcasts Travis and Lydia. But as they are starting their senior year, Dill feels the coils of his future tightening around him. Dill’s only escapes are his music and his secret feelings for Lydia, neither of which he is brave enough to share. Graduation feels more like an ending to Dill than a beginning. But even before then, he must cope with another ending- one that will rock his life to the core.

My thoughts…

“If you’re going to live, you might as well do painful, brave, and beautiful things.”

Many people recommended this book to me, but I didn’t really consider it until I’d read Goodbye Days by the same author, which I loved. I enjoyed his writing style in Goodbye Days and admired him for creating believable and relatable characters. So why not give The Serpent King a chance? I’m happy that I did. Though I prefer Goodbye Days, The Serpent King is a great read that explores important and difficult themes such as being true to yourself and believing in your own capabilities. (Content warning: physical abuse)

The book is split into three POVs for our three main characters: Dill, Travis, and Lydia. Though they each get approximately the same amount of “screen time” so to speak, Dill is inarguably the main character of this story.

Dill is a quiet high school boy, a musician, and the son of a preacher who’s in jail for possessing child pornography. His parents are extremely religious, which affects his day-to-day life. I’d even go as far as say they were emotionally abusive since they told him he could not go college and basically implied he could have no future other than they one they had in mind.

I have to say I found it hard to relate to Dill at first. He was very passive and went along with everything his parents said. His father was in jail (rightfully so) and he was supposed to somehow be okay with that and accept it was all “part of the plan” so to speak. Obviously, he wasn’t okay with it but he felt he couldn’t do anything about it. He felt like he couldn’t do anything that would get him out of town and into a better life. So instead of formulating some kind of plan to improve his situation, he got stuck in thinking his situation was hopeless and lashed out at Lydia for trying to help him and for being ambitious herself. But as the story went on, I got a better sense of who Dill was. He was hurt and nearly broken, but, despite that, he was still a good person.

I had no problem relating to Lydia and Travis.

At 17, Lydia is a famous fashion blogger. She’s very sassy, has the best comebacks, and has worked her way to a future of success. Her parents’ money helps, of course, but it’s mostly her own hard work that got her there. Speaking of, the relationship between Lydia and her father is one of the best and more hilarious ones I’ve ever read. I love their banter.

“I mean, it’s not like she doesn’t like anything. It just has to be Christian. Really Christian,” Dill said.
“Like the Bible barely makes the cut because Christ is only in the second half,” Lydia said.

And then there’s Travis, who’s basically a giant dork who’s obsessed by a fantasy series called Bloodfall and has a secret girlfriend he’s met on one of the forums. Unfortunately, his father is physically abusive but, despite his situation, Travis stays kind and sweet and utterly precious. I loved that guy.

There are several important themes that are tackled in this book, but I love how Zentner handled the theme of “quiet lives”, as shown through Travis. Travis didn’t have any big plans and he was okay with that. He was happy working in town because it allowed him to do the only thing he truly loved, reading Bloodfall after work. In short, he told us readers it’s okay to not want big, “ambitious” lives filled with success. You can still do brave, beautiful things. 

“People live quiet lives and that’s okay. There’s dignity in that, no matter what you may think.”

However, Zentner also tells us you’re allowed to want more, as shown through Lidia and Dill. Lidia is obvious since she had her mind set on a career in New York from the get-go. Dill was a little harder. Like I said, he didn’t believe he deserved a better life. He believe that this was it and that there’s nothing he could do about it. In that way (and many other ways) I thought Zentner handled Dill’s depression really well. I felt just as hopeless as Dill toward the end. However, through an event I can’t explain because of spoilers, Dill realizes he wants more out of his life.

More importantly, he realizes he can have more.

We all can. We just have to be willing to try.

The Serpent King is a story about three teens living in a backwards country town who’re figuring out who they are and what kind of person they’d like to be. Zentner does a great job of balancing light and dark throughout the book. You’ll laugh at some of the characters’ antics, but you’ll also hurt when they do. In the end, Zentner leaves us with a hopeful note that might inspire others who find themselves in similar, seemingly hopeless situations.

Rating

Some of my favourite BFFs in (YA) Literature

Hello, friends!

We all know it’s very, very common to have romantic relationships in YA literature. In fact, it’s pretty hard to find a YA book where there are no romantic relationships whatsoever. Now, I don’t mind romance at all, but there are times where I wish authors would focus more on friendships because, let’s face it, friends usually outlast romantic interests (even though every author likes their readers to believe their love pairing will stay together FOR EVER). They’re going to be their at your best and your worst (hopefully) and they’re going to love you no matter what you look like or who you are.

In short, friendship is important, y’all, and we need to see more amazing and realistic (!) friendships in (YA) books. If anyone were to ask my opinion – which they’re not, but I’m going to tell you anyway – I’d like to see more friendships likes these in ALL YA books…

  • Frances & Aled in Radio Silence: a boy and a girl who’re friends?? GASP. Shocking, I know, but these two NEVER have any romantic feelings for each other whatsoever. They’re both into the same things–mostly the Universe City podcast but they’re also both fangirls/boys and they like a lot of the same “nerdy” things — and I love how Frances never gave up on Aled even when he was kind of being a jerk (though there’s an explanation for that). That’s what friends are for, you know?
  • Frances & Raine in Radio Silence: I know, I know, I’ve already mentioned this book, but Alice Oseman really knows how to write friendship. I love Frances’ dorkiness combined with Raine’s I-don’t-give-a-damn attitude and her sassiness. She had some of the best lines in the book.
  • Cath & Reagan in Fangirl: these two are kind of similar to Frances & Raine. Reagan is blunt, sassy, and kind of mean sometimes whereas Cath is shy, awkward, and a huge fangirl (obviously, hence the title). They’re from two different worlds, but they still make a great pair.
  • Harry & Ron in Harry Potter: the OG bromance as far as I’m concerned.
  • Simon & Abby in Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda: I’ve expressed my love for these two many times before and I’m going to do it again. Simon is precious and Abby is a rockstar (not literally, but you’ll know what I mean if you’ve read the book). They’re recent friends but that doesn’t make their bond any less strong, which just goes to show you that you don’t have to know someone a gazillion years for them to be your BFF.
  • Pudge & The Colonel in Looking for Alaska: This friendship is a little one-sided at first with Chip (the Colonel) helping Miles (Pudge) to break out of his shell but things get better as Miles grows more comfortable around his new friends and in his new life. Their frienship really shines when THAT happens to Alaska.
  • Rufus & The Plutos in They Both Die at the End: I don’t want to say too much since the book hasn’t been released yet, but these guys have each other’s back. They’d do anything for each other and it’s beautiful.
  • Mallory & Ainsley in the Problem with Forever: another drama-free friendship between girls. Mallory struggles to talk but she finds a way to be there for Ainsley when she needs her the most and Ainsley always has Mallory’s back even when she has her own issues to deal with.

SPECIAL MENTIONS

While making this list, I was thinking about other friendships I really like and want to share but don’t fit in the YA lit category. But this is my blog and I can do what I like, so here you go…

  • Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas in the Lord of the Rings: Legolas & Gimli have the best ever friendly rivalry and Aragorn is there to lead them and make sure they don’t actually kill each other (at least at first). It’s a great dynamic of fun and brooding.

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  • Mr Bingley & Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice: Mr Darcy is kind of a jerk in the beginning, but if you look at it from his POV, he was just protecting his best friend from what (he thought was) a bad relationship. And he comes around in the end so all is forgiven.
  • Bucky & Steve in Captain America: Talk about never giving up on someone…

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Do you like my choices? Which are some of your favourites that are not on this list? Do you wish we’d have more friendships in YA or do you think there are plenty? Let me know in the comments!

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Around the Blog #7: death to summer & the power of books

Hello friends,

I can’t believe it’s already September! A part of me wants time to slow the heck down but there’s this other, bigger part of me that’s actually glad summer is (almost) over. That’s probably a controversial opinion (lol), but I’m not a summer girl. Being sticky and sweaty? Nope. Na-ah. I hate it. I’d rather wear comfy sweaters and curl up in bed under a mountain of blankets, reading a good book, thank you very much! I can’t be the only one, right?

Anyway, on to today’s post.

Around the Blog is a weekly post that will feature my favourite posts I’ve read during that week. It’s my way of appreciating other bloggers’ content and to share the love for the chosen posts and bloggers with my followers in the hope they’ll love them as much as I do.

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Here are my favourite posts of this week…

Seven Empowering Books by Sarah @Written Word Worlds: ever since reading The Hate U Give, I’ve realized how much power books can have. They can raise awareness for issues people struggle to comprehend through the mainstream media (newspapers, TV, …) by giving you a character you can relate to and a story you’re invested in. That’s what happened when I read THUG and I’m hoping to read more empowering and powerful books as I go along.

The Pros and Cons of Magical Realism by Beth @Reading Every Night: I’ve only read one magical realism book (Wing Jones) since it’s a relatively new genre so it’s too soon for me to form an opinion on whether I like it. This post by Beth has encouraged me to give the genre a second chance since, like she said, it usually has very beautiful writing.

September Books to Keep an Eye on by Fernanda @The Wanderlust Reader: I’ve done a similar post about September YA releases to look forward to, but it’s always fun to see which books other people are excited about. Also, Fernanda includes books from all genres where I usually stick to contemporary YA.

Ten Gems in Mental Health Literature by Chrissi @Chrissi Reads: those of you who’ve been following me for a while know that I think books with an accurate rep of mental health issues are extremely important. I’m always looking for new, good reads and this list by Chrissi definitely helped.

These Books Changed my Life by Shannon @Captivated~by~Fantasy: as I said, books can be extremely powerful. Non-readers probably don’t believe us, but I do think books can change lives. In this post, Shannon shares the books that have changed her and a lot of these books I’ve read and enjoyed as well.

That’s it for this week!

See you tomorrow,
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August Wrap-Up: Overachieving, Giveaway & September TBR

Hello, friends!

It’s the last day of the month today which can only mean one thing…

It’s time for another wrap-up. In this post, I’ll be sharing the books I read this month, which ones I’m planning on reading in September as well as some of my favourite non-book related things I’ve enjoyed this month.

Books

I read 8 book this month! GO ME!

  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: Literally everyone recommended this one to me. Maybe that’s why I was slightly disappointed. It was good, but I didn’t connect to Cath as much as wanted to (Levi and Reagan were great though!) 
  • The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner: I took me a while to get into this one, but it was well worth reading to the end. (Review to come!) 
  • My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Wanger: Depressing read but filled with raw, realistic, and genuine emotions. Very good representation of mental illness.
  • Our Story Begins by Elissa Brent Weissman: Recommended reading for aspiring (children’s) authors and illustrators.
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone: The book that started it all.
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: My least favourite HP book, but, come on, it’s still HP so…
  • More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera: A rough, emotional story about being okay with who you are and choosing to be more happy than not.
  • They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera: Another great book by my favourite author about daring to live and love, even on the very last day (RR: 4,5/5)

AND…

I completed my Goodreads Challenge!! Am I an overachiever or what?

Goodreads

Obviously, 30 books wasn’t a particularly ambitious goal but I’m still proud of myself. I think I only read 4 books last year, so I guess you could say I’m out of my reading slump. And I have my blog to thank for it!

Speaking of… I’m very close to 400 followers!! Thank you so much to everyone who follows me, reads my posts, and/or leaves a comment. You’re all amazing ❤

To celebrate your amazingness, I’ll be hosting a giveway once I hit 500 followers. And there’s more! If I hit 500 before Christmas, I’ll dig deep into my wallet and do a BIG giveaway.

Blog posts

Infinity Talks

Bookish Posts

Around the Blog

  • #3: Looking for New Blogs
  • #4: Let’s Keep Fighting
  • #5: Aesthetics, Ratings, Reviews & More
  • #6

Tags/Awards

Favourites

Movies & TV-shows

I’ve only got two favourites this month, both TV-shows.

The first is Riverdale. I know, I know, I’m late to the party. The second season kicks off in October but I’ve only now just seen the first season. Confession time: I tried to watch it a couple of months before and saw the first two or maybe three episodes before I stopped. I just couldn’t get into it. But then, after many people recommended it to me, I gave it another shot and I’m so glad I did. I’m in love with all of the characters, Betty and Judhead being my favourites (Go Bughead!)

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but I’ve also got a special place in my heart for Cheryl and Kevin.

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I don’t care what anyone says: I think Riverdale is a good show with a solid mystery plot line, some teenage drama, and beautiful aesthetics. If you haven’t seen it, I don’t recommend watching the trailer. Watch THIS video. It’s pretty perfect.

Second is GAME OF THRONES. I mean, obviously. I’ve put in under favourites but I have to say season 7 definitely isn’t my favourite out of all of them. I understand there were only 7 episodes but everything felt really rushed, which lead to quite a few wonky time lines, plot holes, and deus ex machinas. But the DRAGONS, though…

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WORTH IT.

And Daenerys is QUEEN. Don’t fight me on this one.

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TBR

Since I read twice as many books as I thought I would this month, I’m going to be a bit more ambitious this time around and chose six books.

How was your month? Did you read as many books as you hoped you would? What are you reading next month? Let me know in the comments!

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