Have You Hugged A Book Today?- June 2017

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Whoops! I kind of… forgot about reading this month. I’ve been catching up on podcasts (Writing Excuses, The Creative Penn, and the Sell More Books Show to name a few) instead of doing audio books, and that’s really cut into my reading. Hopefully I’ll get caught up and be able to jump back into reading next month, but for now let me show you what I have been reading.

Here’s the link to my star rating breakdown if anyone needs a refresher. It’s also up in the header.

  • Books I’m Currently Reading:
    1. The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1) by Brandon Sanderson- Still working on this one. It’s dense!
    2. The Amazing Spider-Man, Vol. 1: The Parker Luck by Dan Slott- I’m finally starting this storyline! I’ve had the first three of this books forever, but I haven’t had time to start them. Well now I’m making time! 😀 This is the beginning of the Spiderverse story, from which we get SPIDERGWEN! I’m really excited about that 🙂 Also, I really want to find and read all of Superior Spider-Man someday.
  • Books I’ve Finished:
    1. Throne of Jade (Temeraire #2), by Naomi Novak- Four Stars
    2. Gwenpool, the Unbelievable, Vol. 1: Believe It, by Christopher Hastings- Five Stars

Fog’s Book of the Month
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, #1)Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay, so what saved this book for me was the pictures. I know a lot of people who read this on audio and I’d like to hear thoughts about that, because honestly, I don’t think I would have enjoyed this book nearly as much without the pictures to reference. But then again, the method of writing the book was most of the reason I wanted to read it in the first place, so that might have a lot to do with it ;P The plot was interesting, but I got a couple of the characters confused and something about the writing style didn’t sit well with me. It felt like it was trying too hard to be a YA book. Which it was, and I understand that, but it didn’t have to try so hard. I have no idea if that makes any sense.

Also, (and I think this is a pretty major spoiler so I’m putting it behind a spoiler tag, PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK) (view spoiler)

Anyway, I really did enjoy the book for what it was, the creatures were creepy as all get out and I loved the different Peculiars. I’ll definitely be reading the sequel 🙂

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And that’s it, y’all! See you guys next month! 😀

Have You Hugged A Book Today?- May 2017

So, I’ve kind of failed at updating my Goodreads this past month. Sorry about that! I’ll try to do better going forward 🙂

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Here’s the link to my star rating breakdown if anyone needs a refresher. It’s also up in the header.

  • Books I’m Currently Reading:
    1. Throne of Jade (Temeraire, #2) by Naomi Novik- I’m actually almost done with this and it is just as good as the first one! I really love this series, highly recommend it!
    2. The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1) by Brandon Sanderson- Still plugging away at this one, slowly but surely. I have not abandoned it, but it might take a while for me to get through.
    3. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut- I abandoned this book last month. Because life’s too short to read books that aren’t interesting to you. I’m sure there is a powerful message in here somewhere, but I’m just not in the right state of mind to find it.
  • Books I’ve Finished:
    1. Gotta Read It!- Five Simple Steps to a Fiction Pitch That Sells by Libbie Hawker- Four Stars

Fog’s Book of the Month

The Handmaid's TaleThe Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have no actual words for this book. But I can say it is worth your time. Just read it. Trust me.

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Sorry this is so short, guys! Hopefully next month I’ll have more to report 🙂

Have You Hugged A Book Today?- April 2017

 

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Look at this, I’m actually on time with this blog post! Who knew? I certainly didn’t ;P Let’s get started before something terrible happens…

Here’s the link to my star rating breakdown if anyone needs a refresher. It’s also up in the header.

  • Books I’m Currently Reading:
    1. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print by Renni Browne- I kind of forgot this was a thing I should be reading… whoops. I guess I’ll try again this month 🙂
    2. The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1) by Brandon Sanderson- This is one that at least one person I know is going to be excited I’m reading (hi, Elissa!). I happened to get it for free from Tor, and it’s pretty good. A little more involved than I was expecting (I now understand the jokes about Brandon’s writing style on the Writing Excuses podcast ;P), but I’m actually pretty intrigued by all the storylines that have been introduced so far. I’m confused as to how they all tie together, but I’m sure that will become apparent the farther along I get. I have faith in you, Sanderson, don’t let me down! ;P
    3. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut- This is… weird. I’m enjoying it, but it’s not a book I can (or want) to read in long chunks. I have a feeling it might take me a while to get through, even though it’s short. Stay tuned!
  • Books I’ve Finished:
    1. His Majesty’s Dragon (Temeraire, #1) by Naomi Novik- Five Stars
    2. Summer Knight (The Dresden Files, #4) by Jim Butcher- Four Stars
    3. Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis- Five Stars

Fog’s Book of the Month
Eleanor & ParkEleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So good, so beautiful, so sad, so happy. Ugh. I can’t even. I don’t even have the words. Worth every bit of five stars 🙂

ETA: Okay, I think I have a few words now. The most beautiful part of this book was how incredibly real it felt, while at the same time feeling like one of those great myths that are told through the generations. It was romantic and funny and painful, all at the same time, and it felt like something that could happen to anyone. I was terribly afraid that it was going to turn Romeo and Juliet on me, but it didn’t. It never got stupid, despite the high school protagonists, it felt young and fresh and immediate, without feeling shallow or unimportant (whether it lasted or it didn’t). It was a beautifully written book, a very immersive experience, Ms. Rowell wins again 🙂

Highly recommend for everyone, especially children of the eighties and nineties for the references (which were super fun to catch, like Easter eggs in book form!).

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Ha! Look at me, winning at blogging today!

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I’m gonna go now, before this all goes horribly wrong 😀

Have You Hugged A Book Today?- March 2017

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I’m finally ahead on my reading challenge! 😀 That’s probably because I had twenty hours of driving I didn’t expect this month, but yay! I’m not failing at something!

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Anyway, I read a lot of pretty great books, let’s get started!

Here’s the link to my star rating breakdown if anyone needs a refresher. It’s also up in the header.

  • Books I’m Currently Reading:
    1. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print by Renni Browne- This is one I’ve read before, but I thought it would be good to review considering I’m right in the middle of editing my novel. I haven’t made a lot of progress on it, because I’ve been so busy, but I’m hoping to get some more in the next month.
    2. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell- This book is super adorable and really touching so far. I’m excited to see what happens next!
    3. His Majesty’s Dragon(Temeraire, #1) by Naomi Novik- I just started this one, but it is already SO CUTE, I am dying inside! I honestly did not expect a book about dragons during the Napoleonic wars to have me squealing like a small child, but seriously, my heart can’t take much more of this…
  • Books I’ve Finished:
    1. Fool Moon (The Dresden Files, #2) by Jim Butcher- Four Stars
    2. The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo- Five Stars
    3. Miles, Mutants and Microbes (Vorkosigan Omnibus, #5) by Lois McMaster Bujold- Five Stars
    4. The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett- Five Stars
    5. Daredevil: The Devil, Inside and Out, Vol. 1 by Ed Brubaker- Five Stars
    6. Grave Peril (The Dresden Files, #3) by Jim Butcher- Five Stars
    7. Young Avengers, Vol 1: Style > Substance by Kieron Gillen- Four Stars
    8. Young Avengers, Vol 2: Alternative Culture by Kieron Gillen- Five Stars
    9. A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1) by Deborah Harkness- Five Stars

Fog’s Book of the Month

The Girl Who Drank the MoonThe Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can’t believe I haven’t already written a review of this book. It was so beautifully done, full of childish wonder and adorable creatures, while at the same time showing just how terrible the world can truly be. I loved the underlying themes of curiosity and the power of knowledge, encouraging you to question the world around you, not in a negative way, but just to understand how things work and why things are the way they are rather than accepting them blindly. I also loved how there were several moments in which the heroes of the story, the characters we are meant to look up to and trust, made mistakes in the name of maintaining the peace and order of their lives. Facing the truth is hard, but necessary, and making the choice to sweep things under the rug or pretend that they aren’t happening isn’t helping anyone. It will always come back around.
On the surface, the book is just a great read, full of humor and fantastical whimsy with plenty of surprising twists and turns. At no point was I ever bored or thinking about moving on to something else. I highly recommend this one.

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No Destructive Creativity Corner this month, I’ve been too busy with editing and family emergencies and generally feeling like a failure 🙂 We’ll try again next month! See you guys in April!

Have You Hugged A Book Today?- February 2017

A Brief Note: I wrote this post a week ago and then forgot to post it. I’m posting it as-is and backdating it, mostly because I’m in the midst of editing and don’t feel like rewriting the whole thing. I’ll try to do better next month, promise! ;D

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I read three books and I’m STILL two books behind! Argh! I need to read more comics, just so I can feel like I accomplished something…

Here’s the link to my star rating breakdown if anyone needs a refresher. It’s also up in the header 🙂

  • Books I’m Currently Reading:
    1. Miles, Mutants, and Microbes (Vorkosigan Omnibus #5) by Lois McMaster Bujold– I know it seems weird that I’m reading #5 after #6, but in the continuity of the series, it actually makes more sense. Also, I’m loving the Quaddies and I feel very strongly for them. They are all my precious children and I greatly desire their freedom from the evil Corporation…
    2. Fool Moon (The Dresden Files, #2) by Jim Butcher– Holy crap, this is leaps and bounds better than Storm Front! Not just the story, but the narration and production is infinitely better. I’m very excited and looking forward to the end 🙂
  • Books I’ve Finished:
    1. Storm Front (The Dresden Files, #1), by Jim Butcher- Three Stars
    2. Miles in Love (Vorkosigan Omnibus #6), by Lois McMaster Bujold- Five Stars

Fog’s Book of the Month
A Monster CallsA Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh this book… It was moving, and heartfelt, and most importantly it was just so REAL. I know it sounds strange to say that about a book with Monster in the title, but it really was all about speaking the truth. Even when it’s hard, even when you don’t want to face it, even if it isn’t what you think it is. It was beautiful and heartbreaking and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone.

Addendum (from one of my early notes during reading): “It’s not often that I’m sold on a book as early as the Author’s Note, but Mr. Ness, you had me at ‘So go. Run with it. Make trouble.’

View all my reviews

The Destructive Creativity Corner (Instagram, @fogisbeautiful)

I haven’t done much with my “F*nish Th*s B**k” this past month, but I do have one post I can share.

That’s all! See you guys in March!

Have You Hugged A Book Today?- January 2017

readingchallengejan17

New Year, New Book Challenge! And I’m already behind, of course ;P As I said in my Conclusion to 2016, I’ve raised my goal to 55 books this year instead of my customary 50… Can I really call it ‘customary’ if I’ve only done it two years in row? Oh well, I’m using it! 😀

Here’s the link to my star rating breakdown if anyone needs a refresher. It’s also up in the header 🙂

  • What I’m currently reading:
    1. Miles in Love (Vorkosigan Omnibus #6) by Lois McMaster Bujold– I haven’t finished anymore of this yet. I will. I just… haven’t. I have no excuse.
    2. Audrey Hepburn: An Elegant Spirit by Sean Hepburn Ferrer– If I haven’t made any progress on this by next month, I’m taking it off the list, because it’s depressing me. Audrey Hepburn is a lot of things, but ‘depressing’ should not be one of them.
    3. Storm Front (The Dresden Files, #1) by Jim Butcher– I finally started the series! Yay! I’m a little disappointed by the narration, but I think that might have more to do with the production than with James Marsden (if that makes any sense?) and the story is pretty good. I think it’s about to get really good, and I’m told things really pick up around Book Three. I think I can stick it out until then. Also, Bob is the best. That is all.
  • Books I’ve Finished- None this month, mostly because I’m just failing at life a little bit. This also means that there’s no Book of the Month this month. Sorry, we’ll try again in February 🙂

However, I would like to go ahead and introduce a new segment this month:

The Destructive Creativity Corner

Basically, a lovely coworker got me a really neat book for Christmas this year, a book by the same author that created Wreck This Journal: F*nish Th*s B**k, by Keri Smith. The basic premise is that you have found a folder full of half-formed ideas, and now you have to complete the book using your creative intuition. I’ve been thinking about trying out a book like this for over a year now, so it just seems like fate that one has now fallen into my hands. I’m very excited!

Now, the instructions in the book say specifically that I shouldn’t share the results of this endeavor until specifically instructed to do so… but, I couldn’t resist leaking a picture of my gathered materials at least:

I’m really enjoying what I’ve done so far, I’ll post whatever pictures are “leaked” as they become available ;P If you’d like to follow my progress in real time, you can follow my Instagram, @fogisbeautiful.

That’s all! See you guys in February!

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Have You Hugged A Book Today?- The Conclusion of 2016

I know this is incredibly late, but we’re going to take this opportunity to make a two-parter out of it! So you’ll definitely get your money’s worth today, folks!

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First things first, let’s catch you up on what I’ve been doing since last we spoke!

Here’s the link to my star rating breakdown if anyone needs a refresher. It’s also up in the header 🙂

  • Books I’ve Finished 
    1. The Winter Soldier, Vol 1: The Man on the Wall by Ales Kot- Four Stars
    2. Original Sin: Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm by Al Ewing- Four Stars
    3. Author 2.0 Blueprint by Joanna Penn- Four Stars
    4. Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal- Four Stars
    5. Dictate Your Book by Monica Leonelle- Five Stars
    6. The Dispatcher by John Scalzi- Five Stars
    7. Odd Interlude (Odd Thomas #4) by Dean Koontz- Four Stars
    8. The Clockwork Scarab (Stoker and Holmes #1) by Colleen Gleeson- Four Stars

Fog’s Book Of The Month

The Dark Tower (The Dark Tower, #7)The Dark Tower by Stephen King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. Okay, I have a lot of feelings about this book, not all of them were good (as you can tell, if you kept up with my comments as I was reading), but overall, the ending of this book made up for any flaws in the storytelling. The ending… I had to stop reading and drive in silence for a long time, just to digest it. ‘Ka is a wheel’ was an overarching theme throughout the series, but I never really understood the significance until I read the end. The true end, not the feel-good, make-you-cry, first ending. And Mr. King was correct, I could have just left the book with that first ending and been perfectly content. I considered it, actually. But I’m ultimately glad I didn’t though. Quite frankly, most of the Stephen King endings I’ve read have left a lot to be desired (I’m looking at YOU “Under The Dome”), but I think I know what happened now. He used up all his good ending mojo on this book. That’s what it has to be 🙂

Anyway, it was a great end to a pretty good series, and I’m glad I got them all read this year! 🙂

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Okay, now that we have all that out of the way, it’s the end of the year! That means, it’s time to take a look back at what I’ve accomplished this year and outline what I plan to accomplish in the new year! Here we go!

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Thanks, Goodreads, for your confidence. I didn’t read any sarcasm in that AT ALL… ;P

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Despite Goodreads’ passive-aggressive irony, I feel really good about this year! I finished  The Dark Tower series, and managed to  surpass my goal of reading 50 books in 2016! All in all, it’s been a good year, and I look forward to great things in 2017.

My goals for the upcoming year include:

  • Read 55 books– I’ve stuck to 50 books for the past two years, and pretty easily surpassed that goal. Time to edge it up a little I think, especially with my new access to audiobooks, thanks to Audible. 55 books is a reasonable stretch. Right?
  • Read the first eight books of the Dresden Files series– This is my new series to read in 2017! According to my research, there’s fifteen books currently published (not including all the little in-between books, which I’m currently planning to ignore) and one due for release in 2017, but I’m only going to try to finish the first eight. As my series goals have generally been seven books to a series, I think this fits nicely with my goal to stretch myself a bit. The premise of these books (a modern wizard PI solves paranormal crimes) appeals to me greatly and I’ve heard wonderful things about James Marsters as a narrator. I’m really looking forward to what’s coming up!

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And that’s my year! I’ll have a new Challenge up on Goodreads in the new year, and you can check out my to-read list to get an idea of what I might read in the year ahead (fair warning: the list needs to be reorganized, badly. I plan to get on that soon, but it will still give you a pretty good idea of what I have coming up).

See you guys in 2017! 😀