Thursday, March 05, 2015

Tea Time: On Reading Goals

On reading Goals

Every new year we start a reading challenge in Goodreads, as well as multiple blog challenges. I rather stick to one. But considering how challenges create some pressure on reading, they can be frustrating. Though I am following a Goodreads challenge at the moment, I decided not to take it seriously, as I have a goal set which you can read on my new year's post here. However, I do follow some weekly goals from time to time. Here they are:

My reading goals:

  1. Read 70 pages per day: this can vary depending on how busy I am. But I try to compensate on days that I do not work. Like if I only manage 30 pages one day, I make sure I read about 100 pages on a day off.
  2. Read 2 - 3 books every month: this can also vary depending on the length and complexity of the book. If I read a monster book like Outlander which was over 800 pages, I count it as 2. If I read a novella, then I try to read 2 to count as one.
  3. Read 35 books this year: I already stated I do not take this challenge seriously, but it does allow me to keep track of how many books a month I am reading. If I am on track it means I can read that book that week. If I am ahead, then it means I can take a break for a few days from reading so I can focus on something else.
  4. Bonus goal: read one classic every year: this is a bonus, as I might read more than one, but with so many good books coming out, I had to force myself to read at least one classic per year or I will never even pick them up. This would be sad, because they are actually good books.

So tell me:

What are your reading goals?
How do you decide on them?What do you think of Goodreads challenges?

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Top 10 Tuesday (Week 10/2015)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Top 10 Favorites of all time in the last 3 years

Hurrah for this list! A chance to provide a mini review of the books I loved but never got to comment on. ♥

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend

by Matthew Green

“Monsters are bad things, but monsters that do not walk and talk like monsters are the worst.” ― Matthew Dicks, Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend

This book is about an imaginary friend and his quest for meaning of existence. The creation of a boy named Max who has Asperger's Syndrome, this helps him live longer than most imaginary friends. It is a beautiful touching book which makes you laugh and cry at the same time. Beautifully written in the voice of a small child. I still feel sad when I think about Budo, the imaginary friend.

Rated: ♥♥♥♥♥
“Oh, monsters are scared," said Lettie. "That's why they're monsters.”  ― Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane

A modern fairytale about a boy who meets a girl. But no ordinary girl. This book also question existence and the possibilities beyond our own reality. It talks about human nature and all the monsters within us. I loved every moment of this book and it's metaphors for life. The ocean and the nothingness where all is and isn't at the same time. It is hard to comprehend but when you do, it is very rewarding.

Rated: ♥♥♥♥♥
“but memories are time beings, too, like cherry blossoms or ginkgo leaves; for a while they are beautiful, and then they fade and die.”  ― Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being

This is a book which explores the realities of time, not time travel. A journal is found by the writer, about a girl named Nao after Japan's tsunami. The girl writes about her philosophical thoughts on time while dealing with bullying and an alcoholic father. She is determined to die on a chosen date. I loved how they talk about time and in the end we see a bit of unexpected magic. Some parts were annoying, but it was also a life changing read.

Rated: ♥♥♥♥♥

Across the Universe

by Beth Revis

“I never thought about how important the sky was until I didn't have one.” 
― Beth Revis, Across the Universe

Amy wakes up in Godspeed, a ship sent into the stars in search for a new planet. She encounters the new generations of humans living in the ship, where secrets run and a boy named Elder is meant to become leader of. However, her waking is surrounded by mysteries and his meeting with Amy changes everything aboard the ship. This book has amazing beautiful prose for a space-Odyssey YA book. Which made it worth reading.

Rated: ♥♥♥♥○

The 5th Wave

by Rick Yancey

“Maybe the last human being on Earth won't die of starvation or exposure or as a meal of wild animals. Maybe the last one to die will be killed by the last one alive.”  ― Rick Yancey, The 5th Wave

A fight for humanity. 5 waves of attacks. Cassie is one of the survivors in a world where killing is the main priority. As you cannot trust anyone. She meets Evan, her savior, but the truth begins to shine out and she struggles between deciding to remain alive or to die. Her search for her little brother keeps her going. I loved the action, the romance, the humanism in this book. It explores our very depths in the darkest moments.

Rated: ♥♥♥♥♥

The Rosie Project

by Graeme Simsion

“Asperger's isn't a fault. It's a variant. It's potentially a major advantage.” ― Graeme Simsion, The Rosie Project

Oh how I miss Don! So adorable! So innocent! So smart! I was laughing through and through with this book wanting to squish Don. Don has Asperger's Syndrom (I think this always makes an interesting story). He meets Rosie, a care free woman. He is in search of a wife, a misunderstanding leads to their encounter. And one day, he decides she is the one, and the Rosie project thus began. In his innocent (cold heart) ways, he tries to win her. MUST read! It is a book for everyone and lightens your heart.

Rated: ♥♥♥♥○
“The world changes too fast. You take your eyes off something that's always been there, and the next minute it's just a memory.”  ― Michel Faber, The Book of Strange New Things

Life is discovered in a distant planet. Peter is chosen to lead the inhabitants into God's path. However, this is more than a religious novel. While he is in his mission, his life on Earth begins to crumbles with disasters and slowly looses communication with his beloved wife. A novel that was written after 10 years. It explores the reasons we consider ourselves humans, and why should we be any more special than others. It makes you think and not a second is boring.

Rated: ♥♥♥♥♥ (ARC REVIEW)

All the Lights we cannot See

by Anthony Doerr

“But it is not bravery; I have no choice. I wake up and live my life. Don't you do the same?”  ― Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

A lot of stories are written about the world wars. And for some reason each has their own magical touch. This one is no different. It's beautifully written. It touches your heart and makes you smile and makes you cry. Marie-Laure lives in France and Werner in Germany. Slowly their stories come together. A subplots develop as a treasure hunt begins. Not a dull moment. I am going to re-read this book again one day. That is for certain.

Rated: ♥♥♥♥♥ (REVIEW)
“I promise, I will not let you die without being kissed.” ― Marissa Meyer, Cress

Though the books are ever compelling. This particular book in the series makes my heart go "squeeeeek" over Thorne and Cress. This book develops their stories further and their relationship. The challenges presented are harder yet and their love for each other grows. What makes this interesting and exiting is that neither is ready to admit it so. The main reason I want to read Winter is because of them. And I will be very very very sad and heartbroken if Marissa ends up killing them in the last book. I love this couple, so so so much!

Rated: ♥♥♥♥♥

The Miniaturist

by Jessie Burton

“Every woman is the architect of her own fortune.”  ― Jessie Burton, The Miniaturist

This book takes place in Amsterdam. Point one to pick up. It surrounds a household with mystery and drama as well as magic. Point two to pick up. The story is about a miniature house which somehow predicts the future. Point three to pick up. I loved this book as well. I took long to read it as I slowly turned each page, filled with intrigued and curiosity. As well as hope for the characters. It is a very interesting story about the time of trade in the Netherlands, also filled with prejudice and religion, which is a great contrast to modern Amsterdam.

Rated: ♥♥♥♥♥

Monday, March 02, 2015

TBR: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley


Maria Dahvana Headley

Expected publication: April 28th 2015 by HarperCollins
3.74 of 5 stars at Goodreads
Aza Ray is drowning in thin air. Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live. So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn’t think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name. Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia. Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming. Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?
There is something magical about this book. From it's beautiful cover, to the strange magical story line where a girl is caught between worlds. These are the kind of stories I love so much and I am intrigued about how it develops. What kind of world she finds. It sounds more like a modern version of Peter Pan, but you never know.

I really don't like how they say "the fault in our stars". I can understand if they compare it to Winter's Tale, where she does suffer from a lung decease and magical things occur. I believe this is just a marketing strategy which is quite sad considering this book might actually stand on it's own without help of those over-hyped books. But I am looking forward to it! The cover reminds me of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender.

And yes, I pre-ordered it.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Monthly Recap (February)

The month of February flew away. Understandable considering is a short month. But still, for me January dragged longer than this month.

This month I’ve been dedicating myself to raising readership as well as content in this blog. Directing it towards a book blog. In the past I’ve been mixing a bit of everything but now I wish to turn this blog into purely bookish. I played around with sections, coming up with those that serve my purpose. (To talk about books I love). Right now it’s meant for book reviews, TBR books, monthly recap, goals as well as the Top 10 Tuesday meme of Broke and Bookish. I organized my book list and I am aiming at reviewing every book I read even if it’s only 150 words.

I also began visiting and choosing those blogs that I like most and become more active in commenting. Finding some that are very entertaining and feeling more connected to the book and blogging community.

These are the blogs I've been recently visiting:

I finished Outlander and Lord of the Rings: the fellowship of the ring, as part of this year’s challenge to read all 3 books. Both books are now reviewed. Though I know it is kind of pointless sometimes to review old hyped-out books, I still want to try to review all books I read.

I am taking my time with LOTR, as I do have the whole year to read them. After the first book, I probably read 2 or 3 of my own and then read the second around summer. So far, it is looking better than when I tried 4 years ago and could not stand it. Perhaps it is my increase in reading that is helping or the fact that I took on the Hobbit first and the beginning of this one now makes sense. But I have to admit, I enjoyed reading it except for the usual "walk, sleep, eat, repeat" formula on pages and pages as with The Hobbit.

And *drum rolls* I got Fairest by Marissa Meyer on the mail! I pre-ordered with a Secret Santa book gift card months ago. Unfortunately in the Netherlands the lunching date was later than the rest, so I had to wait for a while longer. I was not happy when I saw the release date was extended. It got here, and in 2.5 hours I finished it. Here is the review. But *squeeek!!!* I am dying to read Winter's excerpt on the back. It is 3 chapters long, so I will wait a bit in order to evade being tortured because I have to wait until November for it. I am going to start with The Art of Floating and be done probably in about 5 days.

I also ordered three books this month from the Book Depository. I will write about them in my TBR features. :) They arrived with a beautiful bookmark by Andrea K├╝rti and all 3 are in my 2015 reading list.

Shine or Go Crazy

I watch a lot of Korean drama since I was 13 I guess. Right now I've been watching Shine or Go Crazy. It’s about the story of a curse prince and two princesses of light. The plot is very magical and exiting. My heart race in some instances where tension rise. I laugh also a lot watching it, and even squeak of excitement with the romantic plot. 

Akatsuki no Yona

I’ve also been enjoying watching Akatsuki no Yona with my boyfriend. We basically saw all episodes aired up to now in 3 afternoons. The anime is about a princess who looses her family and home, but now set into a quest to gather the 4 dragons to save her kingdom. It’ a romantic, adventure and comedy anime. And so far very enjoyable, though at the beginning we were a bit skeptic. I am growing fond of some of the characters. It looks a lot like Fushigi Yuugi, an old anime I watched, which end up tragically and I remember being very very upset at the end of it. Here is to hoping that this one doesn’t end up the same way.