Book Lifestyle

You Love Books, So You Must Want To Be An Author, Right? – Part One

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Books were my home as a kid. I wish I had half the time and energy to read as I did back then. I would take a stack of books out from the library weekly and finish them all, no questions asked. Summers were spent in my room or outside, reading anything and everything I could get my hands on. Now I’m lucky if I can read three a month. Adulting is the worst.

I recently had a realization that truly had me feeling down. I only know one adult in my life that reads regularly. I’m not kidding. ONE. This freaked me out a bit. I only have one person I can talk to about books, besides people in the book blog community. This actually makes me sad.

To get to the point of this post, I’ve had many, many people ask me if I planned on writing a book someday. I’m not sure if it’s because people who don’t read as often as me can’t grasp the fact that writing is a huge, daunting, endless, exhausting process? I mean, when I think of how many hours authors spend writing/editing, I think of how I can barely concentrate on something for 45 minutes and realize I would probably struggle HARD.

You read a lot. Like a lot more than anyone I know. Do you want to write a book or something?”

I always automatically say no — I don’t have the time for it and could never handle the criticism. However, a small part of me loves the author community and how people have gone from struggling to the New York Time’s Best Sellers list. I think it’s incredible. Authors are truly special people. The criticism though… I CRINGE often on Goodreads. I’m pretty sensitive when it comes to criticism, to the point that I’d rather not hear it.

It really had me thinking. DO I want to write a book? It would be awesome, but would of course take a ton of work. I love reading and getting involved in stories. I am sometimes so amazed by story lines that I cannot possibly imagine the time and energy that goes into creating them.

The hardest part for me would simply be starting. I’ve thought many times in my head “just pick up a pen Michelle, or just start typing!” but getting my thoughts out to write an actual BOOK? Yeah, right!

Part two of this will probably have to do with growing up a reader and being shamed/made fun of for being a book lover. It was a huge problem for me as a kid because I was constantly reading. I’d love to discuss it with fellow book lovers.

So, do people ask you if you want to become an author? Do you plan on writing but struggle to pick up a pen as I do? Are you currently writing your dream novel? Let’s discuss!

Book Review

Review: A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas

 

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Well, it’s been over a week since I’ve finished ACOFAS and I still don’t really know how I feel about it. I got into the first book, ACOTAR, reluctantly since I’ve never been into fantasy. Surprisingly, I loved everything about it. It actually sparked a new love for fantasy that I thought would NEVER happen. I especially loved Feysand in ACOMAF and ACOWAR. However, I think I’m just over it. Their relationship is starting to gross me out. LOL

After reading it and being like WTF where is the plot, I started reading reviews and understanding it a bit more. Believe me, there really is no plot, but I guess the point of it was to show you where the characters are right now after the war. I definitely get that they are all suffering in their own ways. It’s completely understandable. I just wish this was less about Feyre and more about everyone else. I still don’t get what’s up with Nesta and Elain. I really, REALLY hope the next book shows some growth in their characters.

I feel like this isn’t my favorite review for a book, but I honestly don’t even know what to say. I’m not used to novellas to be honest. I’m hopeful the next book will give us some answers.

Did you like this book, or were you just as confused as me?

Book Review

Book Review – Circe by Madeline Miller

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Once in awhile, a book comes along that I know I must have immediately. I’ve known about Circe by Madeline Miller for quite awhile. I even had the release date written in my work planner, that’s how excited I was for it! I could not wait to completely immerse myself in the world of the Titans/Olympians, especially with a book about a goddess witch! When the release date arrived, I realized I didn’t have the budget for it (see my post about book budgeting here).

When I finally picked Circe up, I was completely enamored with it. Not only is this book about learning to overcome your faults, it’s about being a strong woman, facing your fears, and the journey of motherhood.

The book starts out when Circe is young. She is definitely not the favorite of her mother OR father, and is often picked on by her siblings for being different. Her siblings all end up being extremely cruel, while Circe does have her moments, she is not even as close to as evil as her family.

The book revolved completely around Circe and her journey through immortality. She often faces the fact that many around her are mortal and won’t live forever. I loved the men she fell in love with — they were far from perfect, and Circe tells the stories of them in ways that made me believe she never completely gave her heart to anyone except for her son.

I truly enjoyed this book until the end. I loved how she worked with herbs and magic. There were parts that were slow, but overall I really loved getting to know Circe and watching her move through life. The stories of the gods were not fabricated or turned into mushy, sweet fairy tales — they were full of deceit, death and destruction, as they have been told for many, many years.

I gave this book five stars on Goodreads and I plan on reading The Song of Achilles very soon!

 

Book Review

Reading Game of Thrones AFTER Watching the Show and Why I Hate Re-reading

I had a bit of a late start to the Game of Thrones TV show. I started to watch when season five was already out, quickly becoming addicted and in desperate need of more Jon Snow. I’m not sure I’ve ever been more entranced by a show. Every character had major flaws (some more than others!) and the plot was full of layers and twists that you would never think of. After seven seasons, you could say I’m in for the long haul. After I get married in June I plan on taking a nap until next year when season eight comes out 😉

I picked up the first Game of Thrones novel a year ago and started it immediately. For whatever reason, I put it down and  picked up something else.

I recently realized why. If I’ve already seen the show/movie, I already know what happens, and I despise re-reading.

I remember seeing Gone Girl in theaters and hearing that the book was “so much better” than the movie. Of course it is, I thought to myself. They almost always are! So, like the book addict I am, I went and picked up the book afterwards. I read about ten pages and gave up. I don’t know what it is about reading books after seeing the movie. I hate knowing what’s going to happen!

I compare it to guessing the plot of a book before it happens. We’ve all read books where we can guess where it’s going to happen LONG before it does. It’s not our fault, we’re just really good at reading.

I also rarely, if ever, re-read books. When someone asks me what my favorite book is and how many times I’ve read it, I tend to not answer. I have books that I LIKE, definitely. But re-reading them? Ain’t nobody got time for that, especially if your TBR pile is 50+ books!

Despite not reading books where I already know the ending, I am loving Game of Thrones. There is so much more vivid description in the book, and many scenes that never made it into the show, or were changed. I’m loving being able to fully catch up on the tales of Westeros and learn things I missed when I watched the show. One thing I’ve learned from Goodreads reviews is that although the show follows the first book closely, it strays from the rest. So I’m looking forward to that.

Now, if this was the case with every book, maaaaaybe I could become a re-reader. No promises though.

Do you like to re-read? Do you prefer reading the book before seeing the movie? Does it not matter to you if you’ve already seen the movie?

Book Review · Book Tags

20 Questions Tag

I wasn’t tagged, but I did steal this from Kristin at Kristin Kraves Books!

How many books is too many books in a series?

Four is plenty! Unless it’s Outlander, in which case I became bored after six 😉

  1. How do you feel about cliffhangers?

I LOVE a good cliffhanger. It gets me excited for the next book!

  1. Hardback or paperback?

Paperback because I’m cheap!

  1. Favorite book?

The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald is my favorite classic. I’m not sure I have a “true” favorite which is crazy!

  1. Least favorite book?

I’m not sure, if I don’t like the book I usually DNF it

  1. Love triangles, yes or no?

No, unless it’s ACOMF

 

  1. The most recent book you just couldn’t finish?

House of Mirth! I wanted to love it so bad.

  1. A book you’re currently reading?

The first Game of Thrones book!

 

  1. Last book you recommended to someone?

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James. Loved it.

 

  1. Oldest book you’ve read? (Publication date)

Yikes, I actually have no idea!

  1. Newest book you’ve read? (Publication date)

Children of Blood and Bone

  1. Favorite author?

F.Scott Fitzgerald for sure

  1. Buying books or borrowing books?

Both! Although, I’m trying not to buy lately. Borrowing is nice if I’m not sure I will like the book.

14. A book you dislike that everyone else seem to love?

The Red Queen.

  1. Bookmarks or dog-ears?

Bookmarks forever

  1. A book you can always reread?

I hate re-reading. LOL

  1. Can you read while hearing music?

I prefer not to

  1. One POV or multiple POV’s?

It depends on the book, but usually one.

  1. Do you read a book in one sitting or over multiple days?

I haven’t read a book in one sitting since high school. My attention span is bad these days haha

  1. A book you’ve read because of the cover?

Daughter of The Burning City

Book Lifestyle

Learning to Budget & What that Means for Book Blogging

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I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus lately, due to wedding stress and an overall crazy life. My reading has slowed down, in part due to not enjoying the last few YA books I purchased and also because I’ve been attempting to watch my budget.

Yep, you heard me right. Budgeting.

I grew up having to get a job at 16, paying for my car and gas and anything other than necessities on my own. That meant when I went off to college, I was studying and working part time to pay my bills. After college didn’t work out, I was saddled with huge student loans on a less than $30k budget. I managed somehow, but “budgeting” was not something I did.

Flash forward almost 7 years later and (thankfully) a better salary, I realized that I spend a lot of money on things I don’t need. Example, the past two months I spent $500-$700 between eating out, BOOKS, clothes, wedding things, etc. I’m actually too terrified to go back further than that.

Getting back to books, I did just finish one that may have changed my life for the better. That was Dave Ramsey’s “Total Money Makeover”. Before this month I thought Dave Ramsey was just some crazy old guy trying to sell me something. My fiancé started listening to his podcast lately and giving me tidbits of information that actually had me curious. Would it be possible for us to pay off thousands of dollars in student loan debt in less than three years?

Yes, it’s possible. But we would need to get serious about it. We would have to budget every single thing and live well below our means.

My first thought, what about books?

I spend more money on books than clothes, that’s for sure. I would say I spend anywhere between $30-$60 a month on books. I try to find the cheapest option, whether that’s using coupons at Barnes and Noble or buying on Amazon, but I’m still spending $12-$20 per book. They aren’t cheap, that’s for sure. I always left the store feeling guilty about spending on myself.

I notice some book bloggers or booktubers seem to buy at least 4 books a month, which doesn’t include anything sent by publishers. I know this isn’t every case. As much as I want to become a better known book blogger, I don’t think purchasing 4 books a month will be in the budget any time soon.

UNLESS, I get frugal about it. I live near Goodwill and other thrift stores, so I may need to start frequenting those places to keep up. Unfortunately, I likely won’t find new books. I have also been listening to audio books, but it just isn’t the same. Utilizing Netgalley will also be huge for me.

Luckily, my local library is decent and seems to get new books frequently.

My question for my fellow book bloggers is, do you budget for books and if so, how much? Do you ever feel guilty buying them? Do you feel like you don’t do as well at blogging because you can’t buy ten books at a time?

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Book Review

Book Review: Reign of The Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh

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Necromancers are highly regarded in Karthia, a place where change is disregarded and the dead walk among the living. They are the only ones that can safely travel to the Deadlands, where spirits reside until the move on to who knows where. Odessa is affectionately called “Sparrow” since she is the best at finding her way home from the Deadlands. However, an interesting part of this story is that once a spirit comes back from the Deadlands they must always shield their face/body from the living or risk turning into a Shade – crazy, dead monsters that can kill a human in minutes. After an increase in Shade attacks, Odessa and her friends must figure out what is going on before it’s too late.

Besides the fact that this was a huge cover buy for me (I mean really, that cover), it caught me off guard with what it was actually about. The synopsis didn’t give anything away, but I feel this book was immensely about grief and how we deal with it. Odessa loses someone she loves and can’t come to terms with her sadness, so she ends up becoming addicted to potions that take her pain away. Necromancers bring back the dead (and usually more than once) which is something we all wish we could do with our loved ones. Unfortunately for these people, it has consequences.

It brings up the question: If we were given the chance to bring someone back to life, would we? Would our loved one WANT to come back? Is it worth the consequences?

I notice the reviews for this are all over the place and I agree with most of them. It was hard to keep reading at the beginning because you really don’t find out much of anything about the main characters. Odessa was an orphan along with Evander, and that’s basically all you find out about their past. I definitely prefer to know more about my main characters.

Reign of The Fallen was definitely more than just this synopsis. Odessa had a couple different love interests, a brief addiction and several attempts at learning to cope with grief. Although this wasn’t my all time favorite book, I’m still giving it 3.5 stars because the idea of it was good, but it fell short in terms of character development.

Book Lifestyle

Bookish Self Care

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One of my non bookish goals for 2018 was carving out time for myself during the work week.  I work a normal 8:30am-5:00pm job, so by the time I get home, get dinner ready and settle down, it’s usually 7:00pm and I’m exhausted. I’m typically in bed by 9:30pm. The two and a half hours in between are typically spent hanging out with my fiancé and dogs, and maybe a bit of reading or Netflix. So as you can see, there isn’t a ton of time to do things for myself.

What I have been obsessed with lately are what I call my “book baths”. That means I grab the book I’m currently reading, a bath soak, some incense and hop in the tub for some me time. It may not be something you can do every day, but it’s so, so worth it.

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Last night my bath included some dry rose petals left over from Valentine’s day and a buttermilk bath soap from Jenness Farm that smelled like Fruit Loops! Yeah, really! I also included my favorite incense, Fairy Dreams (you can find it on Amazon!). I felt a little extra at first with the rose petals, but hey!

Not only do these baths relax me, but I’m able to take a small amount of time to clear my head and really focus on reading. I make myself put my phone away and disconnect for just a little while. Not only do I sleep better, but I feel better. This is so important, especially when you stare at a computer screen all day like I do.

I’m thinking about continuing posts like this and calling it “Bookish Self Care Sundays” or something like that. I’d include any new self care products I’ve found and what I’m reading. Thoughts?

What do you do for bookish self care? Leave a comment below!

You can find me on Instagram at fawnandfernbooks or Twitter at fawnandfern__

Book Review

Book Review: An American Marriage

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Goodreads synopsis:

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together. “

It took me a few days to comprehend what this book was REALLY about. It wasn’t just about how shitty the criminal justice system can be (although that was part of it), it was also about complex relationships and the strain that can be put on a marriage when someone is incarcerated. There were a lot of aspects that are just downright unfair in this book. Being married for a year and having your life ripped apart, being arrested for a crime you didn’t commit, having to spend years and years in jail, having your wife lose interest, losing your job and every ounce of stability you’ve created. It is so raw and often times mesmerizing. Despite the fact that Roy sat in jail for five years, for the first few  he remained hopeful that he would get out and life would be the same, at least regarding his wife. When that doesn’t happen, he realizes how much he has truly lost.

Out of all the characters, I loved Roy the most. He was flawed, yes, but I couldn’t help feel he always acted on emotion. He loved Celestial so much and it was very apparent.

Celestial was a character I couldn’t really get behind. She was smart, driven and strong but very insecure around Roy’s family. It seemed like she was deeply threatened by Roy’s parent’s relationship and questioned herself in regards to her own, while Little Roy exuded confidence and longed for the type of relationship his parents had.

I wasn’t surprised with the ending. I don’t want to give too much away, but it made sense the way it worked out. All in all, I liked this book, but I still don’t feel like I really “got it” completely. Maybe I’ll read it again someday.

TBR

March TBR

 

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Hey everyone! Fun fact, I’m currently reading the first three books already! I’m definitely a multi book reader… how about you? March is looking great already 🙂

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House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

Lily Bart is beautiful, witty and intelligent. She’s also nearing 30 and still not married into New York society. She knows how the rich work and she’s trying her hardest to secure a rich man who isn’t terribly boring. This seems like it’s going to be a typical “I’m beautiful and deserve everything in life” Victorian novel and I’m here for it.

I’ve always wanted to get my hands on this book, and I’m about 15% in and realizing how tough the language can be. Classics like this take me twice as long to get through because I have to really concentrate and understand the writing!

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Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glen Marsh

A necromancer tries to figure out why zombie like monsters are increasing in numbers and attacking the community in this magic filled fantasy. People have skills dependent on their eye color and the main character Odessa is referred to as “Sparrow” for her skilled work and ability to find her way home from the deadlands, a place where spirits wait after they die.

I’ve heard good and bad about this novel so I’m interested in how it’s going to go. I’m about 60 pages in so far and it’s alright, I’m just hoping the magic and world will be fleshed out more soon or I can see myself detaching from the plot.

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An American Marriage

A heart wrenching story of a black couple torn apart by the justice system. Roy is arrested for a crime he didn’t commit and sentenced to jail for 12 years. Meanwhile, the love of his life waits on the other side but can’t seem to come to terms with being the wife of an incarcerated man.

I’m about half way through this audio book and although this book is short, it packs a powerful punch. The author touches on the lives of not only Roy and Celestial but their parents and the man that was once Roy’s best man and Celestial’s childhood friend. I have a feeling it’s going to be hard to review this book and not include spoilers because EVERYTHING is important to the story.

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Children of Blood and Bone

Goodreads synopsis:

“Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.”

I preordered this and should have it next week! When I first read the synopsis a couple months ago, I didn’t think I would be that into this book. However, the hype on Twitter has been huge so I knew I had to pick it up and see for myself. Can’t wait!