Love on the Brain

Hello my wonderful friends. I have romance on the brain and I feel the need to talk about it a little bit today. A good Twitter friend of mine wrote a post about how if she could go back in time and tell her younger self some things about the book world. One of the things she noted on her list was she would tell her younger self that there’s nothing to be embarrassed about reading romance. That stood out to me the most cause it made me think back to my younger self picking up that first romance novel and opening up my world to one of my now favorite genres but how if anyone asked what I was reading, I’d hedge a little. By hedging, I mean I would tell the title of the book but when someone asked me what it was about, I would talk about everything except the romance part of it. I also definitely steered clear from covers that had Fabio sweeping a woman off his feet. (I’m a little biased though there cause I hate faces on book covers). But who doesn’t like looking at a hot, musclely man?? Not something I personally can deny.. (looking at you Idris Elba!)

Everything I’ve ever heard about romance novels was that they’re trashy, only old ladies read romance novels, and it’s all porn. Back then, I didn’t necessarily believe this myself but I would always feel like I could hear other people just thinking these things. Definitely made it hard to read in public in general cause now you’re just wondering what people are thinking about your choice of book. I can’t pinpoint exactly when I stopped caring but one day I think someone asked me what I was reading and I proudly looked them in the eye and said the title and that it was a romance novel and yes, there were sex scenes in it. I can’t remember the reaction of the person and obviously I didn’t care considering it only made me voracious for more romance novels.

I have to state here that I’m seriously a romantic. I see love everywhere. I will play matchmaker if the opportunity presents itself. I stare at my husband with stars and rainbows and glitter in my eyes all day long and yes, I like sex. I’m human. There’s nothing wrong with that. I don’t understand why romance and sex have to be trashy. It’s a natural human process. Every living thing, mostly mammals, have sex in some form or fashion. It’s in our DNA because of the need to procreate. But what’s wrong with reading about a love affair between two imaginary people? Why is going into detail so bad? It’s not porn. People like to say erotica is porn but it’s not. Porn is porn; different category entirely. And see now that’s got me thinking, why is it okay to watch sex on television but reading about is an outrage?? Automatic stigmatization is just wrong to me. I pretty much compare this to stereotypes made about groups of people. Is it not the same thing?

Obviously, to each their own. If reading about romance, falling in love and having sex makes you uncomfortable, I’m in no way bashing you for that. There’s nothing wrong with that either but to be cruel about other people who enjoy it is just wrong. We shouldn’t have to hide something we enjoy you know? Oh and by the way, the romance genre dominates ebook sales; 61% to be exact. Ebooks definitely make it easier to read whatever you want in secret but seriously, don’t ever be ashamed about what you’re reading especially when it comes to love. (I’m hopeless. I know. 🙂 )

Do you read romance novels? Are you embarrassed to admit it? Do you agree or disagree with anything I said? Let me know in the comments below! (Don’t be shy!)

Can’t Get Out of My Head

You know, I think I sort of understand where reading slumps come from now. Over the weekend, in order to fulfill my January obligation for the #UltimateReadingChallenge I picked up an old favorite I haven’t read in a few years. I did not expect to read it in half a day nor did I expect to cry my eyes out the whole time I was reading it either. Now I’m at the point where I should be moving on to a new book but I can’t get this one out of my head long enough! And then you start comparing what you just read to what you’re currently trying to read and it’s just so hard.

A friend suggested that I read another book by the same author to help tide me over from this high. Such a good idea right?? But when you’ve read every book an author has ever written, how do you even choose?? So now, not only do I have one of her books stuck in my head but I’m so indecisive that I can’t choose a different one. Usually when this happens, I turn to Netflix and end up getting into a show I can binge for a while. But then the same thing occurs again once the show is over! It’s truly a never ending cycle.

Another thing I like to do when I feel a slump coming on is turn to a completely different genre. For example, from contemporary to fantasy. Usually, a good fantasy book is able to perk me right out of it. I actually read and finished a fantasy I had left open for many weeks before I binge read this contemporary and had every intention of leading right into said book but I remembered my challenge and how there is not a lot of January left so I took a detour. Well that detour caused an accident figuratively speaking, lol.

That’s pretty much all I have for today. Clearly, I just can’t be original enough to think more originally like I usually do on Mondays. Hopefully this new book I’ve so far read the prologue of, jump starts my brain out of the previous book fog it’s lost in.

Happy Monday!

Why I Love Fantasy Books

I was having my usual conversation with my good friend Noriko and I was telling her how my reading black hole slump has been demolished by my current read. I’ve read 70% of the book in two days and it’s really hard to stop. It’s so crazy because I had no interest in reading for weeks for one reason or another but my husband grew concerned that I wasn’t reading and I finally decided it was time to climb out of the hole.

Man, I am not disappointed not in the least! My current read is called A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet and this was her debut novel last year. The amount of magic and mythology and everything else she has dumped in this book is literally giving me the best dreams ever, haha. Anyway, so I was gushing to Noriko (my muse) about it and describing the general premise of the story when I thought it would make a good post to tell you all why I love reading fantasy books more than any other genre especially when it’s sprinkled with a little romance (which is my second favorite genre). So here we go:

  • Uniqueness: Fantasy novels are completely unique in that you are conjuring a world in your head that literally doesn’t exist anywhere in this world. Sure it might have a little bit of resemblances to certain cities perhaps or particular landscapes but it’s largely a world the author has created in their head and passed onto you. Not only that, the people, creatures, spirits, gods that live in the world are just as unique as the world itself.
  • Character names and their powers: We all wish we could have a certain power whether its a light one or dark one. Maybe we want to be a God, witch, mermaid, etc. We get to do that in a book. Not only have you transported yourself into the unique, fantastical world, you’ve also transported yourself into the characters. The writing makes you feel everything they’re feeling while your imagination is running wild. You’re flying on a dragon’s back or running through the forest on the back of a minotaur. I mean the possibilities become so endless. You feel as invincible as your character.
  • Conflict: This sort of piggybacks off of the uniqueness but the conflict that occurs in the story is something you never really could imagine. For example, in my current read, the main character was tortured for many years as a young child and when she finally escaped she stayed in hiding until a warlord found her. She lives by a very specific lifestyle that keeps her alive because her particular powers are very much wanted by many in the realm. She’s literally almost invincible but she struggles to figure out how to really live when she’s so used to people using and abusing her. Like, I know that sounds like something you could read in any book but you have to remember there are beings thrown into the mix that are conjured in this world that amplifies this conflict tenfold.
  • Research: I know every author who writes a novel does research. They want their books to be as accurate as possible. I just feel like when it comes to fantasy there’s deeper research involved to make sure it’s right. When stories involve Greek Gods such as Zeus and Poseidon or mythical creatures such as Cerberus, you need to know what you’re talking about. The feeling of Googling the mythical name to see if what the author wrote in the story is true or a spin on the regular myth is such a good feeling because not only did the author teach me something new I may not have known before but it also encourages me to continue learning long after I’ve finished the book.

So those are the four main reasons I wanted to share with you all. I could go on forever but as this post is already almost 700 words, I don’t want to lose your interest especially if you’ve made it this far. Do you read fantasy books? Do you like the genre or have a favorite genre of your own you want to share with me why you love so much? Let me know in the comments below!

Superhero Showdown

There’s a podcast I frequent by one of my favorite authors. It’s called Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing and live streams every Monday on Youtube. It features indie authors giving advice and experience with marketing their books. They often feature other authors on the show as well. Three weeks ago Nalini Singh was featured on the podcast (which was SO AWESOME!) and last week the focus was on how authors can get their books into libraries and the process libraries go through to receive books whether you’re indie or traditional. The featured author was actually a librarian as well as an author and he was discussing his new book that he said was in the superhero fiction/urban fantasy genre. That sparked a little bit of a debate in the live chat about what readers consider superhero fiction vs. urban fantasy and how hard it is to find “true” superhero fiction cause it’s being drowned out by urban fantasy. One viewer got quite heated about the subject. It got me thinking about the characteristics and qualities of a person for them to be considered a superhero. In this post, I’m going to discuss definitions found on Google as well as what I personally think.

When the term superhero is used, the images that automatically come to mind are Marvel or DC Comics heroes; i.e. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, SpiderMan, Thor, etc. These are heroes we’ve all grown up with. They have quite an extensive universe as evident by the hundreds of comic books, television shows and movies. However, can we consider a different fictional character as a superhero? Is the definition of a superhero as broad as I think it is? Let’s take a look at some definitions around the interwebs space.

A simple Google search produces this definition:

“A benevolent fictional character with superhuman powers powers, such as Superman”

The one right below it comes from Merriam Webster’s dictionary and states:

“A fictional hero having extraordinary or superhuman powers; also :an exceptionally skillful or successful person.”

These two definitions are quite similar. One implies only a fictional character while the other suggests that a superhero doesn’t necessarily have to be fictional as long as they are skillful and successful. The individual I mentioned above, who got heated during the conversation stated that a superhero is “a costumed crime fighter with super powers.” That narrows it down a bit more specifically with the words “costumed crime fighter”. Now as specific as that definition is, it got me thinking about some of our costumed superhero favorites. For example, the Green Arrow is a costumed crime fighter but he literally has no super powers. He’s just “exceptionally skillful” with a bow and arrow and he’s rich. Hell, even Batman doesn’t have any super powers nor does Iron Man. They’re just highly skilled in tech and they’re rich.

Now, if we look at a character out of an urban fantasy novel, to keep it simple, they’re usually a shapeshifter, a vampire or a witch (or some type of magic user) wouldn’t you say? To take it step further, they are usually in a situation where they’re fighting a villain who has superpowers or some type of non-human super trait that allows them to fight one another. Usually, they are trying to save the human race in some form or fashion even if the human world is governed by these supernatural creatures. The only trait these fictional characters are missing is the costumed part of the definition. Let’s look at the definition of supernatural shall we?:

“(of a manifestation or event) attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature.”

Looking at that definition, would you agree that a supernatural character is not the same as a superhero? But does that not contradict the superhero definition? For example, Superman is not even human. He came from a different planet entirely with powers that are not of scientific understanding or the laws of nature as governed by humans of Earth. But then someone like Spiderman is considered a superhero because his powers can be explained through science, i.e. he was bitten by a radioactive spider who’s venom manifested inside of him turning him super human. Then we look at characters such as witches and wizards. They are a bit of both wouldn’t you say? Some are born with power yes, but they still tap into science as well as nature in order to enhance the power they already have or to draw power into an object making it more powerful.

I asked my husband what he thought of the difference between superhero fiction and urban fantasy (after explaining urban fantasy to him). He stated that he believes that urban fantasy characters can be considered superheroes. He thinks of superheros as people or creatures, who participate in vigilante acts that protect the human race or race of species in general. When looked at it that way, I can agree with my husband that at the end of the day, whether your powers come from science, magic or an alien universe, a character can still be considered be a superhero – costumed or not. I’ll end with this definition from Stan Lee:

“A superhero is a person who does heroic deeds and has the ability to do them in a way a normal person couldn’t.”

What are your thoughts on superheroes in fiction? Do you believe the definition is cut and dry or is it more broad? Do you have any favorite non Marvel/DC characters in a fictional universe that you would consider superheroes? Let me know in the comments below!

Modern Movie Adaptations of Classic Stories

I was speaking to my Swaziland bestie the other day about music with great lyrics. That lead me to talk about a song off one of my favorite movie soundtracks and got me thinking about modern movie adaptions of classics. For those who don’t know what I mean when I say modern movie adaptations, it means stories created by such authors like William Shakespeare or even such tales like Cinderella, are revamped to be set in the 20th century instead of the teenth-century they were written in. So instead of horse and buggys, there are cars and planes adapted to fit the story. It’s still related to the story’s overall plot and the endings but it’s also a little bit different. I actually think it’s quite brilliant when writers and directors do this but anyway, here are a few of my favorites:

  • Romeo + Juliet (1996 film)Image result for romeo + juliet

Okay first thing we must talk about is the cast line up. You have Claire Danes who plays Juliet, Leonardo diCaprio who plays Romeo, John Leguizamo who plays Tybalt, Harold Perrineau who plays Mercutio, Pete Postlewaithe who plays Father Lawrence and a whole host of other cast members that just make this movie so amazing to me. On top of that, instead of speaking in modern tongue, they literally speak the exact dialogue of the story, swords are brand name guns and there’s a bit of a musical feel to it. It doesn’t have the highest rating by movie critics so I’m probably in the low minority of people who love this film but I believe it’s worth watching plus the soundtrack is FANTASTIC!

  • O (2001 film)Image result for o film

Another film with a great cast line up! O is a modern retelling of Othello but it’s set in high school with the premise of teen violence. Mekhi Phifer plays Odin (Othello), Julie Stiles plays Desi (Desdemona), and Josh Hartnett plays Hugo (Iago). It’s also another film that doesn’t have super great ratings but I liked it enough especially since the cast was so diverse plus I was on a Julia Stiles kick back then and she was featured in so many of my favorite movies back then!

  • Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998 film)Image result for ever after

There’s a trend with cast line ups! I don’t care what anyone thinks but but this is literally the best Cinderella film I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen a lot of them! I also want to point out that I’ve never really been a huge fan of Cinderella’s story in general but man does this movie change my mind. Drew Barrymore plays Danielle (Cinderella), Dougray Scott plays Prince Henry (Prince Charming) and Angelica Huston plays Rodmilla (evil stepmother) along with a whole host of others. One of the things I adored about this film was how they were able to meld a fairy-tale with a bit of a historical feel. Leonardo da Vinci (played by Patrick Godfrey) is featured in the film especially when it comes to creating Danielle’s gown for the ball. Cinderella is also not portrayed as this quiet mouse who only talks to animals. She’s this strong female who has a huge thirst for adventure and love!

  • 10 Things I Hate About You (1999 film)

Image result for 10 things i hate about youRemember how I said Julia Stiles was popular? Well, here she is again. What a lot of people don’t know that this teenage romantic comedy is actually based off another William Shakespeare story; The Taming of the Shrew. Heath Ledger plays Patrick (Petruchio), Julia Stiles plays Katarina (Kate) and Larisa Olyenik plays Bianca (Bianca) along with a whole host of other awesome actors. Looking back I can’t say there are lot of teenage based films I would watch again because adult Nel thinks they’re quite cheesy now but this one definitely has special place in my heart. If you know the story of The Taming of the Shrew, Patrick is the bad boy kid new to school who’s not interested in much but then his friend suggests he “courts” Katarina because none of the other hormone driven boys have been able to even crack a smile out of her plus her dad has really strict dating rules. The film centers around Kat creating this list of the things she hates about Patrick, in the form of a poem.

Honorable Animated Mention: Treasure Planet (2002 film)Image result for treasure planet

Have I mentioned how much I love space operas? Because I freaking love all things space opera! Treasure Planet is a modernized version of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson set in space. Joseph Gordon Levitt voices Jim Hawkins, Brian Murray voices John Silver and Emma Thompson voices Captain Amelia. The story revolves around a restless young adult looking to join a ship and go on a fantastic journey. He joins up with John Silver thinking he’ll be part of a cool crew only to find out that John Silver has his own secretive, nefarious plot. This film is Disney made and got a decent enough review. I always thought it was so unique for someone to turn a very old classic, into a fun, intergalactic twist.


There are PLENTY more that I could discuss so I’m thinking of possibly turning this into a monthly series. What do you think? Have you seen any of these adaptations? Do you have favorites of your own that you would like me to discuss in a later post? Let me know in the comments below!

Book Review

There are a lot of things going on in my life at this very moment and if I talk about them out loud it might give me homicidal tendencies so here’s a book review. My book reviewing skills are completely rusty and I don’t have specific directions about how to do it the most informative way but I hope you enjoy these!

Over the weekend, I went on a huge binge reading spree and was able to finish 2 books as well as read a third one. To the left are two of the books that happened this weekend. I started Archangel’s Heart over two weeks ago but life got in the way but I was able to finally finish it. Archangel’s Heart and Archangel’s Viper are book 9 and book 10 of Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series. Here is the review I wrote on Goodreads for Archangel’s Heart:

Archangel's Heart (Guild Hunter, #9)

I just want to start by saying, NOBODY writes love, like this woman. Oh my goodness, this book cemented that for me.

Archangel’s Heart begins with the Cadre being summoned by the Luminata to come and discuss some important matters. The Luminata reside in Lumia which is a small town in Morocco where angels go to seek luminescence. The path of luminescence is different for every angel be it through education, art, etc. It’s decided that of the Seven, Raphael and Aodhan will go and Elena is consort so she has no choice in the matter. You do not ignore an invitation from the Luminata. In the midst of this, there are still questions about Zhou Lijaun’s status as Archangel of China after the events in the last book (You’ll have to read it to find out what those events were).

Once in Lumia, things are definitely not as they seem. The Luminata seem a bit off. They are all wearing hoods covering their faces, they don’t seem to care about basic angel etiquette and Elena and Raphael as well as the Ancient angels Caliene and Alexander feel as if there are always eyes on them even in their private rooms. Then there’s also the fact that everyone looks at Elena and seems to see ghosts of the past. This essentially leads to Elena, Raphael and Aodhan digging a little deeper into the happenings of Lumia. They investigate the town and learn quite a few things which builds up to astounding revelations close to the end of the book.

I can’t really go into more detail without spoiling it but I want to say that Nalini Singh can write no wrong in my eyes. Every time Elena and Raphael said “I love you” to one another, I got the warm fuzzies inside. My emotional meter was all over the place in this one from sadness to anger, to happiness and disgust. I was feeling it all and I loved it. The plot buildup was truly artful. The conversations between characters and scene transitions were flawless. After closing this book I literally turned around and picked up Angels’ Blood (the first book in this series) to relive the beginning of Raphael and Elena all over again. Their character development keeps me glued to this series and then some. Just when I think they can’t get any more beautiful, Nalini takes me to an even higher level!

If you’ve been keeping up with the series this long, then I can assure you, you will not be disappointed when you read this book. Definitely my second favoriteof the 9 books!

Now, you know when you read a series for a while, you always hope it will continually get better right? I figured Archangel’s Viper would be pretty good but I lost hours of sleep last night as well as woke up almost late for work this morning because I couldn’t put the book down until the very end! Here is my review for Viper that I’m actually going to write here first and then paste to Goodreads:

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Before I get into the nitty gritty, I guess I should start by giving you a general synopsis of the story. Archangel’s Viper takes place during the period of time as Archangel’s Heart. While Elena and Raphael are away in Morocco dealing with Luminata, Dimitri is in charge and delegating duties to everyone because it’s a bit of high alert situation when an archangel is away from his territory and someone as ruthless as Zhou Lijuan is AWOL. Everyone needs to be prepared for anything. Holly is tasked with picking up Venom from the airport because he’s been away from the Tower for two years on some secret mission. When she picks him up, they encounter some goons who are following them trying to ambush Holly because there’s a bounty on her head. From that point on, Holly and Venom explore the slums of New York in order to figure out who and why anyone would take a bounty out on her.

The story has come back full circle since Angel’s Blood. Holly was one of the girls who was brutalized and tortured by bloodborn, rogue archangel Uram. Nobody believed she would survive what she had to endure but she changed her name to Sorrow for a while and members of the Tower, most especially Dimitri were able to get her to see a fraction of her old self. She’s not human but she’s also not vampire nor angel. Holly struggles with that a bit because she feels like a burden to the occupants of the tower. Venom is in a similar situation. Most people keep their distance from him because of his eyes. He’s not human or vampire or angel either. They are both of their own breed; similar in some ways but different in others. Venom begins to help Holly to stop treating herself as weak while Holly sees behind Venom’s sunglasses, as well as his facade that he puts up for everyone else’s benefit.

Nalini Singh truly has a way with words that always speaks to me in this amazing world she’s built. Holly has a lot to deal with where her own self emotions are concerned. She also has to contend with a possible mind and body invasion by this other force that’s making her do things she normally doesn’t do or thinking of nefarious things that would normally disgust her but don’t. It’s a bit of a constant struggle of Holly fighting herself throughout the book and Venom doing all that he can to make sure she fights for herself more than hating herself. The book complete and utterly flows in the character development department. I can literally put myself in any one character’s shoes and understand where they’re coming from. We got a lot more information about the nature and rules of 100 year contracts when a mortal is Made and what is expected but also what is unacceptable. That really added another element to the overall world that going forward, will make stories even more interesting.

I can go on and on and on but I literally can’t wait for the next book. Maybe an Illium story?? (Pleeeeease!?)

Can you tell I’m hooked? That is just two books out of 10! I adore this woman’s writing style. The best way to describe it is by saying it’s just so real. There’s a lot of cursing in her stories but honestly it fits. Most of the characters are either normal mortals who deal with some crazy shit due to their jobs on a regular basis or the they’re immortals who have lived so long that they either don’t have much care for mortals or they are just completely nonchalant about the happenings of the world. When you lived hundreds of years or more, I imagine it can get quite dull until a person or event one day smacks you out of your black and white stupor and you start living in color again. The series just continually hits my feels and I’m such an emotional person that I can’t deny this special brand of torture to myself.

As with any and all books, my opinion will probably be different than yours. However, if you decide you would like to venture into the world of paranormal, urban fantasy romance, you can’t go wrong starting with Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series. 🙂 I hope you all enjoyed my two for one special. 😉

Edit: I should mention my ratings. Duh. I rated the first one 5 stars and the second one 4 stars.

Wordy or Lyrical? You Decide.

When you read sentences such as:

His queasiness increased as each question added to his overwhelming anxiety.

or

With skin the shade of finest milk chocolate and wings of delicate bronze, her hair a waist-length tumble of brown and gold, and her eyes a hypnotic green…

Are you able to imagine these things clearly in your mind’s eye?

I am currently reading two different books. The first one is Fatal Destiny by Marie Force and the second one is Archangel’s Heart by Nalini Singh. The first one came out of a contemporary suspense novel and the second one came out of a paranormal romance novel. I ask this question of you, dear readers, because I wonder if wordiness is something you think about while reading. Let’s examine the definitions. (For the record these were taken straight from Google definition search)

 

 

Based off the definitions, which would you say fits the example quotes? Or do they fall under both definitions?

When I think of lyrical, I think of songs or poems. When I think of wordiness, I think of research papers. I understand that writers are sometimes trying to create a vivid picture in your mind about the world or the character’s feelings but do you ever feel like sometimes less is more especially in fiction novels? Wordiness works for me when describing landscapes or any setting. For example, a night sky would be “stray streaks of color bleeding into the darkness highlighting the constellations against the pale white of moonlight” (I made that up I think?) but when it comes to describing basic emotions, sometimes less is more. If someone throws an object at the wall during a conversation, I can tell they’re pissed without the author having to specifically name that emotion. In times like those, I just want to focus on the conversation. Only thing you can tell me is if one starts yelling or it gets so heated, they make out (I’m a diehard romantic).

From a reader’s perspective, I’m often viewed as being nitpicky. The point of the wordy and lyrical language is to pen our minds to interpretation; because you know we can all read the same thing but get a completely different meanings out of the content. Maybe I’m just a simpleton but when I encounter books that are too wordy or even lyrical to an overbearing degree, it just turns me off. It also doesn’t help that I tend to think if I read one authors wordy book, I’ve read them all and choose not to explore any of their other books (you big meanie! I know).

However there are  few exceptions which maybe I’ll cover in a later post. What are your thoughts on words during your reading sessions? Are these topics you cover in your reviews? Let me know in the comments below!

(P.S. If you’re interested in the books I described above, just click their covers to the right of this post for their Goodreads page —>)

Keeping up with the Characters

Recently I examined my reading habits as of late. I realized that I gravitate towards series and not only just series, but series with recurring characters. Normally, you find this trait in a lot of fantasy, urban fantasy, science fiction and paranormal books. Then you have mystery, thriller and contemporary genres that have characters in the same world but not necessarily recurring. My current read is actually a crime, romantic suspense drama that features recurring characters for a whopping 11 books so far and it got me thinking. I had to do a lot of research to find this series and a couple of others that made the list but why is it that I feel I need recurring characters in order to hold my interest in a series?

First things first, when creating a fictional world, many players are to be expected. You have your main two which are usually a male and a female, two of each, or some other variation and they are surrounded by sub characters who you slightly connect with, maybe grow to love, but the focus isn’t really on them. After the first book however, things are subject to change. One such series that I’ve read (Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh) features the main characters Raphael and Elena in the first and second book and then the next couple books are focused on members of Raphael’s team but then the book after that circles back to Raphael and Elena, and so forth. I quite enjoy this series but I wonder if I keep reading it because it circles back to R&E even though I’m not necessarily invested in the side characters?

But then you take a world where the same two characters are in every book and you are watching them learn and grow more and more about themselves. For example, the series I’m reading now that I mentioned above, the Fatal Series by Marie Force, the time span between the first book and the second book is a week. Last week was focused on the murder case of a United States Senator and this week its a US Supreme Court Justice with the personal everyday dramas of the main characters involved. The main woman is a cop who struggles with dyslexia and is obsessed with solving the case that left her dad a quadriplegic and you have the man who’s in love with her but is struggling to try and make a life with her while dealing with his own career as well as the loss of some people closest to him.

This attachment I form to people that don’t even exist is pretty intense. I find that it’s becoming harder and harder for me to read a standalone because I end up wanting more even if it means reading about different characters in the same world, with loose connections to the mains, in the hopes of getting a glimpse of life after book one for those mains I connected with. Then I think about my Netflix watching habits and it’s like watching a TV series versus a movie but not at the same time. I can watch a movie and be content with it ending but when it comes to books, I just have a really hard time.

Anyway, the main reason for this post was to get an idea of what you, my fellow readers, think of series with recurring characters versus series with different characters each book. Do you find yourself becoming attached from the first two characters at the start? I realize that a lot of books do end well or have a subsequent spin off series to completely tie up loose ends with all characters involved but do you ever find yourself wanting more with certain books or book genres versus others? Let me know in the comments below!

By Popular Request/Demand

As you all know, I have an addiction. I freely admit that this addiction will never die and it’s the best kind of addiction one could have. My name is Nel and I’m a bookaholic. That’s right. I live to read. I often stay up way past my bedtime to read. I take my reading responsibility very seriously to the point where I’ve decided not to post on the weekends because I want to focus on catching up on my Goodreads challenge. I’ve committed to reading 100 books this year which is 17 more than I read last year and, because I love torture, I’ve made it so that I can only read books I’ve never read before in an attempt to discover new authors. I’m dedicated!

Anyway, here’s what I really wanted to talk about. Friday, I showed you all my book haul from a library sale I went to last Wednesday. I also posted that picture on Facebook and has led to many people asking to see my bookshelves and wanting to know how many physical books I actually have in my collection.

Now before I show you the pictures, I should probably tell you where I obtained them all. It all started back in 2008. I worked in the dining hall at my college and it wasn’t my ideal job. I got a second job at the Field Station (which is where the trumpeter swans story came from). One day I walked into the library to study or something and one of the girls who was graduating soon asked me if I wanted to work there. I’d never worked in a library before but of course I was interested! She recommended me to the boss and I ended up getting and working that job for the rest of my time in college. I kept the Field Station job and dropped the dining hall for the library.

One year, we had a library sale. It was the first library sale I’d ever been too and is how I discovered romance novels because I picked up a book for 50 cents called A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught and the rest is history. About 2 years ago, that memory came back to me and I wondered if there was a way to find out when library sales were happening. Google is truly a beautiful thing. I found a website that tells me when a library sale is happening in pretty much all of Ohio from now until April of 2018 and I steadily go to about 6 or so sales a year. I also frequent regular book stores such as Half Price Books, Books-A-Million, Barnes & Noble and local independent bookstores as well as buying books online using Amazon, Ebay and Alibris.

So here we go:

Total count is 311 books. Before you get any ideas about how much money I spent on all of these, let me break it down for you. The ones in the top picture with the exception of two series on that shelf, came from library sales where I literally spent pennies on those books because most of them cost between 25 cents to $1.00 or I went on bag day and spent the flat fee ($5 or less) to stuff a bag as much as possible with books. The remaining books in the other four pictures were bought or gifted to me via regular retailers. Yes, the best gift a person could ever gift me is a book (or money for books 😉).

After doing all this arranging, I got this idea in my head that I want to build a shelf to the ceiling. I was thinking of stacking a bunch of cubed shelves to the ceiling so that I have more space for future books. I may or may not be determined to have Belle’s library one day. For what it’s worth, me and the husband hope to build our dream house one day and he actually drew a library room for me in our imaginary future house. ♥ ♥

Happy Monday! What’s your physical book count? If not books, do you have hundreds of one item sitting in your humble abodes? Let me know in the comments below!

The TBR Tag

I was nominated by my beautiful friend Noriko to do this tag a while ago (sorry!) and I’m finally getting around to doing it. Thank you Noriko for making me think about dusting off my TBR shelf. One day I’ll actually do it 😉

Questions:

How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

There’s no rhyme or reason to it cause I’m constantly adding to it. I have a list on Goodreads that mostly gets ignored.

Is your TBR mostly print or e-book?

Definitely ebook. I have this problem of downloading all the free books Bookbub and Instafreebie send me. I have a ridiculous amount of ebooks. If I had to guess a number, it’s probably upwards of 200 or more, no joke.

How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

Depends on my mood. I usually go for fantasy, romance and sci-fi but once in a while I’ll throw in a contemporary or suspense novel.

A book that’s been on your TBR the longest.

According to Goodreads, there’s literally a whole page of books that have been on my TBR since Februrary 2015.

A book that you recently added to your TBR.

The Undying King by Grace Draven
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A book on your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover.

Woodwalker by Emily Martin
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A book on your TBR that you NEVER plan on actually reading.

Probably the remaining Study books. I hate when a series is picked up a million years later with very different cover art. Fire Study came out in 2008 and was a good end to the books in my opinion. Shadow Study came out in 2015! That’s a huge gap! I can’t do it. Plus I hate the covers.
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An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for.

The Trouble with Twelfth Grave by Darynda Jones. I have my signed copy preordered 🙂
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A book on your TBR that basically everyone has read except you.

A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet. I’m getting closer and closer to reading this! I’ve heard nothing but good things.
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A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you.

Nobody’s recommended a book to me in a while so I’m going to pick Hexed by Kevin Hearne cause I read Hounded and really enjoyed it and would like to jump back into that series since I’ve heard it gets so much better!

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A book on your TBR that you’re just dying to read.

Honor and Roses by Elizabeth Cole. I just got this through a free Bookbub and the cover art is gorgeous! Plus, it’s been a while since I’ve read a historical.

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The number of books on your Goodreads TBR shelf.

  • 217 on Goodreads
  • 81 on Google Play Books (free downloads)
  • 42 on Barnes & Noble (free downloads)
  • and an unknown, always growing number on my physical shelf (library sale later today!!! Weeee!)

I’m going to refrain from nominating anyone this round because I know a lot of people are overwhelmed with the amount of tags they’ve been receiving lately. If you would like to do this tag, please go for it and link back to this post so I can have more things to add to my TBR ;).

Do any of my choices look appealing to you? Have you read any of them or are now maybe thinking about reading them? Let me know in the comments below!