Stranger Things Book Tag

Stranger Book Tag

In celebration of the arrival of Season 2 of Stranger Things to Netflix, I decided I wanted to do a Stranger Things-themed book tag! I went out in search specifically for an existing tag with this name and my favorite was found here, but she did not link to the tag’s creator so I’m not sure from where it originally came. If you know, let me know in the comments and I will happily link to the original post.

Feel free to do this tag if you’d like and take the banner I created! I’m not tagging anyone specific as it’s a bit of an old tag, but if you do it feel free to link back to this post and let me know in the comments so I can go read yours ^_^

#1 The Vanishing of Will Beyers

The first book in a series that left you intrigued and slightly confused.

The-Queen-of-the-Tearling

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen | I loved this book and have read it twice, but I still remember the initial confusion about the setting of this novel. There’s a map but throughout the novel are hints that this story is set in some sort of distant future in which Harry Potter and modern medicine were lost…Oh, and there’s magic. Sounds crazy right?! It’s all explained in the second book, though.

#2 The Upside Down

A book with a setting you’d never want to live in.

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White Cat by Holly Black | I’m not even finished reading this book yet, but I already know I would not want to live in this world! They live in an alternative universe where mob-like families seem rule the world and gloves are a social requirement so that people know they haven’t been “worked” on, in other words been affected by the powers of others. Yikes!

#3 Eleven

A book you own that is somewhat damaged but loved to pieces.

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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee | I probably got this book in 8th or 9th grade when it was required reading for English class. I would’ve never known it would become one of the oldest books in my collection and one I still cherish and count as one that has shaped the kind of person I aim to be. The pages have somewhat yellowed and the cover is a little worn but I’ll probably keep it as long as I can.

#4 Mike, Lucas, and Dustin

A trilogy you always go to when you need a pick me up.

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The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff | I really had to think about the series I wanted to choose for this category as most of my trilogies are fantasies with high stakes and not books I pick up to lift my mood or spirits, more so for excitement. But The Illuminae Files books are filled with a lot of laughs and good humor despite the space monsters and overall peril. If I didn’t have a never-ending TBR I would probably pick these books up more often. As it is, I will have to wait until NEXT YEAR for the final installment which is hopefully a fun and satisfying conclusion to the trilogy.

#5 The Demogorgan

A book with a terrifying beast you wouldn’t want to meet in an alley.

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Uprooted by Naomi Novik | Maybe it’s because I just read this book, but I feel like the antagonist is super scary because of how unpredictable it must be for the general public and how hateful it is toward humanity. The Wood has the power to create horrifying monsters of unsuspecting humans and wizards, and also has really creepy creatures of its own that I know I wouldn’t stand a chance against.

#6 Dr. Brenner

A book series with a villain who is both manipulative and dedicated.

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The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo | I feel like so many villains are manipulative and dedicated but also really nuanced these days. But I do think that the Darkling of The Grisha Trilogy really takes the cake. He’s so dedicated to his cause and that of the oppressed Grisha, it’s hard not to sympathize with him. He’s also so manipulative that he gets caught up in it himself when trying to turn Alina to his side.

#7 Nancy Wheeler

A book you didn’t expect to love.

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We Were Liars by E. Lockhart | I recently reread this book this past summer and I still have a really soft spot for it. It still makes me cry super hard, even now that I read it knowing what’s going to happen. It was such a random purchase for me at the time that I bought it (since I’m not a big fan of contemporary YA) that I think this book is definitely one that has caught me off guard to become one that I love.

#8 Hawkins, Indiana

A book with a setting that is just a little bit strange.

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Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter | The setting of this book is actually A LOT bit strange. It’s set in Brooklyn, which is strange enough to me because I’ve never been to New York, but it’s also really strange in that a chain of convenience stores called BY’s spins in the air and is surrounded by the spiked heads of shoplifters, many of whom we can deduce might have been set up by the evil hands wandering the store. It’s also pretty strange how the magic operating the stores also keep the locals, including law enforcement, from ever thinking to try and obtain justice.

End Note

I hope you enjoyed this book tag! It was a lot of fun thinking of good books I’d like to share for each category. Before I go, I also wanted to let you know what’s coming up on Betwined Reads. I’ve got three new posts planned for the last three days of October, all related to NaNoWriMo. If you don’t know what that is…Google it. Or you can wait until tomorrow for my first post explaining my plans for the event and some potentially useful tidbits for success this November! ^_^

Who else is ecstatic for the return of Stranger Things?!

loripaint

Thank you for reading!
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October ’17 TBR + Goals

I was hesitant to make this post, especially considering how busy I’ve been and how I’d like to use as much as possible of my time working on writing this month. Nevertheless, October is my favorite month, and there are a bunch of books that I think would be perfect reads for this time of year!

For this month’s TBR I have a list of books from which I will most likely pull my reads, but I by no means hope to attempt to read all of them! That would be madness, and highly unadvisable if I want to get anything else done this month. I’m hoping to read at least three

 

[In no particular order]

  1. It by Stephen King
  2. The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales & Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo
  3. White Cat by Holly Black
  4. Uprooted by Naomi Novik
  5. The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
  6. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Goals

#1 Prioritize the blog each week. Last month I let the blog slide as I got busier with work and wanted to spend more time reading to finally catch up on my Goodreads Reading Challenge, which I did manage to finally do after months of being behind!

#2 Get my grad school application materials organized. Last month I decided I definitely still wanted to return to grad school for my doctorate. I want to be prepared well in advance of my deadlines so that I’m not in a panic when everything’s due (likely around December). This will entail asking for my letters of recommendation, tidying up writing samples, and likely writing some personal statements.

#3 Be ready to kick NaNoWriMo 2017’s butt. It’s been three years since I won, and I want this year to end my losing streak!

End Note

I’m hoping to have a writing-related post up this week on Wednesday. I Skyped with my writing buddy last night and her excitement for her story revived my own so I’d like to start dedicated more time to it after work. Fortunately my next full day off work is Wednesday so I’m hoping to get a lot done then, including some blog posts. So hopefully I will see you then with my next post!

Thank you for reading!
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September ’17 Wrap Up

I’m in a bit of a hurry as I write this post, but I wanted to make sure I start it before I go to work for the day so it’s not hard to finish up tonight! I must say, I’m really proud of myself as I read a lot this month and have finally caught up with my Goodreads Reading Challenge! I’ve now read 26 of the 36 book challenge I set for myself at the beginning of the year. Now I just need to keep it up!

I’m also really excited to wrap up this past month because it’s one of the first times that I ever stuck entirely to the TBR list I set for the month! I read four of the five books I listed in my September ’17 TBR + Goals post.

  1. Maus II by Art Spiegelman (★★★)
  2. Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo (★★★) – Reviewed!
  3. The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer (★★★★★)
  4. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas (★★★)

My favorite read this month was without a doubt The House of the Scorpion. I first read this book in middle school, probably in 6th or 7th grade, which was a while ago for me. I remembered it being one of the most powerful books I ever read at the time and I was happy to find that it holds up; it’s fantastic. It was also great that I didn’t remember much beyond the premise, so I was at the edge of my seat (metaphorically speaking) for most of the book. I highly recommend this book to anyone no matter your age. It gives you a lot to think about.

My least favorite read was definitely Tower of Dawn. I didn’t enter this book expecting too much and moderately enjoyed it. I had never much liked Chaol, or Nesryn for that matter who always seemed like such a “filler” character. And despite all the reviews I’ve read saying this book ruined Chaol for readers who had loved him, it is pretty much still the same guy in opinion. I’ve already found him broody and stupidly loyal without anything driving him to make him interesting.

Despite my dislike of Chaol and Nesryn going into this book, it wasn’t a horrible read. Nesryn’s storyline was actually pretty cool and I would’ve loved a lot more of her adventure and less of Chaol’s healing drama. The book just went on too long and had very little pay off by the end for me. There are a few reveals that make this book worth reading if you plan to finish off the Throne of Glass series as I do, but I think it’d be sufficient to just spoil yourself if you don’t want to waste time reading this installment.

If I have the time and energy later this week, I might do a spoilers post for anyone who’s interested (and for myself so I remember everything by time the last book rolls out)!

End Note

Tomorrow I hope to have my TBR + Goals for the month of October, but we’ll see. I don’t want my emphasis to be on reading this month, so I’ll likely not push myself to read much more than the three books I need to stay on track with my 2017 goal. Other than that, I’m not sure what else you can expect. My next full day off is Wednesday so I’m looking forward to getting a lot more done then.

Thank you for reading!
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A Book Haul of eBooks and Fairytales

A few weeks ago after I learned my free time would be severely limited as result of my new job, I decided to treat myself to some new books. As I was browsing for the books I would purchase, I realized one of the books of an author I was looking into was free in its Kindle edition for Amazon Prime members, so I downloaded some others I found that interested me as well.

In general, I’m fairly restrained when it comes to buying books, so I rarely get the chance to do a haul. Therefore, I decided to seize the day do one today (at long last)!

This book haul comes at a time when I’m kicking my writing into full gear, which is why I want to get my hands on everything that looks like it might inspire my own novel. Therefore, you’ll find that many of these books are in the genre(s) in which I want to write: fantasy.

Amazon Prime Free eBooks

 

Heist Society by Ally Carter. This book is the reason I began searching for what other eBooks were conveniently available for free download on Amazon Prime. I saw an interview where Leigh Bardugo recommended Carter’s work for anyone interested in heist books like Six of Crows. I’m skeptical (based on its cringe-y cover), but I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised!

The Spy with No Name by Jeff Maysh. This book and author I’ve never heard of, but I like a good mystery and the intrigue of spies. Not sure when I’ll read this book, though, as there are so many amazing books I want to read right now. This one smells to me like one buffer book when I need something random to fill my time when I don’t feel like jumping into something super thought provoking.

Air Awakens by Elise Kova. The is the first book in a series I’ve seen talked about a lot in the book blogging community! I’ve intentionally kept myself in the dark as to what this book is about, but I’m happy to have the opportunity to finally see if this book, and series, is for me.

Fallout (Lois Lane) by Gwenda Bond. This book I’ve already DNF-ed. I didn’t have the highest of expectations for this book, but I did have an open mind as I’ve been eagerly anticipating Leigh Bardugo’s Wonder Woman. This book very quickly lost me. I compared it to fan fiction on Goodreads, but honestly that’s unfair to fan fiction as I’ve read far better written fan-written stories with realistic, nuanced characters.

Thieving Forest by Martha Conway. This book, like most of the others on this list, is one that I know next to nothing about. I haven’t even reread the summary to remind myself why I decided to download it. I just saw the medal on it and decided to trust that distinction. Like The Spy with No Name, this is one I’ll probably save for when I’m between books and don’t know quite what I’m in the mood for.

Fairytale-Inspired Books

 

Uprooted by Naomi Novik. This is a book that has been on my radar for a long-time and the main reason I’ve put it off is I’m not a fan of the U.S. edition cover and the price of the hardback was too high for me. I was able to order it at a reasonable price in paperback and I feel like this book is coming to me at the perfect time as I just feel like this book will inspire my own writing.

Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter. This book was recommended by Leigh Bardugo in an interview I watched on YouTube in which she was asked what she recommended (redundant…leaving it anyway). I loved the summary so I decided to put it on my wishlist for a time like this when I wanted to treat myself.

What’s Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi. Because I’ve just been reading Mr. Fox, I’ve been reminded what a beautiful writer Oyeyemi is and I decided to finally spring for this anthology. I had put it off for the same reasons that I put off Uprooted for so long, but I’m excited to finally be able to read these short stories and, hopefully, have her magic rub off on me!

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo. This book is not technically out yet, but it is a vanity purchase I made earlier this month. Many of the stories in this anthology are already available for free online, but I wanted to be able to put the pretty book to put on my shelves. I love Leigh Bardugo’s books and she is on my short list of authors whose books I will instantly purchase, which brings me to the final book in my haul…

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Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo! Ok, so this is not technically a fairytale, but the argument could be made that it is a similar kind of genre! Not that I’m a genre expert… I am not a big fan of Wonder Woman, as I did not grow up with any of her shows and have never been too impressed by “strong women” dressed in leotards. I’m not really a DC Comics fan either (based on my experience with their lame movies), but a lot of feminists I respect LOVE the character of Wonder Woman and I’m hoping this book will make me love her too! ^_^

End Note

I hope you enjoyed this post! I am not in the habit of doing a lot of book hauls, as I rarely buy/acquire enough books to warrant one. Another book that didn’t make this list because I won’t have it for a few more days is Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas, her latest Throne of Glass installment. It comes out early next month, so I’m excited even though it’s centered on Chaol, a character I’ve never really liked.

Today I’ve been working on my blog in between chores. You can expect to see a few more posts later this week as we head into September. Until then, let me know if you’ve read any of these books in the comments down below.

Thank you for reading!
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My YA Book Blogger Survey | Research

Hello!

This semester for my Capstone project, I have been working on a survey to measure what reasons people have for reading YA and blogging about YA separately to see what correlations I can find to explain the prevalence of the activity in the digital age when we are faced with so many other forms of entertainment online.

To make sure I surveyed people who I know both reading YA and blog about YA, I’ve spent the past few weeks compiling a list of YA book bloggers for whom I can find an email address listed somewhere on their blog. My search was very haphazard and random, which I believed would benefit the generalizability of my results. I would often start at YA book blogs that I already followed and browsed the comments sections to pick up new leads and discover other bloggers.

In case you are wondering, the factors that I used to determine whether a YA book blogger could be compiled in my list include:

  1. If the blogger declared themselves in their sidebar bio, About page, or Review Policy page as a YA enthusiast.
  2. If the most recent books I saw reviewed on the blog largely included popular YA titles.
  3. If the blogger has posted recently.

It has been a really cool experience to sift through so many diverse blogs on personal level because I consider myself a part of this community as a lover and defender of YA literature and what it means for literacy. I’ve also discovered so many great blogs that have inspired me to be a better blogger and community member.

End Note

If you are reading this post because you followed the link provided in the email invitation to participate in my survey, thank you for your interest! I hope you will consider taking time to participate in my graduate research. If you are reading this blog post simply because you already follow my blog, I hope you found it interesting! If you’d like to hear more about my research journey I’d love to talk more on this topic, and possibly the findings, here over the summer.

If you consider yourself a YA book blogger and would like to take part in this research and be entered into a raffle for one of five $10 Amazon gift cards, please email me at my school email loricanales@utdallas.edu!

Thank you for reading!
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