Growing Pains Book List – Galaxy Adventurer

A long time ago *cough* (like a year ago) *cough*, when I first started this blog, I posted what’s called a “Growing Pains Book List”. It was inspired by my work with a music company where I talked about a few songs or artists that had impacted me and shaped me into the person I am today.

So a Growing Pains Book List is the same: a selection of books that have impacted you and made you who you are. I’ll link mine here, but today I’m going to introduce you to a dear friend of mine who will be sharing her Growing Pains Book List!

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From the @galaxyadventurer Instagram page

Today’s guest is Dominique from @galaxyadventurer. She is a book lover and geek from Indiana who loves musicals and Doctor Who!

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Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park
One of the first book series I read as a kid was Junie B. Jones, and while I still haven’t read all of them to this day, this is definitely a series that sparked my love of reading. One of the books that I kinda related to was Toothless Wonder. At my first dentist appointment ever I had my top four front teeth pulled out and they didn’t come in ’til I was almost ten years old. So I guess I related to her in that book because I to was a toothless wonder.

9780439381000_mresThe American Girl books
Like the Junie B. series, I still haven’t read all of the books, but this is another series that got me into reading. I liked how you could relate to at least one of the girls, even if they lived in a different time than you. Kit was one of my favorites; I liked how curious she was, and I loved her mystery books.

9780007117307The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
So I will admit, I saw the movies before I read any of the books, but now I love both so much! Both have made me wish I could find a portal to Narnia (I’m still checking wardrobes) and find adventures in the fantastical land with the Pevensie children and all the wonderful creatures.

51+zsntctrL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_Storm Siren by Mary Weber
Guys, this book really got me into YA and just deepened my love of reading. And also introduced me to a horrible thing. Maybe you’ve heard of it, it’s called *cue the dun dun dun noise* a cliffhanger. Even though Mary tortured me with the cliffhanger ending, I love this book so much. I love the characters, the world, the writing, just everything about it. Storm Siren will always have a special place in my heart.

513EXnhPKDL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_A Time to Die by Nadine Brandes
This one is more than an amazing story and book for me. I read this one soon after losing my great grandma a few years ago, and it helped me through it. A Time to Die has so many meaningful messages in it and Parvin is definitely an inspiration to me.

Six-of-Crows-CoverSix of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
SoC was actually recommended to me by Devyn (which if you’re reading this blog post, you already know how fabulous she is), so I read the Grisha series and then the SoC duology. And let me say, I got hooked to this world. While the characters in SoC might not have the best morals, they show how people can come together, despite their differences, and become a team and family.

51gmpC4-MgLThe Color Project by Sierra Abrams
This is probably my favorite contemporary book I have ever read. It’s so much more than the fluffy contemporaries you are used to. It shows a real girl with relatable problems, and a family that goes through a hard time but sticks together. It shows doubts and anxieties, something I know I deal with.

BOOK REVIEW: Maggie O’Farrell “I Am, I Am, I Am”

81CDbgRQIrLTitle: I Am, I Am, I Am

Author: Maggie O’Farrell

Genre: Memoir

My Rating: 4/5 stars

 

A book about 17 near-death experiences, what could possibly go wrong?

This book was both incredibly interesting and anxiety-inducing. I finished this book with an intense fear of the world and the people in it. There are so many horrible humans who are out to hurt others. The earth itself is full of hazards and animals and things that will kill you. I mean, you can’t read this book and not think about all the ways that you could have died already in your own life. All the near death experiences that you’ve had. It makes you feel so very mortal.

There were parts that made my skin crawl, chapters that made it difficult to breathe, whole segments that made your own heart beat faster for the narrator. There were some parts that dragged, but it was ultimately amazing.

One chapter in particularly shook me to my core, but it’s not exactly a near-death experience. It talked about the author’s several miscarriages, and reading it so close to my own miscarriage was definitely a punch to the gut. It was strangely healing, but definitely hard to read.

O’Farrell’s writing was absolutely beautiful. She conveyed emotions flawlessly and made me feel everything that she had been feeling. It was such a roller coaster of a book, but I would say it was a rewarding one.

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Rip It or Ship It!

Goooood morning and welcome to the newest segment on my blog: Rip it, or ship it! I’ve never done this before, so I’m really excited! I asked for submissions on my Instagram page a few weeks ago, and now I’m writing my post. First up, Kylo Ren and Rey.

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Kylo Ren & Rey (Star Wars)

So I’ll be up front and say that I’m not the biggest Star Wars fan; however, I do know and have seen enough to be able to rip or ship Kylo and Rey. That’s a total ship from me! I am a sucker for the enemies-to-lovers trope and these two are as swoony as they come.

Jacob & Bella (Twilight)

Jacob-Bella-Kiss

Honestly, ship it. I was never a huge fan of Edward and I think Bella would have been just as happy with Jacob. Now, I’m not the biggest fan of Twilight anyway; I tend to watch the movies just to make fun of them anyway. But Robert Pattinson has got nothing on Taylor Lautner. Like I’m sorry, there’s no competition for me.

Chuck & Blair (Gossip Girl)

CHUCk-and-blair-happy

Ship. It. I love them so much. Were they a little dysfunctional? Yes, definitely, absolutely, at times. But in the end, they love each other more than 90% of the TV couples out there and I will ship them until the end of days. It got to the point where I only watched Gossip Girl for these two because everyone else sucked.

Lorcan & Cassian (Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses)

The person who submitted these two were obviously trying to mess with me, but I’ll humor them. Rip it. Absolutely not. Never in a thousand years. Nope. Also I think Lorcan would murder Cassian; but that’s just my opinion.

Doug & Tracy (Christy Miller series)

Ship it! That one random book where Doug and Christy were dating was really awkward, so I was really glad when Doug and Tracy came to their senses. No photos of these love bird but rest assured, they are precious.

Aelin & Feyre (Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses

Y’all are killing me. Le sigh. Something tells me that Feyre may be on board with this match because she’s into strong and sassy, but I don’t think Aelin would be into it. Rip it. 

Kaz & Chaol (Six of Crows and Throne of Glass)

Who even thought to match these two up? I feel like I gotta rip it since it’s kind of difficult to ship anyone with Kaz, particularly a drama queen like Chaol. No disrespect Chaol, but you know it’s true.

Hiccup & Cress (How To Train Your Dragon and The Lunar Chronicles)

This is such a strange pairing, but I could actually see it working. Both are quirky and adorable enough to make me ship it.

Michael Scott & Donna Noble (The Office and Doctor Who)

To the person who submitted this pair (you know who you are)… what is wrong with you? I’m dead. To be honest, I wouldn’t ship anyone with Michael ever, not unless you’re name is Holly Flax. Although it’s hilarious that Catherine Tate (Donna Noble) also played in The Office, although not really alongside Steve Carell. No matter. That’s a big fat rip it from me.

The Darkling & Levana (Shadow and Bone and The Lunar Chronicles)

Huh, this one is actually making me stop and think. Two psychotic characters who have deluded themselves into believing that they’re doing right? I mean, it just might work? Right? I might actually ship it?

John Ambrose McClaren & America Singer (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and The Selection

While I definitely wish absolute happiness for that precious cinnamon roll John Ambrose, I wouldn’t ship anyone with America Singer because she sucks. Rip it.

Carswell Thorne & Nina Zenik (The Lunar Chronicles and Six of Crows)

This is another one that’s making me stop and think. They’re both strong and sassy characters, but I tend to think that opposites attract. So maybe they’d be too alike? I think I’ll rip it for now. But my mind could be changed.

That’s the last of the submissions! This was a lot of fun and I look forward to doing this again. This may have been more the ravings of a fan girl rather than the intelligent musings of a book lover, but that’s okay sometimes right?

BOOK REVIEW: Ruth Emmie Lang “Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance”

91p1dqTF21LTitle: Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance

Author: Ruth Emmie Lang

Genre: Fantasy

My Rating: 4/5 stars

 

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance is the first Book of the Month that I ever selected. I’m ashamed it’s taken me this long to get to it, considering I’ve read several other BOTM picks since then. Oops.

That being said, I had heard lots of good things about this, so I finally picked it up the other day! Okay, I found the audiobook at my library and I listened to it. Sue me.

That being said, I really enjoyed this. I’m not sure what I expected, although I knew this was a fantasy labeled as “magical realism”. It follows a boy named Weylyn Grey through the perspectives of those closest to them. First there’s the girl who delivers meat for her father to Weylyn and his wolf pack. She’s immediately fascinated by him and his life with the wolves, and over time decides to run away with them. Strange things seem to happen around him, though, but she doesn’t think much of it at the time.

Then there’s the foster family that takes Weylyn in after he and the girl are discovered with the wolves. Specifically his foster sister, who takes a liking to him and bonds with him. There’s the general education teacher who desperately wants children who finds a void filled with Weylyn’s company.

So many people touched by Weylyn’s presence in their lives, while still odd things tend to happen around him. The story sees him well into adult-hood and shows his power over nature and people growing. It’s such a heartwarming, lovely story that will just make anyone feel good.

Weylyn is naive as a child, obviously, considering his time with the wolves, but it seems to follow him years later as a grown-up. I can’t decide if I appreciate this or not. On one hand, his naivety was charming as a child, but it makes him seem clueless and stupid as an adult. But it’s easy to dismiss with such an adorable character like Weylyn.

This was just a very sweet, feel-good story that will be enjoyed by anyone who likes a happy ending.

A Year Full of Beautiful Covers

Listen, I’m not saying I judge books by their covers. I’m just saying, they’re nice to look at, and I’m more inclined to take pictures of them and display them on my shelves and okay maybe I judge books by their covers.

It’s just so hard not to when the books coming out are so dang pretty, and this year’s releases are no exception.

My blog is full of posts talking about books and their contents and reviews of those books. I think I’m entitled to be shallow every once in a while and bask in the beauty of a butt-load of book covers.

So here we go.

51ub94q0GWL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Even though I may not have loved A Very Large Expanse of Sea, the writing on this cover is so aesthetically pleasing. This combination of colors and pretty fonts is perfect, and I’m just disappointed I couldn’t love the inside as much as I loved the outside.

91JGnozCxiLThere is something so wonderfully ghostly about this paranormal re-imagining of Jane Eyre, My Plain Jane. I also happened to really enjoy this read, even more than I did My Lady Jane! Although I’ve never read Jane Eyre before, it definitely made me want to get into the original! And anything that inspires me to want to read classics is a win in my book.

81PYy9EQs1LWhat’s a pretty cover collection without a Schwab title? So I’m mad that this cover isn’t available in the US and I ended up with the blue-ish cover, but I can still admire this beauty from a distance. *soft crying noises* City of Ghosts was such a fun, adorable read, and it has convinced me that Victoria Schwab can literally write anything. Any genre, any age group, anything.

60869Another stunning cover that I think everyone can agree is just jaw-dropping is The Hazel Wood. The gold and silver embossing on this book is to die for; if I hadn’t actually enjoyed this read, I still would have kept it on my shelf just because. This one has such opposing reviews online, but thankfully I found it inventive and haunting and I can’t wait to read the next one!

the-wicked-deep-9781481497343_hrThe Wicked Deep is another obvious one for me, especially for the naked hardcover on the first edition and the beautiful night sky. *heart eyes* Such a lovely, atmospheric read, with writing just as pretty as the cover. I can’t wait to reread this next year around Halloween!

34499221I’ll indulge myself one moment longer and share the cover of To Kill a Kingdom, this beautiful Little Mermaid retelling. I absolutely loved this read, and it gave me hope that retellings aren’t completely hopeless! That’s not to say I don’t enjoy them, but lately they’ve become a little repetitive. To Kill a Kingdom was inventive and unique while still remaining true to the source material.

Thank you for sticking around for my book fashion show. I promise I’ll go back to intelligent musings and discussions after this, but come on. You have to admit. They’re so pretty.

BOOK REVIEW: Felicia Day “You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)”

23705512Title: You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)

Author: Felicia Day

Genre: Memoir/Humor

My Rating: 5/5 stars

 

I actually really enjoyed this.

I say really, because I didn’t expect much from this. To be perfectly honest, I haven’t been exposed to Felicia Day much except for her role in Eureka and a few episodes I’ve seen her in on Supernatural. I knew she was considered “Queen of the Geeks”, so she’s someone that I should know more about since I’m a self-proclaimed geek myself. I knew she was a gamer, but I’m only just now getting into video gaming and it’s definitely just on a recreational, occasional basis.

Moving on, Felicia Day’s memoir was so much more than I could have ever imagined.

First of all, I listened to the audiobook, which was read by her; so listening to her story in her own voice was an experience in itself. It felt like it was being told and read in the way that she intended, so it was perfect. Day is so funny, so her voice was a delight.

Learning about her early life was so interesting. I could definitely relate to her homeschool trials, being homeschooled myself, and found it so interesting that she originally went to college on a violin scholarship. Yet even though she could have made a career out of that, Day realized that she wasn’t passionate about playing violin like she should be. She chased a dream that hadn’t even fully formed yet, and for some reason there’s something so inspiring about that to me.

I’ve struggled myself lately, trying to figure out what I want to do with my life and what kind of career I want to pursue. There aren’t a lot of options for someone who doesn’t have a degree and doesn’t feel good enough to try. But Felicia Day dreamed and she took a leap. She put herself out there.

Amazingly, it wasn’t her work in commercials that launched her fame, but her web series start up. Felicia went against all odds to film a show without any professional help or funding, and she made a name for herself. I think that’s awesome, and it makes me think and realize that I am capable of anything. If she can do it, so can I.

It’s been a long time since a book moved me to become motivated in the way that I am now. It was amazing. I’m so glad that I read this and I think that anyone who needs a little push should read this as well.

The Wonder of Audiobooks

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Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

Hello, my name is Devyn, and I’m addicted to audiobooks.

I mean, it took long enough, right? Audiobooks are amazing. Everyone has been telling me this for years, yet every time I tried ended in failure. I’m not sure why this was, but I just felt like I wanted to be able to clean the house or do laundry while I listened, and I guess I just have a one-track mind. I couldn’t focus on one or the other.

Maybe I wasn’t listening to the right books, but for whatever reason I didn’t discover the wonder of audiobooks until about a week and a half ago. Something just clicked in my head and all of a sudden I got it.

I was listening to The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli and I was suddenly like, “Hey, this is awesome.” It helps that it was read by Pearl Mackie from Doctor Who, so there was an extra level of interest there.

After that, I was a goner. I’ve been listening to audiobooks nonstop ever since then and it has become a problem. But it’s so relaxing! I can lay in bed next to my husband while he’s playing video games, listening to books and coloring. I don’t understand why it took me so long to discover this, but I’m so glad I have now. I’ve been able to blow through my TBR and I’m killin’ it.

Some have been better than others, that’s for sure; but I have to admit that it’s been doing wonders on my reading times. I can listen to an entire book in less than a day. I can go for a walk and listen. Go to the gym and listen. Clean the house and listen. It’s amazing, okay. 

I know I sound like a broken record and many of you are like, “Um, okay crazy lady. I’ve been listening to audiobooks for years.” Okay, hipster reader person you, that’s awesome but I’m just learning it.

And listen, if you’re someone who has been apprehensive about listening to audiobooks or you’ve tried it already and thought it might not be for you, I beg you to reconsider. It’s possible that the books you were listening to just weren’t good. I listened to at least a dozen before this week that just weren’t for me, and even in the last week I’ve listened to one or two that I wasn’t a fan of. So I put them away. It’s okay to quit if you’re not feeling a certain audiobook; just pick another!

Of course there will be some people that never find the right audiobook and will never get into them. That’s cool, and they’re not for everyone. I just think that readers should know all the resources available to them, and audiobooks are a game-changer. I’ve just been checking them out from the library on the Overdrive app, so there’s a good chance that your library does the same sort of thing.

Just try it! You may find that it’ll change your life.

Finally Fall Book Tag

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Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

It’s fall! … but it doesn’t feel like it for me, sadly. I live in Hawaii, which in retrospect is amazing and I know I’m unbelievably lucky to be here. Still, I do miss the temperature getting below 70 degrees and being able to wear sweaters and scarves without getting funny looks (because yes, I do still try to get away with it).

But it’s still fall in my brain, so by golly I’m gonna do this tag.

51bIN6SUb1L._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_Crisp Fall Air – a book that felt fresh and new

It took me way too long to come up with a single book that this applied to, which I suppose is a good thing! This means I’ve read lots of unique, amazing books so far this year. There were many contenders, but the title I decided on was Bird Box by Josh Malerman. This was such a great read and gave me hope that the thriller genre isn’t dead yet. It’s been such a struggle for me to connect with this genre lately, which is a shame because I love thrillers! They’ve just become so bland and predictable lately, and Bird Box breathed life into me again. Read my full review here.

9781250095312Howling Winds – an ending that blew you away

This one was also a close call, between Legendary and An Absolutely Remarkable Thing; and Legendary wins over by just a fraction. The whole book was a wild ride, and the reader was always thinking: Who is Legend? I loved the big reveal, but that cliffhanger was rough. Tella became a new favorite character and I found that I enjoyed this installment even more than I loved Caraval, the first book. Read my full review here.

81Csb1x-vSLComfy Sweaters – a book that gave you the warm fuzzies

So Love and Other Words may be a strange choice because this broke my heart, but it was also undeniably sweet. There’s nothing quite like a childhood love blossoming into adulthood, but this one had angst and tragedy as well. I felt about every emotion on the spectrum during this read, but ultimately, my heart grew and felt warm in the end.

411h5t91y4LBright Colors – a cover with either red, orange or yellow

I chose the first book I came across that applied and ended up with Vicious, a read from October. This book was positively villainous and I can’t wait to read Vengeance soon!

9781619636118Leaf Fight – a book with nonstop action

There was no question what book I would choose for this: Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J Maas. This final installment in the Throne of Glass series was chock-full of action and battle sequences that forced me to keep reading long into the night. Seriously, I stayed up until 4 am to finish this. It was worth it. Read my full review here.

KingofscarsPumpkin Spice – your most anticipated read

This was another obvious one for me; Leigh Bardugo is at the top of my list of auto-buy authors, and Nikolai is my sweet little cinnamon roll. Of course King of Scars is my most anticipated read. I could not be more excited for Nikolai’s spin-off books and I’m ready to just eat this up.

Thank you for joining me today! If you’re reading this, consider yourself tagged!

BOOK REVIEW: Katherine Center “How to Walk Away”

91de-kA4w7LTitle: How to Walk Away

Author: Katherine Center

Genre: Contemporary

My Rating: 5/5 stars

 

I’ve seen this book compared to Me Before You a few times, but let’s make something clear: How to Walk Away is better.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved the chemistry in Me Before You. Louisa and Will were absolutely precious and I will never not think about how adorable the sock scene was. But that ending.

(Spoilers for Me Before You ahead.) That ending made me so angry. I understand it, I do. I understand why it ended that way, but it didn’t have to. Will didn’t have to die. Of course circumstances in his life had caused him to become miserable, but didn’t Louisa prove that happiness in spite of the tragedy was possible? I’ll never get over that, I just won’t.

So in How to Walk Away, Katherine Center took a similar approach: Margaret is left paralyzed and burned from an airplane crash. She loses everything: fancy job, not-mangled body, handsome fiance. She faces many trials in the months to come and alternates between obsessing over getting better and not wanting to try at all. Many things occur that make her want to quit, and she does contemplate suicide.

Yet this story shows that even in the wake of adversity, contentment and even joy can be found again. And it doesn’t even have to be in the arms of a lover.

Although that’s super helpful because duh, romance.

Margaret reacts very realistically to her circumstances, and it makes her human. She doesn’t have a bunch of wise words now to share with her family, which is suffering from a bit of dysfunction itself. She doesn’t treat her piece-of-garbage fiance with grace or kindness when all is said and done. Margaret hurls all the righteous rage that is due her. She has depressive episodes and sometimes let’s it affect her recovery.

But what Margaret becomes in the end is not a shell of a person, but a beautiful flowering human who finds new hope and purpose in spite of her circumstances. I loved the message of this story and I loved the outcome.

The secondary characters were wonderful also. I loved reading about Margaret’s family drama, and of course loved all the scenes that included her attractive Scottish physical therapist. *wink*

I cheered for Margaret from the very beginning of this story and it was so rewarding to see her life play out for the better. What an inspiring story, that even caused me to examine my own life. I think that’s all we can ask of any good book.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

Just wanted to take a moment to wish my lovely American followers a wonderful day!

For those of you that aren’t close to family this holiday, I want to send special warm wishes your way. My husband and I are spending our second Thanksgiving in a row away from family, but we are having a joint holiday with one other couple and a few of my husband’s single friends, all of whom are far from their families.

We know it can be difficult, which is why we figure that we may as well spend the day with friends and all share a nice, nostalgic, home-cooked meal together.

Stay safe today and tomorrow during your Black Friday shopping! XOXO