Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Reading Wrap-Up


I can't believe it's the end of 2015!! And it's time to look back on the reading year!! Wow. . . . .

So in general, 2015 was a pretty good reading year! I started out strong with a lot of good novels,then it got taken over by manga. But I read a lot of good manga. In total, I read:
  • 82 novels (7 of which were re-reads)
  • 4 graphic novels
  • 64 manga

I read:
  • 49 5-strawberry reads (21 novels, 28 manga)
  • 61 4-strawberry reads (28 novels, 32 manga, 1 graphic novel)
  • 34 3-strawberry reads (26 novels, 5 manga, 3 graphic novels)
  • 5 2-strawberry reads (all novels)
  • 2 1-strawberry reads (all novels)


My longest read was Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling (at 734 pages)
My shortest read was The Seeing Stone by Holly Black & Tony DiTerlizzi (at 128 pages)
In total, I read 40,580 pages

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2015 Reflections

It's so easy to get caught up in the bad; to forget all of the good that happened in the span of one year. Or sometimes even one day. As soon as something unpleasant happens, it pushes all possible thoughts of joy and excitement clear out of our minds.

Looking back on 2015, it seems like I spent the entirety of the year sick, emotionally exhausted, or had plans go up in smoke before my very eyes. And it isn't all a matter of perspective; I did have a lot of crappy stuff happen this year. From the beginning of spring clear to the end of December, I've had colds, stomach bugs, laryngitis, sinus infections, ear infections, sore knees, backaches, twisted shoulders, torn Achilles tendons, bruised ankles, bruised hands - bruised everything. On top of it, I was getting positively no sleep because my mattress well and truly gave out, and my blood-work went haywire. And it's easy to get emotionally wrung out when one is physically exhausted. I had to change jobs, face bad memories at college, be a support system for a lot of people when I could barely be one for myself - quite honestly, the list is endless.

But is that really all 2015 has been?

The other night, I was clearing out my photo album, and I came across several slideshows I made of the two big trips I made earlier this year. Then I started looking through other photos from smaller, but just as fun, trips I made with my friends during the summer. Mara, I said, you have had a rough year; there's no denying that. But look at all of the amazing things that also happened this year. Look at all the things that buoyed you up when you were at your lowest.

I met so many amazing authors this year and I even flew all the way to Nashville to attend Sharon Cameron's launch party for her newest book, Rook. Ruta Sepetys was even there and she was so sweet and amazing and kindly signed copies of her books for me! I got to meet my amazing friend and fellow blogger/writer Hazel West, and spent five incredible days in freaking New York City with her! We went to BookCon and geeked out over all the bookish things and stayed up way too late giggling over smokey pretzels. We spent hours exploring the Metropolitan Museum of Art; I saw the statue of Balto in Central Park, fulfilling a child's dream I've had ever since seeing the cartoon; we navigated the underground and didn't get eaten by rats!

I have taken my dancing to a whole new level and have met so many awesome people in the swing community. I never thought I would be pursuing a passion that I have had to put on the sidelines for my entire life. My swing group and I had a blast in Seattle over Labor Day weekend, riding the ferris wheel and the carousel; seeing the Gum Wall and the Fremont Bridge Troll; dancing 'til midnight at Seattle Swing.

The Renaissance Faire may not have had my favorite jousters this year, but it was still an incredible year! The faire has really grown and I got my first henna tattoo and just had a blast with my friend Rachel. The summer was filled with adventures in the kitchen as I endeavored to (successfully) learn real cooking and real baking. Fourth of July was spent with friends having an epic pool party. There were movie nights and writing club meetings and book club meetings and epic book shopping expeditions. My friend Catherine finally converted me to manga and anime, and it's become a beloved new obsession. It reawakened my desire to write once more and I have created my most loved world and set of characters ever.

Fall and winter saw a lot of tears - from both myself and close friends - but through the tears, I've made lasting friendship with some incredible people. And we've had fun even amid the sorrow; cookie parties and early morning breakfasts and plays and getting lost looking for somewhere to eat late at night. I was forced to return to the world of job hunting, but I got a new job - and it's one that promises to turn into a career, and it is the job of my dreams. I am so incredibly happy where I'm working now. I faced bad memories at college and triumphed, replacing them with positive ones. I spent an amazing Thanksgiving with a best friend's family - and though I was sick for Christmas and though a lot of plans were derailed, it was still a very good Christmas indeed.

A lot of good has happened alongside the bad. But I can decide how I allow it - both good and bad - to affect me. Do I solely focus on the bad and let it destroy the good memories? Or do I look at the good that came out of the bad and let it strengthen me?

I won't pretend that the year hasn't left its scars. I learned a lot of lessons and cried for a lot of friends - and for myself. I know that even now, I'll have a hard time focusing on the good things. But 2016 is a new year, filled with new experiences, new people, new adventures - and yes, new sorrows. But I believe there is a song that advises us to: Don't worry; be happy. And I want to take that advice.

Here's to a happy new year, my friends! :)

Monday, December 28, 2015

2015 TBR Update #12

So it's been a (long) while since I've done one of these updates, but I'm going to try and do them on Mondays on a regular basis. Not only so you can stay up to date on my reading challenges, but also my TBR progress for the months.

So my December TBR has 9 official books. Out of those, I have completed 1 this week.
  • The Many Lives of John Stone by Linda Buckley-Archer (4/5 strawberries)
I have 7 left to read:
  • A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
  • The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling
  • Winter by Marissa Meyer
  • The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan
  • Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty
  • Anne & Henry by Dawn Ius
I have also read:
  • Attack on Titan Vol. 16 by Hajime Isayama (5/5 strawberries)
  • Attack on Titan Vol. 17 by Hajime Isayama (5/5 strawberries)
  • Fairy Tail Vol. 7 by Hiro Mashima (4/5 strawberries)
  • Fruits Basket Vol. 5 by Natsuki Takaya (4/5 strawberries)
  • Fruits Basket Vol. 6 by Natsuki Takaya (5/5 strawberries)
  • Red River Vol. 1 by Chie Shinohara (4/5 strawberries)
I am currently reading 4 books:
  • The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan
  • The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer
  • A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
  • Byzantium by Stephen R. Lawhead
I have caught up on 0 series, and I have started 1 new series/trilogies/duologie (Red River; Magnus Chase & the Gods of Asgard).

For my 2015 Reading Challenge, I have completed 24 items:
  • A book with more than 500 pages: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
  • A book that became a movie: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
  • A book published this year: Firefight by Brandon Sanderson
  • A book by a female author: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
  • A mystery or thriller: Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz
  • A book with a one-word title Ticker by Lisa Mantchev
  • A book from an author you love that you haven't read yet: Slaves of Socorro by John Flanagan
  • A book based on a true story: Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz
  • A book at the bottom of your to-read list: The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
  • A book based entirely on its cover: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
  • A book you can finish in a day: Beneath the Stone Forest by Jordan Quinn
  • A book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit: A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
  • A book set in high school: Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
  • A book with magic: Thursdays with the Crown by Jessica Day George
  • A book by an author you've never read before: Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne
  • A book you own but have never read: Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
  • A book with bad reviews: Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernen
  • A graphic novel: Locke & Key Volume 1: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez
  • A book that made you cry: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
  • A classic romance: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  • A book you started but never finished: Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken
  • A book set in the future: The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
I have 12 planned reads that I have yet to complete:
  • A book of short stories: Clockwork Fairy Tales by Various Authors
  • A book with a number in the title: Survival Colony 9 by Joshua David Bellin
  • A book written by someone under 30: Wolfsblood by Hazel West
  • A book with nonhuman characters: The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail by Richard Peck
  • A book set in a different country: Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
  • A nonfiction book: Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand
  • A book a friend recommended: Impossible by Nancy Werlin
  • A trilogy: Delirium, Pandemonium, Requiem by Lauren Oliver
  • A book that was originally written in a different language: Dream a Little Dream by Kerstin Gier
  • A popular author's first book: The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver
  • A book that scares you: Asylum by Madeleine Roux 
  • A book based on or turned into a TV show: A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
I have 15 categories to still plan and complete:
  • A book your mom loves
  • A book more than 100 years old
  • A book you were supposed to read in school but didn't
  • A memoir
  • A book with antonyms in the title
  • A book that came out the year you were born
  • A book from your childhood
  • A book with a love triangle
  • A book with a color in the title
  • A book that takes place in your hometown
  • A book set during Christmas
  • A book written by an author with your same initials
  • A play
  • A banned book
  • A book that won a prize:

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Hedgehog Life: 12.21.15 - 12.27.15


Merry Christmas! And what a Christmas - what a week - it's been!

This Week I Read:
  • Attack on Titan Vol. 16 by Hajime Isayama (5/5 strawberries)
  • Attack on Titan Vol. 17 by Hajime Isayama (5/5 strawberries)
  • Fairy Tail Vol. 7 by Hiro Mashima (4/5 strawberries)
  • Fruits Basket Vol. 5 by Natsuki Takaya (4/5 strawberries)
  • Fruits Basket Vol. 6 by Natsuki Takaya (5/5 strawberries)
  • Red River Vol. 1 by Chie Shinohara (4/5 strawberries)
  • The Many Lives of John Stone by Linda Buckley-Archer (4/5 strawberries)
My week started out with a brilliant plan to fill all of my usual work hours in three days before Christmas hit. Unfortunately, what ended up happening was I got a laryngitis attack, when then led into a very severe ear infection, and I had to take off work for practically the whole week. Nevertheless, I actually got caught up before I was forced to call in sick, so I'm not too upset. Still. . . . .ear infections are the worst. I've spent all of this week with a dreadful ringing in my head and not being able to hear anything. My eardrum ruptured, but thankfully no permanent damage. It's just going to be a month before I can hear properly again. And sadly, I was forced to miss the Christmas dance at swing. :(

On the up side, though, I was still able to do my Christmas trip to the huge Asian market in Seattle - Uwajimaya! I came home with a ton of tea, a new tea service, and some small Japanese decorations for my room. I might have also come home with the 17th volume of Attack on Titan. . . . .What can I say - it's a weakness.

Christmas Eve was quiet, but given my current state of illness, I was okay with that. I got some lovely presents, including (but not limited to): Volumes 5-17 of Fruits Basket, a Loki Pop! figurine (to keep my Thor company), Season 1 of Black Butler, the complete first season of Attack on Titan, an Attack on Titan necklace and pin with the Survey Corps emblem (my sister is being an enabler), and finally this gorgeous antique Japanese lacquered cabinet that I have converted into my tea box. I couldn't believe it, I was so freaking happy. It's so pretty! And goes extremely well with my room.




How was your Christmas?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Top 10 Best Books of 2015

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


Top 10 Books I Read In 2015. Ah, there were so many! But I think I narrowed it down. :)


Monday, December 14, 2015

2015 TBR Update #11

So it's been a (long) while since I've done one of these updates, but I'm going to try and do them on Mondays on a regular basis. Not only so you can stay up to date on my reading challenges, but also my TBR progress for the months.

So my December TBR has 9 official books. Out of those, I have completed 0 this week.

I have 8 left to read:
  • The Many Lives of John Stone by Linda Buckley-Archer
  • A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
  • The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling
  • Winter by Marissa Meyer
  • The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan
  • Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty
  • Anne & Henry by Dawn Ius
I have also read:
  • Pandora Hearts Vol. 2 by Jun Mochizuki (4/5 strawberries)
  • Attack on Titan Vol. 14 by Hajime Isayama (5/5 strawberries)
  • Attack on Titan Vol. 15 by Hajime Isayama (5/5 strawberries)
I am currently reading 4 books:
  • The Many Lives of John Stone by Linda Buckley-Archer
  • A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
  • Byzantium by Stephen R. Lawhead
  • Blue Exorcist Vol. 1 by Kazue Kato
I have caught up on 0 series, and I have started 0 new series/trilogies/duologie.

For my 2015 Reading Challenge, I have completed 24 items:
  • A book with more than 500 pages: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
  • A book that became a movie: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
  • A book published this year: Firefight by Brandon Sanderson
  • A book by a female author: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
  • A mystery or thriller: Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz
  • A book with a one-word title Ticker by Lisa Mantchev
  • A book from an author you love that you haven't read yet: Slaves of Socorro by John Flanagan
  • A book based on a true story: Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz
  • A book at the bottom of your to-read list: The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
  • A book based entirely on its cover: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
  • A book you can finish in a day: Beneath the Stone Forest by Jordan Quinn
  • A book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit: A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
  • A book set in high school: Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
  • A book with magic: Thursdays with the Crown by Jessica Day George
  • A book by an author you've never read before: Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne
  • A book you own but have never read: Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
  • A book with bad reviews: Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernen
  • A graphic novel: Locke & Key Volume 1: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez
  • A book that made you cry: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
  • A classic romance: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  • A book you started but never finished: Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken
  • A book set in the future: The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
I have 12 planned reads that I have yet to complete:
  • A book of short stories: Clockwork Fairy Tales by Various Authors
  • A book with a number in the title: Survival Colony 9 by Joshua David Bellin
  • A book written by someone under 30: Wolfsblood by Hazel West
  • A book with nonhuman characters: The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail by Richard Peck
  • A book set in a different country: Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
  • A nonfiction book: Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand
  • A book a friend recommended: Impossible by Nancy Werlin
  • A trilogy: Delirium, Pandemonium, Requiem by Lauren Oliver
  • A book that was originally written in a different language: Dream a Little Dream by Kerstin Gier
  • A popular author's first book: The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver
  • A book that scares you: Asylum by Madeleine Roux 
  • A book based on or turned into a TV show: A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
I have 15 categories to still plan and complete:
  • A book your mom loves
  • A book more than 100 years old
  • A book you were supposed to read in school but didn't
  • A memoir
  • A book with antonyms in the title
  • A book that came out the year you were born
  • A book from your childhood
  • A book with a love triangle
  • A book with a color in the title
  • A book that takes place in your hometown
  • A book set during Christmas
  • A book written by an author with your same initials
  • A play
  • A banned book
  • A book that won a prize:

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Hedgehog Life: 12.7.15 - 12.13.15


Hello! How is the holiday season going for you? It's been busy for me!

This Week I Read:
  • Pandora Hears Vol. 2 by Jun Mochizuki (4/5 strawberries)
  • Attack on Titan Vol. 14 by Hajime Isayama (5/5 strawberries)
  • Attack on Titan Vol. 15 by Hajime Isayama (5/5 strawberries)
For the most part, compared to other weeks, this week hasn't been too bad. Work is going well, I have practically all of my gift shopping done (all that remains needs to be baked), and I have been making good progress on my reading! The house is turned out and I have grand plans for Christmas.

Things were kind of thrown off track when my parents had to make an impromptu visit to our relatives for family matters, but we're making the most of it anyway. The weather hasn't allowed for many plans the way it is. I don't know about where you all are at, but in my area of the world, it's raining and blowing and thundering - yes, thundering - like the Great Flood has come again. For some people down in the valley (I'm on a hill), flooding is a real issue already. It makes a person just want to stay indoors and read with a cup of hot chocolate or tea.

In good news, though: my finals are done. I only had one, and I did 4 projects in 40 minutes flat. We technically had 2 hours, but I was on a time crunch. I needed to leave for work, so I had to get done in 1 hour flat. What do you know - I did it and I got 100% to boot. Yay me!

This coming week is promising to be busy, but quiet as well. I'm getting together with friends to bake a LOT of gingerbread, I have to start watching Christmas movies (there's a rather long list), and I have to think about the Christmas dinner menu. But other than that, it shouldn't be too busy!

Keep reading, my friends!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Worlds of Ink and Shadow

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.
It's a weekly meme about upcoming books we're excited about!



Worlds of Ink and Shadow
by Lena Coakley
Publication Date: January 5, 2016

From Goodreads:

Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne. The Bronte siblings have always been inseparable. After all, nothing can bond four siblings quite like life in an isolated parsonage out on the moors. Their vivid imaginations lend them escape from their strict upbringing, actually transporting them into their created worlds: the glittering Verdopolis and the romantic and melancholy Gondal. But at what price? As Branwell begins to slip into madness and the sisters feel their real lives slipping away, they must weigh the cost of their powerful imaginations, even as their characters - the brooding Rogue and the dashing Duke of Zamorna - refuse to let them go.

Why I'm Excited

- Ever since reading Lena Coakley's other book Witchlanders, I have been dying for her to write more books. Her style is so beautiful and her worlds and characters captivating. I want more!!
- I have an obsession with stories involving people who are sucked into fictitious worlds.
- It has to do with the Brontes!! Why wouldn't I be excited?!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Top 10 New-To-Me Authors of 2015



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


Top 10 New-To-Me Favorite Authors I Read For The First Time In 2015. Actually, it's a rather short list. This year was spent reading new releases of authors I already knew! Unless we count manga authors, and I'm not going to.

  1.  Livia Blackburne (Midnight Thief): I loved this book the moment I heard about it, and fell even more in love when I finally read it. Such a good beginning to a new fantasy series that I can't wait to keep on reading.
  2. Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen): Another brilliant beginning to a new brilliant fantasy series that kept me engaged from beginning to end.
  3. Danielle Paige (Dorothy Must Die): Everyone on here should know by now how much I hate the Oz series. And how much I appreciate the dark, twisted version that appears in this series. Love it so much!
  4. Cassandra Rose Clarke (The Assassin's Curse): This was a series I had been meaning to start for a long time, and then finally just buckled down and did it. And oh my gosh, am I glad I did. I wish Cassandra Rose Clarke had written more!!
  5. Lou Anders (Frostborn): A debut Middle Grade author with a fantasy series that was one of the best MG fantasy series I've read in a long time. Can't wait to see what he brings next.
  6. Sarah Dessen (Saint Anything): I read my very first Sarah Dessen novel this year, and while I don't think I'm going to love any of her other books as much as I did Saint Anything, that book alone puts her on my top 10 new-to-me authors list. That book spoke so thoroughly to my soul, and it came during a time when I needed it the most.
  7. Sara Raasch (Snow Like Ashes): There's a reoccurring theme! Fantasy authors! I read a LOT of fantasy this year. While it had flaws, I overall loved Sara Raasch's writing and world building and characters.
  8. Heather Brewer (The Cemetery Boys): Can't even begin to tell you how much I enjoyed this short creepy thriller.
  9. Sabaa Tahir (An Ember in the Ashes): Yeah, I had some issues with Sabaa Tahir's debut fantasy novel. But I greatly appreciated the honest, realistic brutality of the world she created, and the plot was immensely interesting. I'll always read what she writes.
  10. Laura Ruby (Bone Gap): A loose retelling of the Persephone legend - magic realism. Loved it so much!

And just for the fun of it, here are some of my top favorite manga-ists! Since I got into it this year, it seems only right to list them.

  1. Hajime Isayama (Attack on Titan): Definitely at the top. I've loved all of the manga I've read so far, but Attack on Titan is still at the top.
  2. Yana Toboso (Black Butler): The era, the artwork, the story, the characters, the historical detail - love it all.
  3. Shinobu Ohtaka (Magi): I've been on a real kick for Arabian Nights retellings, and for some reason this series takes me back to feeling like a kid. Must be all of the treasure and adventure.
  4. Natsuki Takaya (Fruits Basket): This series just makes me feel happy.

Monday, December 7, 2015

2015 TBR Update #10

So it's been a (long) while since I've done one of these updates, but I'm going to try and do them on Mondays on a regular basis. Not only so you can stay up to date on my reading challenges, but also my TBR progress for the months.

So my December TBR has 9 official books. Out of those, I have completed 0 this week.

I have 8 left to read:
  • The Many Lives of John Stone by Linda Buckley-Archer
  • A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
  • The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling
  • Winter by Marissa Meyer
  • The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan
  • Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty
  • Anne & Henry by Dawn Ius
I have also read:
  • Attack on Titan Vol. 13 by Hajime Isayama (5/5 strawberries)
  • No. 6 Vol. 3 by Atsuko Asano (4/5 strawberries)
  • Pandora Hearts Vol. 1 by Jun Mochizuki (4/5 strawberries)
I am currently reading 4 books:
  • The Many Lives of John Stone by Linda Buckley-Archer
  • A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
  • Byzantium by Stephen R. Lawhead
  • Pandora Hearts Vol. 2 by Jun Mochizuki
I have caught up on 0 series, and I have started 0 new series/trilogies/duologie.

For my 2015 Reading Challenge, I have completed 24 items:
  • A book with more than 500 pages: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
  • A book that became a movie: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
  • A book published this year: Firefight by Brandon Sanderson
  • A book by a female author: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
  • A mystery or thriller: Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz
  • A book with a one-word title Ticker by Lisa Mantchev
  • A book from an author you love that you haven't read yet: Slaves of Socorro by John Flanagan
  • A book based on a true story: Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz
  • A book at the bottom of your to-read list: The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
  • A book based entirely on its cover: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
  • A book you can finish in a day: Beneath the Stone Forest by Jordan Quinn
  • A book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit: A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
  • A book set in high school: Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
  • A book with magic: Thursdays with the Crown by Jessica Day George
  • A book by an author you've never read before: Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne
  • A book you own but have never read: Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
  • A book with bad reviews: Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernen
  • A graphic novel: Locke & Key Volume 1: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez
  • A book that made you cry: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
  • A classic romance: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  • A book you started but never finished: Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken
  • A book set in the future: The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
I have 12 planned reads that I have yet to complete:
  • A book of short stories: Clockwork Fairy Tales by Various Authors
  • A book with a number in the title: Survival Colony 9 by Joshua David Bellin
  • A book written by someone under 30: Wolfsblood by Hazel West
  • A book with nonhuman characters: The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail by Richard Peck
  • A book set in a different country: Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
  • A nonfiction book: Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand
  • A book a friend recommended: Impossible by Nancy Werlin
  • A trilogy: Delirium, Pandemonium, Requiem by Lauren Oliver
  • A book that was originally written in a different language: Dream a Little Dream by Kerstin Gier
  • A popular author's first book: The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver
  • A book that scares you: Asylum by Madeleine Roux 
  • A book based on or turned into a TV show: A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
I have 15 categories to still plan and complete:
  • A book your mom loves
  • A book more than 100 years old
  • A book you were supposed to read in school but didn't
  • A memoir
  • A book with antonyms in the title
  • A book that came out the year you were born
  • A book from your childhood
  • A book with a love triangle
  • A book with a color in the title
  • A book that takes place in your hometown
  • A book set during Christmas
  • A book written by an author with your same initials
  • A play
  • A banned book
  • A book that won a prize:

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Hedgehog Life: 11.30.15 - 12.6.15


Hello! Wow, my sixth post in a week! I think I'm finally getting back into blogging for good this time! Now I just need my idiotic camera to cooperate so I can film things!

This Week I Read:
  • Attack on Titan Vol. 13 by Hajime Isayama (5/5 strawberries)
  • No. 6 Vol. 3 by Atsuko Asano (4/5 strawberries)
  • Pandora Hears Vol. 1 by Jun Mochizuki (4/5 strawberries)
This week has been pretty relaxed, compared to past weeks. My new bed came in, so now I can actually get some sleep for once in my life! I went to a Christmas gift show with a friend on Thursday and got half of my Christmas shopping done. Then some other friends and I went and saw Rifftrax Live: Santa Claus and the Ice Cream Bunny later that night. A special kind of awful.

On the reading front, I'm still clicking away at The Many Lives of John Stone by Linda Buckley-Archer. Such a good book. Because my life is so busy, 400+ paged books take me a little longer than usual to get through. Plus I've been distracted by Pandora Hearts, and now that my sister is back from her travels, we've been re-watching Attack on Titan and continuing with Last Exile. I also treated myself to two of Miyazaki's films the other night instead of reading: Castle in the Sky and Princess Mononoke. I feel like I missed out in my childhood having never seen a Miyazaki film until now.

This coming week shouldn't be too crazy. I start up a new series of dance classes tonight, and we are getting our Christmas tree! A friend and I are planning an indulgent trip to Barnes & Noble (because we can!), and hopefully I'll be heading to Powell's City of Books soon to put in my Christmas order.

Keep reading, my friends!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

ARC Review: The Watchmen of Port Fayt - Conrad Mason

The Watchmen of Port Fayt by Conrad Mason
Series: Tales of Fayt #1
Genre: Middle Grade, fantasy
Published on August 25, 2015
Published by David Fickling Books
Pages: 400
Read From: 11.22.15 - 11.28.15












SYNOPSIS
Captain Newton and his men have always protected Port Fayt - a place where humans live in peace alongside trolls, elves, and fairies. But now Fayt is under threat from a much more powerful enemy - the Leave of Light, a group out to destroy all non-humans. 

Half-goblin boy Joseph Grubb has only ever heard stories of Captain Newton and the Demon's Watch. Fed up of working at his uncle's tavern, Grubb dreams of escape - until a whirlwind encounter with a smuggler plunges him into Fayt's criminal underworld. There he meets the watchmen and learns of their mission to save the port. Can Grubb and his new allies uncover the dark plot in time, or will they end up as fish food in Harry's Shark Pit?

Review


Dear Watchmen of Port Fayt,

Being as I am currently addicted to Middle Grade fantasy novels, there was no way I was going to pass you up. Especially since you had a 1700's-esque feel and promised a lot of adventure. Plus, how cool does the Demon's Watch sound?! So it was with high expectations I began you. . . .

Joseph Grubb lives in a place called Port Fayt, where non-human creatures such as trolls and fairies have left the Old World to live in peace with each other and humans. Even so, people aren't too fond of mongrels like Grubb - half human, half non-human (in Grubb's case, half goblin). He's been working at his uncle's tavern ever since his parents died, but Grubb longs for something more; something better. So when a smuggler stumbles into the Legless Mermaid one night and brings with him a mysterious item that a witch, pirates, the Demon's Watch, and a strange man with golden eyes are all after, Grubb gets his wish. Soon he's swept away into a marvelous adventure that he might not survive.

My first thought? This is "Treasure Island" with fairies! And indeed, your opening scene with the tavern, a pirate/smuggler captain being chased by other pirates, and a mysterious item is very reminiscent of R. L. Stevenson's best-loved work. It sets up the feel for the rest of the book, for while the plot definitely departs from a Treasure Island-esque setup, it still has a swashbuckling, 1700's-style adventure - complete with pirates, backstabbing, underhand deals, and tavern fights. But amid all of it are fairies, trolls, goblins, elves, dwarves, merfolk, witches, and everything else you find in a typical fantasy novel. It makes for a refreshingly new feel.

It's hard to not instantly love Grubb - our "Jim Hawkins" for the novel (I doubt R. L. Stevenson ever imagined Hawkins as being half-goblin!). He's just a kid in bad circumstances due to his heritage. He's surrounded by customers constantly talking about adventure, but he can't escape his abusive uncle. Still, Grubb does his best at the tavern. And when adventure comes knocking, Grubb is literally swept along due to no real fault of his own (though, really, maybe he shouldn't have stolen the item? But I have a hard time blaming that on him, as his intentions were good and then instinct took over, and he was right in both accounts).

I loved Tabitha, too, a blue-haired, knife-throwing member of the Demon's Watch with a tragic past and something to prove. She's a tough girl, but sometimes way too reckless and I did get annoyed at her from time to time because of that. I began to understand why Newton, the leader of the Demon's Watch and sort of like a father figure to not only Tabitha, but all of the young members of his team, didn't entirely trust her to handle more important duties.

The side characters - Jeb the Snitch; Slik a double-crossing, bad-tempered fairy; Governor Wyrmwood; Captain Derringer of the Dockside Militia; the mysterious ginger-haired stranger with the golden eyes (my favorite side character) - were all vividly imagined and fully present when on the page. The pirates and smugglers were cliche, but I didn't mind too much.

As for your plot, Watchmen of Port Fayt, it was a rollicking good adventure that never slowed down, had hair-raising turn after hair-raising turn, some fairly surprising twists, and was all in all a lot of fun. I was intrigued by your world and want to know more about the founding of Port Fayt and the world the people came from. You ended with a strong lead into the next book, with the impending threat of the League of the Light coming to eradicate all of the non-humans from Port Fayt.

Feeling excited for the next installment,
~ Mara A. ~

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Frozen Tides

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.
It's a weekly meme about upcoming books we're excited about!



by Morgan Rhodes
(Falling Kingdoms #4
Publication Date: December 15, 2015

From Goodreads:
Rebels, royals, and monsters wage war over the Mytican throne in the shocking fourth book of the Falling Kingdoms series, from New York Times bestselling author Morgan Rhodes.

CLEO: Reeling after a bloody showdown in Limeros ending with Amara's abduction of the water crystal, and a vacancy in the Mytican throne, Princess Cleo must cast aside her feelings and look toward her kingdom with the eyes of a Queen.

MAGNUS: With the kingdom in chaos, Princess Lucia still missing and quite possibly in danger, and a shocking realization about Cleo, the steely prince is once agains torn between love and duty, leaving him wondering whether he's strong enough to rule his people.

LUCIA: The young sorceress has had her vengeance after the cruel death of her first and only love. Heartbroken and unable to trust anyone, she allies with the awoken Fire god, who also seeks revenge.

JONAS: After escaping death by the skin of his teeth, the defeated rebel leader - along with a mysterious stranger - reunites with Princess Cleo, only to find himself a mere pawn in a dangerous hunt for the elusive Kindred.

KING GAIUS: Abandoned by Melenia and betrayed by his own children, Gaius flees Mytica and sails to Kraeshia, where he attempts to ally with the famously brutal emperor across the Silver Sea.

Why I'm Excited

- I love this series so freaking much. Even though I have mixed feelings about practically every single character, there's no denying that they're complex and intriguing. Plus the plot and world are pure awesome.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Top 10 2016 Debut Novels I'm Looking Forward To

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

Top Ten 2016 Debut Novels I'm Looking Forward To. Since I've been totally out of touch with the book world in recent months, I haven't been paying attention to debuts. So I'm gonna list 2016 new releases I'm looking forward to!

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