Category Archives: Updates

BookTube-a-Thon 2016: TBR

I’m back for BookTube-a-Thon with my tentative TBR. It’s mostly tentative because I’m not sure how well I’ll be able to stick to it. I tend to read with my moods, so I’ve never been great at following a set list. With that in mind I’m giving myself flexibility and a LOT of leeway.

Without further ado, here are my plans for each of the reading challenges.

Read a book with yellow on the cover:

   Miss Mayhem (Rebel Belle, #2)

I have two in mind for this one, depending on how ambitious I’m feeling. Miss Mayhem is the second book in Rachel Hawkins’ Rebel Belle series, and I’ve been listening to the audio version. Finishing this will be totally dependent on how much time I can dedicate to  working around the house. Summer Days and Summer Nights is an anthology of short stories, and I might give myself a pass and count this one complete if I finish at least one of them. (I know, it’s cheating…)

Read a book only after sunset:

Saga, Volume 1

The sun sets late in Seattle this time of year (around 9pm), and I’m usually in bed by 10, so I’ll be going quick-and-easy with this challenge. I’ve been meaning to read Saga for a while, and Volume 1 is one of my book club picks for the month, so now is the time!

Read a book you discovered through BookTube:

Ivory and Bone

I was completely sold on picking up Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh after watching a few of Trina’s videos on her BookTube channel, Between Chapters. I had never heard of it before, and her reviews easily convinced me that it was worth a read. To sum it up VERY briefly (and not having read it yet), it has a unique 2nd person narrative and is a prehistoric fantasy retelling of Pride and Prejudice.

Read a book by one of your favorite authors:

Reliquary (Reliquary, #1)  Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #2)  

This one should be easy, but it’s actually really hard for me to pin down. I tend to store up a bunch of books from favorite authors so that I can pull one out when I need help out of a reading slump, or when I just can’t figure out what I’m in the mood for. These are just a few of many that I might choose from: Reliquary by Sarah Fine, Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor, and Status Update by Annabeth Albert.

Read a book that is older than you:

Howl's Moving Castle (Howl's Moving Castle, #1)

I’ve been meaning to read Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones for a couple years now, and this is the perfect excuse! I love the movie adaptation, and I already have a copy of the book.

Read and watch a book-to-movie adaptation:

    Howl's Moving Castle (Howl's Moving Castle, #1)

I have a few ideas for this one, each of which is cheating just a little bit. The first is to finish my re-read of the Illustrated Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (began several months ago). The second is to watch the movie adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (read for book club in February). Lastly, if I need to, I’m happy to watch and count Howl’s Moving Castle for this one, too.

Read seven books: This is the challenge I think I am least likely to complete. I have read this much before, but not often, and never on command. If I do manage to finish, it won’t be following a set TBR. We’ll see how it goes!

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Are any of you guys participating in BookTube-a-Thon this year? Let me know so I can follow your progress!

 

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BookTube-A-Thon 2016 (And Welcome Back!)

Hello everyone 🙂 It’s been so long since I’ve posted, but I’m still here, and I’m still reading. School and life got away from me, so I took a break from blogging and reviewing my reads. I’m back today, though, because of BookTube-A-Thon.

I don’t have my own BookTube channel, but I’m an avid BT watcher, and all of the BookTube-A-Thon TBR videos got me really excited to join in the reading. I’ve never actively participated in a read-a-thon before, so I’m not sure how closely I’ll be able to follow a set TBR. I’m going to give it a shot, though!

Okay, here are the details for anyone else interested in jumping aboard:

When: Now! July 18-24, 2016 (12am on the 18th – 11:59pm on the 24th)

Reading Challenges:

  • Read a book with yellow on the cover.
  • Read a book only after sunset.
  • Read a book you discovered through BookTube.
  • Read a book by one of your favorite authors.
  • Read a book that is older than you.
  • Read and watch a book-to-movie adaptation.
  • Read seven books.

More Info: There will be a lot more going on, like video challenges, Twitter sprints, and Instagram posts. For all of the details on those, checkout the official YouTube channel!

My main focus is just going to be on reading and enjoying everyone’s awesome video posts. If I’m feeling really ambitious, I might join in on some of the Instagram activities (@AmorousReads).

Stay tuned for a post on my TBR, and if you’re participating, too, let me know, especially if you’ll be blogging, vlogging, or photographing the experience!

My Weekend Read

I’ve been in a general reading slump for the past couple weeks, but despite that, my weekend reading has actually been going really well! For the last two weekends, I’ve picked a book on Friday with the goal of reading it cover-to-cover over the weekend (because who doesn’t need one more excuse to read instead of study?)

Since this has worked out really well for me, I figured why not post about it? It also seems like a great way to get recommendations if you guys join in the fun! So keeping that in mind, here are the things I’m going to include in the post (and the things I’d love to know from those of you who also have weekend reads):

  • Which book is your weekend read?
  • What is the first sentence or synopsis?
  • Where did you first hear about it?/What convinced you to pick it up?
  • What format will you be reading in (hardcover, paperback, e-reader)?

Or you could go the TLDR route and just share what you’re currently reading 🙂

If you write up your own post, please just include a link back to Amorous Reads, and leave a link in the comments here so that others can find your post, too. I’m sure I’m not the only one who wants to know what you’re reading 😀

I’ll be posting occasional updates on my instagram and twitter accounts  (@amorousreads), so feel free to check in there, too!

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Now that the logistics are out of the way, here’s my first official weekend read:

These Shallow Graves
These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

The first few sentences:

Josephine Montfort stared at the newly mounded grave in front of her and at the wooden cross marking it.

“This is the one you’re after. Kinch,” Flynn, the gravedigger, said, pointing at the name painted on the cross. “He died on Tuesday.”

I first saw this book on another blogger’s Top Ten Tuesday post last autumn – I wish I could remember which blog. The cover immediately caught my eye, and I’ve seen a lot of positive reviews since then, so I’m really excited to be giving it a go. I was lucky enough to find a used hardcover copy in pristine condition at my local bookstore, so that’s the one I’ll be reading.

What is your weekend read? I am always in need of recommendations, after all 😉

2016 Goals & Challenges

Now that I’ve looked back at 2015, it’s time to plan ahead for this year!

I don’t want to go too crazy with goals and challenges because I’d hate for reading to become a chore, but some have caught my eye. A couple are organized book challenges, and some are just personal goals I’d like to achieve.

Challenges:

  1. Goodreads Challenge: 100 Books – If my 2016 is anything like my 2015, this number is going to go up. I’m starting out lower, though, to give myself a little more wiggle room. I track all of my new reads on Goodreads anyway, so this one’s a no-brainer for me.
  2. PopSugar Challenge: I’ve seen a couple of other bloggers/vloggers who are doing this one, and it seems like a great, low key way to expand your reading horizons. My plan with this one is to keep track of which boxes I’m checking, and to use it as inspiration when I need helping choosing my next book. For more info, checkout my progress page.

Personal Goals: Finish (or catch up on) the following series:

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)  Poison Study (Study, #1)  Soulless (Parasol Protectorate, #1)

  1. Throne of Glass – I’ve only read book one so far, and it’s time to catch up!
  2. Poison Study – Finish the original trilogy. I’ve had Magic Study on the top of my TBR list for months.
  3. Parasol Protectorate – I own the entire series, but I stopped after book two because I was so grumpy at Lord Maccon. Time to pick up book three and get some resolution!

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That’s pretty much it for my 2016 reading goals. What are some of your hopes and plans for the new year?

2015 Wrap Up

I was contemplating ways to write a 2015 Wrap Up post when I stumbled upon the 2015 End of Year Book Survey over at The Perpetual Page Turner. (Thanks to The Petite Book Blogger and The Worn Bookmark, whose posts led me there!) I didn’t quite answer all of the recommended questions, but this still seems like a great way to wrap up the year, so here goes! (All book covers link to the corresponding Goodreads pages.)

Number Of Books You Read: 144
Number of Re-Reads: 4
Genre You Read The Most From: Paranormal/Fantasy

My 2015 Top Five Books:

The Kraken King (Iron Seas, #4)  Uprooted  Carry On  Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda  After the End (After the End, #1)

The Kraken King by Meljean Brook
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
After the End duology by Amy Plum

Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)

I was so excited about The Lunar Chronicles when I first picked up Cinder. As it turned out, though, I didn’t like it nearly as much as I hoped I would.

Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

Darkness Dawns (Immortal Guardians, #1)

This book was a pleasant and very welcome surprise. Where I was expecting the stereotypical “immortal warrior” alpha male trope, I found a version that retained the power and prowess without the need to be a controlling jackass.

Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

Carry On

Because it’s just so fantastic 😀

Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015?

After the End (After the End, #1)  Until the Beginning (After the End, #2)

I started so many great series this year, but for this one I’m going to go with a completed one that I started and finished in 2015. I adored Amy Plum’s After the End duology, and Until the Beginning was a perfect conclusion. Thank goodness I didn’t start the series until this year, or I might have died from cliffhanger suspense…

Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?

So, so many! Here are a bunch of them: Jeaniene Frost, Laura Kaye, Sarah J. Maas, Rainbow Rowell, Rachel Aaron, Meljean Brook, Georgette Heyer, Dianne Duvall, Marie Brennan, Stephanie Perkins, Naomi Novik, and probably a few more that are eluding me at the moment.

Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Silver Lining

I have to admit, I only read this as a book club pick. I was expecting to hate it, and there were certainly aspects I didn’t enjoy, but it was amusing enough that I ended up laughing my way through. In the end, I enjoyed it for what it was, despite the fact that I probably won’t be revisiting the genre any time soon.

Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Carry On  Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Because I just can’t get enough of these.

Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)  A Natural History of Dragons (Memoir by Lady Trent, #1)

One for beauty and badassery, and one for my inner biologist.

Most memorable character of 2015?

Too many – there’s no way I could just choose one, or even five!

Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read? 

Fangirl

Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?

There are WAY too many to choose! Check out my Top Ten Tuesday post on the subject to see my top ten.

Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?

Assassin Study (Study, #1.5)
Shortest: 15 pages
Assassin Study by Maria V. Snyder (A companion short in the Poison Study series)

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3)
Longest: 550 pages
Cress by Marissa Meyer

 Book That Shocked You The Most

Fangirl

Because of the scene that made my heart stop (no spoilers). I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised, it is a contemporary romance, after all – but I just didn’t see it coming!!

Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Uprooted

Agnieszka and Kasia, hands down…

Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

After the End (After the End, #1)

I’d already read Plum’s Revenants trilogy.

Best 2015 debut you read?

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1)  Uprooted  Splintered (Splintered, #1)

I had to include a few because these were all so stunning:

Daughter of Smoke & Bone: Prague through the eyes of angels and demons
Uprooted: A magical fantasy land infused with a corrupted wood
Splintered: Beautiful and terrifying Wonderland

Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Carry On

I’m STILL smiling about it 😀

Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

I’ve loved participating in the Broke and Bookish Top Ten Tuesday posts. Participating is a ton of fun, and always leads to me growing my TBR list.

Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015?

My blog is still less than one year old, so getting my first comment and being nominated for my first peer blog award were big moments for me. It might not seem like much, but it was such a great feeling 🙂

Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

My biggest challenge with blogging in 2015 was keeping up with reviews during the school term. The Minute Reviews help by providing a quick format for mini reviews, and hopefully they will continue to do so.

Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds. Gotta love Top Ten Tuesday 🙂

Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

This is the year I discovered the joys of both Netgalley and BookBub. So many books, so little time…

Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

My only goals going into 2015 were to read as much as possible and to catch up on some of the authors/series that are often highly recommended. Happily, I feel great about my progress! I reached my Goodreads goal of 125 books, and I fell in love with a bunch of new books.

One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016?

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2)  Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3)  Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4)

Not quite a Number 1 Priority, but I definitely want to catch up on this series. I read Throne of Glass this year and loved it, but have yet to read the rest of the released books.

Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)?

In The Labyrinth of Drakes (Memoir by Lady Trent, #4)

This will be the fourth book in Marie Brennan’s Memoir by Lady Trent series. (Release Date: 4/5/2015)

2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

The Glittering Court (The Glittering Court, #1)

I’m super excited about Richelle Mead’s new series debut 😀 (Release Date: 4/5/2015)

A 2016 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

Love in the Light (Hearts in Darkness, #2)

I haven’t read it yet, but I have the ARC in hand and will be reading it this week. This is the sequel to my favorite novella to date, Hearts in Darkness. (Release Date: 1/12/2016)

***

And that’s it for my wrap up! What are some of your favorites from this year? If you have your own wrap up post, link it in the comments and help me grow my TBR 😉

An Adventure at Amazon Books

2015-12-29 12.27.00  2015-12-29 12.22.44

On a recent overcast Seattle morning, I decided to gather up my Christmas gift cards and make my way over to University Village, the shopping center that is home to Amazon Books. This is, as far as I know, the only physical Amazon.com store. Imagine the love child of the Apple Store and a Barnes & Noble bookstore. THAT is Amazon Books. I browsed the small store for almost an hour, asked a bunch of questions (thank you, friendly staff!), and now I’m here to share my experience with you.

The Pros:

  • This is a beautiful store! (It’s probably the abundance of books…)
  • Integration: The store is wonderfully integrated with the rest of Amazon. At checkout, I was able to use the gift card balance that was already associated with my account to make my purchases, no physical card required.
  • Pricing: The prices are amazing! Everything is priced exactly as it would be online, which makes for wonderfully inexpensive books. When I was there, a hardcover copy of Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas was $11.58. It’s hard to beat that.
  • Browsing: As far as finding books goes, browsing is where this store most excels. They have tons of themed shelves, like, “100 Books to Read Before You Die,” “Goodreads Choice Award Winners,” “All Rated Above 4.8 Stars,” and many more. This makes it easy to find an intriguing shelf and grow your TBR pile.
  • Cover Orientation: The vast majority of books on display are shelved cover out, which makes for beautiful shelves and quick cover recognition.
  • Review Cards: Each displayed book has a little review card associated with it, like the ones you see in a wine shop. They contain little excerpts from reviews or blurbs about each book, as well as an online star rating.
  • Gadgets: If you are curious about any of the Amazon media gadgets, this is a great place to check them out. Just like at an Apple Store, there are several tables dedicated to this and several employees wandering the store. (I got to see the Echo in action with, “Alexa, dim the lamp.”)
  • Assistance: All three of the employees I bugged were very helpful and friendly. Best of all, they were able to look up which books they had in stock and exactly where they were located.

The Cons:

  • Cover Orientation: The flip side of the face-out cover orientation is that there is far less space available, so the browsing selection is limited. This also gives rise to the next con, narrow aisles.
  • Narrow Aisles: I’m assuming this was done in an attempt to maximize displayable stock, but the aisles are very narrow. Fortunately, they are also short, so there is still some maneuver room. It was difficult to browse slowly when others were sharing the same aisle. I kept thinking of how crazy it must have been just before Christmas, and vowed never to go on a typical shopping day.
  • Targeted Book Searching: While the aisle themes are good for browsing, they have the opposite effect on searching for specific books. Because of the small aisles, limited space, and abundance of themed shelves, authors and series are spread out throughout the store. If you’re looking for a specific book, especially if it was released more than a year ago, save some time and ask an employee to help you out.

The Bottom Line:  If you’re lucky enough to live in the area, I would definitely recommend checking it out, regardless of your reading habits. I also recommend going in the morning, as it can get pretty crowded and the aisles are narrow enough to cause browsing traffic jams. I went in with a mental list of a bunch of books I’d be happy to take home, but I quickly realized it would be a better idea to buy most of them online and pick up a couple of newly discovered books instead. (I wasn’t kidding when I said it was great for browsing – it took me all of two seconds to decide which books I wanted to try out.)

In the end, I went home with three new books: Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda (because it’s on my 2015 top 5 list), The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg (TBR), and Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson (TBR).

Seven Days of Midwinter: An Urban Fantasy Giveaway

There’s another book event happening on Facebook! It’s run by the same folks who set up Thirteen Days of Halloween in October.

What is it? It’s a week-long Facebook event open to everyone from now until December 20th. Seven Days of Midwinter is being hosted by a bunch of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance authors, and it’s a great way to find some new favorites! (As far as I can tell, the list includes authors of YA, New Adult, and Adult.) This event is full of fellow readers, authors, and TONS of free stuff.

I’m sorry, did you say free stuff? Yes! There are drawings for all kinds of goodies (books, gift cards, candy, Kindle Fires, etc.) as well as lots and lots of books that are free for everyone for the duration of the event. Each day has a different line-up of author giveaways (the list is posted on top of the main event page). There is also a “Free Book” post with links to each author’s Goodreads and Amazon pages, as well as links for any books they may be featuring.

Happy Book Hunting and Happy Holidays!