Review: Priceless (Rylee Adamson #1)

Priceless (Rylee Adamson #1)
By: Shannon Mayer
Website: http://www.shannonmayer.com/
Release Date: November 11, 2012
Publisher: HiJinks Ink Publishing
Series: Rylee Adamson Series
Rating:


Another series, another loose cannon Private Investigator with supernatural abilities. Despite how much this sounds like the Dresden files (and some of the blatant similarities) I found myself able to look past it and enjoy the first book the series.

Review: Changes (The Dresden Files #12)

Changes (The Dresden Files #12)
By: Jim Butcher
Website: http://www.jim-butcher.com/
Release Date: April 6th, 2010
Publisher: Roc Books
Series: The Dresden Files
Rating:


Twelve books in. If you’re this far then let’s be clear, this title, more than any other in the series so far, is very fitting. This is the first book in the series that I will not be calling a “Throwback” as, well it was published and 2010 so, technically within the last decade. (Weirdly enough, when I think ten years ago I think of the late 1990s/early 2000s…anyone else?) 

Throwback Thursday: Special Edition- Tome Topple!

The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time #1)
By: Robert Jordna
Release Date: January 15th, 1990
Publisher: Tor Books
Series: The Wheel of Time Series
Rating:


It lives! It, being my computer. And me, I suppose. Guess what everyone? I’ve broken out of my reading slump! Just in time for Tome Topple and to begin The Wheel of Time Series! You know what else is exciting? Absolutely nothing because I don’t have time to read or do things beyond work, eat, gym and sleep. (If you question this statement know I’m writing this review, on my phone, which has 25% battery while on a cramped commuter train.) Nevertheless, me whining about adulthood aside, shall we delve into one of the most loved fantasy series of all time? Let’s!

Bookworm Problems: No Time To Read

Second to reading slumps and something I am struggling with greatly currently is one of my biggest frustrations as a bookworm; having no time to read!

Working full time (along with spending roughly two and a half hours commuting) severely limits my time to read during the work week. I come home and am exhausted from both the commute and the work day which leads me following the same pattern every night: eat dinner, shower, lay out clothes for tomorrow and fall asleep. Sure, some nights I manage to watch a little television or get a little reading in but most of the time I’m worn out from the second I walk in the door and the only solution is to sleep.

While my commute is on public transportation (aka I’m not driving the whole way) it’s not always so easy to pull out a book and read comfortably. Cramped seats, people with huge bags in your face and then there are the inevitable days where it is pouring rain and I refuse to risk bringing a precious book anywhere near water.

SO, what is a bookworm to do? Find ways around the struggle of course.

Using both my Kindle and Nook apps on my phone I manage to get some reading in, more comfortably, on my commute and without risking damage to my books. I give myself at least fifteen minutes of reading time at night (with an alarm) so that I don’t stay up all night reading. And, yes, there are days that I do carry a book along with me on my commute.

Weekends are often spent with my books, forgoing social plans (sorry to all my friends) so that I can actually enjoy some me time, some down time and more importantly some reading time. Mental health days/ sick days/ vacation days are often spent with a book in my hands. At the end of the day, or the start of my first day back to work,  I relive my time spent with characters and other lands and it is the only thing that gets me through my day.

How do all of you fit in your reading time? Let us know in the comments below!

Throwback Thursday: Turn Coat (The Dresden Files #11)

Turn Coat (The Dresden Files #11)
By: Jim Butcher
Website: http://www.jim-butcher.com/
Release Date: April 17, 2009
Publisher: Roc Books
Series: The Dresden Files
Rating:


So, here we are, eleven books into the Dresden Files series. If you’re here, wondering if you should read this installment of the series, I’ll repeat myself from reviews past. Are you really going to give up on Harry Dresden now? Also, as a fun side note, this book is the last one I will be calling a “Throwback” as it’s currently 2017 and this was published in 2009. The book after this, Changes was published in 2010 and for me, that’s not as much of a throwback as the first eleven books in this series. 

Throwback Thursday: Small Favor (The Dresden Files #10)

Small Favor (The Dresden Files #10)
By: Jim Butcher
Website: http://www.jim-butcher.com/
Release Date: April 1st, 2008
Publisher: Roc Books
Series: The Dresden Files
Rating:


It seems that Jim Butcher felt we were long overdue for some time with with the fairies as we see Queen Mab come back into Harry’s life and demand one of her favors from Harry. It also appears that we were overdue for some involvement from Gentleman John Marcone as the plot of this book is brought on by his capture.

Review: Siege and Storm (The Grisha, #2)

Seige and Storm (The Grisha, #2)
By: Leigh Bardugo
Website: http://www.leighbardugo.com/index1.html
Release Date: June 4th, 2013
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Series: The Grisha Series
Rating:


I returned to the Grisha series with high hopes and while I liked book two more than book one it was only barely more. Siege and Storm offers a lot to the series but still it was one of those books I liked, not loved. Nonetheless, as I always do, I will finish the series and pick up book three sometime soon and I’m hoping all of my little issues with the story are solved by then because I love this premise and these characters but something, I don’t know what is lacking here for me. Hopefully my brain can sort it out.

Throwback Thursday: Proven Guilty (The Dresden Files #8)

Proven Guilty (The Dresden Files #8)
By: Jim Butcher
Website: http://www.jim-butcher.com/
Release Date: February 6th, 2007
Publisher: Roc Books
Series: The Dresden Files
Rating:


Here’s the thing. If you’re reading a review for book number eight in a series you’re either already hooked (like me) or you’re uncertain about going forward. Either way you’ve made it more than halfway through the series (as it currently stands at 15 books) so, really, are you going to quit on Harry Dresden now? Your choice.

Bookworm Problems: Reading Slumps


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Release Date:
Publisher:
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It’s perhaps one of the worst things that can happen to a bookworm. A reading slump.

For the last month or so I’ve been stuck in a pretty bad slump. I have many books on my to be read pile which, is taller than me, and I want to read them. I really want to. When I sit down to do just that, what happens? Nothing. I can’t focus. I can’t get into the story. Take away the usual challenges us bookworms face (unable to get comfortable, bad lighting, etc) and multiple those things and their frustration by a thousand and you will have entered the frustration of a reading slump.

So, below are some ways I’ve found that help break out of a reading slump. While none of these are fool proof and my slump isn’t over yet let me tell you I’m much more ready to settle in with a good book now than I was this past weekend when I resorted to doing nearly all of these things.

  1. Switch Genres
    This one is simple. If you’ve been reading about witches and wizards but can’t get into the next fantasy series or part of a current series take a break! I know for me this is difficult, especially if happens mid-series (I always feel obligated to read start to finish, no other books in between) but lately this is the trap I’ve fallen into. So, while I liked Leigh Bardugo’s first book in the Grisha Series, Shadow and Bone I had a hard time getting into it. The writing is good, the plot is interesting but I’d been so far into the fantasy realm lately that I didn’t recognize that I needed a break from it.
  2. Read something light
    Sometimes, if switching genres doesn’t work, I find reading a novella (whether from the same genre or different) will metaphorically wet my whistle and get me excited to read more ASAP. I found this particularly effective when reading the Selection Series by Kiera Cass. The novellas in between the books (The Prince, The Guard, The Queen and The Favorite) were exactly what I needed when I was in between the actual books and trying to get into the next one. Not only did they give a bit more about the characters from the main story but it made me even more intrigued by the main story line which, as an author, is exactly what you want readers to feel.
  3. Read reviews
    This is huge for me and sometimes this will make or break a slump. If I see someone raving about a new book my interest is piqued. When I see many people freaking out over the same? Well, the old adage of “How can X number of people be wrong?” stands true here. If I see a high average rating on GoodReads and a lot of in depth, fun reviews, I’m more likely to pick up that book and dive right in.
  4. Re-read an old favorite
    Sometimes you need to remember why you love reading. I mean, we all know it’s amazing and a great way to spend your time. However, when you’re in a slump you’re often discouraged about books and reading in general. In my case I feel guilty that I’m not reading with so many books on my pile (and reviews to write for this blog). So, sometimes you need to reset and go back. For me sometimes it’s Harry Potter. Other times I’ve gone way back and read The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton because I distinctly remember reading this book twice in one day.
  5. Switch up how you read
    Sometimes holding a physical book is part of the problem. If you can’t get comfortable you might give up. Try an e-reader. Try an audio book. Anyway to get the story in your mind and refocus on the love of storytelling  will sometimes be enough to snap you out of it.
  6. Get some recommendations
    Whether you go on GoodReads, ask a librarian, ask a bookstore associate or turn to a trusted friend (I’m looking at you, Kate) sometimes you just need someone to push a book in your hands and say “this one.” And, most of the time, those people are right.
  7. Watch a book based movie or show
    Whether you watch the 2016 movie Girl on the Train, the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, or any number of the books turned cable TV show (Pretty Little Liars, Recovery Road, Shadowhunters, etc) sometimes you just need the visual handed to you. I know plenty of people out there think like me and say “I can’t watch that until I read the book first.” Well, if you’re in a book slump, when exactly do you think you’ll get to the show or movie?
  8. Set the mood
    Mood is important. Have a reading chair or, in my case, nest. Have water, tea, coffee and snacks near by. Make sure the room you’re in is at a comfortable temperature. If you like it cold so you can be under a blanket while you read, open the window or lower the temperature in your home. If you like it warmer, sans blanket, dress warm and cozy or raise the temperature. Make sure the lighting is exactly how you like it.  Most importantly, don’t let other distractions enter your mind. Put your phone aside (or turn it on silent mode). Play soft music. Whatever you need to enjoy your much deserved down time.
  9. Focus on your goal
    If you’ve set a reading goal for the year (like I have) sometimes you need to remind yourself of that. And while you can’t force yourself out of a slump sometimes focusing on the goal can help. For me, despite my reading slump, I have promised myself to read for at least twenty minutes a day. Some days it’s a struggle and some days I’ve found myself reading well beyond those twenty minutes, if only to finish the chapter.
  10. Reorganize your shelves
    For me this is a last resort kind of thing. Generally that’s because I’m very…let’s call it particular, about how my shelves are organized. While I love the color coded shelves or genre specific shelves you see on Instagram and other social media platforms I just can’t bring myself to do it. For me, reorganizing generally means going through and pulling out the books I think I’ll want to read next, dusting off my shelves and enjoying my extremely tall to be read pile. While my friends and family are visibly concerned at such a pile, for me it is a physical representation of a challenge to myself. And I never turn down a reading challenge.

What are your tips for getting over a reading slump? Anything that always works for you? Let us know in the comments below!