Saturday, March 25, 2017

Top Five Winter Reads + Reading Stats


Hello friends,

First things first, I finally redesigned my blog!! I've been wanting to do this for awhile and I'm so happy with how it turned out. As you can see, I even renamed my blog. Thoughts? Thanks to the beautiful and wonderful Julia, I was able to get something on the blog that I really love and I'm super excited for this new look, so I'm really hoping you guys like it too.

Today I'm discussing my top five reads of the winter. I thought this would be an easier way to discuss my reading life versus giving an overview of every book I read during the month. My winter reading season was pretty decent, so I'm really excited to share with you the new books I discovered and enjoyed during the past couple of months.

1. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent



  • THE WRITING IS ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL. Hannah Kent writes in a way that is so completely raw. At times it was so formal and stoic, and then other times completely atmospheric and haunting. She wrote in a way that placed you in the middle of the story, in the center of the characters' minds. It was phenomenal. 
  • COMPLETELY RAW IN EVERY WAY. Like wow, Kent weaved together a story the was so dark and bleak and kept nothing out. She was not shy about including the messy, grittiness of 19th century rural Iceland. My heart broke multiple times, let me tell you. So much hurt and human endurance were within these pages.
  • SO CHARACTER DRIVEN. This might not be a plus for some people, but I adore character driven books, so this made me even happier with the story. We follow the life of Agnes, who she is, who she was, and how she got to the point of killing her master. I was so deep into her life, it was difficult to put the story down.
  • HISTORICAL GOODNESS. I adore historical fiction and am so excited I found another one that I love. Kent actually was inspired to write this story from her travels in Iceland, which I find so awesome.
  • DESCRIPTION GALORE. As a person who has never been to Iceland, I don't know exactly what the countryside looks like, but that didn't matter with Burial Rites because Kent had such a strong descriptive voice. The characters, landscape, and environment were perfectly illustrated,

  • OCCASIONALLY A LITTLE TOO GRAPHIC. As I said, the story itself is extremely raw and Kent doesn't sugar coat anything, thus giving an occasional violently or sexually graphic scene. 
  • A LITTLE DRY PLOT WISE. You sort of know what the outcome is going to be when you start the book, so there's not a huge complex plot you're following. 



The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss



  • SO MANY HUGGABLE CHARACTERS. Kvothe is my baby, I adore him. He's sassy and smart and flawed and just adorable. And all the side characters are just precious little cinnamon buns (you know, except for all the evil people) and I want to be friends with them all. 
  • MAGIC. Umm this is a really solid reason and doesn't really need explaining, but the magic system is so cool!! Plus there's a magic school so obviously it's a pretty awesome read.
  • ACTION AND PLOT GALORE. So much was going on in this story and it really worked. I loved following Kvothe's life, rooting for him. and uncovering secrets. You span so many events with Kvothe, so it's just really cool and exciting. 
  • MUSICALLY TALENTED PEOPLE. There was so much focus on music and the importance of it. All I want in my life is to listen to Kvothe play his lute and sing. 
  • ALSO THERE WAS A DRAGON. Which is amazing and worth all 700 pages right? 

  • A BIT SLOW AT TIMES. Although I really loved the characters and there was quite a bit of action, there were a few times the story dragged a bit, but that's to expected in such a chunky book. Because of those slow moments, it took me longer to finish this book than it normally would have. 




An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir



  • SUPER DEVELOPED CHARACTERS. Like wow, all of them were so amazing and fleshed out. I adored our two main characters and their butt kicking friends. The evil characters were also nicely done and villains I enjoyed reading about. 
  • SO MUCH ACTION. Action after action after action. This was such a fast paced read and I couldn't put it down. Events were always going down and Sabaa Tahir was constantly keeping me on the edge of my seat. 
  • STELLAR WRITING. Tahir is a wonderful writer! She was descriptive without over doing it and created really natural characters with real dialogue. Nothing about the story and characters seemed fake-like, Tahir did such an amazing job of creating a fictional story that seems so real, I was fully immersed in the lives of these characters and the events that were happening. 
  • INFLUENCED BY ANCIENT ROME. Umm how cool is that? It's dark and violent and full of action and fighting. It's cool.

  • NOT ENOUGH WORLD BUILDING. Tahir was super descriptive with characters and setting, but there was not a lot of background information.
  • MISSUSE OF VIOLENCE. I like dark and suspenseful books, and there was a ton of awesome action from this book in particular, but at times it would use violence as shock factor without it doing anything to the plot, which was just annoying. 



The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith


  • SO MUCH CUTENESS. I don't smile or giggle a lot while reading books, but this book had me laughing and grinning all the time. The characters are little adorable cookies and wow I adored them.
  • SET IN AN AIRPLANE. They meet at an airport and then sit next to each other on the plane and have adorable conversations and fall asleep on each other's shoulders. *cue fangirl squealing*
  • THEN SET IN LONDON. And people have British accents so it's cool. 
  • ACTUALLY REALLY REAL. Although it sounds like it would have insta love and unrealistic characters, everything about the book seemed really natural. The situations and feelings each character went through were all relatable and the dialogue was actual human dialogue.
  • A SUPER FLUFFY READ. This was just a super easy read and I flew through it. It's a nice story to indulge in when you need something that isn't too heavy and has a happy ending. 

  • A LITTLE TOO MUCH CHEESE. Cute story, cute guy, but lots of cheese piled on top of it. 
  • MAKES YOU WANT TO MISS ALL YOUR FLIGHTS. Because if that happens you'll meet an adorable British dude named Oliver who will fall in love with you and buy you chocolate and bring you to London. Right?



Hidden by Helen Frost



  • WRITTEN IN VERSE. Which for some people this is not a plus, but I love anything in verse so this was a huge deal for me (If you have more recommendations on books in verse hit me up friends). 
  • POWERFUL STORY. It's about a girl who was accidentally kidnapped and the daughter of the accidental kidnapper. Their stories are really interestingly interwinded and there is so much development that goes on within the pages about dealing with your past, abuse, social status, and friendships. 
  • SUPER SHORT, FAST READ. I believe I read this in a day, I completely flew through the story. Helen Frost was able to create a powerful punch in such a short amount of time, which I really admire.
  • BEAUTIFUL WRITING. Hidden really reflects the kind of writing that I just really love. Everything about it was super atmoshperic and placed you into the character's minds, which I think is really important with writing in verse when trying to portray emotions and hardships.


  • OVERUSED TROPES. Rich girl with a group of rich friends vs. the poor girl. Rich girl realizes poor girl isn't that bad. Cute boy rich girls like falls in love with poor girl. Not necessarily bad or unrealistic, just a bit uncreative. 
  • ENDING BEGAN TO DRAG. The plot began to slow as the ending drew near since a few problems get resolved early on.


Reading Stats

  • 16/70 books read in 2017
  • six 5/5 stars read this winter (City of Heavenly Fire, Burial Rites, An Ember in the Ashes, A Torch Against the Night, The Name of the Wind, and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight)
  • five 4/5 stars read this winter (A Little Something Different, The Stonekeeper, Anya's Ghost, Page by Paige, and Hidden)
  • five 3/5 stars read this winter (Graceling, The Horse and His Boy, Three Dark Crowns, Stalking Jack the Ripper, and The Pacific Northwest: An Interpretive History)



What books have you read this winter? Any recommendations? I would love to discover more historical fiction novels or books written in verse, so if you have any floating around in your head, let me know! Don't forget to friend me on goodreads so you can get daily updates on what I'm currently reading and enjoying.

Have a wonderful week,

Elizabeth 


8 comments

  1. I like the wide variety of genres you read. You make me interested in 'The Name of the Wind'. I'm looking for more to read in the Fantasy genre. And the new blog format is pretty cool, too! Very together.

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  2. Out of the books you talked about in this post, I've only read An Ember in the Ashes, but I'll be sure to check out the other ones you mentioned!

    I love the way you formatted this post :-)

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  3. I'm on my phone reading your blog so I can't see the full effect of your redesigned blog, but I love the mobile layout! (Can't wait to sneak a peek later)

    What great book reviews! I think I want to read the first book you reviewed, seems like something I'd read! Also, your book reviews are done in the best way! Love it!

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  4. I really enjoyed reading this post(I'm scrolling about your blog for the first time and it's lovely! <3)! Eeeeep, "An Ember in the Ashes" is one of my favorite books ever... Just wait until you read the 2nd one. Gahhh! <3
    Lovely post!
    xo,
    -Anna
    www.lethologicablog.weebly.com

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  5. The new blog design looks lovely! I like it. :) It was nice to catch up on your reading this year too. :)

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  6. GAH I LOVE THE NEW BLOG DESIGN!! It's absolutely amazing. I love the header <33 *heart eyes*

    And wonderful reviews! I usually don't read posts that are book reviews, but I actually read this whole post :) xD

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  7. Hey, I just found your blog, and I LOVE it!!! I especially love how you compile your book reviews into one fat, fun post! I've never read or heard of any of these books (maybe I have, but y'know how it is scrolling through GR, there's JUST SO MANY YUMMY BOOKS THAT NEED MY ATTENTION). I'll have to check some out!

    Jazzy @ http://thrivinghope.blogspot.com

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  8. ELIZABETH ELIZABETH ELIZABETH!!!!!!

    YOUR NEW DESIGN IS SO GORGEOUS.

    I'M DYING.

    IT'S PERFECT.

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okay so this is how it works : you read my blog, comment and i reply. then you respond and so forth. they make my day and bring a smile - thanks so much <3

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