STACKING THE SHELVES (#9): March 23 – 30

Meh, it’s been a slow week, so it’s going to be a mini version of Stacking of the Shelves this week! Considering the end of the month is upon us and the fact that I spent a good fortune on Marvel Blu Rays as well, it looks like my beloved books took a backseat. Ugh. I hate myself sometimes. Blame Tom Hiddleston for his Lokiness. Anyway, here are my meager pickings! 😀

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Celtic Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs, The Making of a Slayer by Nancy Holder, Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

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Unspoken / Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan, Twisted by Emma Chase, Easy by Tammara Webber

 

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Your Bookish Bucket List

toptentuesday

1. Meet John and Hank Green

2. Have my own little library in my apartment/house

3. Finish The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri

4. Go to Chicago and do a Divergent sightseeing tour (including ziplining please!)

5. Jet off to New Zealand with my mum to experience some of film Middle-earth’s beauty

6. Read all of J.R.R. Tolkien’s published works

7. Publish my own book

8. Get the ley line symbol tattoo!

9. Go exploring with Maggie Stiefvater

10. Drive a 1973 Chevrolet Camaro

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TEASER TUESDAY (#9): Pivot Point by Kasie West

I’m so super excited over this week’s Teaser Tuesday pick because damn, Kasie West‘s Pivot Point finally got me out of my major reading slump. It was a fantastic young adult paranormal read and I can only recommend this to everyone who hasn’t yet picked it up! Pivot Point‘s female protagonist Addie is a true bookworm, and I just loved this quote so much! I hope you enjoy!

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two “teaser” sentences from that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists!

ImageI don’t care when people think I’m an antisocial, controlling bookworm because that’s what I am. It’s when they interpret me wrong that I have a problem.

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COVER REVEAL: LUX – Beginnings by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I’m super excited to take part in the cover reveal for the upcoming two new Lux series book bundles BEGINNINGS (featuring Obsidian and Onyx) and CONSEQUENCES (featuring Opal and Origin) by Jennifer L. Armentrout. This rainy Monday morning, the new cover treatment for LUX: BEGINNINGS makes getting up and ready a hell of a lot easier for bookworms around. Even though nothing could possibly ever be as beautiful as Pepe Toth as Daemon Black on the cover, I just adore the new overall theme! I’m also super stoked for the new bonus content that is included! Be sure to mark your calendars for June 3 for both box sets to release through Entangled Teen! (I’ve already preordered both sets even though I already own the original releases, oh well, can’t blame a fangirl, right?)

 

LUX: BEGINNINGS Official Release Info

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OBSIDIAN (LUX #1)
There’s an alien next door. And with his looming height and eerie green eyes, he’s hot…until he opens his mouth. He’s infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, he lights me up with a big fat bulls-eye. Turns out he has a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal his abilities and the only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to him until my alien mojo fades. If I don’t kill him first, that is.

ONYX (LUX #2)
Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarro alien connection. So I’ve sworn him off, even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But we’ve got bigger problems. I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. And I have to tell Daemon, even though I know he’s never going to stop searching until he gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them—from me?

 

PREORDER YOUR COPY NOW

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

JLA author photo# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell, Loki.
Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

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STACKING THE SHELVES (#8): March 10 – 22

Sooo, there wasn’t a Stacking of the Shelves post last week. Not because I didn’t have the time to write an entry, but something far more shameful: I didn’t buy any books. Not a single one. No hardcover, no paperback, no ebook. That hasn’t happened in over three years. Three. Years. I don’t know what happened, but there was either no time or (gasp!) no motivation to order some, so I just rode that little book depression out like a pro and here I am again, all giddy over my new purchases. I pretty much love all of them and am super excited to start reading (I may have already finished See Me, Ringer and Can You Keep A Secret? within a day, oops)! Thank God that little bout of depression didn’t last too long. Phew.

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The Curse Workers by Marie Rutkoski, My Life With The Walter Boys by Ali Novak, The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken, Can You Keep A Secret? by Sophie Kinsella, Fighting Ruben Wolfe by Markus Zusak, See Me by Wendy Higgins

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Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith, Split Second by Kasie West, Ringer by C.J. Duggan

The One Where I Realize Why Books Mean So Much To Me… Because of IKEA

Guys, after probably a century of me complaining about how I never seem to have a place to put my books, my parents have surprised me with three IKEA Billy bookshelves over the last weekend. I was pretty speechless to see them be put up in my room, taking up an entire wall, and I went on a rearranging spree that lasted a week. Yup.

An entire. Freaking. Week.

First there’s the fact I am so overly OCD when it comes to my books that I refused to put them on the new shelves without properly sanitizing and cleaning them, then I had to check for uneven parts or wood splinters so that my books wouldn’t suffer the terrible fate of ripped paper, and then of course I had to decide in which way to arrange them. First I did the whole A to Z thing and became frustrated with it because my favourites ended up at the bottom, then I went for the favourites on top, the rest at the bottom thing, and damn, that didn’t work because I couldn’t seem to properly fit the books into the shelves. Then I tried the whole genre order and that didn’t work out at all, well, because some books aren’t meant to be categorized like that. And that’s when I had an existential crisis over what to do without hurting my books so much.

And then I realized something.

I needed help. I seriously needed help.

Or maybe I just realized why I lost myself in books so excessively in the past year. Or why books mean so much to me in general.

The thing is, my books aren’t just books to me, they’ve been my dearest friends in this past year and as long as I can remember, keeping me company, helping me grieve and cry, making me laugh, just generally being my life line during difficult times, and I realized that I had started to not even touch them out of fear I was ruining a cover here or there. And that’s ridiculous. The things you love, you’re afraid to hurt, but damn, my books are my life, and they need to be reassured that I love them (sort of, I’m being metaphorically here, I’m not THAT crazy… maybe). And it’s bullshit to coddle them because they’re not only made to be looked at but to be held and flicked through, and it’s something I hadn’t done in a long time. I had stopped enjoying books the way I used to because of something as superficial as the packaging. I tried to keep my books in this pristine other place where I also wanted to keep myself safe in, and I realized that I didn’t want that escape anymore, I wanted to start roughing them up a bit, even if it only meant putting them out of their comfort zone and having a crease or a tear here and there or having them randomly rearranged on new shelves. The funny thing is, when my friends tell me they’re “just books”, they don’t always realize how right and wrong they are at the same time. Because the packaging, sure, that can be “just”, but the words and what they give you simply never can’t. And what I realized was that my books will always reflect the emotional state I am in, which makes them a whole lot more valuable to others as well. My mum quickly realized I was having a hard time dealing with my grief when I started being so compulsive when it came to my physical copies, only I didn’t realize for myself until those bookshelves started to make me panic over rearrangement only and I actually had a crying fit over it.

photo-1 Kopie

So upon that realization, I put them in a random order, and saw that it was the best decision I could’ve made, because the entire bookshelf now looks like me. It’s the one thing where when I look at it, I see myself in it. It’s a little messy, it’s a little OCD when it comes to some hardcovers, but it’s me. And it lets my books and myself breathe, somehow. There’s nothing worse than putting restrictions on the things you love, or the people you love, so I’ve made the decision to stop with it altogether, and just enjoy my physical copies again. Because, frankly, I hadn’t for a long time, and I felt stupid for it. I was so anxious to ruin the covers or the binding that I would only ever read in bed, after I washed my hands, and wouldn’t even eat or drink near any of the books in fear of staining them. My sister never cared about the covers or how they looked, she always only cared about the words, and I want to get back to that. I need to find a balance that will still have me wash my hands, but not lose it over the fact there’s a tiny bump in this or that cover, or there’s a little crease in this or that. I might even start eating while reading again.

I think what started it was the fact that I never had to care about any of my OCD behaviour when it came to eBooks, and the iPad was always like a stronghold around the words, and I realized that even though a lot of people seem to think that eBooks will be the death of physical copies, I don’t think so at all. My eReader has helped me come to terms with my sometimes incredibly stupid reading habits, and has made me appreciate real books even more because they are, among other things, beautiful to look at. As much as my sister didn’t care about coffee or chocolate stains, it’s also okay to do care to the extend where you still enjoy the books and not have them become a reason for anxiety. Books were made to be enjoyed, in all forms, and I won’t put so much pressure on myself and their up-keeping anymore. I will read both versions, and enjoy them both for different reasons. But no more clincical conditions when it comes to my books and my life. What my iPad has given me is the opportunity to find that balance in my reading habits again, because I can have my clean physical copies on the shelves as well as my eBook copies to read on the bus, but I can stop being too uptight over my books because, after all, they’re real and beautiful, and some battle scars can’t be avoided. Can’t with the reader, can’t with the books.

Now, this blog post has been a random assortment of thoughts I’ve had over the past couple of days, and while I think books are there to escape life, they should also inspire you to go out there and experience it, and now that they’ve given me escape for the longest time, they have now given me the encouragement to get out of my comfort zone more often, to let go of some of the anxiety and panic I’ve had over all sorts of things, and just be for a little while. And I don’t think anyone has ever given me that much shelter or freedom or choice in my life before, not even my parents or my best friends. There are no expectations with the stories we love, and I put expectations on them the minute I started OCDing when it came to my library, which, looking back, feels wrong. When some of my friends tell me they’re “just books”, I always tell them they’re really therapy. They understand me, they make me feel, they inspire me. And they also help me see things from a new perspective, and help me move on. And I hadn’t really realized that for a long time.

On a final note, I feel even closer to my little library now than I did before, even though it’s not perfect. And as crazy as this entire post sounds and as little sense as it might make to you, it was pretty cathartic and freeing to write.

BOOK REVIEW: Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

obsidian-by-jennifer-l-armentroutSeries: Lux #1
Publication Date: November 23rd 2011 by Entangled Teen
Genres: Young Adult, paranormal, romance, sci-fi
My Rating: 4 Stars
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Starting over sucks. When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring…. until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up. And then he opened his mouth. Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens. The hot alien living next door marks me. You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades. If I don’t kill him first, that is.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAAh yes, Obsidian was my first Armentrout book back when I started reading more excessively. Before, I had always stuck to the classics but found myself bored with books for quite some time before The Hunger Games and the likes started reinvigorating my love for written stories. I realized that young adult was a great genre for me because I was still trying to figure out what to do with life, and dystopian and sci-fi stories reminded me of the TV shows that I grew up with watching. One of my favourites back in the 90s was Roswell, that short-lived drama on High School alien and human interactions, so when I found Obsidian in my recommendations right after joining Goodreads, well, I had to try it. And even though Twilight had made me super cautious when it came to any type of romance book, I still held hope it could be something I liked, because, uhm, hello? Aliens.
Armentrout’s Lux series starts out with Katy and her mother moving to a small town in West Virginia after losing her father to cancer. With sucky internet access and basically no real postal service, Martinsburg is right down hell for a book lover and blogger like Katy. When her mother convinces her to get out there and make an effort with their new neighbours, Katy’s in for a real awakening, because the boy next door, as gorgeous as he might be, is nothing but rude and irritating. His sister Dee however welcomes Katy warmly to the neighbourhood, and even though older brother Daemon does everything to sabotage a growing friendship between the girls, even he can’t stop finding himself coerced into spending time with Katy and getting to know her. But then there’s that fact that has the two siblings hiding a huge secret of government conspiracy proportions concerning an alien species and their mortal enemies, and that Katy is suddenly thrust into with all hell breaking lose in town. And alien races aren’t as fun to have around as you might expect.
light_bodyNow, Obsidian’s storyline featured loads of young adult tropes – new girl in town, single-parent-household, single parent who’s always off to work, hot boy-next-door, secrets surrounding his family, antagonising behaviour but sexual tension between girl and boy, biology lessons, car shredding etc. – but unlike books I had read before, what made me entirely lose myself in the characters was the fact that for one, Katy wasn’t a damsel-in-distress or a pushover, or any of the things I had feared. Katy was strong and consistent, funny and kind, and definitely wore the pants in her relationship with Daemon. Daemon on the other hand, too gorgeous for his own sake and an extra-terrestrial pain-in-the-ass, had some hilarious lines, and I loved how real he came across as. Yes, he was described as physically perfect, but the boy had some serious issues that made him act the way he did, and despite the entire bad boy trope, I felt for him. All the worries and weights on his shoulders, even though he turned out to be from an alien race, were relatable and gave him dimensions from the very get-go. He was authentic in a way I hadn’t experienced in a long time. I hated Daemon, but the more I got to know his history, the more I realized how steady his character development was. Armentrout did an amazing job with her two leads, because I totally bought their I-hate-you-but-I-am-so-attracted-to-you play and didn’t become annoyed by it. It wasn’t illogical for them to turn to each other despite their initial rivalry. I liked that Katy fought her own way through the story, and even though Daemon assisted her somewhat, Katy grew on her own and not because of Daemon, which I think is a great message to put in a young adult sci-fi romance. She showed bravery and determination, and she loved books, for God’s sake, so I quickly fell in love with her even more than I did with Daemon. Armentrout clearly wrote Obsidian to clear up the prejudices this genre seems to garner, and managed to do so wonderfully. She incorporated everything you would normally get bored with because you’ve read it all before, but she managed to not make you notice it at all. I honestly never realized how familiar the plot of the whole thing was until I was done reading, because, well, the characters and writing just sucked me in and I didn’t care.
IMG_7729I didn’t enjoy the secondary charaters as much as I did the two protagonists, because they felt too contrived or were just plainly annoying or boring or storyline agents, but what speaks for Armentrout’s writing in this one is that the banter between her characters was simply amazing. I laughed out loud so many times reading this, and didn’t realize I had finished the entire book in one sitting until there were no more pages to flick through. Yes, Obsidian isn’t the most original work in the book world out there, but it was a brilliant realization of all the tropes circulating around in it. It’s fun and light and yet encouraging and exciting, and as far as books go, that’s what I want from them. Be it romance or fantasy, poems or new adult books. This is one of those books that I reread every time I’m in a book slump, because I’m 100% sure it will raise my mood and never be boring, because those characters utterly, completely roped me in and continue to do so every time anew.

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