Book Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

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The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon (The Bone Season #1) / 1/2☆☆☆

Summary: Paige Mahoney is clairvoyant in 2059 London, where it is illegal to be clairvoyant. When she is kidnapped by unearthly beings and taken to their prison in Oxford, she begins to realize exactly who it is that rules her world, and that she needs to figure out a way to escape.

There was no normal. There never had been. “Normal” and “natural” were the biggest lies we’d ever created.

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July Wrap Up

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July was a funky month of reading, and it’s entirely because I read A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara at the beginning of the month and it’s such an engrossing, heartbreaking book it’s impossible to get back to reading ~normal~ books afterward. It’s the highlight of my month. The highlight of my year. I also got a new job this month, so hopefully it won’t affect my blogging. I think I’ve been pretty consistent so far.

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Books I Loved as a Kid

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I own a few bookshelves, mostly stacked with books from my teen years up until now (I’m 25), and I have a shelf at the very bottom of one of them where I keep some of the “chapter books” I had read as a kid. Normally I don’t touch these books, or even pay much attention to them, but out of curiosity I started flipping through some of them…and was immediately overtaken by some intense nostalgia from kid’s lit of the late 90’s/early 2000’s.

I thought I’d share some of the ones  that meant a lot to me as a child – most of them about goofy, brown haired girls like myself just trying to survive the struggle of elementary school. Important stuff!

Also, I’m working purely off my memories of these, so if I’m grossly wrong about any of them- sorry! It’s what 8 year old Steph remembers and took away from them.

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Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park

I found these books hilarious as a kid. I loved how messy, crazy, and goofy Junie B. was, and as a 6/7 year old I think I saw a lot of my own childish goofiness in her- that, and I think I wanted to be her. I was a very shy and quiet kid in school, and Junie…was not. I admired her, wanted to stand out like her, but a part of me was also glad I didn’t get in half the trouble she did, despite my admiration. Junie’s antics were super entertaining and I will always look back on these books with so much love.

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My Kind of Romance

Okay, obligatory romance Valentine’s Day post time.

The thing is, I really like reading romance. The other thing is, it takes a lot to make me invested in a romance. I was thinking about why this was, and while there are many specific qualities I like in a romance, the one that encompasses all of them is that I need the characters to earn it. Like, I need them to go through some trials to develop and discover their feelings. No insta-love here.

So, to name a few books and series that have romances I’ve really enjoyed:

 

17675462.jpgThe Raven Cycle

I know I’ve raved about this series a million times, but truly, The Raven Cycle has the epitome of my kind of romance. Like, if one of the characters kisses her true love, he’ll die. What could get better than that? I believe Maggie Stiefvater said, “Nobody kisses anybody, which is weird because everybody loves everybody.” There’s lots of tension and pining and fighting each other and fighting together. This series seriously makes you earn the romance, and I LOVE it.

 

 

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My top books of 2016!

I put the exclamation point in the title because these books make me EXCITED and HAPPY and SAD and ANGRY and THEY’RE JUST GREAT and I LOVE THEM SO MUCH.

According to my Goodreads account, I read 71 books this year, and luckily they were a lot of very, very, very good books. Which was why when I decided to narrow it down to five, I got nervous. All the amazing books I read this year flashed before my eyes. I thought this was going to be an impossible task.

In the end it really didn’t take long to decide, and mostly I think it’s because I went with my gut. If I’d started thinking really deeply about all the books I read this year, I’d get impossibly lost. These were the ones that just…stuck the most, I suppose. Left the strongest afterglow. The ones that nestled the most deeply into my heart and my brain. They’re books that make me immediately react with the thought and feeling of, Yes, I had a fantastic time reading that. 

So, my top 5 books of 2016:

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Book Hangover: Level INTENSE

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December is half over, and I’ve only read one new book so far this month.

It’s been nearly two weeks since I’ve finished the Raven Cycle series, and it gave me exactly what I look for in a book series: a story and characters that I love with all my being, one that I know will stay with me and I’ll read again. That’s the fun part of a book hangover.

The “bad” part? I can’t move on! I’m not quite ready to devote my brain to a new book or series after spending so much time on the mysteries of the Raven Cycle. I’m still in Henrietta, Virginia with Gansey and Blue. Any book I start won’t get my full attention, and more importantly, my full heart.

I want to read more books- but I don’t.

I don’t feel ready to enter myself into new relationships with new characters. I’m not ready to meet new people. How am I supposed to love anyone as dearly as Richard Campell Gansey III? What new character could possibly have as big a heart as Ronan Lynch? Who would have the audacity to cause me more hurt than Adam Parrish? Am I supposed to subject myself to the pain of a new plot when I am not healed from the last? My heart is still with the characters of the Raven Cycle, and any new ones I meet will get cheated, any new book will not get my full love. It won’t be fair for either of us.

It’s fun and it’s the reason I read- to get lost in a fictional universe with great fictional characters. That lingering feeling is what I read for. Even if it’s bittersweet to finish the final book, I like the period after finishing a great series- I like reading other people’s reviews and reactions and no longer having to worry about spoilers. I love a series that’s popular enough to have fanart and fanfiction that I can bask in as I slowly ease out of the universe. It’s great to know I read books that were so worth it.

But when I’ve exhausted all of that, and I STILL don’t feel ready to move on? When will I be free! I read one very light, very whimsical romance that didn’t call for a huge amount of concentration or devotion. Hopefully I’ll be able to wade back into heavier reads soon, instead of staring apathetically at the unread books on my shelf before reaching for a random Raven Cycle book and rereading my favorite parts.

Have you ever had a book hangover? What do you do to get over it? What books have given you book hangovers? I’d love to hear – and perhaps get some recommendations!

 

What would they order at Starbucks? / Characters outside of their books

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When a book has really great characters, when I love them ceaselessly and with every fiber of my being, I need to know every mundane thing about them.

I recently finished the Six of Crow duology by Leigh Bardugo (recommend recommend recommend) and stumbled upon an interview of Bardugo in which the interviewer asked several questions such as, “What books would your characters read?” “What kind of YouTube channels would they have?” and “What would they order at Starbucks?”

God bless that interviewer, because those are my some of my favorite kinds of questions. Yes, tell me your character’s favorite holiday, what music they listen to, what their first word was, how many pairs of socks they own. It is imperative that I know!!

However, I understand that some readers hate this kind of info, and some authors hate giving it. Why should anything else be important, if it’s not within the pages of the book?

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On Writing

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Last year, a friend of mine asked me if I could write a story for her daughter for Christmas. I said sure! I’d love to! I’m a writer, and I especially love writing for people.

I should have known it would become more than “a story.” Anything that ever seems short in my head never quite turns out to be that way. Now it’s almost a year later, and I’m still not finished with this “easy project.”

Before you ask- don’t worry, I’ve been giving it to the girl, Julia, in installments, and to be honest, the fact that I’m doing it for her has been my one lasting motivator for this story. I’ve wanted to give up on it. I’ve written other things in between that have become much more enticing and fun to explore. I’ve considered trashing it all and restarting it a million times over.

The thing is, this particular story has been in my head for years. I’ve restarted it over and over and over. I’ve experimented and changed the plot and the characters and setting. I’ve written thousands and thousands and thousands of words and yet it never feels quite write. I’ve never finished a complete draft.

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