Unhauling Books & Being Okay With It

Hi peeps, so today I wanted to talk about something I recently did, which was unhaul books (duh, obviously judging by the title), but I also want to talk about being okay with unhauling books. I know a lot of us can get attached to the aesthetics or the potential for a story or whatever reason we might have of keeping those books, but let’s be real: are you actually going to take the time to read it in the future? Or are you just being stubborn?

So, I’ve unhauled a lot of books in the last two years. Last summer I brought five reusable shopping bags full to the brim with books that I knew I wasn’t going to read and brought them to my local library (to the surprise of the librarians at seeing just how many I had brought lol). And I’ve just recently unhauled another 44 books from my shelves that I’m going to donate again. Forty-four. Crazy!

This included signed books I’d gotten from book boxes, and ones that I knew I wasn’t going to get around to reading anytime soon in the near future – or ones that I just lost interest in completely.

It also included books on my shelves that I’ve had for YEARS. Like. College days. (I graduated from college four years ago now, so it was even sooner than that.) It included both young adult and adult books, fantasy, sci-fi, contemporary, and fiction.

And you know what?

It felt good.

I have been staring at my shelves for a while now just overwhelmed with not only the amount of unread books I had (at the time, including audio and e-books, it was around 260+, but this also includes long manga series), but with just how cluttered my shelves were getting. I asked my husband for another tall bookshelf for Christmas so I can better display my books and use up less space (I’m using three small bookcases and one large one).

And to be honest, when I looked at some of these books, I didn’t even remember having some of them. I tried reading premises and seeing if I was at all interested, but I found myself not interested anymore.

And you know what? That’s okay.

I know a lot of us like to “hoard” books for many reasons. Some of you lovely people out there are extremely fast readers and can keep up with the amount of books that you get, while some of you are slower but still love to collect.

And there’s nothing wrong with this! I want to make it perfectly clear that I am NOT bashing anyone for having an excess amount of books or for not unhauling some or anything. If it makes you happy and comfortable, you keep doing it!

What I am saying is: if you’ve been thinking about unhauling but you’re wary for one reason or another, just do it! *insert Shia Labeuof meme here*

It honestly feels amazing.

Not only do I have more shelf space (CRAZY), but I have more peace of mind of not feeling so pressured to read all of these books I set myself to read once upon a time.

I kept books that I’ve read and loved, that I know I’ll read, or ones that have sincere sentimental value to me (one book I’ve kept since middle school and read in 9th grade and still love even though I haven’t read it since then).

Sometimes doing these kinds of things can really be helpful mentally. If you’ve been feeling like you’re overwhelmed by your shelves, take a good look at them and really ask yourself if all of those books you have are really going to be read or if you’re just keeping them for later (even when you know you probably won’t read them). Maybe it’ll help you.

Let’s chat!

Have you unhauled any books recently? How did you feel about it? Does the thought of getting rid of any of your books hurt you to your core? Let me know!

Beat the Backlist 2019 Challenge

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Hello all! So I’ve participated (and I say this lightly) with Beat the Backlist for the last two years, so I’m going to do it again with 2019!

Beat the Backlist is a challenge hosted by NovelKnight where the goal is to read as many backlisted books of your TBR as you can throughout the year. So for the 2019 challenge, it’s to read any book published prior to 2019, and one that you started to read in 2019 (you can’t have started in 2018 or prior; the goal is to start and finish the year the challenge is being held). You can find more information on her blog which I’ve linked at the beginning of this paragraph or the image above.

Here’s my list of backlist books I hope to get to. I’m going to be very hopeful here when listing these because I don’t know that I’ll actually get to them. Mind you, this isn’t all of the books that are backlist titles that I want to get to, but just some of the ones I hope to read in 2019.

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The Burning Sky / Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki / Winter / The Well of Ascension / The Fifth Season / Strange the Dreamer / Ruin and Rising / Six of Crows / Crooked Kingdom / The Graceling

As you can see, it’s pretty much fantasy and sci-fi across the board (I mean, SFF are my fave genres, so…), which I’m perfectly fine with because I love diving into worlds that aren’t our own and reading about a lot of magical and fantastical things.

I’m also trying to keep this TBR manageable for this challenge because the last two years of reading for me were really tough and not all there, so I want to ease into it with titles I know I’m going to like.

I’ll also be participating in the Hogwarts House Mini Challenge as Hufflepuff!

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I’m excited for 2019 and hope it brings the spark and love of reading back into my life, and I hope this challenge also helps to do that!

Let’s chat!

Are you participating in BTB? What books are you going to read that are backlisted? Let me know in the comments!

Obsidio Book Review

obsidioTitle: Obsidio
Series: Illuminae Files #3
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Illustrator: Marie Lu
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: March 13, 2018
Genre: Young Adult – Science Fiction
Pages: 615
Format: Hardcover

Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they’ll find seven months after the invasion?

Meanwhile, Kady’s cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza’s ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha’s past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict.

With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heroes will fall, and hearts will be broken. 

I. Loved. This. Whole. Trilogy.

This whole book was a whirlwind of emotions: anxiety, fear, anger, happiness, sorrow, joy, you name it, I probably felt it. The only thing that could’ve made it better was it actually playing out like a movie in front of my eyes because Jay and Amie brought the visuals again (literally and literary [ha, see what I did there?]) and I couldn’t have asked for a better conclusion to a trilogy. And as this is the third book, there will probably be spoilers ahead.

Alright, so, where to even begin?

After the events of Gemina, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Obsidio when it came to the plot because how could it possibly live up to that? Well, it brought on another level of many questions and action that had me on the edge of my seat from the beginning.

We’re introduced to two new main characters: Asha and Rhys. They were once star-crossed lovers, so to speak, and so totally in love, but events caused them to be separated by time and space (literally), and one went to become a medical intern (Asha), while the other got shipped to military school and went to work for BeiTech (Rhys).

Now as this was the third book, there was a lot going on. I don’t know that I’m as attached to these to as I am to Nik and Hanna, but I still loved their characters. They were just trying to each do their jobs, to look humanity in the face and question it, and to really put to the test about morality and how the decisions you make can really affect everything around you.

Asha is Kady’s older cousin and a strong, brave woman. She’s pretty ordinary, but she has a fierce love for others and she isn’t about to put up with anyone’s bullshit when it comes to that love. I loved one of the lines in one of the surveillance footage chapters where it says how she doesn’t have anything special about her like Hanna and Kady do, which probably makes her the bravest of all – and, frankly, I have to agree. She’s not a martial arts or tactician like Hanna, or a computer whiz like Kady; she’s just a young woman trying to survive on a planet much too unforgiving with people even more unforgiving than that.

And then we have Rhys who’s a tech whiz from the spaceship Magellan with the perfect quiffed hair that seems to defy all laws of physics. The part about him that I loved the most is that he never stopped questioning the morality of what was happening on the planet Korenza IV. He never stopped asking why the BeiTech soldiers did what they did, why they killed for some stupid reasons, etc. I think that even though he was a trained military soldier, he was still so fresh and human compared to the other BeiTech soldiers that it pushed some other characters to really reflect on their own decisions.

When they managed to work together despite their past, they really managed to do so well. I liked their dynamic and how one was looking out for the other while also trying to look out for others.

And then we have everyone else that was important coming back full force and there was a lot of death, a lot of pain, but so much to look forward to.

Kady and AIDEN were two of my favorite aspects of this story, in particular. AIDEN is actually one of my favorite characters in any series, and he’s an AI system. A monster. And I can’t help but feel attached to him because despite all of that, he was still… human. It’s hard to explain, really, but his character was one of the best I’ve read. And Kady was fighting so hard and showing that she wasn’t going to back down for anything, even the few times that AIDEN showed how unstable he was and how weak he was becoming.

Nik, Hanna, Ezra, and Ella were all key players in this story, as well, but not as much as in previous books (obviously, because we had two new main characters). There were a few times that they brought a lot of humor to tense situations, which I found to be a nice buffer in all of the chaos.

Also, shout out to Dr. Isaac Grant for being the best dad ever and caring not just for his own daughter, but for all of our main heroes aboard. My heart. It weeps.

Okay, but the plot? ACTION. PACKED. Like I seriously felt like I didn’t have a break from someone being shot or yelled at or AIDEN being all “I am a monster,” or anything because holy crap, this plot moved fast. But like, it was a good kind of fast like the other two books. It encompassed so much in its 600+ pages that my brain is still wrapping around it. There was a lot of death and destruction, yes, but there were also moments of tenderness, of grief, of solitude and togetherness, of mutiny and anger. There was so much wrapped up into this plot that I felt so much a part of it.

I think that’s one of the main reasons I loved this trilogy so much. It really brings you into the story – and not just because the formatting of the book is awesome and very visually stimulating, but also for its characters and the lives they’re trying to lead.

Overall, this book was a great conclusion. I didn’t know how it was going to end. There were twists and turns, places where I gasped, where I wanted to cry, where I was shocked, laughed out loud, angry. It brought out a whole well of emotions, and I’m beyond happy I read it.

As for the trilogy itself, it’s become one of my all-time favorites. From page one of book one it’s had me hooked. I can honestly say that this series is one I would recommend to anyone, especially if they’re look for a visual stimulating, high stakes, whirlwind of an adventure.

If you haven’t read this trilogy yet, what are you doing?

I rated this book 5/5 stars, and this trilogy 5/5 stars.

Fan Fiction Galore & Why You Should Read Some

So, as I briefly mentioned in my last post, I’ve been reading – and writing! – a lot of fan fiction lately. Like. A lot, a lot. I’ve kind of slowed down, though, but I still find fan fiction to be a very interesting genre.

What’s fan fiction?

Simply that! It’s a work of fiction based on characters or a setting from a published book that fans write their own story on, either with those characters or in that setting.

It’s all non-canon and really just fun bits of story for the fans to enjoy and divulge theirselves in when the story is over.

What kind of fan fiction is out there?

Well, there are various websites dedicated to fan fiction, such as:

And many more, I’m sure. But what kinds of stories of fan fiction can you find out there?

Pretty much if there’s a fandom for something, there’s bound to be fan fiction for it, such as:

  • Book/manga/comic fandoms: Harry Potter, the Mortal Instruments, My Hero Academia, etc.
  • Video games: Final Fantasy, League of Legends, etc.
  • Movies/TV: Arrow, Supernatural, etc.
  • Celebrities/Real People: BTS, EXO, etc.

If you have a favorite of anything you can probably find a fanfic or two written about the characters from that series somewhere, which also means you can most likely find your favorite ships that may not be canon in those other forms of media.

There’s the soft, fluffy kind of writing that gives you all the warm fuzzies and makes you want to snuggle your dog close to you, and then there’s the hard smut that makes you heated and want to take a cool shower. But don’t be fooled: not all writing is well done, just like a book would be. Some stories have no plot, some just have horrible grammar, and others are just a mess and why do they exist?

But when you do find those gems? Oof, be prepared for the rabbit hole you’re about to fall into.

But doesn’t it take away from the original at all?

Not at all! There have been instances that I’ve heard of where the fanfic is better than the original, but that’s not always the case at all. It’s really just a fun and engaging way to keep the hype of the fandom thriving, to reach out to a community of likeminded people, and to just have fun.

The whole reason I got into one of my favorite anime/manga pairings, Bakugo Katsuki x Uraraka Ochako (aka Kacchako) from My Hero Academia, was because of fan fiction. I just happened to be scrolling through the tag on tumblr one day and saw someone post the next chapter to their story there. I’d never read fan fiction before that day, and boy was I sad I hadn’t done since then because WOW was it good! The writing was very atmospheric, very well done, and just had you wanting to read the next chapter and the next chapter without stopping.

That fanfic is “Two Black Dots” by Tharros. I highly recommend it if you’re looking to either get into the pairing or just as a way to see what fan fiction is like.

Through this work, I found many others like it that were written well, had a fun and engaging story, and brought me closer to the community as a whole. That’s how I found a bunch of friends that I’ve made in recent months, and even why I started to write my own fan fiction!

Here’s a few more recommendations of Kacchako fanfics:

I could link some dirty stuff, but I’m not going to. You’ll have to find that on your own lol

Writing fan fiction is…

Fun. It’s so fun! Seriously, I get to take these two characters (or more or less), whom I love, and have them engage with one another in a situation that I’ve cooked up in my head and that’s just so incredibly amazing to me. It’s like I’m writing my own personal stories, but just borrowing the characters and setting/world from someone else.

Of course I would never claim these characters to be my own. Their not, and I don’t want that kind of responsibility for such a huge series right now, haha!

But I’ve found something in writing fan fiction that I hadn’t expected to: happiness.

I had forgotten the joy of writing and how bringing a smile and happiness to other people could really just make me feel fulfilled. That’s why I mostly write fluff pieces that involve cute romances, flustered bad boys, and brave sweet girls. Seriously, it’s great.

Here’s a few of my favorites that I’ve personally written:

  • Show Me More – (ongoing series) In this pop idol AU, Bakugou Katsuki is still hellbent on becoming the number one hero and proving to himself and Japan just what kind of hero he can be. That is, until one day when he saves Uravity, a pop idol sensation that he really likes (but would never admit publicly) from a drunk man at his favorite ramen shop that everything begins to change. But will his goals be so affected from this chance encounter that he loses sight of what he’s craved most in the world since his childhood?

    As for Uraraka Ochako, living lift as an idol was something she had been doing for years now – and she loved it. She was finally able to provide for her family and make so many people happy with her music. But the longer she’s in the spotlight, the more she longs for a quiet life outside of it. She just wants to live a life where she isn’t constantly being hounded by paparazzi or having to please everyone around her. So when she meets a grumpy-faced young man at a ramen shop she snuck off to without anyone knowing, she could have never guessed how much her life would change as result.

  • Puppy LoveBakugou gets hit by a quirk that can turn the person hit with it into any animal or object the person who hit them with it desires. Well, they turned him into a Pomeranian and he is NOT having it. Plus, someone has to take care of him until the quirk’s effects wear off in about a week, but who’s going to take care of him? Certainly not any of his friends. But then Uraraka offers and he figures it’s better than the alternative. But while in this form he realizes a few things about the brunette that he hadn’t been willing to admit before.
  • I’m HereA group of villains attacks the facilities in which Melissa Shield works, causing a lot of destruction in the process of their endeavors, including injuring Melissa. One particular streak of green lightning comes in to save them all, but can he? And what can Melissa do to try to help, if at all?

To check out the rest of my works, you can check them out here!

Overall, I can’t believe I never gave fan fiction the chance until several months ago when I just happened upon that one link on tumblr. Since then, I’ve been supporting my friends by reading their works, writing my own, and just having a lot of fun with it.

Let’s Chat! ^w^

If you haven’t checked out any fan fiction before, what’s stopping you? You should really try a few and see how you like it. It’s fun to see what people can come up with outside of what the author originally did in their work. Let me know in the comments about your thoughts on the topic!

Gemina Book Review

geminaTitle: Gemina
Series: Illuminae Files #2
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Illustrator: Marie Lu
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: October 18, 2016
Genre: Young Adult – Science Fiction
Pages: 659
Format: Hardcover

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminaecontinues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Guys.

Guys.

I LOVED this sequel. I can’t believe I waited so long to pick it up because I remember loving the first book so much that I couldn’t wait for this one to come out.

Well, here I am, sobbing into the void that is Gemina because wow, was it amazing. As this is a sequel there might be minor spoilers, but I’ll give you my general thoughts about a few things, but just know that you should definitely read this book to find out all of the things that happen!

Okay, let’s talk about the aesthetics of the book before I jump into anything else. Like the first book, Illuminae, Gemina‘s pages were filled with files and chats and pictures that encompassed the story from different points of view, and I think that that really helps you to get into the story. Seriously, the format with which the pages are in just bring this storytelling to a whole new level. I especially loved toward the end of the book the dual perspectives. That’s all I’m going to say about that because I thought it was SO cool and very well done.

Now, for the main characters we have Hanna, the Commander’s daughter, the “Princess” of the ship, if you will, and Nik, a criminal who lives with a family of criminals. Hanna, I thought, was actually not like I was expecting her to be as the story progressed. I was expecting a sex-driven, gets-what-she-wants, piss-poor attitude of a girl, but instead what I got was a sassy, funny, strong, unafraid-to-kick-ass girl with military and martial arts training, who did have a sex drive, but it wasn’t the focal point of her character. Many times I was surprised by her wit and comebacks and I loved that about her. As the story progressed, I could see her struggle with the situation unfolding around her, but that never stopped her from trying to do what needed to be done.

Nik was also not what I was expecting, either. Yeah, he was kind of a smartass like I was expecting, but even through his sexual flirting he had a heart of gold, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love that in the “bad boy?” I wasn’t as surprised with his character and his development, but I still found that his family-oriented pride was really in the right place, and that he was willing to do anything for those that he deemed family or those he deemed close.

There were also important side characters, too, such as Dr. Grant, Ella, Jackson, and the BeiTech SpecOps people, and I found each of their character unique and compelling and hiding so many facets that I wanted to see uncovered throughout the story – especially those of Ella and Jackson, and I was not disappointed.

Ella, especially, was my favorite side character. She’s a 15-year-old hacker genius who was disabled due to a plague, but her dad spent a fortune on the best medicine and medical treatment he could to save her (she’s Nik’s cousin, so the family thing is also on her side). She’s super sassy and smart and so not putting up with anyone’s bullshit when it comes down to it, and I love that about her.

The story was action packed from pretty much beginning to end. Not only were there human threats and space-type threats, but there were also parasitic threats. Like. Creepy parasitic threats that will give you the creeps kind. Honestly, I thought that was a nice touch and really expanded upon this being a science fiction novel. Plus the way they were written was believable for the setting that they were in, which I thought really sold it. They also just added to the atmosphere of “oh shit we really need to save these people now.”

We get some surprises throughout the story that I had to dig into my memory banks to remember because it’s been forever and a day since I read Illuminae, but OMG THE PLOT TWISTS. When I read certain scenes, I felt myself confused and trying to click what exactly happened when I read it, and then something happened later and it clicked and I was mind blown. Seriously. This book had so many twists and turns, and I’m usually pretty good at catching onto those things early on in books, but this one? Not so much, which I thought was executed really well.

I was on the edge of my seat reading this book to the point where when I reached a certain scene in the book, I literally couldn’t stop reading. I finished this in practically one day and I have no regrets about it. It was fast paced, heart wrenching, mind blowing, fun, and there is so much to look forward to in the final book of this trilogy that I cannot wait to start reading it.

Overall, I highly recommend this second book and I rate it 5/5 stars.