Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books That Feature The Color Blue In The Cover

(Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. The above picture was taken and altered by me for the purpose of this post.)

Hello Readers

In case you didn’t know, blue is my favorite color. And not one specific shade of blue, I happen to love them all. And it just so happens that blue is a fairly common color featured on book covers, so it feels like I have an unlimited number of choices.

But my choices are limited because these are the ten books I’ve read and loved that have blue featured somewhere in the color scheme of the cover. As a bonus, at the end I will even share with you some of the books I’m looking forward to reading that also feature blue on the cover.

Favorite Books with Blue Covers:

  • All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson
  • Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm
  • One by Sarah Crossan
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  • Threads by Ami Polonsky
  • How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather
  • The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt
  • Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart
  • The Leaving by Tara Altebrando
  • The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

Books on my TBR List with a Blue Cover:

  • Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy
  • We Can Work it Out by Elizabeth Eulberg
  • The Marvels by Brian Selznick
  • Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee
  • What We Left Behind by Robin Talley
  • Save Me, Kurt Cobain by Jenny Manzer
  • Whisper to Me by Nick Lake
  • The Opposite of Here by Tara Altebrando
  • Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
  • Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

So dear readers, which of your favorite color(s) are featured on the covers of your favorite books? I’d love to know! Please share in the comments!

(Cover images from GoodReads)

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Freebie Friday: Meditation & Me

Hello Readers!

Today, I’m talking about something different, something slightly more personal than I get on this blog.

I don’t sleep well.  I’d like to say it’s all because I have terrible sleeping habits, and while I can’t chalk it all up to that, I have to say I feel like genetics plays a large part of the problem. Several people in my family do not sleep well, and sadly I have followed in their footsteps in the sleep department.

There are nights where I sleep a solid eight hours and I wake up feeling great. Other nights I can sleep ten hours and wake up completely exhausted because it feels, even though I slept, I didn’t actually feel rested. And still there are nights where I sleep a mere three hours and feel completely energized.

It’s the nights where I sleep a mere four hours and wake up feeling like the Energizer bunny that I hate the most. Even though I feel completely alert and awake when I first wake up, I know the inevitable crash is coming. And sometimes that crash doesn’t happen until a day or two later.

Last week between Tuesday night and Thursday night I slept a total of ten hours … combined. It wasn’t until Friday that exhaustion finally caught up with me and I crashed into a soundless sleep.  While I had a great nights sleep on Friday, the previous days were rough. I was tired, run down, and cranky.  And me being a crank isn’t good for anyone.

Well, in the midst of my sleepless week, while complaining about just how tired I am to a coworker, she  asked “have you tried meditating?” I told her I hadn’t.

Thinking about it, I did try meditating a few months ago. I downloaded an app and I really didn’t like it. I thought I didn’t like meditating, but it turns out that I didn’t like the specific app. Even though it had good reviews, it just didn’t work for me.

But as I drove home that evening I thought more about meditating. I was so tired that I figured it was worth another shot. I researched meditating for relaxation and sleeplessness and found the results to be almost overwhelming.  And than I thought I’d try another app.

I found many – some free and some paid. I knew I didn’t necessarily want to pay because I wasn’t certain that it would work (meditating that is) or that I would stick to it. I had the option to give the app I previously used another go, but decided against it figuring if I didn’t like it then I wouldn’t like it now. I scrolled through and came across an app that seemed promising.

It was a free app … what did I have to lose?

Today, I want to share with you, not only what app I decided to try out, but also how I feel about the app as a whole, and if I feel it’s working. I am sharing this information with you in case you find yourself restless and unable to sleep.

I downloaded Simple Habit that is created by Simple Habit, Inc. . This app has a 4.8 rating and  was a Top App of 2017.  This app has been featured on Shark Tank, and it was a Business Insider hottest startup. It has guided meditation instructed by professionals that take just five minutes.  This was a big selling point for me. Yes I am busy, but more than that I don’t have a long attention span. Beyond that this app allows users to track progress, and if they wish to upgrade to the paid version which offers even more features.

Once using the app, users can set how much time they have available to dedicate to the practice of meditating and can also specify why, where, and even when you want to meditating. Because I am just starting out, and want to build up more of an attention and focus so I can fully reap the benefits of meditation.

The first week the app will take you through the Simple Habit Starter – a seven-day cycle that talks you through the basics: breathing, awareness, releasing tension in specific areas of the body, being present and focusing on the now, etc..

I’ve only been using this app for just over a week. But within that week I have found that, not only is it extremely user-friendly, but it doesn’t overload me with information. More than that it doesn’t obsessively remind me that there is a paid version I could take advantage of. (Granted that information is always available, it’s not obnoxiously in your face). I like that I could set a notification reminder, set a specific time of when I want to meditate, and I can specify why exactly I want to meditate (obviously I set it to sleep better).

I started with the Simple Habit Starter (the seven day meditation cycle). Every evening around 9:30, I set aside five minutes to meditate. This five minutes, while it doesn’t seem like a lot of time, is a solid five minutes that are solely mine. I don’t have to worry about work, about problems and issues that have risen in my life. It’s five minutes where I can selfishly focus on me.

This five minutes allows me to not only meditate, but also allows me to clear my head, to be more present in my life and in the world, and to shake my stress away.  At first I didn’t think I would stick with this, but by day four I found that I was looking forward to my five minute meditation sessions.

The big question here is: am I sleeping more?

I’m not sure if I’m exactly sleeping more or better than I normally do, but I can say this: I feel more relaxed when I settle into bed at night. Most nights it takes upwards of twenty minutes to settle in and fall asleep. I found that while my meditating this past week I’ve fallen asleep in record time. The moment I lay down I fall asleep almost immediately.  And while I may not sleep through the entire night, I sleep solidly and restfully for the time I do sleep.

And I have been sleeping more than 4 hours each night, which lately for me is a win.

It’s only been a week and a few days of using this app, but I am liking it. And I am going to be continuing on this meditation journey.

So, dear readers, I hope you have found this post helpful even just a little bit. If you are like me and don’t tend to sleep well, what do you do to sleep better and catch some sound z’s? I’d love to know. Please share in the comments!

(If you’d like an update let’s say in a month or so, please comment and I will definitely do so!)

 

 

The Girl From the Other Side (Vol. 1-3)

The Girl From The Other Side (Vol. 1, Vol. 2. & Vol. 3) by Nagabe

Vol. 1

Inside:

Those who live inside the wall are safe from the curse. The curse that turns human beings into hideous beasts. But as of late, it seems that more and more humans are showing signs of infection.

Outside:

Those who live on the outside – outsiders – have been cursed. Many are already dead, but there are a few who live. They have one thing in common: they long for a pure white soul. All but one: Teacher.

Teacher isn’t like the others infected with the curse. Teacher is nice. Teacher doesn’t act like an animal or a beast. Teacher is the guardian of Shiva, a little girl from the other side who has been abandoned on the outside.

Teacher does his best to make sure that Shiva is cared for and to ensure that she never ever touches him. Touching him can lead to infection. But what he can’t stop is a stranger from touching her.

Vol. 2

Teacher is convinced that since Shiva has been touched by a cursed outsider she too will start to show symptoms. But she feels fine, and she looks fine to. How is it possible that this human girl, who has been touched by an outside, not be cursed?

Needing answers Teacher and Shiva set out to find the other outsider. But what they find is something more disturbing: other outsiders who are here to steal Shiva’s pure soul.

He can’t let that happen, fleeing towards the safety of home, Teacher and Shiva meet another stranger along the way. Only this time, she isn’t a stranger … she’s Shiva’s aunt, the one who abandoned her on the otherside.

Vol. 3

Shiva’s aunt has returned. And with her is the promise that they’ll return home to the Inside safely. Teacher isn’t certain that Shiva’s aunt is being truthful, but what choice does he have? He has to let her go.

But when an Outsider – another beast – is found in Shiva’s village on the inside, it’s up to Teacher to save Shiva.

But is it too late?  Is Shiva in danger of contracting the curse.

***

A little while ago I discovered the wide world of manga. It’s fair to say that I went on a bit of a binge after reading and loving a few. I checked out a bunch from my local library, and I even bought a few. Some I checked out/bought I loved and some not so much. The Girl From the Other Side by Nagabe was one of those manga that I randomly bought.

I picked up volume one randomly, mainly because I liked the cover. After reading the very brief synopsis it sounded interesting enough to purchase. And I’m so glad I did.

At the core The Girl From the Other Side is a fairy tale. It’s a story set in a faraway land with unimaginable creatures – some good and some bad that roam said land. But what I personally love most is that in many respects this is a story of opposites: good and evil, nature and nurture. It’s the kind of story that I easily love getting sucked into.

Because this series is a manga, it doesn’t rely heavily on the words. While sparse, the text that is present is powerful. Each word is calculated. Each sentence measured. And it’s leading up to something … but at this point (since I’ve only read the first three volumes) I’m not exactly sure what.

But more powerful that the text are the images. They may all be illustrated in black and white, but they are vividly bright and boldly rich with context. This is a story that doesn’t rely on words to tell a mesmerizing story; the images alone tell a story as well.

One of the main reasons why I enjoy The Girl From the Other Side, isn’t only because it’s a dark story, but because it makes me think. But not just think about what’s going on in the plot, but also about how good and evil, nature and nurture function in our very own world.

There is a lot to love about this series. And as you can tell, I’m definitely hooked. I am thoroughly looking forward to the future volumes I will read. If you’re into dark fairy tales, with one innocent character and a dark mysterious beast, than I think you’d like The Girl From the Other Side.

(Cover images from Goodreads)

 

Monthly Reading Update: May 2018 Edition

Hello Readers!

I know, I know … it’s been quite some time since I’ve updated y’all on my previous months reading.

Guess what? I’m back and I’m ready to update you, dear readers!

April was a busy reading month for me. I was trying my hardest to finally finish the Harry Potter series. And I am glad to report that I did! After spending easily three months reading nothing but Harry Potter (yes, this was my first time reading the series) I was a little lost as to what to pick up and read next. Admittedly, it still feels like a challenge, but I guess that’s what happens when you’re reading a series for that long span of time. But no regrets! It was worth every minute spent reading!

Anyway …

In April I read a total of seven books. The books I read were:

  1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
  2. Broken Beautiful Hearts by Kami Garcia
  3. Big Foot and Little Foot by Ellen Potter
  4. Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi
  5. The Girl From the Other Side Vol. 1 by Nagabe
  6. The Girl From the Other Size Vol. 2 by Nagabe
  7. The Girl From the Other Size Vol. 3 by Nagabe

I’ll be honest with you dear readers, I’m pretty impressed with myself. I don’t mean to brag but I rarely read that much in a months time. On average I read a solid three books a month. What was different this month? Honestly, I rediscovered my love of audiobooks.

While I was working my way through the Harry Potter series I discovered the art of reading the physical book while I was at home (or work, or any place where I was stationary) and I listened to the audio version while I was on the go (in the car, walking, etc). I found that I really loved bouncing back and forth between each format. Because of that, I want to continue on in that tradition.

Now that April has come to a close, and we are welcoming in May it’s time for a new TBR list. Honestly, this list is a tentative list. I make no promises that I will stick to it or stray away from it.  But it’s a list, and I’m hopeful that I could easily read these books in one month.

May TBR List:

  1. Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy
  2. Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles
  3. The Wicked Deep by Shea
  4. Warcross by Marie Lu
  5. Haunting the Deep by Adriana Mather Ernshaw

Besides these five books listed above I am also hoping to squeeze in a graphic novel or two, plus several picture books. I am confident that I could read these books and complete my May reading goal!

What books are on your May TBR list, dear readers! I’d love to know. Please share in the comments!

(Cover images from Goodreads)

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I’d Slay a Lion to Get Early

(Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. The above picture was taken and altered by me for the purpose of this post.)

 

Hello Readers!

Today’s post is probably going to be the shortest Top Ten Tuesday post I ever published on this blog. Why? Because there is only one book that I’d slay a lion to get early. And that book is …

The Wicked King (The Folk of Air #2) by Holly Black

See, short and sweet! What upcoming books are your most excited about readers? Please share in the comments!

(Cover image from GoodReads)

Middle Grade Monday: Magical Creatures – A Booklist

Hello Readers!

Welcome to a new week, and another edition of Middle Grade Monday!

Last week I posted a review of Big Foot and Little Foot by Ellen Potter – a middle grade book that I picked up unexpectedly and really liked! A big part of why I liked it so much was because it featured a Sasquatch (or a squidge). It’s not that I’m obsessed with Sasquatchs or I spend my time roaming the wilds in a hope of a rare sighting. I liked it mainly because, besides being a super cute portrait of a tiny Sasquatch, I feel that in books Sasquatchs are underrated (I could totally be wrong about that!).

Because of that I thought it would be fun to explore other middle grade novels that feature creatures from myths, folklore, magical realms, and legends. While this list isn’t very long, all the books featured on it are books that, if you read Big Foot and Little Foot, I think you’d enjoy.

Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures by Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater

The Spiderwick Chronicles (Series) by Toni DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist: The Flight of the Phoenix by R. L. LaFevers

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Aru Shah and The End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Phoebe & Her Unicorn by Dana Simpson

The Menagerie by Tui T. Sutherland

The Creature of the Pines (The Unicorn Rescue Society Book 1) by Adam Gidwitz

Like I said, not a very long list, but a solid one (or at least I think so)! Tell me, dear readers, what books would you have added to this list? Please share in the comments!

(Cover images from Goodreads)

 

Freebie Friday: Library 411 Tag

It’s Friday dear readers! You do not know just how excited I am about that!

As you know I watch a lot of YouTube. Probably too much some may argue., but in all honesty, it helps me relax and unwind. I have a (bad?) habit of starting out watching a favorite vlogger’s newest video, and then falling down a rabbit hole of suggested videos.  On my most recent YouTube watch I came across Paper Faerie’s videos (again, via a vlogger I actively watch). I watched a few of her videos, but the one that struck a chord with me was her video of the Library 411 tag.  I watched, and found out that this tag, which I personally find pretty awesome, was originally started by Jashana .

I enjoyed Paper Faerie’s Library 411 video so much, I decided to tag myself and play along.

Here’s how the Library 411 Tag Works:

There is a series of questions, each question will be library themed. Each answer I give will be about books I have read that I feel best fits that question. Sounds fun, right?!

1. Information Desk: A Book That Was Helpful to you.

2. The Return Bin: What are two books you’ve read and immediately wanted to return (because you disliked) or a recent DNF?

Two books that I’ve read (more or less recently) that I immediately wanted to return are: Ronit & Jamil by Pamela L. Laskin and The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand

3. Holds Section: Your most anticipated release, which you can’t wait to get your hands on.

I have three highly anticipated releases. – it’s just too hard to pick one!  In no particular order

  • Puddin’ by Julie Murphy
  • The Wicked King by Holly Black
  • The Opposite of Here by Tara Altebrando

4. Community Classes & Study Rooms: A book you’ve loved that was a school assignment.

Let me tell you a little story, dear readers. Way back when I was a tiny freshman in high school my English teacher assigned us a book report. He didn’t assign a book though. He let us choose whichever book we wanted so long as it wasn’t “trash.” He said that if we couldn’t choose a book, or if we simply didn’t want to, to see him after class. Because everyone’s definition of “trash” could be different (and because I couldn’t think of a book I wanted to read at the time) I went up to him after class and asked for a book that he wouldn’t consider “trash.” He told me to follow him, stating that he had the perfect book for me. He led me to the school’s book closet (which at that time I hadn’t a clue even existed) and pulled out a paperback copy of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. He told me to read it. He told me that I would instantly love it. I took it home and read it in one night.

He was right, I loved To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s actually one of my most favorite books. And I am forever thankful to this teacher for putting this book into my hands.

5. Computers: A modern classic you love, or a favorite sci-fi.

I’m not sure if this is a modern classic, or counts as one, but I’d say The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

6. DVD Rentals: Your most anticipated, or favorite in recent history, book-to-movie or book-to-TV adaptions. OR! A book that felt cinematic to you or a book you wish would be adapted into a movie or TV series?

I have a few answers for my most anticipated adaption. In no particular order:

  • The Darkest Minds (which will force me to finish the series, which I purposely didn’t finish because I feared for my favorite character.)
  • The Hate U Give
  • Mary Poppins
  • The Bell Jar
  • To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

7. Library Book Store/Sale: A random book you picked up (without knowing anything about) and really enjoyed. Or show off your favorite bookish merch.

Late last year I got heavily into manga. Everyday at work I’d look up from my desk and saw a specific manga that caught my eye. I simply liked the cover, whose colors were reminiscent of Harley Quin. One day I decided to pick it up, and I have since read the first nine volumes of this growing series.  So I have to say, in regards to a random book I picked up and enjoyed, was Akame ga KILL! by Takahiro.

As a bonus, I love bookish merch. And I’m proud to say I own a lot. My two favorite bookish pieces of merch that I own are:

Luna Lovegood’s wand which I bought at Ollivanders at Universal Studios & The Alice in Wonderland Litograph poster. 

8. Teen/Youth Room: Favorite YA or favorite book you read as a kid. Or a book you can’t wait to share with your future kids.

Because I mainly read YA it’s hard to pick a favorite. But one of my all time faves, one that has stuck with me since I read it many years ago, one I feel needs more recognition is Dreamland Social Club by Tara Altebrando.

And just for fun, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark definitely is on of my favorite books from my childhood. I seriously memorized stories in case I suddenly found myself huddled around a fire sharing the most terrifying ghost stories. (P.S. I never found myself huddled around a fire LOL)

9. Museum Tickets: A book that made you feel more cultured upon completing it.

I’m not sure if cultured is the correct word, but a book that I definitely learned a lot from is my current audiobook: Aru Shah and The End of Time by Roshani Chokshi. And as a fun fact, part of this story takes place at a museum!

10. Overdrive/Hoopla: An audiobook you love.

I’ve been on an audiobook kick lately. My most recent favorite audiobook(s) would have to be Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, narrated by Jim Dale. The production of this is great, narrator Jim Dale was engaging, and the audiobook really enhanced my reading experience.

11. Request a Purchase: A lesser known book that you want more people to know about and read.

I know a lot of libraries already own this book. I should know, I work at a public library.  I wouldn’t call it a lesser known, but I wish this book had gotten a lot more attention because I feel like it was (is!) such a great book: Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst.

12. Librarians: A character who loved helping others.

This is a hard one for me … but right off the bat my gut answer would be both Eleanor  and Park from Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park. Why? Because I loved how they helped each other.

13. Sanctuary: A book that is your safety net/is like home to you/helped you through a rough time.

  • A book that is my safety net: I wouldn’t use the term ‘safety net’ to classify any books I read/have read, but a book that I was completely comfortable reading – in the sense that I wasn’t rushing through, that I wasn’t asking everyone who read it what will happen by the end, one that I savored every moment of … Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy.
  • A book that feels like home: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • A book that helped me through a rough time: We Are Okay by Nina LaCour. While I’d say I wasn’t going through a rough time necessarily, I will say that this book helped put a lot of things in perspective for me in regards to love and loss.

Because this is a tag, and I am technically supposed to tag someone, I am tagging all of you dear readers. I tag anyone who wants to participate!

I also want to thank vlogger Jashana for creating this tag, and to Paper Faerie for bringing this tag to my attention.