WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Each week, participants are invited to answer three questions:

What are you currently reading?

What did you just finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m reading Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin. I read The Happiness Project by her a few years ago and liked it. I also listen to her podcast. I’m in a real mood for nonfiction fiction right now, so I decided to borrow it from the library the other night.

I’m also listening to 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don’t Do by Amy Morin. Again, I listened to her book on 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do earlier this year and got a lot from it. I decided to give this one a whirl. It was so funny today because I drove home from work, I started the chapter on how mentally strong women don’t overthink things. and that’s so me. It was like listening to a chapter all about me.

I’m also trying to read Nocturnal Blood by Villimey Mist. I got it for free off Amazon. It’s not quite my taste, however, and, like I said, I’m really into non-fiction right now, so it’s not quite working for me.

I just finished Spark Joy by Marie Kondo, which I really enjoyed. My review will be up tomorrow, but, suffice to say, I decluttered a lot while reading this book. And I feel very good about it.

I also finished The Wellness Project by Phoebe Lapine. In it, she undertakes a year long project to improve her health and well-being. She tackles diet, exercise, skin care and more. She’s also a professional chef so each chapter included recipes that I bookmarked to go back to.

Gosh, I don’t even know. I’ve got so many things to read and no desire to read them because they’re all fiction. I’ve been carrying Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik around with me, but haven’t opened it yet. Maybe I’ll start this weekend.

What are you reading this week?

Top Ten Character Traits I Love

Since Top 5 Tuesday is on hiatus this week, I thought I’d give Top 10 Tuesday a try! Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is top 10 character traits I love.

  1. Loyalty. I love characters who are loyal to someone or some cause.
  2. Humbleness. Characters like Odd Thomas, who are very humble and grateful for all they have, light my fire.
  3. Bravery. Especially if they are scared, but do whatever they need to do anyway.
  4. Honor. I love characters who have a deeply ingrained sense of honor. And I don’t care if they’re good or bad. In fact, when villain have a sense of honor, that makes me love them all the more.
  5. Determination. Characters that see things through and never give up, despite the odds.
  6. Cleverness. I like characters who are able to think ten steps ahead of the situation and manipulate events based on it. Yes, I’m thinking of Kaz Brekker.
  7. Adaptability. When characters are thrown into a new situation and they have to adapt. I especially when they adapt, but keep their core self in tact. For example, Enne Salta from Ace of Shades.
  8. Wit and a sense of humor. I prefer it when the characters are smart and use their humor to lighten the situation, not hurt others (although, it can be interesting if they do and have to fix it).
  9. Faith. It doesn’t have to be a faith in God, just a faith in something. I especially like it when the antagonist is driven by his or her faith in something and is so blinded by it that when they finally see the truth, they are utterly destroyed. Javert from Les Miserables is like this, and I love it.
  10. Vulnerability, especially in men. This is why I’m so drawn to m/m romance. The men in those books have a kind of vulnerability, especially in deeply romantic scenes, that is unusual to see, even in traditional romance.

Those are my top ten favorite character traits. What are some of yours?

Calendar Girls October: Books that Lit Your Way Out of a Reading Slump

Calendar girls is a monthly blog event that’s hosted by Katie at Never Not Reading and Adrienne at Darque Dreamer Reads . This month’s discussion prompt is Books that Lit Your Way out of a Reading Slump.

So, I can’t remember when I’ve ever had a proper reading slump. I’ve read less than usual, like February when I only read about three books. But I’ve still always read every night. So, there hasn’t been a particular book that’s pulled me out.

That being said, I have had a genre light me from reading a book every week or so to reading almost a book a night. And that genre was M/M historical romance.

I’d read a few in the genre and enjoyed it, but it didn’t spark until I discovered Cat Sebastian and K.J. Charles. Once I read them, I devoured whatever I could find. I tore through Cat Sebastian’s book, The Soldier’s Scoundrel like a wild fire. Then, K.J. Charles’s Society of Gentlemen books entered by world. The first, A Fashionable Indulgence was okay, but the second, A Seditious Affair cemented my love.

With such lovely lines like, ” Wednesday by Wednesday, week by week, I have loved you.” I was a goner.

After that, for months after, I read almost nothing but m/m historical romance. I discovered more authors and more series. I read until I couldn’t find anything I hadn’t read. And while I’ve branched back out into other genres, m/m historical romances have a special place in my heart.

What’s a book or genre that snapped you out of a slump? Comment below and let me know!

September Wrap-Up

Another month in the books. It was a low-to-average reading month. I finished six books, which is less than August, but that’s okay. Even though I’m reading less,I don’t feel like I’m in a reading slump; I just don’t have that much time right now. I’m working, I had some health issues, and I’m trying to find time to write and be a little social. It’s a lot. As the saying goes, I can do anything, I just can’t do everything.

6 books: 1 audio, 1 e-book, 4 physical books

1333 pages (that’s terrible)

12 hours listening

3 YA, 2 mystery, 1 m/m romance (which was also a mystery)

1 purchase, 1 borrowed from my mother, 3 library, 1 ARC

Mistress of Nothing by Kate Pullinger

Treacherous is the Night by Anna Lee Huber

No Good Men by Thea McAlistair

Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Alienist by Caleb Carr

Legendary by Stephanie Garber

Anticipated Releases of Fall 2019

Top 5 Covers of 2019

Top 5 Funniest Characters

Let’s Talk Bookish Reading Slumps

Dark Goddess snippet

Top 5 Fall Recommendations

Favorite Banned Books

Questions for More Experienced Bloggers

Dark Goddess Snippet

How was your month? Any goals for October? Drop a comment below and let me know!

Snippet Saturday – Dark Goddess

Previously, on Dark Goddess:

Part 1, Part 2

Hands reached out, touched her.  Grabbed at her arms, at her clothes.  Her panic made thinking impossible, and every hand belonged to her captor.  She jerked away from them.

A body planted itself in front of her, white and blue, hands out, blocking.  She saw its mouth moving, heard words but didn’t understand them.

She tried to sidestep, but tripped.  She fell, landing on her elbow.

The body knelt in front of her.  “Miss, calm down,” it said.  “You’re fine.  You’re safe.”

The security guard.  He was there, kneeling, looking at her through concerned eyes.

Kali pushed herself up.  “A man tried to kidnap me.  He had a gun.  At the movie.”

“Is he still here?”

“I don’t know.  I ran away.”  She swiped at her chin, her hand coming away streaked with blood. 

“He hurt you?”

“He twisted my arm.  Threw me on the ground.  He…” She broke off and inhaled.  Her lungs made an unfamiliar wheezing sound as she did.  The block in her throat made it impossible to get enough air.

“Have her put her head between her knees,” someone in the surrounding crowd said.

“No, she should lay down.  Put her feet up.”

“Anyone have a paper bag?”

“I have an inhaler!  Do you want to borrow it?”

The guard pressed the talk button on the walkie-talkie on his shoulder.  “Operator?”

“Operator here.”

“I have a fifteen-year-old…”

“Seventeen,” Kali corrected, still wheezing.

He raised an eyebrow, but said, “Seventeen-year-old female in respiratory distress.  She says she was forcibly taken at gunpoint from the movies.  Contact the police and call for an ambulance.”

“Ten-four.”

The guard placed his hand on her shoulder.  “Just close your eyes and try to relax.  Take deep breaths.  You’re going to be fine.”

Kali nodded.  Closed her eyes.  When she tried to breathe through her nose, she couldn’t get enough air.  At the end of each breath, she had to open her mouth and gasp.

“Miss, can you describe your assailant?  Hair color, clothing, and feat…”

He was cut off by a piercing scream.  Breaks squealed.  There was a loud crash. 

Kali turned.

A van barreled through the plaza.  It plowed benches and kiosks in its path, barely missing people as it bore down on Kali and the security guard.

Kali’s gaze was riveted on the man behind the wheel.  The cold grey eyes staring at her.  Determination in every line of his face as he glared at her. He didn’t look at the people who fled his path or the kiosks that dented and scratched his fender.  He didn’t notice the security guard next to her that had drawn his gun.  The man’s gaze was for Kali alone. 

“That’s him,” Kali whispered.  She stood.  The world around her moved in slow motion.  Screams dimmed.  Bodies faded.  The air went still.

Then, the guard planted himself in front of her.  “Stop!” His arms trembled as he took aim at the van racing toward them.

Tires screeched.  The van swerved to a stop.  The man climbed out, shotgun in hand.  He aimed at the guard.

“Get out of the way.”

“Put the gun down and get on the ground.”

Kali shook her head and covered her eyes.  She knew what would happen, and she didn’t want to see.

“I said, ‘get out of my way,’” her captor repeated.

Kali peeked through her fingers.

“Put it down!”

The man fired.

The sound echoed off the windows of the shops.  A silence fell, like all the air had been sucked off the earth.  Like time had frozen.

The guard collapsed.

Chaos.

Her captor was at her side before she dropped her hands from her eyes.  He took her wrist and pulled.  “No more fighting, Kali,” he said.

A cold, dark anger welled through her.  Fear fell away.  She tightened her jaw, tossed her hair back from her face, and met his eyes.  “Fuck you.” 

Too late, she saw the butt of the shotgun.  The world exploded in a red, hot light. 

Let’s Talk Bookish – Star Ratings: Are they fair or necessary?

It’s Friday, so that means it’s once again time fro Let’s Talk Bookish, a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books.

This week’s discussion is Star Ratings – Are they fair or necessary?

So, I’m going to preface this by saying that this is something I’ve never thought about before. I just sort of took for granted it’s what people did. You read a book, you rate it, end of story. But the issue is more complex with that.

I’ll start out by saying that, no, they probably aren’t very fair. For one thing, stars mean different things to different people. This is what my star ratings mean:

Five stars: I loved it, I cherish it, I want to own it and reread it.

Four stars: I really liked it a lot.

Three stars: It was okay, I liked it.

Two stars: I didn’t enjoy it much, but there was something redeeming about it.

One star: I hated it.

However, not everyone attaches the same meaning to starts. To some people, giving a three star review is a huge insult to the book. To others, it means they enjoyed it a lot. So, star ratings aren’t standard and, except for five and one star ratings, it’s hard to tell what the person means when they star.

At the same time, I think it’s the easiest way to get across our relative enjoyment of the book. Reviews are great, but sometimes I don’t want to read a review, I just want to know if someone liked it or not. Stars give me a quick and easy guide to figuring that out.

On the other hand, tastes vary wildly and reviews are really a better metric of what a person thought about a book. I can get a clearer idea of how our star ratings align by reading a review. Maybe they rated it two stars, but they really liked the book and thought it was okay. That gives me a better idea of what they think that just looking at a star. And reading a review also helps me understand why someone rated something five stars when I really didn’t like the book and gave it a two.

So, I guess star ratings aren’t really fair, but, until we come up with a better way to rate things, they’re necessary. They can be useful to a degree and help give a quick idea of a book’s quality. But, they have to be taken with a huge grain of salt.

What do you think? Are star ratings fair or necessary? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Review: As You Wish

Title: As You Wish Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride

Author: Cary Elwes and Joe Layden

Publisher: Atria Books

Date: October 14, 2014

Genre: Memoir

As a young, fairly unknown actor, Cary Elwes was chosen to play the dashing and romantic Westly in William Goldman’s adaptation of his book, The Princess Bride. Years later, he writes about his memories, recollections, and experiences on set. He also gets others who worked on the film to add their thoughts as well.

This was such a wonderful book. Told with love and a lot of heat, Cary goes back to the moment his agent called him about auditioning to years later when this little film that almost didn’t had turned into a huge hit. He tells personal stories about the other actors with a lot of fondness, especially about Andre the Giant, whom he greatly admired.

I put off reading this for a long time, and I wish I hadn’t. This book made me super excited to both rewatch and reread Princess Bride again. The way Cary wrote about it made me remember how much I love it.

Story time: When my parents decided to rent the movie, I flat out refused to watch it. I threw a fit in the middle of the video store (a small one, just tears) because I was so sure I’d hate it. On the back of the box was Westly lying in Pit of Despair with his shoulder bloody and torn, and I. Did. Not. Want. To. See. It!

Fast forward three hours later, it was my favorite movie and I was going to marry Westly when I grew up. I wrote two books with him as my hero. I’ve memorized almost every line. It’s magic.

As is this book. If you haven’t read it yet, get a copy. Even better, go get it on audio and have him read it to you. You won’t be sorry.