Tips on Reading for Fun during the School Year

With school having started recently, I know it’s hard to pick up a book to read for fun. Between AP reading and class assignments, reading for pleasure isn’t on many people’s to-do lists. But it should be! Reading is proven to sharpen your mind and calm your nerves. I know that personally, reading brings me happiness. Sneaking into a new world to escape my own brings me solace that I thrive on during the school year. Despite my overwhelming to-do list and scurrying from meeting to meeting, reading something for fun always comes as number one.

Here’s how you can sneak some extra reading time into your schedule:

1. Always pack a book. 

You never know when you’re going to have down time. It might be between meetings or an unexpected cancellation but having a book will save you from staring at your phone screen for an inordinate amount of time.

2. Set aside fifteen minutes before you go to bed. 

This not only gets in at least two chapters of a book, but it also relaxes your mind before you hit the hay.

3. Read a book instead of checking your phone. 

When you have five minutes between class or ten minutes before a meeting,  rather than check out Instagram, pick up a book and read a couple pages.

4. Read in the bathroom. 

Do not. I repeat do not laugh at this suggestion. I have finished books in the bathroom. I have finished novel upon novel in the bathroom. Whether it be while I’m doing my business or while I’m cooling off from a shower, you can sneak in a lot of reading in the loo. (And you can use it as an excuse to hide out from a party.)

5. Read while your traveling. 

Personally, I can’t read in the car. But I take every opportunity on a plane to read a book. There’s not much else you can do on a plane, train, or subway, so why not crack open a page-turner?

Happy reading and good luck with school,
Kimberly

Top 5 Wednesday: Fictional Cities

Top 5 Wednesday

This week is dedicated to all of our favorite fictional cities in all of our favorite books.

Hogsmeade

1. Hogsmeade

You may be noticing a trend — pretty much anything Harry Potter related is going to be included on any list that talks about my favorite things in literature. Who hasn’t daydreamed about walking around Hogsmeade with snow flurrying all around you and stumbling into The Three Broomsticks for a butterbeer. Just me? Okay, that’s fine.

2. Oz

I specifically think the Emerald City would be amazing to see. But all of Oz, with it’s winding yellow-brick road, would be a grand adventure to explore.

3. Middle-earth

Because who doesn’t want to go on an epic quest where they can run into anything imaginable? You’re always on your toes, not knowing what to expect around the corner. I’d love to go on a mighty quest with Gandalf and company to save the people of Hobbit-land.

Pawnee

4. Pawnee

I know, I know. This isn’t technically a favorite city from a book, but it still fictional, so I’m rolling with it. Oh “Parks and Recreation,” you have shown me what it means to have pride in your town. I would love to live in Pawnee and have a broiling hatred for the town next door. I would love to work in the parks and rec department with the amazing Leslie Knope and meet Andy. To spend a day with the Pawnians, would be a day well spent.

Wonderland

5. Wonderland

Despite how much it terrified me as a child, I would love to explore Wonderland with my partner-in-crime. To make friends with the Cheshire Cat and play croquet with the Red Queen would be a dream come true at this point in my life.

Happy reading,
Kimberly

In History’s Blood

Title: In Cold Blood
Author: Truman Capote
Genre: Historical Non-Fiction
Quotation: “Imagination, of course, can open any door — turn the key and let terror walk right in.”
Would recommend to: people who love unraveling a mystery.

In Cold Blood

Recently, I have been trying to branch out with my reading interests. I’ve picked up books from sections all over the bookstore, and I’ve really liked it. I’ve discovered some books I never would have otherwise — one of those books being “In Cold Blood”.

ICB is about the Clutter family murder in 1959 in Kansas. It sounds morbid — I know — but it’s actually extremely interesting. I flew through this book due to it’s inconsistent point-of-view, which I really liked, and intriguing content.

Due to the true nature of the story, Capote was able to alternate between viewpoints and include information not previously available, like why the men committed the murders and what they were thinking towards the end of their lives.

It’s an interesting take on a disturbing life event, but if you are interested in historical fiction, and enjoy the creepier side of life, I would definitely suggest this book. It’s great at keeping your attention, and you can read it between class because it is not difficult to follow.

The only downside is that it leaves you wanting more. You want to know more about the characters backstories and how they got to where they are in life. (But I always want to know more, so maybe that’s just me.)

Happy reading,
Kimberly

Top 5 Wednesday: Book Series

Top 5 Wednesday

This weeks Top 5 Wednesday is dedicated to those series you just wish had more books. I’m sure you can already guess a few that are going to be on my list.

1. Harry Potter by J.K Rowling

But I don’t want more books, I want a whole new series about Harry’s kids lives, and world post-Voldemort. I think it would be so interesting to pop back into that world and get a sneak peak of how badly Albus Severus is teased and how great a Quidditch player James is and how adorable Hermione and Ron’s relationship is. I just want maybe one more book that outlines their relationships as adults with each other and children.

The Hunger Games

2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I love love loved the way this series ended, but I also wouldn’t complain about a spin-off from Peeta’s perspective. Wouldn’t it be great to see the third book from his head? To hear all about what he went through? I was a huge Peeta fan, so maybe it’s just me. But I think a Peeta spin-off would be fantastic.

3. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments)

I’m not a huge fan of the spin-off, but I would love to read more about Clara’s life. I’ve actually been thinking about re-reading this series since it was so great the first time around.

Wake

4. Wake by Lisa McMann (Dream Catcher)

This series is all about a guy who can jump into people’s dreams. It’s terrifying and thrilling and amazing all wrapped in to one. This was another fantastic series that I wish I could read more of. If I remember correctly, it ends very sadly and I wish it didn’t. I wish there could be more to the series and more to the main character’s story.

House of Night

5. Marked by P.C. Cast (House of Night)

loved  this series…until there were too many books. This is one I wish had quit while it was ahead. It was such a great story with great twists and turns, but more and more books kept coming, and it was just too much. I feel similarly about “Grey’s Anatomy”. You’re on your 12th season Grey’s, you’re done. There are like 15 House of Night series books — it’s done. (Other books that needed to just stop: Pretty Little Liars.

Happy reading,
Kimberly

Treasure Tuesday

Treasure Tuesday

  1. Classes started today at my university! I am officially an upperclassman and that is both terrifying and amazing.

2. I am still currently reading “Identical” because I worked so much in the last week. But my goal is to finish it sometime this week.

3. Check out this amazing post for any dessert lover on Buzzfeed. I know this isn’t book related, but come on, you need this in your life on this fine Tuesday.

4. Book Quote 19

5. We all need some good news in our days. Here’s a whole website dedicated to it. (Good News Network)

Happy reading,
Kimberly

Top 10 Tuesday: Books on My Syllabus

Top 10 Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in 2010. It’s a fun way for bloggers all over the Internet to connect and post the things they love about books. This week I will be talking about the books that would be on my syllabus if I were to teach The Basics 101. (This includes books that every book lover should read.

harry potter books

1. Harry Potter by J.K Rowling
This is a classic series that spurred by love of reading and everything magical.

2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
This was the first book I really remember enjoy reading that wasn’t fantasy.

Peter Pan

3. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
I read this recently, and I fell in love with the classic tale.

4.  The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
It’s shorter than “Lord of the Rings” and just as fantastic.

5.  The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
I think this is definitely a book to read in high school. It’s short, sweet and to the point, packed with a whole lot of meaning.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

6. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum
Just check out this review.

7. Anthem by Ayn Rand
This is an amazing book. It’s like “The Giver” but better. (And I know Ayn Rand is a controversial author to love, but I just think her novels are fantastic.)

book 1

8. Divergent by Veronica Roth
Need I say more — this series is amazing.

9. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
It gets better and better every time you read it. I’ll probably read it again this year and love it even more.

Alice in Wonderland

10. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
No matter how trippy and strange, this book is a piece of art that everyone should read. I’ve read it three times now, and similar to Perks, it gets better and better.

Happy reading,
Kimberly

The Liebster Blog Award

liebster2

Thank you to Lucia for nominating me for the Liebster award! I am honestly so incredibly honored to have been nominated. Bloggers are nominated by other bloggers for this award and nominees have fewer than 200 followers.

Here are the rules for everyone that has been nominated for this award:

The rules:
1) Acknowledge the blog who nominated you and display the award
2) Answer the 11 questions the blogger gave you
3) Give 11 random facts about yourself
4) Nominate 11 blogs you think are deserving of the award
5) Let the bloggers know you have nominated them
6) Give them 11 questions to answer

1. What is a song that gets stuck in your head 24/7?
Something classic like “Stacy’s Mom” or “All Star”. I can rock out to those at any time.

2. What is your go to book genre?
Fantasy series – I love alternate worlds and magical adventures.

3. When you buy books-that is if you buy books, which I hope you do — do you like to buy one book at a time or a whole bunch of books at a time?
It depends what kind of mood I am in or whether or not there is a sale going on. I’ve done both at varying times.

4. Which movie/book/song can you quote without even thinking about it?
I would have to say Harry Potter.

5. What is your favorite/lucky number?
3

6. Which book made you feel a hundred different emotions?
I’m being hard-pressed to answer this question, and I just can’t come up with anything right now.

7. Do you have any weird reading or writing habits (perhaps you only listen to soundtrack music when you do these activities, or maybe you look for mistakes while reading, etc.)
I usually look for typos while reading. I love editing, so I’m a huge fan of finding mistakes (especially when I’m reading a book I don’t particularly like).

8. Which do you prefer, reading or writing? Or maybe both?
I think at this point in my life I prefer reading.

9. Who is practically yourself, but as a book character? So basically, a relatable book character.
I can’t say I’ve read a lot of books with characters I automatically relate to. I’ve noticed similarities, but not enough to say that it is me in character form.

10. What is a book that no one likes but you?
I’m a huge fan of Nicholas Sparks novels. (Everyone’s got to have a guilty pleasure, right?)

11. A book that everyone loves, but that you didn’t like that much?
Most things by John Green. I like him enough, but most people that read him are obsessed, and I don’t feel that way.

11 Random Facts

  1. I am indeed Jamaican.
  2. I am originally from Florida but currently live in North Carolina.
  3. My favorite color is blue.
  4. I would marry Target if I could.
  5. My best friend moved to Germany this summer.
  6. I’m strangely addicted to YouTube videos.
  7. “1984” is my favorite book, and George Orwell is my favorite author.
  8. I was named after the original pink Power Ranger.
  9. I used to play basketball and volleyball.
  10. Mangos are my favorite fruit.
  11. This summer was my first trip above the Mason-Dixon Line.

My Nominations

Quirky Mads Reads
Forwards and Bookwards
CassidyXO
Books for Days on End
Calliope the Book Goddess
Fieitty Reads
My Tiny Obsessions
Book States in Blue
Thoughts and Afterthoughts
CK’s Reading Corner
The Bookette Reviews

My Questions

  1. What is your favorite book?
  2. Who is your favorite author?
  3. What’s your favorite TV show?
  4. Who do you admire?
  5. What do you want to ultimately do with your life?
  6. If you could have three things right now, what would those three things be?
  7. iPhone or Android?
  8. What’s your favorite candy?
  9. Who’s your favorite book character?
  10. What was your favorite childhood story?
  11. Where would you love to live?

Again, thank you so much for this nomination!

Happy reading,
Kimberly

An Abundance of Reading

Title: An Abundance of Katherines
Author: John Green
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Quote: “I just want to do something that matters. Or be something that matters. I just want to matter.”
Would recommend to: someone who understands the importance of second chances.

I have never been a particularly huge fan of John Green’s novels. I don’t hate them, (obviously not, because I’ve read like three of his books) but I have never before reveled in their magic like others.

But, now I have.

image

(http://www.npr.org/books/titles/157814205/an-abundance-of-katherines)

After reading “The Fault in Our Stars” and “Papertowns”, I had given up. I felt like nothing really happened (specifically in “Papertowns”); it was very anti-climactic to me. The stories went full circle without any semblance of character development or plot dynamic. Then, I gave his books another try. I picked up “An Abundance of Katherines” at my local Target book section and could not put it down  I finished the book in two days between classes, homework and deadlines.

I think the reason I really liked this book was that it was different. It had a unique structure with footnotes, graphic demonstrations and mini-stories about the different Katherines the main character, Colin, had dated in the past scattered throughout the novel. I found this to be refreshing; I liked the spunk it gave the novel.

I also like how this story developed. At the end of the novel, Colin doesn’t fall back into his usually tendencies. He understands his struggles with love, acceptance and change, and he tries desperately to become a better person. He goes through drastic character development with apparent change in himself and in his relationships with other people.

The quirky and fast-paced nature of this book held my attention, but the changing dynamic make me want to read it again.

I would suggest this book to anyone who has been disappointed by an author’s novels, any author, because if you find the right book by them, it may change your outlook on their writing style. Never judge an author by one book; there could be a better one hidden in the stack.

SPOILER ALERT: Colin ends up with someone with a different name than Katherine, but that shouldn’t really be a spoiler.

Happy reading,
Kimberly

Top 5 Wednesday: Tropes

Top 5 Wednesday

A couple Wednesdays ago I posted about the character tropes I loved. This week is all about the ones I hate. Again, character tropes are overused themes in books. So let’s get started…

1. The perfect girl

You know what I’m talking about — I’m talking about the girl who seems so perfect on the outside with her perfect hair and her perfect teeth and her perfect boyfriend, yada yada yada. But really, on the inside, she’s suffered a lot and just doesn’t know how to tell anyone. I’m really sick of this one, mostly because it gives a lot of girls the impression that they shouldn’t let their guard down and no one will want them if they are struggling with something. Books included in this category are: anything by Sarah Dessen.

Twilight

2. The troubled hero

This is most often found in young adult novels, but I’m kind of sick of it. I don’t want some self-loathing and deprecating individual to fight for me — I want someone who knows what they want and isn’t afraid to say they are awesome for it. Confidence is sexy. Hiding in the shadows because you messed up once is annoying.  Books included in this category are: The Vampire Diaries and Twilight.

3. Love at first sight

Maybe it’s because I don’t believe in love at first sight or because I don’t think it ever happens in real life, but this one just never gets me excited about reading a book. Usually because it’s coupled with the troubled hero I just described, but love at first sight can bite me. Books included in this category are: Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.

The Princess Diaries

4. “Do you have any idea how beautiful you are?”

This is the one where the girl is just a plain-Jane until this “amazing” guy comes into her life to tell her differently. I think this is another one that gives girls false hope in their appearance changing overnight and also encourages girls to seek approval from boys. Neither of which I find okay. This is also known as the “glasses removal effect”, meaning that once a girl (or boy) removes their glasses, they are 10 times more stunning than they were with that accessory on their face. Movies included in this category are: The Princess Diaries.

5. The jock who doesn’t want to be a jock

Or the ballerina that wants to quit ballet. Or the kid in remedial classes who’s actually really smart. I’m just sick of this. I’m sick of lead or supporting characters that just aren’t themselves. It gives you very unrealistic expectations of people having underlying meaning behind their actions. Sometimes, the jerk, really is just a jerk. Books included in this category are: Just Listen and Speak. (But I loved Speak! Don’t get me wrong!)

Top 10 Tuesday: Auto-Buy Authors

Top 10 Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in 2010. It’s a fun way for bloggers all over the Internet to connect and post the things they love about books. This weeks designated topic is “auto-buy authors”. This refers to authors whose books you will buy no matter what. Personally, this is just too similar to the previous week for me (I’m not drawn to authors for some reason), so I’m going to list my Top 10 authors I want to read this upcoming school year.

Outlander

1. Diana Gabaldon

I’ve heard so many great things about “Outlander”. I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

2. George R. R. Martin

I mean…it’s “Game of Thrones” in book form. I have yet to actually watch the show in sequence, but there’s a reason everyone loves it, and it’s got to be even better as a book. I wanted to start reading this awhile ago, but I know it’s going to be a big commitment.

3. Kurt Vonnegut

I’ve read “Slaughterhouse-Five”, but I’d love to read his other works. My brother loves his stuff, and I have a whole stack of his book on my desk at home. I’m going to dive into these when I get home from college.

Ray Bradbury

4. Ray Bradbury

This is another author I would love to read more from. My friend recently read a lot of his stuff and really liked it, so I’d love to see what it’s about. I’m also a huge fan of “Fahrenheit 451” so I’d like to see if his other stuff matches up.

5. Kristin Hannah

I’ve been looking for “The Nightingale” ever since my mom mentioned it to me back in February. I haven’t been able to find it on any of my trips to Barnes and Noble, so I might have to settle for ordering it online. But I know it’s going to be a good read once I finally get my hands on it.

Jojo Moyes

6. Jojo Moyes

“Me After You” is on so many to-read lists I can’t keep track. Besides hearing that her stories are emotionally moving, I love the style of the covers.

7. Rainbow Rowell

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been wanting to read “Eleanor and Park” for almost a year now. And I’ve also heard great things about “Fangirl” from my roommate. I can’t wait to pick these two up.

8. Victoria Aveyard

In the book blogger world, “The Red Queen” is pretty popular. I figured I would give it a go!

anna-lola-isla

9. Stephanie Perkins

Author of “Anna and the French Kiss”, Perkins has written other books as well. I think these would be really fun, easy reads to immerse myself in while at work or waiting between classes.

10. Ian Fleming

Fleming is the author of the James Bond books. My best friend loves these books, and I think they would be interesting to read. Apparently, Bond is a more dynamic character in the novels than in the movies.

Do you have any must-buy authors? Or authors you look forward to reading? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy reading,
Kimberly