A Brief Hiatus

Hello!

So, I’ve decided to put Book.Blog.Bake. on hiatus for August. It wasn’t an easy decision, and this isn’t an easy post to write. I’ve been going back and forth about this for a few weeks now, mostly playing the comparison game. I see friends who have been blogging for years–2 years, 3 years, or more–who never seem to have to take a break. Oh, they might skip a week when they go on vacation or stop posting during holiday weeks, but they never really go on hiatus or take a big break. I’ve been comparing myself to them, wondering why I feel like I need a break and they never seem to. My mind plays mantras of “Why can’t I keep up with them?”

But that helps no one. There’s no use in playing the comparison game, and I’ve decided it’s time for a “rest” month for the blog.

I’ve been blogging for over a year and a half now, and in that time I’ve never taken a break of this nature. The only times I remember pressing pause on the blog at all was in May 2013, when I graduated college, got a job, and moved all in the same week, and then a few months ago in May 2014, when I moved apartments. I’m always cautious about saying I don’t have time to do things. We all have the same amount of hours in a day, and we decide what to do with those. So I’m not going to say other things are eating up all my time right now, because that’s simply not true. But other things are eating up a lot of my time right now, and I don’t feel I have the time this month to dedicated to blogging in a manner that would satisfy me. There are other activities vying for my time, so I’ve decided to go on hiatus for the following reasons:

1. I’m job hunting

You would think that job hunting would mean I had MORE free time, but I’ve found that’s simply not the case. When I was working in my program that was (mostly) 9 to 5, I had a very clear-cut designation of “work time” and “my time”. Sure, maybe a few times there was some carry over during particularly busy or stressful times, but for the most part I knew what was work and what was personal. Now that I’m job searching, I feel like I have to always be “on”. I’m looking for jobs at 9 AM and 3 PM and 9 PM. I’m tailoring my resume at 6 AM before I go to the gym or 8 PM after I eat dinner. It all runs together, and even if I don’t spend eight hours a day working on resume, searching, and applying for jobs, it’s highly mentally taxing.

2. I’m concentrating on my personal writing

I’ve been really concentrating on my personal writing lately, which means I often don’t have the energy to write tons of blog posts, even when I have the time. I’ve found these two activities fight for my “creative attention”, if you will,  and I think it would be easier to just concentrate on one for a month.

3. I’ve lost my backlog of posts

I know some bloggers have no problem writing posts the night before or the day of they post, and it works for them, which is great–but that doesn’t work for me. I just can’t do it. It stresses me out to be writing a post the night before I want it to go live, and it makes blogging feel less like a hobby. Since July has been so busy, I’ve basically used up my entire backlog of posts. Right now I have a few scheduled reviews for September and October for ARCs I read early this summer, but my highly efficient backlog of posts has been mostly wiped out. Since I’ve started blogging, I’ve always had at LEAST two weeks of posts scheduled in advance, and it’s normally more like a month’s worth. During August, I’m still going to be writing post, but not posting until September to build my scheduled post back up.

I know I don’t really have to explain why I’m going on hiatus, but I just wanted to make it clear–I’m not burnt out on blogging. I’m not really in a rut. I’m actually really excited about blogging right now, but I wanted to explain because a month can be quite awhile without new content, and that’s generally when I start to wonder if a blogger has quit if they didn’t announce a hiatus. I am definitely not quitting–just going into hibernation!

 

To be clear, this hiatus is only for blogging and not the internet in general. I’ll still be on twitter, because it’s basically my second home.  I’m also still participating in ARC August, and keeping track of that over on my tumblr. I’ll actually probably be doing a few Top Ten Tuesdays over on tumblr as well, so any sort of blogging content will be over there for the month.

Now that I’ve rambled on for quite awhile, I’ll just say see you at the beginning of September!

newsignature

July 2014 Wrap-Up

July 2014 Wrap-Up

In My Life

The big thing in my life this past month? My year-long job ended, and I began the search of self discovery(aka, frantically applying to jobs all over the place and also tons of soul searching about things like where I want to be living in a year, if I want to go to grad school, etc. So, the small stuff). Honestly finishing my job took up such a big part of my life at the beginning of the month I barely remember anything from the first half.

Now I’m still in that transitioning phrase so the last half of this month has felt pretty random. I’ve been doing things that needed to be done for awhile and again, a lot of soul searching. It’s been a very busy month in my head but for some reason I can’t think of anything else note-worthy to share.

I watched

I finished my Gilmore Girls re-watch! And of course, the last episode had me sobbing like a baby. Never fails. I watched pretty much all of season 7 this month, and I liked it more than when I watched it the first time. It’s still my least favorite season of the show(the whole Christopher/Lorelai marriage thing, for one), but I appreciated the emotional journey more this time. I think I’ve also gained some emotional distance from it that made me appreciate it more–I watched the last half of season 7 in my last semester of college, and I went through SO MANY of the same things that Rory went through(minus a proposal & all of that), including a job after right around graduation(though mine was a few days before graduation and Rory’s was a few days afterwards). It was cathartic, but emotional, and it was much easier to watch season 7 with some distance.

I also caught up on Emma Approved. I admit it took longer for me to get really invested in it like I did with Lizzie Bennet Diaries, but now? I am fully invested and also fully emotional after the last two episodes. I feel so bad for Emma but at the same time I totally understand how everything got to that point. The last few episodes have also made me start liking Harriet a little better, whereas before she was just kind of “there”.

THEN I also caught up on Supernatural. I had watched all but like the last 3 or 4 episodes of season 9, and AHHH. I loved and hated(for feels-related reason) the finale in equal measure, but I’m super excited(and worried) about the next season, and I haven’t really felt that excited about the potential overarching plot line since the end of season 7. My emotions, though. This show hadn’t put them through the ringer like that since the season 5 finale.

Also, have you seen the new trailer for the If I Stay movie? I am rarely optimistic about adaptations of my favorite books but I’m actually REALLY looking forward to this movie. It looks really amazing and even the trailers have left me crying. Less than a month away now! I haven’t been to the movie theater at all in 2014 yet but I’m totally going to go by myself on opening weekend, sit in the back corner, and sob my way through this movie.

Notice a theme in the “What I Watched” section this time?(Other than it being 3x as long as normal? That’s what happens when you’re job searching and begin to have a really weird sleep schedule). All the things I watched this month made me so EMOTIONAL. I don’t know what’s in the air.

I listened

Well, one of my favorite bands, Copeland, has decided to reunite for another album. I am so excited and have been listening to this song constantly, even though it’s even a little slower/quieter than some of their usual stuff.

This month I also discovered Greg Laswell thanks to a Spotify recommendation. Spotify recommendations are so strange–sometimes they’re SO RIGHT and then other times I just get really confused at the algorithm because really? really? You think I want to listen to that?  Ahem, anyway, I discovered Greg Laswell’s stuff and soon became obsessed with the song Comes and Goes(in Waves).

In other listening-but-not-music news, I’ve started listening to the Welcome to Night Vale podcast, and I totally get it now, y’all. It took me like 3 episodes to become obsessed. I just started listening THIS WEEK so I’m not very far yet but I already love it.
I read

 

5 star Reads:

Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas

4 star Reads:

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
White Cat by Holly Black
Sabriel by Garth Nix
Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler

3 Star Reads:

The Jewel by Amy Ewing
The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King
Glory O’ Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King
The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
This Side of Salvation by Jeri Smith-Ready
Things I Can’t Forget by Miranda Kenneally

2 star Reads:

 

1 star & DNF Reads:

 

blogging life

My Favorite Review:

My review for Good Omens–favorite book of the year!

Most Popular Review:

By pageviews, my review for The Murder Complex.

My Favorite Discussion:

My confession about how I side-eye long books.

Most Popular Discussion:

Not really a “discussion” but I shared 3 time management techniques for bloggiesta.

Favorites

Favorite Book

Dangerous Boys. This book was awesome and evil and perfect.

Dangerous Boys

Favorite Quote

I’ve lived eighteen years in a season called sadness where the weather never changed. I guess I believed it was the only season I deserved. I don’t know how but something started to happen. Something around me. Something inside me. Something beautiful. Something really, really beautiful.

-From Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Saenz

 

fav pictures

I’ve taken to bribing myself in various ways for writing-related purposes.

favmemory

Ah, July was such a blur, it’s tough to pinpoint one! I think a great memory was a last day at my job–it was bittersweet, but I just felt such a sense of accomplishment when I thought about what I had done in a year and the progress I had made, professionally and personally. I’m not sure it’s a “favorite” as much as it is a unforgettable memory.

newsignature

Book Review: The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco

Book Review: The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco

The Girl from the Well

by Rin Chupeco

17847318

Expected Publication Date: August 5, 2014
Length: 304 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Obtained Via: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley from the publisher. I was not compensated for this review, and this is no way affects my opinion of the book.
Format Read In: E-ARC
View at the Traffic light:

red-24178_150

the story morning glory

You may think me biased, being murdered myself. But my state of being has nothing to do with the curiosity toward my own species, if we can be called such. We do not go gentle, as your poet encourages, into that good night. 

A dead girl walks the streets.

She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.

And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.

Because the boy has a terrifying secret – one that would just kill to get out. 

The Girl from the Well is A YA Horror novel pitched as “Dexter” meets “The Grudge”, based on a well-loved Japanese ghost story.

howwasit

The Girl from the Well was delightfully creepy from the very beginning. I mean, just look at these gems from the first few pages(all quotations checked from the ARC and should be checked against a final copy upon publication):

“I am where the dead children go.

With other kinds of dead it is different. Often their souls drift quietly away, like a leaf caught in the throes of a hidden whirlpool; slipping down without sound, away from sight.”

“And then there are the murdered-dead. And they are peculiar, stranger things.

You may think me biased, being murdered myself. . . We do not go gently, as your poet encourages, into the good night. We are the fates that people fear to become. We are what happens to good persons, and to bad persons, and to every one in between.”

Those first pages were enough to hook me on The Girl from the Well. We’re introduced to the story of Okiku, the main character(and a spirit) as she haunts her prey. It’s soon learned by other characters that Okiku drowned three hundred years ago, hanging upside down in a well. Now Okiku seeks revenge on murderers of children. And Okiku’s hauntings and revenge killings? Seriously creepy. Read this one with the lights on. I felt like I was holding my breath from beginning to end of The Girl from the Well. Okiku’s victims are killed gruesomely and the text doesn’t spare many details.

The Girl from the Well may begin with Okiku’s revenge, but soon after the other characters emerge. Okiku’s drawn to a boy she sees, Tarquin, because of his strange tattoos that seem to move and the malevolent spirit that seems to be attached to him. With the introductory of Tarquin comes his cousin Callie, who’s obviously smart and resourceful but way in over her head when it comes to spirits.

Eventually the story moves to Japan which is where most of the actual plot goes down–finding out the origin of Tarquin’s tattoos, why his mother was placed in an insane asylum, and how they can possible free Tarquin from the evil spirit. All the while, Okiku observes(and sometimes does things, when she can, though it’s made clear that are certain limits to her power). I wasn’t sure about the way Okiku, Tarquin, and Callie’s story intertwined at first, but it eventually won me over. I will say that I thought the pacing sort of slowed once the story moved to Japan, because the first half of the book was SUPER intense and things were happening, happening, happening. I still really enjoyed The Girl from the Well(and the Japanese influences were really great, don’t get me wrong), but it had been on track to be a 5 star read until about the middle.

Minor complaint aside, The Girl from the Well was creepy and fantastic. There’s definitely some narrative distance between Okiku and the actual events, which was jarring at first, but made perfect sense. Okiku, as a character, *is* pretty detached from the events. She may care about certain things as a ghost, but they don’t affect her the same way they would affect a living person, and the distance shows that.

Without going too much into the plot(for fear of spoilers), to conclude I’ll just say again that The Girl from the Well was pretty much everything I could have wanted from a creepy YA read. Lovely writing, a fascinating narrator, and some truly terrifying moments.

finalimpression2

Since I’ve been getting more intro horror/creepy books lately, I knew I just had to try The Girl from the Well, and it was SO WORTH it. A truly creepy and fascinating story plus Japanese influences. What more could I ask for? 4/5 cupcakes.

4cupcakes

yellowaddit3

newsignature

Top Ten Authors I Own the Most Books From{Top Ten Tuesday}

Top Ten Authors I Own the Most Books From{Top Ten Tuesday}

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, which features (you guessed it!) top ten lists on a given topic each week. This week’s topic is. . . .Top Ten Authors I Own the Most Books From. Now, I have books stored in two locations–here, in my lovely but small one bedroom apartment, and back at my Dad’s house, in my spacious room, which makes counting a little difficult. That being said, these are all just estimates, really.

JK RowlingCS LewisJRR TolkienPatrick nessKasie WestMadeleine L EngleSusan CooperStephen KingLibba BrayMaggie Stiefvater

1. JK Rowling

I own two copies of the entire Harry Potter series, plus a paperback of The Casual Vacancy, which means I own an impressive 21 books from JK Rowling.

2. C.S. Lewis

I own the entire Narnia series in paperback and in e-book, which is 14 books right there. Add in three of his nonfiction books, a book from his Space Trilogy, and the Screwtape Letters, I own 19 books by C.S. Lewis.

3. J.R.R. Tolkien

Hey, one should never split up best friends. I have The Lord of the Rings + The Silmarillion + The Hobbit + basically the rest of his books I’m too lazy to look up. These are at my dad’s house, so I can’t actually count, but I’d guess I own at least 10 books by J.R.R. Tolkien.

4. Patrick Ness

Ebooks of The Chaos Walking trilogy(3) + ebook of More than This + hardback of A Monster Calls=5 books.

5. Kasie West

2 copies of The Distance Between Us + Pivot Point + Split Second + On the Fence=5 books.

6. Madeleine L’Engle

The Time Quintet + Two non fiction books=6 books.

7. Susan Cooper

The Dark is Rising series=5 books.

8. Stephen King

The first 4 books in the Dark Tower series + On Writing=5 books.

9. Libba Bray

the Gemma Doyle trilogy(which I have yet to read) + Beauty Queens=4 books.

10. Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver + The Raven Boys + The Dream Thieves + The Scorpio Races=4 books.

 

newsignature

Book Review: Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas

Book Review: Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas

Dangerous Boys

 by Abigail Haas

Dangerous Boys

 Expected Publication Date: August 14, 2014
Length: 336 pages
Publisher: Self-published

Obtained Via: I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated in any way and this in no way affects my opinion of the work.
Standalone(Note: this is not a sequel to Dangerous Girls–it’s just a book in a similar vein!)
View at the Traffic light:

red-24178_150

 

the story morning glory

Three teens venture into the abandoned Monroe estate one night; hours later, only two emerge from the burning wreckage. Chloe drags one Reznick brother to safety, unconscious and bleeding; the other is left to burn, dead in the fire. But which brother survives? And is his death a tragic accident? Desperate self-defense? Or murder?
Chloe is the only one with the answers. As the fire rages, and police and parents demand the truth, she struggles to piece together the story of how they got there-a story of jealousy, twisted passion, and the darkness that lurks behind even the most beautiful of faces…

howwasit

Dangerous Girls has been called a YA Gone Girl before, a description I find fairly apt. Well, if Dangerous Girls was like a YA Gone Girl, then Dangerous Boys is like a YA Dark Places. It’s a little less of a straightforward mystery and more of a complex and psychological look into the dark side of humanity, all while keeping up the thriller pacing. Much like Dangerous Girls, it’s worthwhile to go into Dangerous Boys fairly blind, though the focus of Dangerous Boys is less on the outcome and more on how these characters ended up where they did.

In fact, Dangerous Boys opens at almost the end of the story, with a stand-off and a transcript of a 9-1-1 call. From there, the book delves into the lives of the characters and their twisted relationships. There’s some narrative time-jumping, but the bulk of the story plays out linearly.

At the beginning of Dangerous Girls, main character Chloe has everything. She’s getting ready to leave for college, she’s caught the eye of the cute newcomer in town, and her life feels ready to begin. The only thing stopping her is her mother, who had a nervous breakdown after her dad walked out on the family. It becomes apparent that her mom’s breakdown is not a quick phase, which causes her to lose to her job and Chloe, at eighteen, gets stuck with the task of paying the bills and taking care of her mom.

She starts dating Ethan, gets a full time job filing paperwork and answering phones at the police department, and signs up for a few night classes at the local community college. It’s not the life she imagined, but Chloe tries make it work, while secretly hating the path her life took. In time, she meets Ethan’s brother Oliver, who recently dropped out of college, and suddenly Chloe finds her life venturing wildly off path. It all unravels towards that night in the abandon house with the two brothers that starts the story.

The heart of Dangerous Boys lies in the twisted relationships Chloe finds herself in and the willingness to explore the dark potential of humanity. That ability towards evil and darkness is something often hinted at in books, but never is it embraced so completely as it is in Dangerous Boys. It’s both fascinating and terrifying. Dangerous Boys keeps up a thriller pace, but there’s a quiet, subtle story playing out underneath–the story of two brothers and the war in the human mind of someone who’s seemed to have lost it all and desperately wants to take back control of her life.

Our lives are made up of choices. Big ones, small ones, strung together by the thin air of good intentions, a line of dominos, ready to fall.

It is those choices that Chloe wrestles with for the bulk of Dangerous Boys. Ethan is a sweet, good-meaning boy, but he expects more of Chloe in terms of goodness than she thinks she’s able to give. He constantly affirms her, all while making her wonder if she’s really the person she’s pretending to be. He’s kind and steady. Oliver, on the other hand, is as dangerous at the title of the book suggests, but compelling charismatic and someone Chloe thinks might actually understand her, all while he begins to attempt to groom her to be the person he wants her to be. This tug-of-war is at the crux of Dangerous Boys, and the winner determines who walks out of that fire and who is left inside.

You don’t know what’s behind that smile. You can’t imagine who someone will turn out to be. We assume the sun will rise every morning just because it has done every other day, but what happens when you wake up to darkness? When you open your eyes and find, today is the one different day?

Dangerous Boys is thrilling, yes, but more so, it is a compelling look at the dark places of humanity. It’s terrifying in the quietest of ways, and I know it will stick with me for a long time, just as Dangerous Girls did–and perhaps for even longer.

Tryif

Dark PlacesComplicit

finalimpression2

Dangerous Boys is an excellent look at the psychology of someone who has lost it all and wonders who they are in the end, torn between two paths, both vying for attention. It’s both terrifying and compelling, a book I know I’ll revisit more than once. If you’re a fan of thrillers, especially those that fall more on the psychological thriller side than outright mysteries, I highly recommend giving Dangerous Boys a chance. If you’re a fan of Dangerous Girls, I think you’ll like this one too, but they’re different enough to escape most comparison. 5/5 cupcakes.

5cupcakes

yellowaddit3

newsignature