Saturday, January 30, 2016

My Top 5 Fantasy Novel Recommendations

I've read a lot of books - some great, some not so great. After writing the previous post about my Kindle Paperwhite, I thought it fitting that I should follow up with some sort of list sharing my top five book recommendations. However, I love so many different books that there was no possible way I could pick just five, so I thought I would narrow it down to a specific genre. Fantasy just happens to be one of my favorites, so here is a list of 5 books (or series) that I would highly recommend that incorporate elements of fantasy.

1) The Emperor's Edge (Series) by Lindsay Buroker

If you read my last post, you'll know that this is an e-book that I highly recommend. The Emperor's Edge is a steampunk fantasy series about a woman, Amaranthe Lockdon, who teams up with an assassin to save the empire. It's a series full of mystery, romance, adventure, comedy, and lots of interesting characters. These books started off as e-books, but they have become available in hard copy as well. Here is the chronological order of the series, as well as Lindsay Buroker's website so you can learn more about her and her work!

Book 1 - The Emperor's Edge
Book 2 - Dark Currents
Book 3 - Deadly Games
Book 4 - Conspiracy
Book 5 - Blood and Betrayal
Book 6 - Forged in Blood I
Book 7 - Forged in Blood II
Book 8 - Republic

Lindsay Buroker's website:

2) Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo

The Grisha Trilogy is a trilogy about Alina Starkov, a girl who discovers a hidden power within her that has the potential to save her world from the Fold, a darkness that has been slowly destroying her country. It too, has mystery, adventure, and romance. Just a warning, however. If you have a habit of investing yourself in characters, this book will grasp your heart in its non-existent hands and then promptly rip it out of your chest. But it's worth it. Again, here are the titles and Leigh Bardugo's website.

Book 1 - Shadow and Bone
Book 2 - Siege and Storm
Book 3 - Ruin and Rising

Leigh Bardugo's website:

3) Shatter Me (Trilogy) by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me is a story about Juliette Ferrars, a girl with a lethal touch - that is, she cannot touch another human being without hurting, or killing, them. What caught my attention right away  was Tahereh Mafi's style of writing. I loved it so much that I immediately re-read the series after I finished it the first time through. I also love the character development - and let's be honest, the romance is pretty great too. This trilogy incorporates a lot of heart-wrenching, throat-constricting twists and turns as well.

Book 1 - Shatter Me
Book 2 - Unravel Me
Book 3 - Ignite Me

Tahereh Mafi's website:

4) The Princess Bride by William Goldman

So far I've included modern novels, but lets not forget about the classics. We all know the beloved story of The Princess Bride thanks to the 1987 film version directed by Rob Reiner. However, while the movie is a classic, the novel is just as good - if not better. I love both the book and the movie, but if you haven't read the book I would suggest you get on that like, right now. Drop what you're doing and get your hands on a copy. It's a phenomenal story, and reading the book makes the movie infinitely more funny.

5) The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Trilogy) by Rae Carson

Refreshingly different, The Girl of Fire of Thorns is about Elisa, a princess chosen by God to bear the Godstone, a stone in her navel that burdens her with the task of fulfilling the destiny that the Godstone bearer must fulfill. The trilogy truly takes you on a journey to a different world, and it incorporates the adventure and romance that we all love in a good fantasy novel. It also includes hair-raising cliff-hangers and gut-wrenching twists.

Book 1 - The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Book 2 - The Crown of Embers
Book 3 - The Bitter Kingdom

Rae Carson's website:

And those are my top 5 fantasy recommendations! I have a million other books I would love to recommend, but that would defeat the purpose of narrowing it down to 5 recommendations. If you want more great fantasy novels, or any other book for that matter, don't be shy - contact me on social media or leave a comment here. I'd also love to hear your favorite fantasy novels, so comment your own recommendations below!

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Changed My Life

I realize that I haven't posted in a while, but I've begun my second semester at school and we all know how motivation levels drop significantly when school is thrown back into the equation. Anyways, I'm back and that's all that matters! This evening I've prepared a blog post dedicated to the one and only...Amazon Kindle Paperwhite.

Now, I wasn't a complete Kindle fan when I first got mine. In fact, my sister got hers before I did, and if I'm being totally honest with you  I MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE resented her a little for it. I was a, "I like to feel the pages between my fingers, thank you very much" type of person. Not that anything's wrong with that - I was just so against this strange, new technology that wasn't a classic, concrete book that I didn't want to give it a chance. Then for my 16th birthday, my parents "surprised" me with a Kindle (and by "surprised" I mean they asked me if I wanted one and I agreed with an exasperated "suuuuuuuure" because my mom kept asking me what I wanted and I kept responding with "I dunno...").

The Kindle Paperwhite differs from the original Kindle because it has a backlight, which allows for SLEEPLESS NIGHTS DEVOURING YA NOVELS AND OTHER IMPOSSIBLE-TO-PUT-DOWN-BOOKS. Ahem. Anyways, that's just one of the many perks of the Kindle Paperwhite. The screen of the Paperwhite also prevents glare, (as with all Kindles) so reading in the sunlight is just as easy as reading at night. I also love it because if I come across a word I'm unfamiliar with, I can get the definition simply by tapping and holding that word. It's small, so it's easy to travel with, and light weight, so it's not a burden to carry around.

Aside from the practical uses of the magnificent Kindle Paperwhite, it also broadened my horizon as far as genre and style are concerned. I've always loved reading, but receiving a Kindle enabled me to read more books, more often.

Finally, a lot of amazing authors write e-books only, so there are a number of REALLY good books available through the Amazon Kindle bookstore and nowhere else. Another perk that comes with having a Kindle is that books are discounted. Since you aren't actually buying a hard copy, many of the books are 50% off, and you can even download some for free.

I hope I've provided you with ample information and enthusiasm about the Kindle Paperwhite and the wonders it has done for me these past three years. If you were on the fence about getting one, I'd say - GO FOR IT! It doesn't have to be a Paperwhite, but I would certainly recommend a Kindle to anyone who loves to read. 

You can get your Amazon Kindle by clicking here!

For my Kindle I have this case by Jonathan Adler. You can get it and other cute cases by clicking here!

If you do treat yourself or another avid reader to a Kindle, I'd recommend Lindsay Buroker's steam-punk fantasy series, The Emperor's Edge.

Monday, January 4, 2016

2015: A Year in Review

It's over. 2015. WHAT. There have been so many goings on this past year that I just I just I JUST NEED TO WRITE THEM DOWN OKAY? So, for the sake of my sanity and for the sake of keeping this blog afloat, I've decided to review my year with you!

The beginning of last year started pretty much the same as the beginning of this year - "WHAT IT'S 2015 HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?!" I began the last half of my senior year of high school, which, to be honest, was pretty great. Our basketball team went to state, so I, being the mother of my friend group, drove myself and three others on a 4 hour road trip to Madison, Wisconsin which involved navigating a big city, cheering on high school basketball players, and shopping OBVI. *flips hair* 

2015 also brought the last opportunity for me to get all fancy and dance all night - that's right friends, we're talking PROM. I went with friends because WHO NEEDS BOYS AMMIRIGHT? I loved everything except my hair - that was $60 down the drain. Nevertheless, it was a fun night dancing with friends. That fun didn't last long, sad to say, when, come graduation party time, a giant wooden swing bench BROKE WHEN I WAS SITTING ON IT and, to make a long story short, I needed seven staples to hold my scalp together. Fun right? Eventually the staples came out and I was able to straighten my hair and wear my cap 2 weeks later as I walked the staged and received my high school diploma! Hooray for me!

After graduation, I traveled across the country to Portland, Oregon BY MYSELF FOR THE FIRST TIME to visit my godparents. It was a great, guys. Great. I don't travel a lot, so this was a fun trip, especially because I got to see my godparents who are also my aunt and uncle who I rarely see. We had a great time, and BONUS the weather was wonderful! I would definitely go back - the mountains were a refreshing and AMAZING change compared to the farmlands of good ol' northwest Wisconsin. Also, Rose Garden anyone? 

When I got home, I hit the road running with rehearsals for Grease as Frenchie at my local summer theater. What I was nervous about turned into one of the best theater experiences of my life. It was a great cast and a great time - I got to share this experience with my friends (and my cousin as my teenage angel) and I met a lot of great people too! We ran for two weeks straight, and while it was a lot of work, it was totally worth it. (And now I'm up for a nomination for best newcomer, NO BIG DEAL PEOPLE.) 

The rest of the summer consisted of me finally relaxing and soaking up what was left of my freedom. I spent about a week up at my cabin in northern Minnesota with my brother and my cousins and their families, ate a lot of ice cream, took a mini vacation to the North Shore with my family, and saw The Fiddler on the Roof, a cast made up of at least half of my extended family. Then, that fateful day arrived - I left home for college. During the first semester I learned that I hate sharing a room, I celebrated my GOLDEN BIRTHDAY, and I discovered how beneficial cars really are - and how frustrating it is NOT TO HAVE ONE AT SCHOOL. And now the first semester of college is over. And now 2015 is over. And now it's time to begin again, and look forward to what 2016 will bring.