Musings

February Monthly Update: Happy Almost March!

Yale Rare Book library where they have an original Gutenberg Bible and Audubons!

Yale Rare Book library where they have an original Gutenberg Bible and Audubons!

I hope you're all doing well!  Have you kept up with your New Year's resolutions?  The main one I made was to try to work on my TBR list and have even made a little progress.  With all the "Best of 2016" lists that came out, unfortunately I think I've added more than removed! Baby steps.  Did you see my favorites of the year?

So far this year I've been enjoying a combination of new books and rereading all the "The Circle Opens" series by Tamora Pierce.  It's great to go back and read some of my favorites from when I was a kid.  Here are some of my favorite new (to me) ones from this month:

What are the books you've been digging into?

Happy Reading!
Marisa

Top Books of 2016

There have been a lot of books over the past year, but I finally gathered my thoughts together and pulled together my favorite list from the year.  

Favorite Books of 2016:

1. A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) - Sarah J. Maas

This is one of those rare occasions where I think the sequel is even better than the first in the series.  Sara J. Maas out does herself keeping you guessing as to how things are going to resolve themselves and just who you can trust.  I love the realistic twists in the relationships and the vivid imagery in the night court.  When thinking over the past year of reading, this is the book I kept coming back to, so it gets top honors from me!

2. Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) - Sarah J. Maas

This book was a kick off to a series I read compulsively until I was up to date.  Once again Sarah J. Maas manages to keep you guessing throughout the book and nothing is quite what it seems.  Although this was close with "A Court of Mist and Fury" this one is a bit more emotionally exhausting due to the violence and complexities of the politics.  I certainly don't mean that in a bad way, but it is a book you have to know what you're signing up for!

3. Ready Player One - Ernest Cline

This was another book that I kept thinking about long after I had returned to to the library.  This one had fantastic world-building that reminded me of many classic science fiction books, while still being unique in its own right.  I adored the pop culture references and how the knowledge of different aspects builds into the challenges.  This was a fun book to read for my book group and highly recommend to any sort of 80's / science fiction nerd.

4. Wild Magic (The Immortals #1) - Tamora Pierce

What a classic.  I reread almost all of Tamora Pierce's books this year and I am so glad that I did.  They're books that have stood the test of time for me and I believe they would do so for others as well.  One thing that I love about these books is that they're in digestible chunks so you can commit to a series without having to reserve a few months to catch up.  The Immortals series is the series that I have a definite soft spot for and this was the book that kicked it off.  Daine is so adorably clueless and I love how she comes into her own as her powers develop.

5. All the Feels - Danika Stone

This is a book that makes my inner fangirl squeal with delight.  Despite the book being based on a fictional things, everything about the geek culture, comic conventions and humor is absolutely spot on.  This book was a breath of fresh air and something a little less intense to mix things up with.  I'd highly recommend this one for any fangirl at heart, even if they're the most secret about it.

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6. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less - Greg McKeown

This book makes the list simply because it's incredibly practical.  I have been in the process of minimizing my things and this was a book that takes the same principles and applies them to business.  These are great guidelines to keep in mind no matter your level so that you can try to keep things in perspective.  Stop spending time on things that don't matter and spend your time doing the things that will make you the most productive!  As a bonus, this was an easy book to listen to so you can even learn to be more productive while multi-tasking on your commute.

7. The Three-Body Problem - Cixin Liu

This is one of those books that's hard to explain, but is absolutely fascinating.  Before giving this one a read, I was completely unfamiliar with the "The Great Leap Forward" and everything going on in China at the time.  This book was an interesting way to get a fantastic story set against dramatic historical events.  I loved the blending of real science with science fiction in a practical way that makes it easy to imagine these things happening!

8. Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald - Therese Anne Fowler

Flappers, a historical backdrop and some spunky characters that keep you guessing - what more could you want in a book? Before reading the story, I was not familiar with the story of Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald.  They're a dramatic couple with a complex and troubled relationship, but that makes them the perfect focus for a story in the 20's.  There was so much change and so many characters on the world stage that it's fascinating who makes a cameo in the story.  As a bonus, there is a TV show coming out soon based the same thing!

9. The Everything Store - Brad Stone

This book was just plain interesting all around.  Amazon is a story that dominates so many markets, I really wanted to know some of the background about it and Jeff Bezos.  While it is not always flattering to Jeff, it made it more interesting as a book since it doesn't worship the ground he walks.  Understanding what it took to get the company off the ground and what is still happening know is a fascinating insight to a behemoth company that doesn't seem to be leaving the shopping stage any time soon.

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10. Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) - Leigh Bardugo

This book has so many of the elements that I loved from Sarah J. Maas' books that I almost thought they were by the same author for a period of time.  This book is a little lighter than "Throne of Glass" and with non-stop action throughout.  A better way to describe it would be "Oceans 11" meets the fantasy world.  A group is set against impossible circumstances and it's up to them to see it through.  I would highly highly recommend this to any fantasy fans out there.

That's it for my favorite books of the year! I hope you had some great reading as well - what were your favorites?

January Monthly Update: Hello Hello!

I hope you're all enjoying getting back into the routine in the new year!  There has been a lot going on in the world, it's enough to keep everyone's head spinning.  Fortunately I've been getting into some fantastic books like "The Night Circus" and "The Secret Life of Bees".

Today I posted my "Top Ten Books of 2016" and just wanted to share it with folks.  I am currently in the process of prioritizing my books for the next few weeks / months and going to try to be good and work on that TBR stack!

    What are the books you've been digging into?

    Happy Reading!
    Marisa

    December Monthly Update: Happy New Year!

    I hope you all had a nice time over the holidays doing whatever your tradition happens to be!  I spent a lot of time relaxing with family, skiing (a lot) and taking an Avalanche level 1 course!  (That means I know just how terrified I should be of them now. ) On the plus side, see above for a backcountry route we did in Rocky Mountain National Park.    

    Year in review:

    • I did a little thinking and narrowed this year's favorite books to Throne of Glass (series), The Three-Body Problem and Ready Player One.  These are all books I continue to think about on a regular basis and really stuck with me.  What were your favorites this year?
    • Continuing progress on the 2016 Reading Challenge - it has definitely introduced me to some awesome female authors.  A few posted recently and a couple more upcoming!
    • Still on my graphic novel kick!  I just picked up a bunch at the library and am looking forward to reading them.  

    Book Haul:

    • Over Christmas my dad got me "Harry Potter and the Art of Spying" and I also received "The Awakening of HR Derryberry"
    • Guns, Germs and Steel
    • The Emerald Mile 

    Coming up next, I'm most excited to read Rejected Princesses, the new A Court of Wings and Ruin (coming in May!) and the upcoming Lucy Varna books (yay Daughter of the People!).

      What are the books you've been digging into?

      Happy Reading!

      Marisa

      November Monthly Update: Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving!

      Visiting the most magical place! Other than Hogwarts of course...

      Visiting the most magical place! Other than Hogwarts of course...

      It's finally getting a little colder at home and I can't be more thrilled to finally see some snow!  We're going to need a lot more in the mountains if we're going to actually have a ski season (big deal in Colorado).  

      What have I been up to?

      • Squeeeing visiting Disney World with my family.  I did a 5k walk with my mom and ran a few races on my own!  It's pretty awesome to experience the parks with a munchkin in tow (I borrowed my nephew).
      • This month I finally go around to trying some Patricia Briggs and it was a challenge to then not scrap all my reading plans and dive into the series.  I've had these recommended for ages, but never got around to them!
      • Making some progress on the 2016 Reading Challenge - it has definitely intorduced me to some awesome female authors.  A few posted recently and a couple more upcoming!
      • I went to see "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them", did you?  I think they did an extremely good job with it.  It's kind of nice to see a movie that didn't feel the need to match a book so there was a little more creative license for new things.  Have you seen it yet?
      • Reading some graphic novels! I took a break for a while, but find them a wonderful resource to mix things up.  I read both "Boxers" and "Saints" and find myself continuously thinking about them... they address an area of history I was mostly ignorant on and has some very though-provoking concepts.

      Book Haul: I've been resisting with Christmas coming up, but I did pick up a few from the library that I'm going to stay mum on until I've gotten a chance to take a look.  There are a lot of new releases coming out this month!

      Literary Thoughts:  Here were some of my favorite literary articles I dug up this month!

      What are the books you've been digging into?


      Happy Reading!
      Marisa