Kernels of Nonsense: Five Books I’d Love to Reread

Yes, it’s been months since I put together a Kernels of Nonsense post, but the end of the year is fast approaching, so I wanted to make sure I got at least one more of these posts in. There is no denying it any longer, I am officially in a reading slump. While I do think this is the best time to be in a slump (I completed my Goodreads goal and all but accepted meeting the Debut Author Challenge to be out of reach), it is the worst time because although the stress of meeting certain goals is gone, there are still a number of books I wanted to get to by the end of the year. Instead I am just sitting here staring at said books and wondering where the heck my motivation disappeared to. About a week ago I tweeted that I had the urge to just drop everything and reread old favorites and now that this slump has set in, I’m starting to think that’s not a bad idea. So bearing in mind my slump doesn’t extend into rereading territory, here are five (technically six) books I’m seriously considering rereading to close out 2018.

1. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

I think it’s safe to say that Holly Black’s The Wicked King is one of the most anticipated 2019 reads in this community. I loved The Cruel Prince and have already preordered the sequel. This was one of my earlier 2018 reads and it feels like I need to a refresher before the sequel’s release. I’ve been itching to do a reread of this one for the last couple of months and there is no time like the present.

2. Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho is one of my very favorite books and one I’d like to see get more attention in the community. It feels like I’ve been waiting forever for the sequel and now that we finally have a date (The True Queen, March 12th 2019), I want to experience everything I loved about this first book again before the next one is out.

3. Truthwitch & Windwitch by Susan Dennard

Another highly anticipated sequel of mine is Bloodwitch. I feel like this series found its perfect pacing and balance between plot and characters in the second novel. But it has been almost two years since I read Windwitch and I want to go into the third without scratching my head trying to remember what happened in the previous novels. February cannot come fast enough.

4. Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Do you ever feel like you just want to reread something that wows you? Well, Naomi Novik’s Uprooted did just that and with Spinning Silver sitting on my shelf, I sort of feel like I need to revisit this one. I also have a feeling I’ll end up adjusting my rating on this one from four stars to five with a reread.

5. The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I think ending the year with a reread of one of your favorite books is the best way to go out. I read Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s The Beautiful Ones way back in February and all those warm and fuzzy feelings are still there. I keep saying it but this is one of those rare instances where a novel felt truly perfect to me.

Do you do a lot of rereading throughout the year? What’s the last book you reread? A book you’d like to revisit if you could? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Kernels of Nonsense: In Which I Tell You How I Really Feel…

Kernels of Nonsense is now a place for discussion posts and any assortment of other random book & blogging related topics I come up with. This post was inspired by Amber Elise @ Du Livre‘s confession post Blogger Confessions. If you haven’t gotten a chance to read her candid confessions, I encourage you to do so. It’s so refreshing to see another blogger’s unapologetic take on certain subjects. The point of this post is to get a little more honest than I usually am and help you get a better glimpse of who I am as most of these are views are ones I rarely ever share openly.

When I was first inspired by this idea, I started a list of things I wanted to mention on my phone and so much just spilled out of me. I had no idea I felt so strongly about so many things. As it were, I will probably do another post like this one in the future, so this is just a tiny glimpse into some of my opinions.

1. Let’s just dive in. I sometimes wonder if Leigh Bardugo will ever write a book that takes place in a different world than her Grishaverse. I love Six of Crows. It’s one of my favorite books. When everyone was celebrating a Nikolai duology, I was sighing heavily, knowing I would need to go back and finish the Grisha Trilogy, so I’m up to date on the characters (but do I really want to?) when I really just want to see what she can do with a different world. I have all the books in the Grisha Trilogy, but the more time that passes, the less interested I am in having to read them.

2. I get really anxious about authors following me on Twitter for several reasons. First, if I haven’t read their book and end up hating it, chances are much higher they’ll see my negative review even when I don’t tag them in it. Second, what if they stop following me for whatever reason and I happen to click on their Twitter bio only to discover that they have in fact unfollowed me? Now I’m left to wonder why…what did I do?…what did I not do?…is it me?…is it them?…why????!!!!

3. This has happened on several occasions. I interact regularly with another blogger, but then they end up going on a long hiatus or just drop off the face of the earth without notice. They are gone for like a year. I then clean out my feed, unfollowing these inactive bloggers, thinking they’re never coming back. And then BAM. They come back. And I feel really awkward following them again because maybe they’ll think I never followed them in the first place or that I unfollowed them at some point because I was annoyed by them. What do I do?

4. I once won a book through a giveaway and never received it in the mail. I didn’t contact the blogger because it wasn’t her responsibility, it was the publisher’s, but I’m still really bitter about it. Here’s the kicker. I don’t actually remember the name of the book. I know I added it on Goodreads when I won, but off the top of my head, I just remember it was about a friendship between two girls. Yet, I still remain bitter. I will take this bitterness to the grave.

5. I love the idea of having a coblogger. I think if I found the right person, we’d do incredible things together. A weight would also be lifted off my shoulders and I wouldn’t have to worry about the blog being sparse because this perfect coblogger would carry her weight. Her reviews would always be thoughtful and put together nicely. We could play off each other’s strengths and weaknesses and create incredible content. In reality, I trust nearly no one. My philosophy is if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. The only way it would be possible to have a coblogger is to have some kind of trial run where I could cut the strings at the end without feeling guilty (I will feel guilty because I want to be nice) because inevitably you’ll probably going to let me down (I know this because I’m really not nice).

6. Who decided enamel pins were the new thing? I have nowhere to put them and no real use for them. I think they’re okay, but I haven’t been caught up in the trend like everyone else. If I was a kid with a backpack, I could totally see the appeal, but as an adult, I don’t get it. Also, funko pops. I mean, they can be cute, but I can’t see myself spending money on them.

7. There is a really popular blogger who I see on my TL all the time and who rubs me the wrong way. I confess that the main reason is because they blocked someone in the community that I really respect and every time I see someone retweet them or like one of their tweets, I think about this. I should probably just mute them. Does this make me a horrible person that I just don’t think we’d get along well? I’m sure this person is nice enough, but I’m always thinking of how they blocked this other blogger because she asked them a question they didn’t like. Coward. That’s too harsh, isn’t it? I still think it though.

Have you ever made a confession post? Do you agree or relate to any of my views? Let’s discuss and feel free to share an opinion in the comments that you rarely ever talk about. I will only judge you a little bit.

Kernels of Nonsense: Five Books I Want to Check Out From My Library

This is my first Kernels of Nonsense post since I decided to revamp the feature. It will now include discussions and other random bookish content that my brain may come up with. This week I’m sharing five books I’m really eager to check out from my library.

I know I’m not the only bookworm who struggles to read the books she buys. I have two small shelves dedicated to my TBR books and just got a package in the mail with more TBR books that I have no idea where I’m going to put. There’s no doubt I have a problem buying more books than I can reasonable read.

But there’s another reason why I don’t get through my own books in a timely manner and that’s the library. As a mood reader there are times when I would rather check out a book from the library than reach for one of my own. In an effort to read more of my own books, I’ve gone on an unofficial library ban. I haven’t checked out a book from my library since February. I’ve been reading my own books for the last 2+ months and though I’m really proud of this fact, there are times when I really want to put a hold on a book, but I’ve resisted. I’m not sure when this library ban will end, but today I wanted to share with you five books that I’ve been dreaming about requesting over the last couple of weeks. Covers are linked to Goodreads.

1. Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles

Why I Want to Check It Out: Besides being in love with this cover, I’ve heard tremendous things about this novel. It sounds gripping and emotional and I love that teens are getting a chance to talk about police brutality through books like this.

When Marvin Johnson’s twin, Tyler, goes to a party, Marvin decides to tag along to keep an eye on his brother. But what starts as harmless fun turns into a shooting, followed by a police raid.

The next day, Tyler has gone missing, and it’s up to Marvin to find him. But when Tyler is found dead, a video leaked online tells an even more chilling story: Tyler has been shot and killed by a police officer. Terrified as his mother unravels and mourning a brother who is now a hashtag, Marvin must learn what justice and freedom really mean.

2. Suitors and Sabatoge by Cindy Anstey

Why I Want to Check It Out: I picked up Anstey’s debut (way back when it was released) and second novel (just recently) and while I wasn’t blown away by either, I do love that her books are Jane Austen-esque and right now, I am really craving some Regency Era fiction. I won’t say no to recommendations in the comments!

Shy aspiring artist Imogene Chively has just had a successful Season in London, complete with a suitor of her father’s approval. Imogene is ambivalent about the young gentleman until he comes to visit her at the Chively estate with his younger brother in tow. When her interest is piqued, however, it is for the wrong brother.

Charming Ben Steeple has a secret: despite being an architectural apprentice, he has no drawing aptitude. When Imogene offers to teach him, Ben is soon smitten by the young lady he considers his brother’s intended.

But hiding their true feelings becomes the least of their problems when, after a series of “accidents,” it becomes apparent that someone means Ben harm. And as their affection for each other grows—despite their efforts to remain just friends—so does the danger. . .

3. Moon Girl and the Devil Dinosaur, Vol. 1: BFF 

Why I Want to Check It Out: I was recently going through a list of Middle Grade graphic novels because I want to gift one to my oldest nephew and came across this one that I’ve only heard of in passing. It sounds amazing and I want to read it myself.

LUNELLA LAFAYETTE IS AN INHUMAN PRETEEN GENIUS WHO WANTS TO CHANGE THE WORLD!

That job would be a lot easier if she wasn’t living in mortal fear of her latent Inhuman gene. There’s no telling what she’ll turn into – but Luna’s got a plan. All she needs is an Omni-Wave Projector. Easy, right? That is, until a red-scaled beast is teleported from the prehistoric past to a far-flung future we call…today! Together they’re the most Marvelous Team-Up of all – the Inhuman Moon Girl and time-tossed Devil Dinosaur! But will they be BFFs forever, or just until DD’s dinner time? And Lunella soon learns that there are other problems with a having a titanic T. Rex as a pet in the modern-day Marvel Universe. School, for one. Monster hunters are another – especially when they’re the Totally Awesome Hulk! Then there’s the fact that everyone’s favorite dino didn’t journey through time alone. Beware the prehistoric savages known as the Killer-Folk – New York City’s deadliest tourists! Can Lunella handle all this turmoil… and keep herself from transforming into an Inhuman monster?

4. Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Why I Want to Check It Out: I am still so much in love with Chokshi’s A Crown of Wishes and would love to see what she does with this Middle Grade novel. Also, I really need to pick up more Middle Grade books. I need to be prepared for when the younger nieces and nephew reach this age.

Twelve-year-old Aru Shah has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she’ll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from her latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur?

One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru’s doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don’t believe her claim that the museum’s Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again.

But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it’s up to Aru to save them.

The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that?

5. Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Why I Want to Check It Out: I really want to read more books in verse and Jason Reynold’s Long Way Down is at the top of my list. I’ve actually heard the audio book is amazing, so I might go that route.

A cannon. A strap.
A piece. A biscuit.

A burner. A heater.
A chopper. A gat.
A hammer
A tool
for RULE

Or, you can call it a gun. That’s what fifteen-year-old Will has shoved in the back waistband of his jeans. See, his brother Shawn was just murdered. And Will knows the rules. No crying. No snitching. Revenge. That’s where Will’s now heading, with that gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, the gun that was his brother’s gun. He gets on the elevator, seventh floor, stoked. He knows who he’s after. Or does he?

As the elevator stops on the sixth floor, on comes Buck. Buck, Will finds out, is who gave Shawn the gun before Will took the gun. Buck tells Will to check that the gun is even loaded. And that’s when Will sees that one bullet is missing. And the only one who could have fired Shawn’s gun was Shawn. Huh. Will didn’t know that Shawn had ever actually used his gun. Bigger huh. BUCK IS DEAD. But Buck’s in the elevator?

Just as Will’s trying to think this through, the door to the next floor opens. A teenage girl gets on, waves away the smoke from Dead Buck’s cigarette. Will doesn’t know her, but she knew him. Knew. When they were eight. And stray bullets had cut through the playground, and Will had tried to cover her, but she was hit anyway, and so what she wants to know, on that fifth floor elevator stop, is, what if Will, Will with the gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, MISSES.

And so it goes, the whole long way down, as the elevator stops on each floor, and at each stop someone connected to his brother gets on to give Will a piece to a bigger story than the one he thinks he knows. A story that might never know an END…if WILL gets off that elevator.

Have you read any of these novels? Have you ever gone on a library ban? What’s a book that you’re eager to check out from your library? Let’s talk in the comments!

Kernels of Nonsense: Giving the Feature Both More and Less Direction

Kernels of Nonsense was originally created as a discussion feature that once upon a time was posted twice every month. Back when I was a newbie blogger, I thought it would be a piece of cake coming up with ideas and writing a discussion post every two weeks or so. And I actually succeeded…for a while. But blogging is a really time-consuming hobby and when it’s paired with reading (another time-consuming hobby), things don’t always come easy.

Soon Kernels of Nonsense was only a feature I posted once a month and can you believe it? That even became something I struggled to do. Over the past year and maybe even earlier, my discussion posts kind of became an urban legend. In 2017, I only succeeded in posting four discussions posts. That’s a far cry from the twenty-four a year I had going originally.

I’ve wanted to be able to have more discussion posts on my blog, but wanting something and having the ability and time to do so are two different things. I’ve come to the realization that I may never get back that same kind of enthusiasm (and let’s be honest, I’m not really eager to get back the stress either) that accompanied those regular discussion posts. I no longer feel comfortable giving myself a strict schedule with said posts and I feel even less excited about making myself write when the words just aren’t coming. As a result, I’ve decided to revamp this feature a little.

Kernels of Nonsense will still be the home of bookish and blogging related discussions, but I also want to allow myself the freedom of playing around with the feature more. There may be times where I simply talk about five recent books I’ve added to the TBR, or the fact that I happen to hate a certain element on book covers. They won’t always be long discussions and sometimes they may be incoherent (I get a lot of my ideas when I’m suffering a bout of insomnia and I’m not exactly lucid during those times). But there have been blog post ideas I’ve had that never really fit any of the features or memes I have on the blog and I’ve had no idea what to do with them. Hopefully, this will allow me to finally get to these ideas.

Ultimately, I am hoping that this feature appears on my blog more frequently. I can’t promise it will appear every month or even every other month, but I want it to be there when I’m struck with an idea or I’m struggling with writing reviews (this is me right now, I’m just sort of feeling bleh about them) and I still want content on the blog. Funnily (I can’t believe this is an actual word), I feel like this new direction captures the essence of “Kernels of Nonsense” more than my original vision.

Do you write discussion posts regularly? Do you ever struggle putting discussion posts together? Is there a new feature on your blog that you want to try out this year? Let’s discuss in the comments!

Kernels of Nonsense: Why I’m Reading Less in 2018

Kernels of Nonsense is a discussion feature here on the blog where I talk various book and blogging related topics. As my first discussion post in 2018, I’m talking about my decision to lower my Goodreads reading goal compared to last year.

At the beginning of 2017, I contemplated reading less than I had the year before, but folding under the pressure of setting a goal right away, I ended up aiming for the same amount of reads compared to the previous year. As 2018 approached, I once again began contemplating lowering my goal. The amount of books I picked up in a month took a bit of a hit during November and December of last year. I ended up reading only four books for each of those two months when I usually average around seven books. This didn’t exactly sit well with me, but I also learned something about how I approach reading and reviewing.

The decline of my reading efficiency during the latter part of the year had to do in part to the holidays. In theory, holidays should mean more time to read, but in reality it just means you have more time to do all the extra stuff you need to do because of said holidays. When I did have time to read, it was usually at night, but by that time, I would rather conk out than pick up a book. But I discovered something interesting. I kind of liked spending the extra time on a book.

If I’m on my game so to speak, I can finish a book in three or four days. Add an extra day that I spend writing a review and that pretty much means that I don’t have a whole lot of time to slack off in order to meet my goal for the year. In 2017, I ended up meeting my goal fairly early and so those two months I spent not reading a whole lot functioned as a bit of a reprieve from all that reading pressure.

When I only picked up four books in a month, I never had to force myself to try and catch up, reading 200 pages in a day because I neglected to read enough during the first few days. And it was nice. I went a couple of days not reading at all because I was so busy. I had more freedom when it came to reviews as well. I wasn’t scrambling to write one, so I could quickly move on to the next book.

You know what happens when you have more time to read and review a book? At least for me, I had more time to appreciate them. I had more time to think about these stories and characters. I had more concise and polished thoughts. I got more out of these books than I normally did when I spent less time with them.

My Goodreads goal for 2018 isn’t dramatically lower than 2017, but because I ended up reading more than my goal last year, I feel safe with a 65 book goal. If I only get to 65, I will be reading about ten books less which will give me more time to enjoy the books I do pick up.

Are you planning to read more or less this year? Do you feel like you get more out of a book when you spend more time with it? How do you handle the pressure to read so many books in a year? Let’s discuss in the comments.

Kernels of Nonsense: My Month of Mini-Reviews

Kernels of Nonsense is a discussion feature here on my blog where I like to discuss both book and blogging related topics. I wanted to take a moment this month and write about my experience with review writing in July.

If you’re been around my blog for the past month, you may have noticed that I’ve been posting mini-reviews instead of full ones. In July, wanting to get to as many books as possible, I decided that I’d write mini-reviews for all my reads. If you’re like me, you sometimes struggle to get through full reviews. Mini-reviews have been a saving grace for me. There’s always a book or two a month that I struggle with finding all the right words for and settling on a mini-review for them has taken loads of stress off my shoulders.

I ended up surpassing my usual number of reads in July and I credit the mini-review with this. I have a very strict routine when it comes to my reads and reviews. I know a lot of bloggers can wait some time after finishing a book to write the review and can even read more books in between finishing one and reviewing it. I can’t do this. I have to write a review for my last read before moving on. This isn’t always ideal when the words just don’t seem to come and I’m eager to move on.

In July, I felt like an incredibly efficient reader and blogger. After I finished one book, I was writing a mini-review almost right afterward and picking up my next novel a lot quicker. Not all of my reviews came out super easy, but because they were condensed versions of my full ones, I was able to get through them a lot easier.

If you were to ask me what’s the hardest post to write as a book blogger, I’d probably say the review. We all approach the review differently and I don’t have a set formula for how I write out my thoughts on a book. I take notes while I read and while this does help me when I’m looking for direction, sometimes all those thoughts and feelings aren’t easily expressed. I even struggle with taking notes when I’m just not feeling much of anything for a novel and knowing I have a full review ahead of me does not keep the pressure off. I’m always in the mind set that I need to come up with a good three or four paragraphs discussing the book in front of me. This isn’t always easy and sometimes I just don’t have the time or the motivation to do so.

Writing only mini-reviews in July felt like a kind of vacation. While reading, I wasn’t thinking about the fact that I may not have enough thoughts to write a full review, I didn’t get antsy in between reads, and I ended up picking up more books than usual. I had a couple of personal things come up during July, so in retrospect, I probably could have read a couple of more books that month.

Will this change the way I approach review writing? Will you be seeing more mini-reviews from me? Not likely. I like the balance I’ve achieved, writing only one pair of mini-reviews a month. While I’ve said writing full reviews can be a struggle, it can also push me as a reader to dig deeper into the book I’m reading. I read for pleasure, yes, but I also want to get something from the experience and writing full reviews helps me to do so.

Do you write mini-review on your blog? Do you struggle with full reviews? How to you handle writer’s block when it comes time to write a review? Let’s discuss in the comments!