Winds of Winter Release Date!

The quarantine has produced a miracle. At long last. George R.R. Martin has announced the release date of Winds of Winter. And it is… Unknown. It’s April’s Fool Day and even I am ashamed at how cruel this joke is. Apologies to readers everywhere.

I did reach 25 books read so far this year though! Let’s take a look:

  1. The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez
  2. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
  3. Queen’s Shadow by E.K. Johnston
  4. The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
  5. The Glass Scepter by Bekah Harris
  6. The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
  7. Revan by Drew Karpyshyn
  8. First and Only by Dan Abnett
  9. The Rise of Darth Vader by James Luceno
  10. Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston
  11. The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski
  12. The Great Glowing Coils of the Universe by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
  13. Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan
  14. House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
  15. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
  16. Ghostmaker by Dan Abnett
  17. Warrior of the Altaii by Robert Jordan
  18. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
  19. Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek
  20. Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi
  21. Salem’s Lot by Stephen King
  22. Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
  23. The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien
  24. Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody
  25. Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski

This year’s series re-read is Lord of the Rings. I will probably also reread The Hobbit and The Similarion as well. I am trying to keep it to one series a year, unless it is Wheel of Time. Those can get sprinkled in whenever as there are 14 of them (15 if you include New Spring).

There are so many good ones in this 25. I really cannot say which are my favorites.

Save the Cat! is my new writing companion. I am in love with the theory and outlining method. Every aspiring writer should read it. House of Salt and Sorrows and The Starless Sea are probably top five worthy. Both were fantastic reads.

There is a lot of fantasy on that list. It’s my main genre. I did manage to finish The Last Wish before watching The Witcher on Netflix. Love them both. All the Star Wars books are really good (there are 4 on this list), especially the ones about my girls Padme and Ashoka. Brandon Sanderson I love, but it takes me much longer to get through his books. They require a lot of concentration, but the worlds he creates are wild.

I can’t wait to see what the next 25 will be! I am currently reading 2 books with 1 or 2 more on my Kindle waiting to be downloaded. As always, any suggestions are appreciated!

The Complete List of Books of 2019

I am so sorry it has taken this long to reveal the full list. I read 42 books last year, and my Goodreads goal was 40. Yay me! Here they are in order that I read them:

  1. Red Queen by Victoria Avegard
  2. Empire of Storms by SarahJ Maas
  3. Legendary by Stephanie Garber
  4. A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas
  5. Catwoman by Sarah J Maas
  6. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
  7. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
  8. The Fork, The Witch, and The Worm by Christopher Paolini
  9. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas
  10. Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
  11. Phasma by Delilah S Dawson
  12. The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J Maas
  13. Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
  14. Rebel Born by Amy A Bartol
  15. Before the Broken Star by Emily R King
  16. Eldest by Christopher Paolini
  17. Brisingr by Christopher Paolini
  18. Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
  19. The Wrath of Darth Maul by Ryder Windham
  20. Into the Hourglass by Emily R King
  21. Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  22. Fledgling by Nicole Conway
  23. Avian by Nicole Conway
  24. Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
  25. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Prachett
  26. No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty
  27. Wicked by Gregory Maguire and Douglas Smith
  28. Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
  29. Hiddensee by Gregory Maguire
  30. Finale by Stephanie Garber
  31. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  32. The Thorn Princess by Bekah Harris
  33. Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich, Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul
  34. Loki by Mackenzi Lee and Stephanie Hans
  35. Heir of Iron Hearts by Bekah Harris
  36. Game of Shadows by Bekah Harris
  37. Reign of Darkness by Bekah Harris
  38. Starsight by Brandon Sanderson
  39. On Writing by Stephen King
  40. The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster
  41. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
  42. Everafter Song by Emily R. King

I would say that Song of Achilles and Spin the Dawn remain my top recommendations. Both had amazing storytelling, and I am still thinking about them almost a year later.

On Writing and No Plot? No Problem! were books I chose to help me with my author related goals. If you want to learn more about becoming a writer, especially if you plan on doing National Novel Writing Month, you should put these on your must read list. I have a couple more that I plan on reading this year as well. Do note that On Writing is about 50% autobiography of Stephen King. It’s a really interesting read.

Bekah Harris was a Kindle Unlimited find. I devoured her series on there. It’s a fun, quick young adult story dealing with fairies. I am mad at her for doing something to one of my favorite characters that I believe was not necessary, but that’s spoilers so… yeah. If you want something good and quick for a beach trip or school holiday, check her out.

Feel free to ask me about any of the books on my list. I promise to give honest reviews. I cannot wait to tell you all about what i am reading in 2020. My goal is 50 books, and I am currently at 17. I’ll do a post when I hit 25.

Goals for 2020

So we are six weeks into 2020, but I am still trying to figure out what my main goals for the year are. I am trying to have at least one for what I believe to be the important parts of my life. As soon as I share them, you guys can help hold me accountable. But, here are the couple I have so far:

My reading goal for the year is 50 books. That’s a little less than a book a week, and I think I can pull it off. Heck, I have 12 done already which will be good if I get into a reading slump later in the year.

Health goals are going to be non-scale based. I think that is part of the reason why I have such a hard time with it- numbers get into my head. I want to complete a 5k by the end of the year and move from power walking to jogging on the treads at my Orange Theory class. I just started jogging on the all outs without inclines, and man, that makes me super winded. Cardio is not my thing, y’all.

I want to finish writing my NaNoWriMo 2019 novel before NaNoWriMo 2020 starts. My plot decided to not follow my outline so I have been stuck with how to get things going again.

Make the most out of my annual passes. I am paying for Universal and SeaWorld, and I don’t want that money to be wasted. I don’t see it happening because I just love theme parks and roller coasters, but my life isn’t 24/7 Disney (it basically is, but we keep getting blocked out thanks to Star Wars).

Career wise I don’t have any specific goals yet. Last year was huge for my job, so I feel like this year will be honing my knowledge on skills I need for industry accounting. The change from public was a welcome one, but a lot of my every day smarts are not used here as they were tax related. It’s a different brain and I am enjoying it very much.

I plan on keeping you updated on these goals and more as they come up. I also plan on bragging about all the fun theme park stuff I get up to, so if you have any questions about Orlando theme parks, let me know and I will do my best to answer!

Books of 2019 (So Far)

Hello everyone! My Goodreads goal for 2019 is 40 books. I am a little behind schedule- moving states and new jobs can do that I guess- but here are the books I have read so far. They are listed in the order that I read them- not by how much I like them.

  1. Red Queen by Victoria Avegard
  2. Empire of Storms by SarahJ Maas
  3. Legendary by Stephanie Garber
  4. A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas
  5. Catwoman by Sarah J Maas
  6. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
  7. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
  8. The Fork, The Witch, and The Worm by Christopher Paolini
  9. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas
  10. Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
  11. Phasma by Delilah S Dawson
  12. The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J Maas
  13. Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
  14. Rebel Born by Amy A Bartol
  15. Before the Broken Star by Emily R King
  16. Eldest by Christopher Paolini
  17. Brisingr by Christopher Paolini
  18. Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
  19. The Wrath of Darth Maul by Ryder Windham
  20. Into the Hourglass by Emily R King
  21. Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  22. Fledgling by Nicole Conway
  23. Avian by Nicole Conway
  24. Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Song of Achilles is by far my favorite book of the ones listed. The story was amazing, and it was a great retelling of the Trojan War. Granted, I am obsessed with all things mythology and ancient Greek, but I believe that anyone not obsessed would still enjoy the story.

Christopher Paolini’s newest book made me wish he would release more about the aftermath of the Inheritance saga. I definitely want more of Angela’s antics, and a little more into her history would be much appreciated as well. I also want to see more of how Murtagh is dealing with his new freedoms and the consequences of his role in the war. I just want more. Mr. Paolini, please.

My other top recommendations would be Spin the Dawn and The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. They are two completely different books- one being a “help” book- but they will probably make my top 5 come the end of the year.

Spin the Dawn is a young adult novel, but it does not follow all of the typical tropes you may think of. There is no dystopia, no “chosen one,” but a girl trying to help her family. The book was described online as a Mulan-esque tale, and that is completely true. Elizabeth Lim does a fantastic job at telling a story, and I cannot wait to read the sequel!

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is all about choosing what you actually care about. There are things that are worth using your energy on- you just have to take the time to reflect to decide what they are. Mark Manson utilizes the perfect amount of humor and metaphors to get the message across. It is definitely worth the read, especially for my fellow millennials.

I have about 5 books that I am currently reading/ have in my to be read pile and another few books on hold on Libby. I’m excited to see what stories I get to experience next!

2018 Reading Roundup

So back in August I posted about the books I’ve read from January till then as a celebration of hitting my reading goal of 30 books. I’ve read a total of 60 books this year (thank you Goodreads for keeping tack), and here are the rest of them, in order that they were read.

  1. The King’s Curse Phillippa Gregory
  2. The Hammer of Thor Rick Riordian
  3. The Kingmaker’s Daughter Phillippa Gregory
  4. The Warrior Queen Emily R. King
  5. Outlander Diana Gabaldon(Love the show, but it was a slow read for me)
  6. Mistborn Brandon Sanderson (Not as good as his work with Wheel of Time, but still great)
  7. The Red Pyramid Rick Riordian
  8. Caraval Stephanie Garber (I loved this one. I’m on my library waitlist for the sequel)
  9. Big Little Lies Liane Moriarty
  10. The Throne of Fire Rick Riordian
  11. The Night Circus Erin Morgenstern (This one was weird, but I enjoyed it)
  12. Ready Player One Ernest Cline (Liked both the book and the movie despite all the differences)
  13. Star Wars Trilogy George Lucas
  14. A Court of Mist and Fury Sarah J. Maas
  15. Crazy Rich Asians Kevin Kwan (Loved it! Still need to see the movie)
  16. Hocus Pocus & The All New Sequel A.W. Jantha
  17. Children of Blood and Bone Tomi Adeyemi (Totally counting down to the sequel. This one was one of my faves of the year)
  18. Whiskey in a Teacup Reese Witherspoon (I just love her)
  19. Crown of Midnight Sarah J. Maas
  20. A Court of Wings and Ruin Sarah J. Maas
  21. Circe Madeline Miller
  22. Furyborn Claire Legrand
  23. Girls of Paper and Fire Natasha Ngan (This one was really good. I think James Patterson is helping her? Anyway, totally recommend)
  24. An Ember in the Ashes Sabaa Tahir
  25. The Outsider Stephen King (I read this in 24 hours cause holy crap)
  26. Heir of Fire Sarah J. Maas
  27. Skyward Brandon Sanderson
  28. Queen of Shadows Sarah J. Maas
  29. The Well of Ascension Brandon Sanderson (This one took me a good while to read, mostly because library books were priority)
  30. Crimes of Grindelwald J.K. Rowling

The Throne of Glass series was probably my favorite of the year. I know I still have a few more to go, but I believe it is better than A Court of Thorns and Roses. My other favorite new series was listed on the other post- the last book comes out next year.

I can’t wait to see what 2019 brings book wise! My reading goal is 40 books (there is a lot planned for 2019, including buying a house), but hopefully I can beat it again like this year.

God Bless Kilts

My life has recently been taken over by fictional Scotland. I am making sure to put the fictional in there because I have no idea how realistic my exposures have been.

If I’m being honest with myself, I fell in love with the country back in the days of Brave (still super obsessed over Merida in the Ralph Breaks the Internet trailer). and more recently when I binged Reign over the summer. Yes, I know that Mary was a Scot raised in France, but she was still a Scot. The Philippa Gregory books have also touched upon Scotland’s history in dealing with the English, and I have read most of those the past couple of months.

Well, this past week I have discovered Outlander. I had a free trial of Stars with Amazon Prime, and I had heard great things about the show. Full disclosure: I have only seen season one as of now.

Oh my lord, the kilts. God bless kilts.

The Scottish characters are freaking amazing. Sure. you have your share of sleezeballs and jerks, but most of the characters are strong and intelligent. Even the “bad guy” British characters are well written (yes, even Randall even though I hate that guy). And the women! Oh my gosh I love them all. Even in the eighteenth century world, they are independent and strong and cunning and just plain smart.

I am just so in love with this show right now, you guys. I do have the book borrowed from the library right now as well, but I am not my usual picky self when it comes to reading before watching. I do like being able to pick up on the differences, though.

If you have not watched this show, I recommend it. And let me know if you have any other suggestions to fuel this love for Scotland (fictional or not).

I Did A Thing

I reached my Goodreads goal of reading 30 books in 2018 with months to spare! It is all because I got a Kindle Paperwhite on Prime Day this year, and I figured out how to borrow e-books from the library. It has made reading so much easier (and cheaper).  I did not specify that these needed to be new to me books, but I am not including repeats like Harry Potter in my ranking of favorites.

I will probably update my goal with another 10 books, but here’s the 30 I read this year, in order that I read them:

  1. Kenobi– John Miller
  2. Welcome to Nightvale– Jeffrey Cranor (Favorite podcast as well. WtNV is amazing)
  3. Mostly Void, Partially Stars– Jeffrey Cranor
  4. A Glimmer of Hope– Steve McHugh
  5. The Sword of Summer– Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson with Norse gods. Love it.)
  6. Wall of Storms– Ken Liu (Slow beginning, but it got good eventually)
  7. Thrawn– Timothy Zhan (This guys is my favorite Star Wars author hands down)
  8. Lords of the Sith– Paul S. Kemp
  9. Bloodlines– Karen Traviss
  10. Choices of One– Timothy Zhan
  11. A Shadow of What was Lost– James Islington (Favorite new author and series discovery. The final book of the trilogy comes out next year, and I am so ready)
  12. Chamber of Secrets– J.K. Rowling
  13. Prisoner of Azkaban– J.K. Rowling
  14. An Echo of Things to Come– James Islington
  15. Amulet of Samarkand– Jonathan Stroud (This one was also a repeat, but I do love this series)
  16. Traitor Born– Amy Bartol (Sequel to a book I got from the free monthly Kindle book through Amazon Prime. Kind of Hunger Games-ish. I like the series so far.)
  17. Goblet of Fire- J.K Rowling
  18. Order of the Pheonix– J.K. Rowling
  19. Cousin’s War– Phillipa Gregory (This was actually three books in one)
  20. Throne of Glass– Sarah J Maas (Totally intrigued. Can’t wait for the next one to come from the library.)
  21. Half Blood Prince– J.K. Rowling
  22. Deathly Hallows– J.K. Rowling
  23. The Fire Queen– Emily R. King (Another series I started thanks to Amazon Prime Kindle book of the month thing. Also good.)
  24. The Rogue Queen– Emily R. King
  25. Maul: Lockdown– Joe Schreiber (I expected more from a Darth Maul book, but I still liked it.)
  26. A Court of Thorns and Roses– Sarah J Maas (Okay. So, this one cheats because there are Beauty and the Beast elements and I am weak.)
  27. The Last Tudor– Phillipa Gregory
  28. The White Princess– Phillipa Gregory
  29. Three Sisters, Three Queens– Phillipa Gregory
  30. Sharp Objects– Gillian Flynn (Have not watched the HBO show yet, but holy crap this book’s twists)

Out of the new to me books on my list, the ones by James Islington and Timothy Zhan are my favorite. I love the Phillipa Gregory books as well, but Tudor England is my favorite time period. I am also becoming a fan of Gillian Flynn and Sarah J Maas, so we’ll see where that goes later on.

Have any book recommendations? Let me know!

Happee Birthdae Mr. Potter!

It is July 31 which means it is that wonderful time of year (again) to celebrate J.K. Rowling and her world of Harry Potter. There have been parties at bookstores and marathons of the books and movies around the globe (I assume). I myself have re-read books 1-5 the past couple of weeks, though that’s mainly because I have them on my Kindle now and therefore are ALWAYS with me.

I cannot say that Harry Potter got me into reading like a lot of the people I know. I was a reader before then. I can say that no other book has affected my life like Harry Potter. The characters. The story. The lessons. The community. It’s like one big family- complete with bickering and arguments over things that may seem silly to outsiders.

There is a Harry Potter moment everything. Mad at someone? Turn to the Prisoner of Azkaban and have Hermione punch Malfoy over and over. Need help during tough times? Google Dumbledore quotes. Got a horrible teacher? The Order of the Pheonix will make that teacher look amazing compared to Umbridge. Need a laugh? Watch A Very Potter Musical (seriously, if you haven’t seen this yet go to YouTube now). It doesn’t matter what you are going through, Harry Potter will be there to help.

I am a proud Slytherin with touches of the other three houses. Most people don’t believe my sorting until they really know me, but my heart is truly green and silver. I consider myself ambitious and cunning, and if you do anything to make me doubt our friendship, my loyalty is very hard to win back. I give everyone a fair chance, but second chances are slim to none. And I am a Slytherin that goes against some the stereotypes: I do not discriminate, but I can be a little evil.

However, I love learning and reading and brain games. I don’t like failure, especially when it comes to classes and exams (though I imagine that’s a trait for all houses unless you’re Fred and George). I can muster up the courage to do things outside my comfort zone like moving hours away from home and riding that one roller coaster with the really high hill. I’m a cat person, which, again, doesn’t put me in a certain house, but it does make me think I could be friends with Hermione. I am not a good finder, though, so I probably am not too much of a Hufflepuff.

I believe that everyone has a little bit of all the houses in them. It’s just who we are. We are sorted by the more prominent traits we show. Somewhere there is a Hufflepuff who knows more trivia than a Ravenclaw or a Gryffindor who is always polite and freaks out over cute baby animals. That’s why the unity of the houses is important. Differences shouldn’t separate us, but make us a stronger unit. You need a little of everything to make a community work.

So, happy birthday Harry. Here’s to many more years and generations of magic.

“Of course it’s happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

2018 Reading Progress

I like to think of myself as an avid reader. When I was younger, I practically lived at the library. Hell, I even got grounded from reading when my mom found me past midnight reading Goblet of Fire in my room on a school night. I was in fourth grade.

The past few years has seen a large decline in my habit. I barely reached my Goodreads challenge of 20 books last year, and I am only on book 11 of 30 for my current year challenge. It just seems like I am out of energy whenever I sit down to read or that I am forcing myself to read because I think I should.

Now, there have been a few books that get me back into that “OMG I LOVE READING” mood. Most of them are from the Star Wars expanded universe (pretty much anything having to do with Thrawn. He is one of the best characters ever.), but there has been a couple other books that caught me by surprise.

One was a book that caught my attention at Barnes and Noble because there was a comparison to Wheel of Time on the cover. It was A Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington, and the comparison has actually proven to be true. Most of the time those blurbs are there just to trap readers, and I have fallen prey to many a book I did not finish because of those little “if you like Harry Potter, you’ll love this!”

I am not a young adult book fan (for the most part).

Anyway, A Shadow of What Was Lost is the first book of a trilogy. It has magic. It has action and adventure. It has that “I really like this girl but my duty is to saving the world” plot line. The characters are intriguing and well written, and I found myself devouring it within a week. It was a great change of pace. I have the sequel right now, but I have been in a slump, so I am hoping my vacation next week will change that.

The other book that I have absolutely loved this year was Wall of Storms by Ken Liu. Now, this one started really slow, especially compared to the first in the series, but once it got going it was great. I am really glad I stuck it out, because everything came together perfectly and I am looking forward to a third novel, if there is to be one.

I hope that the rest of 2018 will include a return to feeling the joy of reading more consistently. I am thinking about getting a Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Unlimited to see if that will help (plus, all seven Harry Potter books are on unlimited which means my gorgeous, never read, hard back books will continue to look magical while I fulfill my need to reread the series).

Please, feel free to send me any recommendations for books and authors. I am always looking for new adventures. You can also add me on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/Karissabrust.