Goodreads Reading Goals

Image by cellar_door_films via WANA Commons

So, I have been reading like a madwoman so far this year (I blame it on Tahereh Mafi), and I thought it was probably about time to update my Goodreads reading goal. When I set it back in January, it was at 50. As of now, I have read around 38 books this year and Goodreads told me I was 12 books ahead of schedule! So, I upped my goal to 75 books. But, how important are reading goals?

I know that when I think about reading goals, I automatically take a stroll down memory lane back to elementary school and I see 10 year old me reading books like it’s her job so that she can earn a personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut through the BookIt program. I have always been a reader, but I know that my classmates and I were all a little more motivated to read when the thought of free pizza was thrown into the mix. Now that I’m an adult, I just get the satisfaction of knowing that I can read… a lot. But, are Goodreads goals changing the way some people read?

For some people, the goal fluctuates depending on how many books the person has read, and whether they are on track. Obviously, I was in exactly that boat, so I upped my goal to 75 books instead of 50. But, what about the people that lower their goal? Is it really a goal if the person keeps adjusting it to fit their reading pace? On the other hand, what about those people that pick books to read simply because they are short and will help them get to their goal more quickly?

Obviously, this is not a matter of national import or anything, I am just really curious about people and their reading habits, I suppose. But, it is interesting to think about a program that is meant to help you keep track of the books you read actually playing a part in the way you read books. I don’t think I am being as articulate as I could be, but I hope you guys get my point.

What kind of Goodreads goal-setter are you? What about those of you that don’t use Goodreads?

Feeling The Love

I just wanted to thank you guys for showing my blog so much love these past few days. I guess people like to read your blog a little more when you actually post on it! I like interacting with my new blog friends, and making even more blog friends! I have learned that the book blogging community is a close-knit one, and it is my pleasure to be a part of it.

Also, I have finally found/created a theme that I really like and that seems to fit with the type of blog I have.

What do you guys think? Do you love this new theme as much as I do?

As I have also mentioned (I think), I am just about to dive in to Clockwork Princess. I was hoping to do that tonight, but I had to work until just a little bit ago and I am pretty sleepy as I type this. But, tomorrow is a new day- a day off even!- and it will be filled with books and Doctor Who. I kinda hope it rains just so I won’t feel guilty for staying in! 😉

So, Am I A Poet?

I posted a poem yesterday! If you didn’t see it, you should go check it out. I’m wondering what you guys thought/think of it. I kind of miss writing, and I think someday I might try to dive back into it. I’m just wondering what kind of thoughts you guys had when/if you read my poem, but you guys are a little shy when it comes to comments!

I give you permission to be honest.

In unrelated news, I cannot seem to find a theme for my blog that I love. There are a few that I like (including this one and my last one), but none that scream “Bookcasey!” to me. I would like to do something in yellow and gray, but I just can’t find anything that fits the vision in my head.

Have any of you had the same problem? Did you just suck it up and pick one, or are you still agonizing over it, like me?

Review: Spell Bound (Hex Hall, #3)

Title: Spell Bound

Author: Rachel Hawkins

Publisher: Hyperion

Date Read: February 13, 2013

Pages: 327

The girl scowled. “You are something,” she hissed, leaning in closer. “I can feel it. Whatever you are, it’s not human. So you can either tell me what kind of freak you are, or I can cut you open and find out myself.”

I stared at her. “You are one hard-core little kid.”

Her scowl deepened.

“I’m looking for the Brannicks,” I said in a rush. And I’m guessing you are one because…you know, red hair and the violence and everything, and–”

“What’s your name?” she demanded as the stinging in my neck became actual pain.

“Sophie Mercer,” I said through clenched teeth.

Her eyes widened, “No way,” she said, sounding for the first time like the middle schooler she probably was.

“Way,” I croaked.

Characters: 

The Brannicks- I know that me lumping all of the Brannicks together in my discussion of new characters probably looks lazy, but that is just the way it will have to be. I haven’t read this book in over a month, and my memory is not the sharpest, so I admit that this may not be my best review. But keep in mind, I have read probably ten books between this one and the one I am working on now. Anyway, here we go!

The Brannicks are not who we expected them to be when Mrs. Casnoff mentioned them in the first book during Sophie’s orientation at HH. These Brannicks are just as intense as we might have expected, there are just far fewer of them . All in all, there are…3? 4? Yeah, it seems pretty pathetic. Buuuuuuuuut, they deserve a thumbs up because people don’t know they are so few, and they still think they are bad-ass! Anyway, I don’t want to give any spoilers here, but there are some pretty crazy connections between… certain characters…yeah.

Oh, and the Brannicks also have this ultra-helpful and simultaneously annoying warlock friend trapped in a mirror that comes in handy. That’s pretty cool! I wonder who he thinks is the prettiest of them all?

Conflict: It seems that trilogies seem to follow the same format: first book is all about a containable problem, the second book moves on to a problem a little larger that involves a larger population, and the third one threatens to destroy life as we know it while simultaneously tying us back to the original problem in the first book. Now that you have read those words, you are probably thinking about all of the trilogies that no doubt have followed this same pattern.

Anyway, this book doesn’t break the mold. But, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t good! I like the conflict in this one, because it is so large scale. I think large scale problems make people think more critical about the consequences of their actions, and that ultimately gives us a glance into the direction of their moral compass. In this book, old enemies must team up to rid the world of the demon raisers once and for all, and it all goes back to Hex Hall…. muahahahaha! Seriously though, you get a little slice of every pie in this one: Prodigium, L’Occhio di Dio, the Brannicks, Hex Hall…. oh, and the crazy love triangle that often occupies trilogies. But, you will like it…. I think.

Things I Liked: A little off topic of context, I liked that there are occasional quotes in the books. What I mean is that before some of the chapters, there are quotes. My memory might be a little off, but I think all/most of them are from Alice in Wonderland, which I also liked. I also liked that characters in this book had the opportunity to be valiant, and took it. By characters, I mean Cal. Always Cal.

Things I Didn’t Like: My friend Ashley and I were talking about this, and we think that the little trip into hell they took was completely bogus. Are you seriously telling me that one can simply walk right into Hell, and turn around and walk right back out? ONE CANNOT SIMPLY, RACHEL. Also, it didn’t seem extremely hellish there, you might not feel that way, but we certainly did. I mean, what they went through sucks, but it certainly wasn’t anything you couldn’t push through. To me, the hell in this book makes me feel like Rachel Hawkins thinks her characters are emotional and weak, or maybe just emotionally weak. I also think that this book could have continued into a fourth and certain parts could have been expanded on.

Overall: All in all, I still really liked it. I was all caught up in the HH fantasy, and I didn’t bat an eye when hell was not that hellacious, or when things started getting a little cookie cutter. Looking back, I can find more things wrong with it, and they are the things sticking out in my mind, but I also remember really liking this book when I read it, and not being able to put it down. (I read it in one day.) I guess you really need to be the judge.

Cover Art: Not the best, not the worst. Her previous covers were a little more indicative of what you could expect when you cracked the cover, but this one fell a little short.

Rating: 3.75 stars. This is a little bit of a cop-out on my part, but it is sort of an average between what I think now and what I thought immediately after finishing it.

Cardial Vasectomy

Just kidding, there is no such thing as a cardial vasectomy. However, I recently watched one of my favorite movies- Stick It– and Joanne is just hilarious.

In other news, I have been neglecting you guys. (The select few that keeps tabs on my blog- I am suddenly reminded of that scene in Yes Man when Munchausen’s By Proxy takes the stage and thanks their followers, by name, for attending.) I know that I have had a pretty shoddy week when it comes to blog posting, but I have been working like a maniac these days. It’s amazing how many hours poor people will pick up, am I right? But, although I have not been blogging, I have been reading. A lot.

I built up a little bit of a stockpile of reviews to post, but Demonglass was the last in my arsenal. But, thanks to my favorite hobby, I have 7 more books to review for you guys. In the future, you guys will see reviews of:

1. Spellbound by Rachel Hawkins (Hex Hall, #3)

2. Forever by Maggie Stiefvater (Wolves of Mercy Falls, #3)

3. Indigo Spell by Rachelle Mead (Bloodlines, #3)

4. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (Caster Chronicles, #1)

5. Wither by Lauren Destefano (Chemical Garden, #1)

6. Matched by Ally Condie (Matched, #1)

7. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles, #2)

The reviews for Scarlet and Indigo Spell will probably be informal reactions, though, because I haven’t reviewed the previous books in the series on my blog. But, I still want to talk about them!

This leads me to my next point: I think I need to reevaluate my Goodreads reading goal for this year. Last year, I aimed for 50 books and fell short by 2. This year, I have also set my goal for 50 books, but I am already 11 books ahead of schedule… and it’s only February. Last year’s swing and a miss can be attributed to George R. R. Martin and his epic saga, but this year I am just flying through books. I LOVE IT.

How seriously do you guys take your Goodreads reading goals? Do they push you to read more? Is that pressure helpful, or does it just make you speed read?

So many questions.

Also, I wanted to tell you guys that I was nominated for the Liebster Award! Kristianne over at msnoseinabook nominated me! I am going to have to go through and answer a bunch of questions and nominate others, though. Although I’m tickled that she thought to nominate me, I just don’t know if I have the time for that. 😦 Ain’t nobody got time fo that. We will see how my so-called life progresses this coming week.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by, and if you want to comment with your heartfelt answers to my Goodreads questions, have at it!

I will leave you with this gem I found on Pinterest the other day:

Review: Linger (Wolves of Mercy Falls, #2)

Title: Linger
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic
Date Read: January 27, 2013

the longing.

Once Grace and Sam have found each other, they know they must fight to stay together. For Sam, this means a reckoning with his werewolf past. For Grace, it means facing a future that is less and less certain.

the loss.

Into their world comes a new wolf named Cole, whose past is full of hurt and danger. He is wrestling with his own demons, embracing the life of a wolf while denying the ties of being human.

the linger.

For Grace, Sam, and Cole, life is a constant struggle between two forces– wolf and human– with love baring its two sides as well. It is harrowing and euphoric, freeing and entrapping, enticing and alarming, As their world falls apart, love is what lingers. But will it be enough?

Characters: I am only going to add one here, since he is pretty much the only new major character. Wait, I lied, one more!

Cole- At first, I hated him. Absolutely hated this haughty man-boy. But, like so many other things, he really grows on you. I really liked him by the end, but that really only came from him having to convince everyone else throughout the book (subconsciously or not) that he was worth liking. It’s hard to like someone that wants so badly for you to like them! Although if Cole were real, he would deny that wholeheartedly.

Isabel- I suppose Isabel is a lot like Cole, but we have known her longer. I loathed her at first, too! But I really think that Stiefvater meant for that to be the case. Books aren’t as good when there is nothing to hate! In the first book, we really didn’t get a whole lot of Isabel, because she really wasn’t too important. But certain events bring certain people together, so here she is! She grows on you, too. It always seems that there is more behind a person than we anticipate, and Stiefvater does a good job showing us that in these books.

Conflict: It’s a complete flip-flop guys. We don’t really miss things until they’re gone.This book is exhibit #2… and the first one is exhibit #1. You may not understand what I mean about it being a flip-flop unless you have read the first book, but I don’t want to explain it to you because I don’t want to ruin it for anyone that hasn’t read the first book!

Things I Liked: I liked the introduction of a brand new character. Too often, you see whole series progress without ever seeing a new character emerge, and I usually dislike those books. Cole was a pleasant surprise, and the conflict was something that kept you paying attention! I liked that Grace had a secret problem to deal with, I know that sounds awful, why would I want a character to have to deal with a sucky problem all by herself? Well, because it proves what that character is made of! Grace is tough stuff and I really like when there are legitimate problems that prove that. Notice that I said legitimate problems. One thing I really dislike is when the main character loses grip on a situation that was really entirely preventable and only serves to muddle in the actual story line.

Things I Didn’t Like: I guess I just didn’t like that I didn’t get enough. Every time the viewpoint changed I was like “ughhh” because I wanted to keep reading about that one particular person and what they were going through. That is just an angsty thing though, so I suppose it doesn’t really belong in this category. However, I am reviewing this a little late and I didn’t jot anything down, so I can’t remember any issues popping up along the way. At least not any that stuck with me.

Overall: I like these books a lot. After I finished the first one, I went right ahead and ordered the next two from Amazon. I ordered this one on Amazon Prime, so I got it in a couple days. But, I went without for Forever (the third in this trilogy), and it took forever to get here. It also didn’t come with any tracking information so I just about went crazy waiting for it. I am probably exaggerating about the snail mail in this instance, but the mind remembers what it wants to remember… Anyhow, I was pumped to read these, and this one lived up to my expectations, so on to the third!

Rating: 4 stars

**Cover Art: I am not sure if I want to make this a category for all of the book reviews I do, but I am doing it for this one, so here goes: I liked that this cover was so much like the first one, but that it gave a little hint about what was to happen between the covers. The cover for Forever does the same thing, too! Also, even though it isn’t cover art, I think that the color of the text is worth mentioning. All of the covers in this trilogy are a certain color, and the text is the same color as the cover color. At first when I was reading Shiver, I thought I was going crazy. But, alas, this book told me I wasn’t and Maggie Stiefvater is just clever.

My First Bad Review

So, if you guys have gotten a chance to look at my last post, you will see that it is a bad review for a book. I have to admit, I felt a little bit like a jerk writing it… like bloggers’ guilt or something. I feel like I was justified in giving it the review that I gave it (you can read it and be the judge), but I don’t know if you guys will see it that way. I suppose I feel especially bad about it because of the awesome reviews I have been giving some of the other books I have read recently. But, I think that is part of what made me give it such a bad review- the other books that I have been reading are so much better than that one. I wonder if I would have given it a better review if I had read it before the Hex Hall books or the Heroes of Olympus books. I may have put Need under a little less scrutiny. Who knows!?

Do any of my fellow book bloggers out there feel guilty after a bad review? Do you write more good reviews or bad reviews? Have you ever experienced this bloggers’ guilt?

Let’s Get Creative!

I know you guys are probably upset with me for calling myself a book blogger when I haven’t posted a review in over a week, but I promise I have been busy. I have plenty of reviews for you, you will just have to be patient. I guess my problem is that I have been reading like crazy! My Goodreads goal is 50 books for this year, and I am already 5 books ahead! Whoo! Right? Well, right and wrong. I love reading all of these books, but they keep my from blogging!

Another thing that has kept me from blogging is my new gym membership. I have been trying to go every day, and I haven’t missed a whole lot. My awesome friend Ashley has been my gym buddy in addition to her bff responsibilities. Unfortunately, Ashley works at the family Pancake House, and I will lose her to 50 hour work weeks at Cartwright’s Maple Tree Inn on the 12th, so I have been hanging out with her as much as possible! (Another reason I haven’t been blogging so much.)

But, that brings me to the subject of this post. Ashley and I made stuff! We originally decided that we wanted to make cat sweatshirts. So, we set out to make some! At first, we were going to use a stencil and fabric paint, but in the interest of time, we decided on iron-ons instead. Well, after buying the iron-on sheets and searching the internet for hours for a viable design (literally, hours), we finally decided what to put on our shirts. I went in a different direction than my original cat intention:

I went with the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizadry crest.

I know that this may be a little geeky, but I love Hogwarts and I am not afraid to show it! Ha! I chose to put this design on a coral-ish colored sweatshirt- the kind with a big scoop neck that hangs off one shoulder. I really hate crop tops (I am just not shaped for those), so I got a bigger size and this seems to be a good length.

Anyway, we printed out our designs onto the iron-on sheets. Ashley was using a blue sweater, so she got the sheets meant for dark colors and I got the sheets for light colors since mine was coral(ish). There is a ginormous difference between the two. Mine was the equivalent to a temporary tattoo. It isn’t temporary, what I mean is that it is something you apply heat to and peel off. Ashley’s is more of a patch type thing. You peel of the back, put it on the fabric, cover it with parchment paper, and iron. Mine was a little more nerve wracking.

IMAG0813

This is my design all cut out on the iron-on paper and ready to be ironed!

That isn’t where my design actually went. Since it had to be printed backward, it goes face down and then gets ironed onto the fabric, I chose to put it in the middle. Thankfully, I had that helpful little triangle on the color to help me line it up in the center. I was so nervous at this point (irrational, but true) so I decided to do the crest first and then do the motto. I put the crest in place and then followed the directions, but it required a lot of pressure and pretty soon my hand was hurting from pressing the iron down! I started to peel it up after a while, and we could tell that it wasn’t ready, but luckily we were able to just put it back down and apply more pressure and heat! The directions said that if I wanted it to be glossy, I should peel it cold– which meant to let it cool down before I peeled. For a matte finish, I had to peel it before it could cool, and matte was my choice.

After I peeled the crest I positioned the motto and got all nervous for that part. This time, I was ready for the amount of pressure and time it took. However, irons are bigger than you expect and I pressed it down onto the crest by accident…just for a second. But I picked up some of the color (not enough to make a big enough difference) and that wasn’t so bad, except I then pressed it on the shirt and created a smudge. But, it was just a little one and not a super big deal. Finally, I peeled and it looked fine!

IMAG0814Finished product!

You can’t really tell that I smudged it. The only thing that I really noticed is that I must have let the Gryffindor corner of the crest cool a little because it turned out a little glossy, but it isn’t really that noticeable. I was just so excited to have some HP paraphernalia! Whooohooo! 🙂

Ashley put Figaro the cat on hers, he is from Pinocchio.  Hers turned out great, too! We are so pleased with ourselves for being crafty 🙂

NewshirtsLook at how awesome they turned out! 

And yes, I know she is a whole lot taller than me, haha.

Oh! And the motto for Hogwarts is Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus: Never tickle a sleeping dragon!

Update!

Hi guys!

I know that I haven’t uploaded a review in the past couple days, but I guess I have been spending all of my time reading! Haha. I just finished Need by Carrie Jones and I will probably be reviewing that next. I am also so excited to say that I finally pre-ordered my copy of Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. I CANNOT WAIT FOR IT TO GET HERE. It will be here on the 5th!!

In other also very exciting news, this post is brought to you by my new Chromebook! For those of you that don’t know what a Chromebook is, it is a laptop computer made by Google. It is basically the best of tablets and laptops all rolled into one. It is super fast and boots up in 8 seconds. A super plus is that it’s almost impossible to get a virus! I absolutely love it. I just got it yesterday and it is keeping me quite entertained. I have been wanting a new computer for a long time now, but I have just never gotten around to it. Now that I have started blogging, my husband has pushed me to get a new laptop so that I stop using his so often! However, I am awful at making decisions. I first went to BestBuy this past weekend to look at some computers and I liked the Chromebook. BestBuy’s “Google expert” gave me some information about it, but he was literally the most boring man I have ever met, so I didn’t stay long. I was back again the next day and I asked 8 zillion questions… about a different computer. And then finally, after a bunch of research, I came home and ordered the Chromebook because they didn’t have any in stock at BestBuy. Then the most excruciating part: waiting for it to come! I felt like it was a million years, but it was less than a week!

Anyway, I am very excited to be using a new computer and reading new books!

Have you guys gotten any new technology recently? Or ordered any books that you are excited about?