Top Five Friday: I'm Ashamed I Haven't Read These...

We all have at least at least one book that we regret never getting around to. Maybe this book had lots of hype surrounding it and you just happened to miss out on all the fun; maybe it was published a few generations ago and you've been focused on new releases lately. Both of these reasons and more apply to why I haven't read the books in this week's Top Five Friday, and I hope I don't get excommunicated from the book blogging community for not having read these! XD

5. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

This book has had so much hype surrounding it since before it even came out, but it honestly doesn't sound like my cup of tea. I don't know if it's because there are so many fairy tale retellings out now or if it's because I'm not a huge fan of the New Adult genre, but either way, I don't think I'll be getting to it any time soon.

4. The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

This is the third and final book in the Mistborn trilogy, and after I finished the second book, I decided to take a break from the series for a few weeks so I wouldn't get tired of it.

It's been three months since that day.

Since I ordered hard copies of the series on Book Depository the other day, I'm definitely gonna read The Hero of Ages soon. However, considering the ending of the The Well of Ascension, I'm amazed I haven't gotten my hands on it sooner. 

3. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

I watched the movies years ago when they came out in theaters and I thought they were all great, but I'm sad to say that I've never read the books. I recently read Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters and The Great Divorce, but I've never read C.S. Lewis' most popular series.

2. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien 

Like The Chronicles of Narnia, I've committed the cardinal sin of watching the movies and not reading the books. I'd like to read them at some point, but I have a whole list of other books I'd like to get to, and since I already get the gist of the story, I don't see the need to read this in the immediate future.

Are you ready for number one?

I don't think you are...

But try to brace yourself anyway...

The number one book I'm most ashamed I haven't read is...

1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (along with the entire Harry Potter series) by J.K. Rowling

I'll just take a moment for everyone to gasp in horror.

I simply wasn't interested in Harry Potter when I was a kid. There's no other explanation. Even if I read it now, I feel like I would just be reading it from peer pressure and I wouldn't actually enjoy it, so I probably never will.

*cue sad violins*

Are there any books that you feel guilty about not reading? Let's bask in our shame in the comments section!

Thanks for reading,

Indoor Sojourner

Tag: Secret Life of a Book Blogger

I was tagged by Boundless Bookaholic to do the Secret Life of a Book Blogger tag! If I tag you, I'll let you know at the end of the post and tag you on Twitter as well.

Without further ado, let's get started!

How long have you been a blogger?
My first post was on May 27th, 2015, so I've been blogging for two months and two days.

At what point do you think you will stop?
I haven't thought that far into the future, but hopefully I'll be blogging for years to come! I originally wanted to make a Youtube channel instead, and I may still do that at some point. If I do, I'll still continue to blog and try to integrate the two together.

What is the best thing?
Definitely the community! Everyone is so kind and respectful; I've yet to see any angry comments or Twitter posts from anyone I'm following. I'm naturally a bit of an introvert, but the book blogging community is such a warm and welcoming environment that it makes me want to be chatty with everyone. c:

What is the worst thing? What do you do to make it okay?
The constant desire to have more followers, more views, etc. It's honestly frustrating when I post something I'm proud of and it isn't seen by as many people as I want. Whenever I feel this way, I focus on building relationships with the community and tell myself that I'm still new, still learning, and I'm not defined by how much attention my blog gets. 

(Trying to stay professional while containing my inner fangirl is also pretty hard too. XD)

How long does it take you to create/find pictures to use?
Not long at all. Book covers and the occasional (but sometimes frequent) GIFs only take a quick Google search. I tried to make pictures to go along with my Wrap Ups, TBRs, and other regular posts, but I threw them together on Pixlr and they ended up looking sloppy. I plan on making some quality logos for these posts on Photoshop or Inkscape sometime soon!

Who is your book crush?
Do I have to pick one? XD I guess I'd have to go with Noah Shaw from The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer trilogy. He's practically perfect. Also, if I developed some sort of supernatural ability, he probably wouldn't freak out about it.

What author would you like to have on your blog?
Marissa Meyer, Sarah J. Maas, Tahereh Mafi, Ransom Riggs, Victoria Schwab, Markus Zusak, JOHN GREEN...

What do you wear when you write your blog posts?
Either pajamas or some other comfy clothes. Currently, I'm wearing these gloriously comfy lounge shorts in Heather Blue with a frocket tee from my sorority days.

How long does it take you to prepare?
In general? It depends on the post. Wrap-ups are usually a breeze unless I'm experimenting with a new format. Tags and discussion posts take an hour or so. Reviews are a little trickier; sometimes I can put one together in an hour or less, sometimes it takes at least two hours all together. If it takes that long, I take breaks on and off and the process takes even longer!

How do you feel about the book blogger community/culture?
It's fantastic! Like I said before, everyone's so friendly and welcoming. We're all willing to learn and help each other out in this crazy process.

What do you think one should do to get a successful blog?
Focus on being friendly and personable by connecting with other bloggers! Commenting on posts and communicating with your audience on Twitter is definitely helpful for networking. As for content, I think it's important to post what you're proud of. If you're writing a post and realize you don't like it, scrap it and start over.
Above all, having a successful blog doesn't necessarily mean having loads of views and followers. Even if there's only one person reading your blog, you still have an audience nonetheless, and it's your responsibility to deliver content that will inspire them and/or make them smile.

Who do you tag?
Ashley @ BookishRealmReviews

Chioma @ Blue Books and Butterflies

Yvonne @ A World Between Folded Pages

Anyone else who's interested!

Thanks again to Boundless Bookaholic for tagging me! This tag definitely made me think and I hope you all learned a little more about me.

Indoor Sojourner
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Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Rating: 4.5/5

Published: February 24th, 2015

Description: Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit. 

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. 

Buy on Amazon

Vicious is the only other book I've read by Schwab, and after reading it, I was genuinely disappointed that I hadn't read it sooner. That being said, my expectations for A Darker Shade of Magic were pretty high. From the detailed world(s?) building to its unique premise, this book did not disappoint.

My favorite part of the book would have to be how real all of the Londons felt; each one has its own sense of mystery and eeriness that set it apart from the others. There wasn't a single moment where I thought, "Wait, where are they again? What's happening?" because the Londons felt like characters in and of themselves that couldn't be ignored.

The moral ambiguity of the protagonists also made things pretty interesting. Delilah is a cunning, stubborn thief while Kell is a lying, secretive smuggler, and we love them all the same because they ultimately strive for the common good.

Even though the plot is unique and intricate, it's still easy to understand. The theme of alternate universes has become pretty popular, and I think A Darker Shade of Magic makes this complicated concept easy to grasp for readers that aren't into theoretical physics. The story also moved along at a great pace; this is one of the few books where I didn't feel at all bored by what was happening in any character's point of view, which says a lot about how great this book is!

The only complaint I have is that the characters seemed slightly one dimensional (no pun intended). However, this is only the first book in the series, so I'm sure they'll develop more and more as the series preogresses!

This book was definitely worth the read and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys fast paced fantasies! Also, here's a fun fact about the author; According to Goodreadsbooks published under V.E. Schwab are adult releases and those under Victoria Schwab are YA. This may be common knowledge, but this cleared up a lot of confusion for me and I had no idea until now!

What are your thoughts on A Darker Shade of Magic? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading,

Indoor Sojourner
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The Struggles of Being a Slow Reader

I like to savor books.

Contrary to the title, I read at a pretty average pace. However, if I'm completely engrossed in a book, I like to take some time to enjoy the experience. This may mean pausing to process what's happening during a busy scene, rereading a paragraph or quote a couple of times, or just taking a moment to let the feels take over.

With these habits come some minor inconveniences that can get in the way of my reading process.

1. Finishing a Book Takes a Small Eternity

Lately, it's taken me at least one, but sometimes two to three weeks to get through a book. Believe it or not, the older I get, the harder it is for me to just sit down and read for hours on end. There are exceptions where I can't seem to put down a book, but those are few and far between, and I've started to prefer reading in baby steps rather than sprinting.

2. Reading Challenges are...a Challenge...

All of the Readathons and reading challenges in the blogging and Booktube communities baffle me. It's all I can do to stay up to date on my Goodreads reading challenge, and I'm both amazed and slightly intimidated whenever I see that someone has read multiple books in the course of a week or even a weekend.

3. Interruptions=Total Derailment

This might be the case for a lot of people regardless of reading speed, but if someone interrupts me (which is frequently, since I live in a house where no one else relates to my reading addiction), I can't quite seem to get back into the world as I was before.
...But that may be a result of my short attention span instead of my reading habits!

Even though it would be nice to plow through books day after day, I think I prefer being a slow reader because it allows me to take in the details of books and (hopefully) have a better understanding of the plot and its characters.

Are you a fast reader or a slow reader? How does this affect your reading habits? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading,

Indoor Sojourner
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Why Monthly TBRs Are My Downfall

Like many readers and book bloggers, I planned out my July TBR at the beginning of the month. At the time, I felt like I was being productive by taking a few of the books from my overall TBR list and publicly declaring my goal of completing them by the end of this month. However, I've realized in the past few weeks that a monthly TBR only makes me me feel stressed and takes away some of the fun in reading for two main reasons.

1. Limitations

If I make a TBR list, I feel like I can't read anything else for the entire month. If I discover a new book that really interests me, then I feel guilty to read it because I'm essentially pushing away the list that I spent time and effort compiling.

2. Lofty Goals

Usually, I put a few too many books in my TBR knowing all too well that I probably won't get to them. This doesn't seem like a bad thing because it challenges me to read more books, but that's thing; my TBR lists have been about quantity over quality, which ultimately makes me feel overwhelmed and lose motivation.

In the future, I might bring back a monthly list in the form of a TBR jar, but for now, I won't post any more monthly TBRs on Indoor Sojourner.

That being said, I'll continue to post monthly wrap ups to provide a summary of what I've read, but I feel like monthly TBRs aren't productive for me if I don't follow them properly.

Do any of you guys have the same problem? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading,

Indoor Sojourner
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Top 5 Friday: Book to Movie Adaptations

I know it's been a while since I made a Top 5 Friday post, but I'm bringing it back today in the form of book to movie adaptations! There are plenty of great adaptations out there, but these are a few that at least fit the following criteria:

  • I've read the original text.
  • The film accurately represents the original text.
  • It's a quality film that can stand firm on its own.

For starters, making this list was so difficult! I wanted to add The Hunger Games, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, but I haven't actually read LoTR or Harry Potter (~hides from angry fangirls~).  As much as I love The Hunger Games films, there's still one more to go, so it would feel slightly wrong to include any of the current films if the last one could potentially be my favorite.

Now that the flimsy excuses are over with, let's get started with the actual list!

5. Tuck Everlasting (2002)

As a children's/middle grade book, this story deals with love, death and mortality in a way that's tangible for a younger audience.  Even though it's not 100 percent accurate from what I can remember, the movie captures the overall essence of the book and still tugs on my heartstrings whenever I watch it.

Also, Johnathon Jackson. o___o

4. Holes (2003)

Besides being a memorable part of my childhood, Holes was incredibly accurate to the book and is one of those movies I'll always enjoy watching. Like most children's stories, the plot itself is also pretty ridiculous, but that just makes me love it all the more.

3.  The Great Gatsby (2013)

the great gatsby animated GIF

The 1920's would have been considered modern times to the characters of The Great Gatsby, and the vibrant colors and integration of modern music captured this perfectly. The movie didn't seem like it was portraying a period in the past; it was as if the characters and setting were on the cutting edge of style, which further emphasized the parallels between the story and real life.

2. Jane Eyre (2011)

describe this image

I know I've mentioned Jane Eyre several times on my blog, but I absolutely love this movie and the story as a whole. The book has a mysterious, almost ethereal mood throughout, and I think the 2011 adaptation captured this wonderfully. Even though it's not perfectly accurate to every detail, the actors portray the characters in a way the feels raw and true to the story. It also has a lovely soundtrack, so if you don't have time to watch the movie, you can check it out right here!

1. Pride and Prejudice (2005)

Seriously, this movie is beautiful. The scenery, the soundtrack (listed below), the characters, the people playing the characters...everything about this movie simply beautiful. This movie captures the essence of Pride and Prejudice and turns it into something magical.

What are your favorite book to movie adaptations? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading,

Indoor Sojourner
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Pixar Book Tag

Since I love all things Disney/Pixar (and all things book related, of course), I knew I wanted to do this as soon as I found it on Jillian's Books. Thanks to Mishma from Chasing Faerytales for creating this adorable tag! :)

What’s your favorite Pixar movie?

This is difficult! I’ve never watched a Pixar movie that I didn’t like…I guess it would have to be Toy Story, since that’s where it all started.

Toy Story: Favorite childhood book you never grew out of

Tuck Everlasting is a story that still crosses my mind every now and then, not to mention the movie still gives me so many feels.

quote animated GIF
*sobs*  that's because HE WON'T DIEEEE

A Bug's Life: Book that felt too similar to another popular book

Stitching Snow reminded me a lot of The Lunar Chronicles, and not in a good way. It would have been great, too, if the world were more detailed and the instalove was toned down.

Monsters Inc: A villain whom you couldn't hate

The Darkling. He's absolutely terrible, but he's also a precious snowflake that just needs a little love.

Finding Nemo: Best family relationship you read about in a book

Definitely Liesel and the Hubermanns from The Book Thief...along with Rudy and Max; they might as well count as family, right?

The Incredibles: Superpower of a character you wish you had

I would definitely want to be a Mistborn like Vin and Kelsier so I could have ALL THE POWERS.

Cars: Book where the characters go on a road trip or travel a lot

Paper Towns! A road trip with Q and the gang would be a blast.

Ratatouille: Favorite sidekick in a book

Mitch from Vicious is a pretty fantastic sidekick. He’s a gentle giant that could probably kill you with his bare hands but also has an affinity for chocolate milk.

Wall-E: Favorite dystopian book

I’ll go with a generic answer and say The Hunger Games. After a long break, It sparked my passion for reading, so it definitely has a sentimental value.

Up: The most beautiful love story you've ever read


Brave: Most badass heroine you've read about

Vin from the Mistborn trilogy, for sure. She develops from a scared, distrustful girl into a fierce, strong woman who still has a heart.

Inside Out: Book that gave all the FEELS

All the Light We Cannot See. This book made me die a little inside, but it’s one of my favorites.

Well, that was fun! I'm going to tag Confessions of a Book Addict, Queen Fiction ReviewsStardust and Words and A World Between Folded Pages

Thanks for reading,

Indoor Sojourner
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Review: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

 “When no one understands, that's usually a good sign that you're wrong.”

Rating: 5/5

Published: September 24th, 2013

Description: Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

Vicious is one of those books that has a gradual and foreboding air that creeps along for most of the book, but it isn't slow by any means. The unique pacing, alone with its intricate character development and writing style, make this superhero story stand out from the rest.  

Without further ado, let's discuss what makes this book great in more detail!

Antiheroes are usually my weakness, and Vicious has no shortage of them.

For those of you unfamiliar with them, an antihero is a character that lacks the conventional motives and attributes of the ideal hero. Personally, I love a good antihero because they bring a much needed twist to the superhero/super villain trope. In Vicious, Victor and Eli both have opposite motives, but neither of them can really be classified as the archetypal hero. Eli is a villain set on killing hundreds of people to support his cause while Victor is set on stopping Eli in the name of vengeance and anger; since neither of them are fighting in the name of good, it definitely makes things interesting in terms of characterization.

The pacing was (almost) perfect.

For most of the book, Vicious switches between Victor and Eli's college days and adulthood and features the point of view of several characters. Whenever books switch between time periods and perspectives like this, I tend to favor one time/voice over the others and become impatient until I get to that point. Even though I found myself doing that from time to time in this book, I still enjoyed every page, because each voice was distinctive and vital to the overall plot.

The writing style made me feel completely immersed in the story.

The way the characters are written is simple but sinister; Victor and Eli almost seemed nonchalant when discussing their powers and motives. Even though they're both corrupt in their own ways, they speak as though their actions and motives are completely rational, which made the story all the more captivating.

The secondary characters made this book first rate.

Vicious wouldn't be nearly as good if it weren't for its supporting characters. Sydney and Serena's relationship showed that sibling loyalties don't always persevere, and gentle giant Mitchell was probably one of my favorite characters in the whole book. These characters brought out the humanity in Victor and Eli; whether that's positive or negative is up to you.

In short, Vicious was unlike anything I've read lately in the best way possible. I would definitely recommend it if you like the typical hero/villain archetype with a bit of a twist!

If you've read Vicious, feel free to discuss what you thought about it in the comments. If you'd like a sneak peak of what I'll review in the future, be sure to check out my July TBR!

Thanks for reading,

Indoor Sojourner

July TBR

Hey, everyone! I'm pretty excited for July not only because I have some (hopefully) awesome books on my TBR, but also because my birthday is in a couple of weeks! This month, I'll be reading six books that consist of couple classics, a book with a movie adaptation coming out, a new release, and a couple more that have been on my to-read list for far too long.

1. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

This will be the third Lewis book I've read, and I'm excited to dive into it! Not to mention the cover art of the edition I have is lovely. :)

2. The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

I've read the first two books of the Mistborn trilogy on my Kindle, but I've been coveting the UK box set for months now. Since it's my birthday month, I think I'll treat myself to it and finish the last book in beautiful paperback form!

3. The Martian by Andy Weir

This book is being made into a movie starring Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig. How could I not read it as soon as possible?

4. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

I just finished reading Vicious earlier this week and loved it, so I definitely want to continue reading more from V.E. Schwab.

5.  Armada by Ernest Cline

I really enjoyed Ready Player One and Cline's second novel comes out on my birthday, so why not throw it on my TBR? :D My only problem with it is that it has a pretty low rating at the moment, but that could change once the book is actually released...

6. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

This has been sitting on my shelf for months and I'm in the mood for something classic, so hopefully I'll get around to it by the end of the month!

What do you plan on reading in July? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading,

Indoor Sojourner

June Wrap Up

Hey, everyone! I don't know about you guys, but it felt like June would never end. My schedule slowed down drastically towards the beginning of the month, but since I ended up getting hooked on a couple of awesome TV shows (which I might discuss in a separate June Favorites post), I only read four books this month. All in all, they were enjoyable reads, so let's get into it!

1. Heir of Fire by S.J. Mass

Rating: 4.5/5

Did I mention this month dragged on and on? I feel like I finished Heir of Fire a year ago, but this book did not disappoint. Each Throne of Glass book gets better and better as the series progresses, and I can't wait for the forth book, Queen of Shadows, to come out in September!

2. Glitches by Marissa Meyer

Rating: 4/5

I picked up Glitches right after I finished Heir of Fire and breezed through it in less than half an hour. This is a Lunar Chronicles novella that gives a glimpse of Cinder's life when she first moves in with her family. Even though it was only 35 pages, I enjoyed seeing another glimpse of the Linh household, and it was a great way to tide me over until Winter comes out in November.

3. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Rating: 3/5

I didn't plan on reading this in my June TBR list, and even though it left me a little disapppointed, I didn't regret the read. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl plays on the "teen girl with terminal cancer tries to live her best life" trope that's becoming popular in YA, but it has a flippant twist to it that's clever but also slightly annoying.

4. Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Rating: 5/5

By the time I got to this book, my TV binge was in full swing, so it honestly took me most of the month to finish it. Nevertheless, Vicious was hands down my favorite book of the month, and maybe one of my favorites of the year. If you like complicated antiheroes and a plot with lots of twists and turns, I would definitely recommend this to you. I'll have a review up soon because I'd love to discuss it further!

Average Rating for June: 4.1/5

Let me know what your favorite June reads were in the comments!

Thanks for reading,

Indoor Sojourner