Let’s Talk… The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Is it a cop out to make a Let’s Talk about a book? I wanted to talk about this book since I read the Caraval trilogy yesterday (you should totally click on that link!). Almost all of the reviews on Goodreads for Caraval were about The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and their extremely similar themes. I wanted to see how similar they are, so I got myself a copy of The Night Circus, and here’s what I have found out:

First: a synopsis. The Night Circus is the story of a game. When Celia and Marco are young, her father and his mentor, respectively, bind them together for life. They are required to showcase their talents in magic until eventually their magic outweighs the other. The playing field, a circus that is only open at night. Eventually, Celia and Marco fall in love, causing them to lose interest in playing the game. Other members of the circus who know about the game begin to push for the game to be finished, causing mayhem within the circus. Now, Marco and Celia must figure out how to fix everything without taking everyone out in the process.

  1. Caraval is easier to read. The Night Circus jumps around in time which makes it difficult to keep up with what is happening within the story. There is also almost 10 characters that we follow around throughout the story, which is difficult to keep up with as well. Caraval stays consistently in time with one character. Along with that, The Night Circus is difficult to read because the language fits the late 1800s/ early 1900s time period of the setting. There is no exact date associated with Caraval, but they tend to speak modern while the characters are in un-technological society.
  2. The idea of a “night circus” is different for the two stories. You ever hear about creative writing classes where they start with the same sentence, but everyone makes their own story? It feels a lot like that. Caraval’s night circus is really a game, which only lasts for a select number of days. They do not look like a normal circus, but rather an area that you have to explore in order to solve a problem. The Night Circus is about a “real” traveling circus, so there are tents, acts, etc. that consistently lasts for decades.
  3. The love stories are completely different. Caraval, the love story is a gradual progression of not liking to now I love you. In The Night Circus, the binding connects them from a young age, so they feel that level of connection from the moment they meet.

Obviously, the idea of a “night circus” is a connection in itself, but I think the two authors took their own spins on it. They are too different stylistically for me to see the connections people have discussed on Goodreads (or to pick sides). Neither story would be a book that I would normally pick up for myself, so I might not have the greatest opinion on this. At the end of the day, I recommend Caraval for someone who wants a young adult book with a magical adventure. The Night Circus is a more adult book that has a much heavier influence of magic and less of the adventure.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Let’s Talk… Walking Away

Hey guys! This one is a more serious post, but it is a post I think I am ready to make. I am not walking away from you guys, don’t you worry, but I am walking away from things that do not make me happy. And here’s why you should, too.

At the beginning of this year, Netflix put out a series called Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, and while I have never watched the show, I know that the gist is to find the things that make you happy and keep them, while letting go of those that don’t give you that feeling.

When I started reading for fun, I realized that I never liked to leave a book unfinished. I will power through a book, even if I completely hate it, for the sake of giving a book a chance. But that feeling isn’t healthy. Let what I just said settle in for a moment: I literally torture myself by reading books I don’t like for the sake of giving everything a chance. Why should I? Now I have the blog, but I still always have the option to walk away, and I never take it. And that feeling of being stuck continues to weigh heavy on my mind, to the point where negative feelings begin to affect my daily life. That’s not healthy, and I need to learn to walk away.

About 2 weeks ago, I began the process of downsizing, which is HUGE for my hoarding tendency. The hardest thing I have had to do is choose which books I wanted to keep on my shelf and which ones I wanted to walk away from. And while I won’t bore you with the specifics, I will tell you that I got rid of an entire shelf full of books. I did not cry, I did not feel like I lost a limb, and I got rid of books that could make someone else happy. Walking away never felt so good.

As for my life, I have been thinking A LOT about happiness. There are people in my life that I do not associate good feelings with anymore. And while our past may be great, my future should be, too. The biggest lesson I have learned in life? There is no shame in choosing yourself. We associate negative words like “selfish” to that action, but why shouldn’t we be a little selfish? Why should I feel guilty about choosing me? Why should I have to constantly feel negative feelings so that they can feel happy?

A million things change when you choose to be happy. You start to smile more, laugh more, and feel more. Complaining goes down, and positivity goes up. There is no shame in choosing yourself, and there is also nothing wrong with being a little negative. But I am someone who has let negativity eat away at me, and I AM DONE.

So I am walking away. I am walking away from the stress, frustration, and ultimate negative feelings of staying in a situation I am not happy in. I am walking away from the fear of being alone. I am walking away from the fear of missing out. I am walking away from the fear of trying something new. I am walking away.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Let’s Talk… Reading for Yourself

Thank you guys for everything! I think I start every post with an Oscar speech, but I genuinely feel so grateful to talk about something I love (and have people read my thoughts). Last week, I took a break. I am pretty sure that it is the longest break I have taken since planning posts for the blog, so this was a pretty big deal for me. The first thing I did? Picked up a book. When I started reading, I knew I wouldn’t be posting a review. I didn’t want to think about how I felt or thought throughout the process of reading, I just wanted to enjoy it. Here’s what I learned:

  • Reading is fun. Sometimes this blog can feel like a chore (flashback to the last week of Nicholas Sparks), and reading can feel like a job. Well, more like an internship because I don’t get paid, but you get it. Sometimes it is nice to not have a timeline, a pressure, or a review to think about. Just picking up a book and reading is enjoyable. That was what started me doing this blog, and that is what I stand behind as I read.
  • I don’t read enough memoirs. I read The Hidden Power of F*cking Up by The Try Guys. If you know me, you know that YouTube is a huge part of my life, and I love watching The Try Guys thanks to their humor and wit and ultimate fails. What I didn’t know: they are people, too. They have feelings and families, fears and frustrations, and that I am not so different than them. I have read 1 memoir for this blog, and as great as that one is, I feel like I should have more. Fiction is great, but people are real.
  • Taking a step back is not giving up. When I was finishing the last week of Nicholas Sparks, I could not stop thinking that I needed a book for Tuesday. And to be honest, I had one ready. But then I would have had to push myself for Thursday. And then the next Tuesday. And while I know that I could have probably kept up with the demand, I wouldn’t be able to breathe. There is nothing wrong with taking time for yourself, just like there isn’t anything wrong with reading 2 books on your weekend vacation. But sometimes, we need a mental health day. I turned mine into a much needed week.
  • Positivity over negativity. I was starting to get real negative. Since he followed a set pattern in his books, I had to start nitpicking Sparks. And wouldn’t you know, I began to ignore the parts I liked in order to find things I couldn’t. Taking time to realize that “hey, I don’t like where my brain is at right now” and changing it, means that I can go into the next book with a better attitude.

So yea, I needed this. And you guys probably do, too. Books can be a form of escape, and by taking the time to read for yourself, you learn more about yourself. Keep in mind that you still need to read those books for class or that handbook for work, but you also desperately need time to read that book for yourself. So take the time, you’ll be surprised how badly you need it.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Let’s Talk… Once Upon a Book Club

Welcome back ladies and gentlemen! One of the first Let’s Talk’s I posted was about Subscription Boxes. In that post, I talked about the ones I was currently using, including Once Upon a Book Box. I haven’t been reading those that much since I have been focused on so many other books, and now I am completely overwhelmed with boxes. In order to declutter, I am going to be reading some of my boxes. However, reading them is different than reading any other book, so here’s what is going to happen:

These reviews are going to be less structured than my regular reviews. Since there are gifts with every box, I am going to be pausing in my reading to show you the gift, while also talking about the book. That also means I won’t be posting a clear synopsis. Since I am talking throughout reading, you’ll be hearing spoilers for not only the gifts (if you hadn’t known already) and for the plot.

I am also going to be posting these about once or twice a month. I am still trying to figure out logistics (mainly if they are going up on a different day since the review is so different), but for now, I am just going to be mixing them into my other reviews.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Let’s Talk… Nicholas Sparks

Welp ladies and gents, we made it. It’s been a crazy last few weeks, and while I am going to happily take a break from author series for a while, I am so grateful for the love and support this time around. We have reached every continent this series minus Antarctica (Side note: anyone with friends down there should give them a heads up!), and we have reached 12 countries, so thank you for the support all around the world! But we aren’t here to talk about me, we are here to talk about Nicholas Sparks, so let’s get into it!

Nicholas Sparks falls under the genre “romance”. His stories more often than not talk about two people who randomly meet and quickly fall in love. However, there is something that causes their relationship to disintegrate, and they either find ways to reconcile or there is a tragedy that separates them forever. With all that being said, he has included a “thriller” aspect to many of his books (See Me, Safe Haven, The Best of Me, The Lucky One, A Bend in the Road, The Rescue, The Guardian). This is used in conjunction with the love story to add to the disintegration and/or tragedy part of his romance.

Two by Two is the only book that he has written that does not follow his mold. Unlike his other stories, this one is not about falling in love, but about finding love in a difficult time. It also isn’t so much about a romance (though there is one in the book), but about a love between a father and a daughter. I think that is why this book is so much more memorable than his others.

Many of his books have the cult following they do because of movies. Sadly, there were a lot of movies that I felt did a better job at telling the story than Sparks did. He has a tendency to not time the romance with the storyline well, and his connections are often shaky at best.

In the scheme of things, Sparks always seemed like an amazing author to me. That was until I read all of his books in about 1 month. Then all I could see were the same patterns over and over and over. Ultimately, it took away from the magical appeal he seems to have to the female population. So basically what I am saying is read his books in moderation and you are good to go!

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Let’s Talk… Romance

Pull out the candles and the Marvin Gaye, because we are talking romance tonight! Well…. it’s the morning, and I’m talking about the genre, not the concept, but you get the idea. Romance can mean a million different things, and even the Audible romance package has to separate romance into “levels of steaminess”. And yes, that is 100% real. From Fifty Shades of Grey and the After series to All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and The Fault in Our Stars and to everything in between, let’s talk about some tips and tricks I have picked up on reading in the romance genre:

  1. Find a book that can pace the love story correctly. There are a lot that have a really slow build up to then rush the actual romance part of the book. And of course, there are books that do the exact opposite. If you are going to write a romance novel, keep the book moving while still telling the story you are trying to tell.
  2. Smut is smut. It bothers me to no end when people judge other people on their smut (things I never thought I would write when my grandmother will probably read this). We all have different things that interest us, and it is not my business to judge another person for their sexual reading habits. If you don’t want to read smut, then don’t read smut. But if you don’t want to read smut, then don’t judge someone else for reading it. (Hmmmm… that argument sounds familiar, doesn’t it)
  3. Take a chance on a new book. There are a lot of authors who specialize specifically in the romance category (*cough, cough* Nicholas Sparks), but there are a lot of authors within the category that have similar styles. Be willing to explore, there’s a lot in the genre.
  4. Love isn’t always black and white. Sometimes the romance is about loving yourself, finding yourself, or finding a home. We all love The Notebook type romances, but romance is also about falling in love with the person you are.
  5. Keep in mind what is important to you. I have always said on this blog that health is incredibly important to me, but for other people it is about how quickly the romance develops, the types of people (or monsters thanks to Twilight), or even about writing style. while I always say you should keep an open mind when picking a book, don’t sacrifice what’s important to you in order to read a book.

If you keep all these ideas in your head, you will find what you want in the genre. If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Let’s Talk… Love and Books

Whew, has it been a week already? Thank you so much for all the love and support I have been getting this past week! We have officially reached 12 countries over 5 continents, AND we now have double digit followers. I am so incredibly grateful and humbled by all the people who want to know my thoughts on books. Okay, Academy Award speech over, let’s start talking!

I have written this post before and genuinely hated it. I have quite a few ideas of things that I want to say, but I can’t seem to link all my thoughts in my head. So if this seems a little disjointed to you, that’s probably why.

In the English language, we use the word love for pretty much everything. We “love” that movie. I say “I love you” to all my friends and family. And obviously we use the word love to describe the feeling of “falling in love”. Because I am writing this in America, where love is completely ambiguous, I am going to be talking about the latter two examples, and how they relate to books.

So let’s talk family first, because that is my area of expertise. My family has always played a role in my life, and despite the fact that I am 2 years out from being in charge of my own medical insurance, I still go to my dad for everything. Losing my mom played a large role in that feeling, and while I wish my mom was still here, I am grateful for the relationship I have with my father now.

When it comes to books, family seems to fall into 2 categories: the ones that are understanding and inclusive, or the ones that are absentee. But the best example of family love is from a movie. In Disney’s Frozen, Anna puts herself in the way of Hans as he tries to kill Elsa. When Elsa realizes that Anna is then frozen because Elsa froze her heart, she begins to cry and the love and despair she feels is enough to unfreeze Anna’s heart. As soon as Elsa realizes Anna is unfrozen, she asks Anna “You would sacrifice yourself for me?” and Anna’s simple reply is “Well, I love you”.

To me, love is about being willing to sacrifice yourself for another person. And love is also not having to make all the sacrifices. Love is about give and take. Parents give all the time, but they also take. They take memories, they take artwork that never should have seen the light of day, they take giggles, and more importantly, they take “I love you”s.

When it comes to books, I think familial love is all about acceptance. Finding the people who would let you be yourself. So all those families in books that are inclusive, many of those characters have a great relationship with their families because they feel safe there. For all those families that are absentee, that familial love is given to their friends. Because what are friends but family we choose for ourselves?

As for the whole “falling in love” thing. I’m completely speculating at this point (#single4life), but if I have learned anything from books, it is that you need to figure out what is healthy for you. While some fights are normal, constant bickering is not. Using words or affection (or actual weapons) as a weapon is not okay. And trust should not be so easy to break. I have always found health in a relationship to be THE THING that irritates me the most when reading, and you’ll see it in my reviews often.

Falling in love is clichéd in many ways, but I still read books that surprise me nonetheless. I especially appreciate the types of stories that fall in love slowly, and then all at once. To me, those stories capture my attention as I try to unravel when that moment will hit, and once it does, I find myself blubbering like a baby in the parking lot at my work. Not speaking from experience, of course.

As a reader, I think the biggest disservice you can do for an author is to limit your viewpoint of the world. When you take a step back and appreciate all the colors of the world, you begin to see that love is an incredibly unique but universal idea, and that books can encompass all those thoughts and feelings.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Let’s Talk… Author Series Part 2 Announcement

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN (tlemen) (lemen)!

Okay, this is looking real dumb, but GUYS IT’S HAPPENING! For about 3 months I knew that I was going to do this, I just never felt like I had the right timing. But due to things going on in my personal life, this just seemed like the time to take the bull by the horns. So, ta da! Welcome to 3 weeks of Nicholas Sparks!

You will hear me talk about why I love Nicholas Sparks throughout the next few weeks (and I probably will repeat myself A LOT), but the solid gist is that Sparks is someone that I have shared with my friends and family since I was a kid. More importantly, you will learn a lot about me since he has been a part of my life since I was 8? 9? Somewhere around there.

As for this week: I will be posting reviews every Sunday-Friday at 5 pm. Those reviews will be of the book AND the movie if there was one made (I made sure to double check on Sparks’ website to make sure I wasn’t missing one). I also will be posting Let’s Talks every Saturday at 10 am all related to the theme. Actually, you know what? I’ll do you better! Here’s my schedule for the next 3 weeks!

For the sake of keeping a tiny part of my sanity, I am going to be taking the week after off from posting reviews, but there will be a Let’s Talk posted on 7/13.

I hope to see you all along the way! If you have an author that you would like me to do a focus on, let me know in the comments, on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I will see you all in the next book!

Let’s Talk… Reading a Series

Hey guys! Happy Saturday from me to you! Today we are going to talk about what you should be looking for in a series!

So let’s say that you found a book that completely kept your interest, and you learn that it is in a series of more than 2 books. At what point do you invest or at what point do you walk away? Here a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you still interested? Did the second book keep you as entertained? That may seem like a completely obvious question, but I think as a reader, we sometimes get caught up in the idea of a series that we power through a not-so-great series just to say we read it. Both the Hunger Games and Divergent trilogies come to mind. Despite their phenomena, the third books of both series were downright criminal. (Don’t think so? Come at me.) Solid reminder that everyone perceives books differently, so what may be a good series to you could not interest your best friend and vice versa. Take time to explore.
  • Who are you reading it for? I find myself in this position a lot because I often am reading books for the purpose of posting it here. Reading books for you makes the whole experience so much more enjoyable than reading for any other reason. I think we all felt that when we had to read Scarlet Letter in high school, but we were able to read the entire Harry Potter series in a week. (Just me? That’s cool.)

When it comes to how to read a series, here are a few things I have picked up:

  • Take breaks. You may not think it is necessary, but give yourself some time. Trust me. Let each book sink in. The more you take in from the first book or so, the more meaningful events are going to feel in the last books. Listen to your brain on this one, not your heart.
  • Don’t watch the movies. If there is a movie out, don’t watch it. Not only will it give away the ending for the book, but often the movies incorporate “easter eggs” for the ending of the series. Just stick with the books until you finish it all.
  • Keep an open mind. Don’t go in with an agenda. If you let the series take you where you need to go instead of every review on the planet, you will enjoy the experience a whole lot more.

I hope this helps any of you and happy reading! If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Let’s Talk… Reading Goals

I am someone who always sets reading goals for myself. For as early as 5th grade when I told myself I would read 100 books during summer vacation to telling myself I would read 150 books this year, I have always set my goals high. But here are some tips and tricks I have picked up along the way about setting and keeping your reading goals:

  1. Make it realistic. To be fair, I am totally not listening to this one (although I am way ahead of that goal, so how unrealistic is it?), but it is super important. The whole purpose of the goal is to set something that you can reach, so keep in mind your capabilities as a reader. If you don’t have the time, then don’t put pressure on yourself to make the time. Keep it light.
  2. Make it fun. The second it stops being fun, you won’t want to keep with it. You will be amazed how much easier a goal is when you want to do it than when you have to do it.
  3. Keep updated. That’s as simple as making a list or a count. Find ways to track how far you are in your goal, how much you have left, whatever you need to do to feel good. But knowing where you at gives you the chance to either feel better or tell yourself to read a little more.
  4. Treat yo’-self. If you hit a milestone, give yourself a reward. Or even if you get to a certain part of a book. However you want to do it, give yourself encouragement. Also let your friends and family know so that your successes can be theirs too.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!