Let’s Talk… Book of the Month

Welcome back everyone! When I first started this blog, I was reading (almost exclusively) Book of the Month (BOTM) club books. For those of you that are unaware, BOTM is a service where they pick 5 books that are coming out that month (or soon after). You get to choose at least 1 of those 5 books for your box (with a maximum of 3), and they ship it to your door. So essentially, it is a service that gives you an ARC every month.

I found this service in May of 2019. I was at a job where we were sitting around A LOT and I wanted something new to read. My first ever BOTM selection was Small Country by Gaël Faye, and I haven’t looked back since. I learned some tricks along the way (mainly to save your credits as much as possible by buying the add-ons out of pocket) and I track BOTM books rather religiously.

At the time of writing this post (August 9th, 2019) I have read 56 of the 80 books that have been offered by the service since I began using it. I have read books from most of the genres (even the ones I don’t like), and since the inception of this blog, I have been trying to share my thoughts on them with you guys.

As I am trying to both increase and systemize the content I create, I wanted to put emphasis back on BOTM and its roots on the blog. So this is the official announcement: I am going to be attempting (and let’s be real, attempting is the only word to describe it) to make the final FULL week of the month BOTM week! Meaning: that Monday through Friday, there will be reviews at 5 PM EST of the BOTM picks for that month! I hope you guys are as excited as I am, and I hope to see you all there!

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… Going Blind

Hi Internet! Recently, I have been starting my posts by saying that I am going into this blind. That seems like a strange concept, even for me as I am writing it, so I wanted to explain why I choose to do that a lot of the time:

When you read a synopsis, the author is literally advertising their book. Every author wants to make money off this project they spent months and sometimes years of their lives on. For that reason, they will tell you all the good parts of their books that will draw people in without completely giving away their book. Even if those good parts are really far into the book. I have been burned by too many synopsi to read them before reading a book I already planned on reading.

When it comes to Once Upon a Book Club books, I already know I am going to put in the time to read them. I don’t want a spoiler for what happens 300 pages into a 450 page book, nor do I want to be sitting on the edge of my seat for a plot event that will happen late in a book. So I let the gifts take me through the book, knowing that the insane want for the gift will get me to read the book.

As for other books, I won’t read synopsi if it is for an author I like, a book that is important for the blog (*cough, cough* The Night Circus), or a book that has been getting a lot of hype. I would rather be surprised on my own time than for that moment to get spoiled. Also, since I have been running this blog, I have been telling you what happens in the story. I don’t want what the author thinks is important to affect what I think is important.

So, I don’t. I would rather go in blind. Fun fact: not as scary as that sounds.

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… Riley Sager

A mini-author post, coming at you! Okay, so normally I would read everything written by the author, but this isn’t a normal situation. Riley Sager is the pseudonym of of Todd Ritter (author of Death Notice, Vicious Circle, Bad Moon, and Devil’s Night), an author whom I have never had the pleasure to read. He has listed on his Goodreads that the reason for using the pseudonym was due to publishing issues under his actual name.

I first heard about Sager through Book of the Month. In my third month with the program, The Last Time I Lied was given as an option. I did not choose it, but I did purchase it from Amazon with the expectation to read it at my first chance. In my July 2019 box, I chose Lock Every Door. Realizing that the only book by Sager I didn’t own was Final Girls, I immediately purchased it, and then because I literally own 0 self control, I bought both books on Audible.

When it comes to his style, I have noticed that he chooses characters that suffer “survivor guilt”. In Final Girls, each girl is the survivor of a terrible massacre that is heavily perpetuated in the media. In The Last Time I Lied, Emma is the lone survivor of a cabin in the woods when everyone disappears. And finally, in Lock Every Door, Jules is the lone survivor of her family.He also uses this survivor guilt to heavily influence the thought process throughout the plot.

He also likes to throw up smoke screens in his stories. While that can be a great tactic, he sometimes overuses it to the point where you can detect it. And when the happens, it takes away from the overall story. He also finds ways to surprise you at the end that leave you completely stunned. He clearly has found his niche in the thriller genre.

As of August 2nd, 2019, he does not have a next list date for his next book, but he seems to be releasing books every July. I will definitely be looking out to see when his next book comes out!

Side note: According to his Goodreads, Final Girls has been optioned for a movie, and The Last Time I Lied has been optioned for a limited series. Quick searches show that other than purchasing the rights, little has been done to get either project off the ground.

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… 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!