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!

Let’s Talk… Working and a Blog

Hey guys! Today, I wanted to talk about how I manage to work full time and manage a blog. I chose to create a blog because I wanted an outlet to finally discuss something that I have loved my entire life: books. But I’m not going to lie, sometimes it sucks. No one prepares you for the amount of time you need to read, then write about it, then plan everything, and then on top of that handle all your other responsibilities. With that being said, I want to encourage anyone who is afraid to take the leap to hear my journey, and why I think it is all worth it.

So let’s start with reviews. Most audiobooks are about 8-10 hours long. If I chose to read them in print/ebook, then that number would be halved. So essentially, each review takes a minimum of 4 hours of research reading the book so I can make (what I consider) an adequate representation of the book. When I first started, I posted reviews the same day I finished the book. That is great and all, but I was then posting 6 reviews one week and 1 the next. There was no consistency in my work and I felt pressure whenever I wasn’t reading as much. So I switched, posting reviews twice a week unless for a special occasion. Making that switch has made my life so much easier in the long run, but harder in the moment. At the point I am making this post, I am two weeks ahead on posts. But it is still inundating looking at all the weeks I still need to fill and create content for. Because I actually put on paper the days that I am planning to post, I have to really think long and hard about how I am going to do that.

But I am making this post about work, so here is what I will have to say: I need the break. I listen to audiobooks while I work, but I also am constantly busy. I don’t have the time to think about posts for June 11th, I can just listen and fulfill my job. Work more than anything has been a way for me to find a solace in my always thinking mind. I happen to work a job that leaves me physically drained, but does not mentally tire me. Books are a way for me to come home, kick my feet up, and give my brain the workout that it needs.

But I owe work so much for all the successes I have had with this blog. Those successes include a new computer, an Audible account filled with books, a paid ad on Facebook, and all the book subscription boxes I have used (speaking of, I found more boxes to try out so out with the old and in with the new. Expect a update let’s talk in a few months). Moving forward, ya’ll probably will notice that I mention it here or there, but that’s purely because my work is part of who I am.

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 will see you all in the next book!