So I Kinda Sorta Started A BookTube Channel…

As the title suggest, I started a BookTube channel!

Back in September, I wrote a post called “To BookTube or Not to BookTube?” where I basically talked about how I was on the fence about starting a BookTube channel. Annalee over at Buttons Book Reviews suggested I make a video and see what happens. It was the push I needed to be like, “Fuck it, let’s just do this thing.”

I posted my first video on September 30th (The BookTube Newbie Tag, in case you were wondering). I had a blast making the video and received some positive response. The BookTube community, like the Book Blogger community, is super friendly and nice. In real life I’m a ridiculous human being, so I was worried that I would get some hate for being super weird. Definitely not the case at all.

Since that first video I have made a few more when I have had the time. October was an extremely busy month for me, so it was hard to manage on top of everything else but doable. The fact that it was doable in the busiest of months for me, just gave me the confidence to keep doing it. I really enjoy making videos. It’s a passion I have that I have not been able to express in a while, so it’s been super fun just making these videos.

Now you’re probably curious as to what that means for this blog. Well, I don’t plan on abandoning it, so if you’re a fan of my blog posts, I will still be making them. I really enjoy writing Book Reviews and being a part of the blogger community. I really want the content on my channel to compliment the content on my blog. That way if you follow both, you won’t get the same content in different formats.

My blog will mostly focus on book reviews. Not only do I enjoy writing book reviews and discussions, but I think I am able to critique books more effectively in this format. I will also still be doing tags, Top Ten Lists, and discussion posts (when I can think of them). I may also do posts that expand on videos I create.

On my channel you’ll find my TBRs, wrap-ups, book hauls, and writing vlogs. Plus other random videos that I come up with. I’m still experimenting with this whole BookTube channel thing and trying to figure out what works best.

Anyway, the point of this post was to tell you guys what I have been up to for the past two months and let you know about some changes that I will be making on this blog. If you would like to check out any of my videos, I am at Book to the Becky on YouTube.

Talk to you guys in another post soon!

–Becky

 

 

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October Wrap-Up!

Hello fellow booknerds! It’s been a while. Sorry that I dropped off of the face of the earth, but October was an incredibly busy month for me. Not only was I swamped with theater and improv stuff, but I have started a new creative project which has been exciting. I will tell you guys all about that creative project in another post.

This blog is all about the books, so let’s get into those books. Even though I was super busy this month, I was able to read a decent amount. It wasn’t my best reading month, but certainly not the worst.

1. One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake (Three Dark Crowns #2) — This was the first book that I dove into. I was highly anticipating it after finishing the first book, Three Dark Crowns, in July. Three Dark Crowns blew me away, so I definitely had some high expectations for the sequel. I’m happy to say that I was not let down. One Dark Throne was just as exciting and addicting as its predecessor. I read the book in three days. Things just kept happening and I needed to know what happened next. Unlike most people, I think I enjoyed Three Dark Crowns just a hair more. I know it’s an unpopular opinion, but my favorite aspect of Three Dark Crowns was the fact that the plot constantly kept me on my toes. When I was reading One Dark Throne, I was able to see more of the twists and turns coming. That being said, I really enjoyed this book and I can’t wait for the next installment. For more of my in depth thoughts, check out my review! Warning, it does contain some spoilers for the first book so I recommend only reading it if you have finished Three Dark Crowns(Rating: 4/5 Stars)

2. Lucky in Love by Kasie West — I picked this up because I was in the mood for a fun light read. That’s exactly what a Kasie West book usually entails so it was a good choice. She writes mostly cute YA contemporaries. This one was no different. It follows Maddie who randomly wins the lottery. Once she comes into money, it changes how people interact with her so we see her deal with that. There’s also this cute boy that she works with, Seth, who is unaware that she’s won the lottery. She likes that he just treats her the same and wants to keep it that way. I enjoyed reading this and thought it was cute. This book was nothing mind blowing, but just a fun read. I loved Seth and thought he was the best part. Not only was he super adorable (seriously, I think I fell in love with him), but I appreciated the fact that he was Asian American. I feel like it’s so rare to see a non-white dude as the male lead, especially in YA contemporary. I also think Asian American men are not often shown as sexy or attractive in American media. Seth definitely doesn’t follow the typical Asian American stereotypes and he just felt so real. Overall, this book was adorable. As I said nothing mind blowing, but not super cringy either. (Rating: 3/5 Stars)

3. The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn #2) — I decided to finally continue on with the Mistborn series this month. I absolutely fell in love with this world when I read The Final Empire back in May. I don’t know why it’s taken me this long to read this sequel, but I took the plunge this month. The book absolutely blew me away. I mean Sanderson is known for being such an excellent writer, so I shouldn’t be surprised, but still! After loving The Final Empire I was worried that the second book wouldn’t live up to the first, but it totally did. The Well of Ascension is definitely a slower paced book, but everything continues to build and build as you read until you reach the end. God, the ending was so good. It’s the kind of ending that just whacks you over the head and makes everything come full circle in a way. I’m still not over it. Needless to say that I will be picking up the final book in the trilogy a lot sooner than this one! I cannot wait to see how Sanderson wraps everything up. If you are a fan of fantasy and haven’t read this series yet, please, I urge you to pick it up! (Rating: 5/5 Stars)


Those are all of the books that I read this past month. The Well of Ascension took up most of my time since my copy was a whopping 776 pages. It was easily my favorite read of the month so I can’t be mad at it.

I wish I was able to read more, because I’m slowly falling behind with my goal of reading 50 books this year. I need to get it together somehow.

Anyway I would love to know what everyone has been reading recently! What was your favorite book you read in the month of October? Have you read any of these books? Let’s talk about all things books in the comment section down below. 

Book Review/Discussion|One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

Ever since I read Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake, I’ve been desperately waiting for this sequel to come out. I got my hands on it as soon as I could, and I’m happy to report that I really enjoyed it!

It’s really hard to talk about this book without majorly spoiling the first. Trust me when I say that you do not want to be spoiled for the first book. If you have not read it, please click out of this review and come back when you have at least read the first installment. I have a brief, spoiler-free review up on GoodReads for One Dark Throne, so you can check that out here if you’re still curious.

Continue Reading

October TBR!

I can’t believe that it’s already October, where has 2017 gone? Personally, I’m excited that October is here because like most basic bitches, I love fall. I’m determined this year to go pumpkin picking, corn mazing, and all your other cheesy Halloween/fall stuff. I’m also excited, because I’m planning on reading some awesome books.

Last month I read a lot of books that I had to read, either for review or for book club. It’s nice that this month I can read all of the books I’ve been dying to get to. Hopefully, this breaks me out of the mini-reading slump I’ve found myself in.


1. One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake (Three Dark Crowns #2) — I’ve been waiting to get my hands on this book since I finished the first one. Admittedly, that was only two months ago, but it felt like so much longer. So much craziness happened at the end of Three Dark Crowns and I’m dying to find out what happens next. Out of all of the books on my TBR, this one feels the most in season. Since this is a sequel, I’m not going to give you a synopsis. I don’t want to accidentally spoil you. All you need to know is that this series is a multiple perspective fantasy that takes place in a matriarchal society. Each generation a set of triplets is born, but only one can become Queen. In order to become Queen, they have to kill the other two. I absolutely loved the first book and am so pumped to read this. I’m already 100 pages in and enjoying it so far!

2. The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn #2) — This is another sequel that I’ve been dying to get to, but just haven’t had the time. In fairness, the size of this book is a little intimidating. It’s a good 773 pages, which is just insane. That being said, I’m still really pumped to read this. I was absolutely blown away by the first book, The Final Empire. It had so many elements that I love to read about such as an ensemble cast, a complex/interesting plot, awesome characters that you root for, and heist elements. I cannot wait to dive back into this world and see how our characters deal with the after effects of what happened in the first book.

3. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (Gentleman Bastard #1) — It was my pick for book club this month, so I picked a novel I’ve been meaning to get to for a while. My friend who recommended The Final Empire to me, also suggested that I read this book. He knows that I have an obsession with novels that feature a heist and an ensemble cast, so he thought I would enjoy this. To be honest, I don’t know too much about the plot and that’s fine by me. I want to go in as cold as possible. I’ve seen some people compare it to Ocean’s Eleven, which both excites me and scares me. If they are right, I know I will love it. If they are wrong, there is a chance I will be disappointed. I’m trying to ignore those comments and see what I think. I really hope that I love this book though, and I’m so excited to have a reason to read it.

4. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson —  With all of the fantasy on my TBR this month, I knew I needed to throw a contemporary on here in case I needed a break. What did I decide to go with? The giant YA contemporary that takes place in summer, of course. I know it seems weird to read “summer” book in October, especially after I went on a rant on how much I love fall. However, Morgan Matson has become one of my favorite authors recently. I’m currently trying to work my way through all of the books that she’s written. I’m trying to read them in publication order (sans The Unexpected Everything which was the first book I read by her) since there are apparently easter eggs. I don’t know too much about this book other than it takes place during summer and is supposed to be super sad. I say bring on the emotions! I’m ready to feel some things!

5. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas (ACOTAR #3) —  I’m including this on my TBR again, because there is a chance I might end up finishing this. Bella and I are still slowly making our way through this book. We’re trying to savor it okay! I’m at the 300 page mark now and still enjoying it. It keeps building and building, so I’m looking forward to see what happens. If there’s one thing Sarah J. Maas does well, it’s writing action packed scenes. I can’t wait to get to a huge battles that I know are coming.


Those are all of the things that I plan to read this October. I didn’t mean to pick so much fantasy, it just worked out that way. I also didn’t mean to pick only big books either. I’m a little intimidated by the the size of all the books on my TBR to be honest. I’m determined to finish them all, because I desperately need to catch up with my reading challenge for the year. I’m currently four books behind, so I cannot afford to fall further behind.

What is on your TBR for this month? Are you planning on reading any of the books I mentioned? I feel like October is when a lot of people read thrillers and horrors. Send me recommendations if that is you! I’d love to read more in that genre. If you’re not a seasonal reader (like me), let me know too. 

September Wrap-Up

Fall is finally here! Thank god. I was worried it was never going to come with the heat waves. Alas, it has arrived with the end of September.

Like August, September was not the best reading month for me. It was a pretty meh month overall, to be honest. There were a lot of books that I had to read, and that sort of put me in a slump. I’m not too torn up about it, because now I can get to the things that I’ve been looking forward to. Let’s talk about what I did read though.

Books

The Girl with the Red Balloon by Kathrine Locke — The first book I finished was an ARC/new release (the book came out September 1st) . It follows a teenage girl who accidentally time travels to the past. East Berlin circa 1988 to be exact. This is all thanks to a red balloon. No one’s  quite sure how this happened, not even this secret guild of balloonmakers who use balloons to help people escape East Berlin. This book was not what I was expecting it to be. With the interesting premise, I thought that it would be much more of an action adventure novel, but it turned out to be more character driven. Character driven books are pretty hit or miss for me, but this one turned out to be one that I loved! I absolutely fell in love with the characters, they are what hooked me. I liked how the book tackled tough topics like genocide and racism without romanticizing the subjects. I finished it only wanting more. I definitely recommend picking it up if you enjoy character driven books. (Rating: 4/5 Stars)

A Comfortable Madness by Francine LaSala — Out of all the books on my TBR, this was the one I absolutely had to get to. Not only was it one of the books I had to read for book club, but the author was going to be at our meeting. Our book club is still at three members, including myself, so it would have been super obvious if I hadn’t read it. Good news though, I finished it and had a blast reading it too. It’s been a while since I’ve read a solid romance, and this had elements every good romantic story needs. An adorable, swoon worthy male lead, obvious chemistry between our couple, and an addictive quality. I flew through this, because I loved the writing style. I really liked how this book talked about love, and thought that this story was told in an interesting way. Also, I loved the setting, mostly because it is around where I live and I don’t read enough books that are set on Long Island. Meeting and talking with Francine about her book was awesome. If you are looking for a good romance, definitely check this one out. (Rating: 4/5 Stars)

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan — I had two books to read for book club this month, and this was the second one. I was looking forward to reading this one because it involved punk rock musicians and interconnecting story lines. Two things that I love. Going in I knew that each chapter was basically like a short story, which definitely helped with my reading experience. My friend Kim did not know that and felt very confused while reading it. I personally have mixed feelings on the book. Some of the stories I really enjoyed, and I liked how Egan switched up the writing style with each POV character. On the other hand, this book was incredibly dense. Way too dense for me at times. Also, I thought that the interconnecting story lines could have been better executed. I thought that the whole music aspect could have been handled better as well. Even though this book revolved around punk rock musicians, it felt very generic and not authentic. I didn’t hate it, but I also didn’t love it. This book was just okay for me. (Rating: 3/5 Stars)

Films/TV

I really enjoyed talking about my favorite things that I watched last month, so I’m going to continue doing it. Unfortunately, I did not watch many films this month. The ones I did watch were nothing to gush over. On the flip side, I watched a TV show that I loved.

death note.jpg

Death Note (2006) — I was forced to watch the Netflix adaption of this popular manga at the beginning of the month. It was god awful. To be honest, I don’t know why I didn’t just walk away. Before I watched this sad excuse for a film, I had seen a good chunk of the anime back when it first came out. However, I had never finished the anime. Seeing the Netflix adaption inspired me to go back and rewatch the whole anime so that I could finally finish it. It was a great decision, because the anime was excellent.

I don’t watch a lot of anime anymore, but this was so good that I want to start watching some more. The plot was so intricate and intense. The characters were interesting too. I’m not sure what else to say other than it was excellent. If you haven’t seen it and you enjoy anime, what are you doing? Go watch it. All of the episodes are available on Netflix.


Those are all of the things that I really watched and read this month. As you can see, I didn’t read or watch anything too exciting.

My favorite book of the month is a toss-up between The Girl with the Red Balloon and A Comfortable Madness. I loved reading both of them, and it’s made me want to pick up more books from both authors.

Now that it is officially fall, I am planning on doing all of the reading. It is the perfect weather for curling up with a good book, and I can’t wait to do just that.

What books did you read this month? Did you read any of these? Let’s chat down in the comment section below. Also, let me know if you watched any awesome movies or TV shows. I’m always looking for some recommendations.

ARC Review | The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke

Title: The Girl with the Red Balloon
Author: Katherine Locke
Publisher: Albert Whitman Company
Pages: 256
Release Date: September 1st, 2017

The premise of this book is what drew me in originally. I mean there are time-traveling balloons, how does that not hook you? I’m such a sucker for books that involve time-traveling. I expected this book to lean more on the adventurous side, but it was one that was all about the characters. For once, I was not mad about it.


SynopsisWhen sixteen-year-old Ellie Baum accidentally time-travels via red balloon to 1988 East Berlin, she’s caught up in a conspiracy of history and magic. She meets members of an underground guild in East Berlin who use balloons and magic to help people escape over the Wall—but even to the balloon makers, Ellie’s time travel is a mystery. When it becomes clear that someone is using dark magic to change history, Ellie must risk everything—including her only way home—to stop the process. 


Even though this book is only 256 pages, it tackles a variety of tough topics such as antisemitism, racism, genocide, what it’s like to live in totalitarian regime, and more. I applaud the book for not only tackling these subjects, but also not romanticizing them. It treats the situation our characters find themselves in in a very real, dark way. I think the reason it is able to do this so well is because of the character development.

This is a very character driven book. It is told in three different perspectives: Ellie, our accidental time-traveler; Kai, the Romani boy she meets upon arriving in East Berlin; and Benno, a Jewish teenage boy living in Germany during the Holocaust. All three story-lines interconnect to create a full picture. There is also Mitzi, who doesn’t get her own POV, but is definitely an integral part of the stories.  I loved all four of our main characters, and really felt like I knew them inside and out by the end of the story. The different perspectives allowed you to see the character from all angles.

Character driven books are very hit or miss with me, as I definitely prefer books with intricate plots. However, I didn’t mind the slow plot as much here, because I found the characters so interesting. Part of the reason why they were so interesting was because they all came from different walks of life. Ellie is a Jewish teenage girl who accidentally travels back in time thanks to a red balloon and finds herself in a place where practicing her religion is illegal. Kai is a Romani teen from London, who moves to East Berlin to protect his sister. Mitzi is a German teenage girl who was kicked out of her house, because she is a lesbian. Then there’s Benno who is a Jewish teenager that we watch live through the Holocaust. Each of them share the similarity of being forced to survive in a world that does not accept them. Not only are their backgrounds and stories intriguing, but their personalities just leap off the page. It’s hard not to fall in love with them.

Another thing that I really loved in this book, was it’s theme of faith. You don’t often read about YA characters who are religious or see religion talked about. I liked that it was a part of the conversation here. Both Ellie and Benno are Jewish, and each have a different relationship with their own religion. It was interesting to read about each of their own views on religion and how they differed. I should mention that none of this came across as preachy.

Some other things I loved, was exploring East Berlin through the lens of our characters. Since this is a multi-perspective story, you got to see East Berlin from different perspectives which was cool. The romance in this book was also very solid. I was definitely swooning over our male lead. I also really enjoyed the writing style. There were a few issues I had with the book though.

The biggest problem I had was with the plot. As I stated before, the plot was a little slow for me. I didn’t mind it so much, because the characters were so solid. However, the mystery plot line could have been much stronger. I thought that it needed more tension and could have been executed better. The reveal was surprising, but could have been much more shocking had the whole plot line been better developed. I was underwhelmed by the plot for the most part, which was a little disappointing because of the premise.

I will say, that there is a moment where the stakes are raised in an extremely effective way. However, it was only one moment. I wish that the rest of the whole mystery plot line was handled as well as that moment.

I also wanted to know more about the magic system. While it did make sense, I just wanted more information on everything and see it happen more on the page. I wanted to learn more about the inner workings of the balloon factory, the magic system, and basically everything. There are definitely some unanswered questions at the end of the book, and I hope we get an answer one way or another.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading The Girl with the Red Balloon. I absolutely adored the characters, and liked that the book went to some dark places without holding back. I finished the book only wanting more, especially with that ending. If you enjoy character driven novels, I definitely recommend picking it up!

There will be a second book in this world, but according to Katherine Locke it is going to be more of a companion novel. While I’m excited to read more in this world, I hope she does some sort of a follow-up with this book. I need to know what happens next!

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

I would love to hear your thoughts on this book! Did you love it or hate it? Anyone else have a major crush on Kai? Also, I’m still not over that ending. I literally screamed out loud when I got there in disbelief that that was the end. Let’s talk about it in the comment section below.