Monday, January 7, 2019

Newwww Blog!

Hi friends!

Long time, no see.

I'm sure the majority of you have picked up on this, but I have officially closed the book on book blogging. As much fun as it was, and as necessary as it was for me at that time in my life, I no longer find it to be a positive addition to my life. Reading became a burden-- something I had to do. I fell into a year-long reading slump that consequently ended my book blog. While I've found myself falling back into my old reading patterns, book blogging no longer seems like something I should be continuing. I did find myself missing the blogging world though, which is why I've created a new lifestyle blog!

My new blog is called Clean Sheets + Potted Plants and includes posts about all areas of my life, from journaling to running to existential thinking and even to reading. It's still a young blog with not a ton of content, but I'm working on growing it. As I become more familiar with the type of blogging I'm doing, it becomes easier to write.

I'm very excited to see where my new blog goes, and if it's something that interests you at all, I'd really appreciate if you gave it some love. <3

It's still in the works as I find my footing and my new place in the blogosphere, but I'm happy with it so far and figured now would be a good time to announce it.

Click here to visit Clean Sheets + Potted Plants

Finally, I'd like to extend my sincerest gratitude for the joy and love you all gave me during my few years here at the Tree of Books. I wouldn't trade it for the world, and I'm so happy it was something I got to experience.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

- Julia

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Unravel Me

Title: Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2)
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Genre: YA Science Fiction/ Dystopia
Pages: 461
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Purchase this book:
AmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository

In the continuation of Shatter Me, Juliette finds herself at the hideout of the rebel group, Omega Point. Desperate to overthrow the Reestablishment, she's faced with the confusion that comes with deciphering who's really good, and who's actually bad.

I don't know... this was kind of a let down for me. Shatter Me didn't have much going for it in my opinion, but this one was definitely worse. I struggled to get through the first half of the book, because nothing was happening! I found Juliette to be insufferably annoying, and sort of wanted her to just get captured or something again because literally nothing was happening in the plot. Basically, it wasn't until Warner was reintroduced that I found the book interesting at all.

I do love Tahereh Mafi's writing, she's very poetic and has a beautiful way of weaving words to create just the most gorgeous lines, but I find that she can be a little overdramatic. All the chapters are very short (like, one or two pages short) and she seemed to feel the need to end every single one with some dramatic bang. I mean, she was making things like walking through a door seem like the single most dramatic thing to ever occur. Of course, a dramatic flair is great every once and awhile, but when it's every two pages, it starts to lose its affect on me. When things were actually supposed to be a super dramatic reveal, I wasn't as shocked, or it just didn't seem so amazing, because two pages ago she made walking through a door seem just as important. I don't know if this is making any sense to you, but oh well... 

However, as I mentioned previously, things really started picking up for me towards the second half, and especially near the end. Warner is by far the best, most developed and complex character in the series, so him being involved made the content of the plot so much more substantial, and I started to actually enjoy myself as I read (which is sort of the point here). 

All in all, this one was a half star below Shatter Me, but I never give up on a series because of the second book. It's a rule I have for myself- especially with trilogies. 2nd book blues is a real thing, and having finished Ignite Me yesterday (shhhh I know I procrastinated this review) I can confirm this book has it. 

If you read Shatter Me and maybe somewhat enjoyed it, I would say you should give this book a go. I really did enjoy the ending, which is why I didn't go down into the two star range. 


Other books in this series:

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Unread Books January 2017

Soooo almost exactly a year ago I made a post listing the top ten books I was most ashamed of having not read. Essentially, it was a condensed version of my TBR, featuring the books I really, really needed to get to during the year. I was having so much fun reading through it that I decided to make it an annual tradition here so that each year I can look back on all the books I didn't read, and make promises to read new ones. (Check out my unread books of January 2016 here!)

These aren't in any particular order, but with no further ado, here they are. (I'm sorry don't hate me I'll get to them eventually.)

1. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Initially, I'd had no desire to read this novel given what I'd heard from people whose opinions I trust, but then I bought Holding Up the Universe, and I wanted to read her other novel as well. I ended up getting it for five dollars over Black Friday, so now I own the book with every intention of reading it.

2. A Court of Thorns and Roses + by Sarah J. Maas

I got both of these for Christmas, so now I literally have no excuse not to read them. I should have gotten on ACOTAR back when it first came out but.... ahahahaha sob. (ACOTAR was on my list last year so I literally am a #failure.)

3. Heir of Fire + by Sarah J. Maas 

Another one that's on my list from last year.... I've owned Heir of Fire for over a year, and I'm so upset with myself, because I loved Crown of Midnight, so I really, really should've gotten a move on with these.

4. Daughter of Smoke and Bone +  Laini Taylor

I'm an awful person, this is the second time I'm including this trilogy. I feel like so many people have read and enjoyed this trilogy, so I don't know why I've yet to start the first novel.

5. The Diviners + by Libba Bray

Ahahahahah guess which duology I said I'd read a year ago? This one! The 20s is one of my favorite eras so I'm ashamed to say I haven't completed or even started The Diviners :(

6. Through the Dark by Alexandra Bracken 

The Darkest Minds is my all time favorite YA series, so the fact that I haven't read this bind up is horrible. 2017 is the year. (I said the same thing about 2016... but it's fine.)

7. The Young Elites + by Marie Lu

I really enjoyed the Legend trilogy, so I can't believe I haven't gotten around to her newest works.

8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky 

Literally everyone loves this book so why have I not read it? Excellent question. This year it's happening.

9. Shades of Magic Series by V.E Schwab

I've yet to hear a negative review for both of these books, which has convinced me that I need to read them. I can't believe I haven't yet, and I have no valid excuse here.

10. New Moon + by Stephenie Meyer

I read Twilight by Stephenie Meyer over the summer of 2016, and while I wasn't the biggest fan, I now feel odd not having completed the series. I'll definitely need to get on with that.

And that concludes the ten books I'm quite embarrassed to admit I haven't read them. Of the ten I listed last year, I actually followed through with four of them, and while that doesn't sound like a lot, three of them were actually series. (So ha!) Let me know what books you're behind on, and I wish you all luck with the 2017 reading year!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Between Shades of Gray

Title: Between Shades of Gray
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Pages: 344
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Purchase this book:
AmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository

Lina led a normal, teenage life in Lithuania, when one day Soviet officers marched into her home and threw her whole family on board cramped train cars where they traveled over 6,000 miles to the Arctic Circle. As Lina is forced to pay the price for crimes she never committed, she struggles to stay alive.

When you hear about the Holocaust, you probably instantly think of Hitler, and all the people he killed. What most people don't know is that Joseph Stalin was responsible for just as many ruined lives. In an attempt to get Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania off the map, he rounded up anybody who was linked to anti-soviet beliefs, and sent them to labor camps in Siberia and other remote places. This novel tells the untold story of the many, many people who suffered under Stalin's rule.

This was an amazing, powerful novel about a will to live, a will to survive, and a will to spread the word. Ruta Sepetys herself has Lithuanian heritage, and that's what inspired her to write this novel. Most of the people imprisoned didn't get to share their story in fear of being arrested, and I think it's really great that Ruta wants to show the world just how awful things were for those Latvians, Lithuanians, and Estonians.

But besides the fact that this book has a very emotional origin, let's discuss how great the plot is. It's full of dark, dark detail. Death and sickness is around every corner. But between all the despair, there is hope and a will to survive. While this book seems quite dismal at first glance, it has a hidden ray of happiness and warmth. I enjoyed how complex many of the characters were. There were many angels in disguise, and it was really heartwarming.

 Something I've always liked about historical fiction novels that take place during WWII is how we get to put real people next to the statistics. Yes, we know lots of people died in the Holocaust, but until you read a book about an individual who experienced it all, you don't realize that those people actually had lives. Suddenly, it makes the whole thing a lot more personal. 

So I would greatly suggest you read this novel if you'd like to learn about the unknown heroes of World War II.