Weekend Reads: 01/18-01/20

open book - unsplash Jonas Jacobsson

Happy Friday all! I’m going to be trying out something new, something that involves my reading plans for the weekend. (I know, totally not obvious from the title 😉 ) I’ll be posting these every Friday, and I can’t wait to see what this may/may not do for that ever growing list of books I would love to get to.

There are a lot of books I want to devour this year, as we all do, and the weekend is a great time to do that. I can take a book with me on the go, or curl up with one when I get a chance to relax. And let’s be honest: that IS what the weekend is for, right? No matter how busy or packed they can get, it’s always super important to try and get some R&R out of them. You owe it to yourself, and to those around you to get those anti-stress activities in whenever possible. Drifting off to story land is definitely one of my go-to’s.

So here are the books I will be getting into this weekend! Let me know what your weekend plans entail!


 

The Lost WorldThe Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle (Amazon Classics Edition)

I started this about a week ago and have been reading each night before I go to bed. This edition is on my Kindle Paperwhite so it has been nice having a book to read without a book light attached to the top. So far, I’m enjoying the story and am actually a little embarrassed to say this is the first classic I’ve read since high school. I’m about 44% through and am hoping to make some more progress this weekend.

 

Spindle's EndSpindle’s End by Robin McKinley

Robin McKinley stole a piece of my heart when I read the Beauty and the Beast retelling from her Folktales collection a few years ago. Since then, I’ve been meaning to get into another one from the collection, and Spindle’s End is exactly where I mean to pick it back up. This is a Sleeping Beauty story and I can’t wait to see how she spins this one.

 

 

When Angels Play PokerWhen Angels Play Poker by Maura O’Leary

I received this from the publisher for review, a while ago actually, and need to get this one wrapped up and well, reviewed. The story is about a man who dies and goes to heaven as a guardian angel to someone he had a connection to while he was alive. I’ve only about 40 pages left to read, so I don’t think finishing it this weekend should be an issue at all. I’m curious to see how it ends!

 

 

Fierce Marriage: Radically Pursuing Each Other in Light of Christ's Relentless LoveFierce Marriage by Ryan and Selena Frederick

My husband and I started Fierce Marriage this past Tuesday, and have been reading a chapter on nights when we have time. It’s nice to get the opportunity to read together, something we try to do often, and it’s not been very challenging to find a book we are both interested in reading, whether it be fantasy, sci-fi, or a book that feels more like a devotional. The content in this is great so far, and I’m really looking forward to reading another chapter or two this weekend!

 


That’s all for this post, thanks for reading! How are you spending your weekend? 🙂 

Why A Blog? Welcome, About Me, Blog Talk

Welcome

This book blog of mine is still less than a year old, so I thought maybe it would be a good idea to include one of these posts that doesn’t actually have much to do with books. If you are reading this, I’d like to say thank you. There are a lot of blogs and posts out there in the cyber-world, and anytime someone chooses to stop and read the mess of random thoughts from any post I make is so greatly appreciated, and it means a ton to me. So thank you.

Since I Sense A Story is still considered a ‘newbie’, I thought it might be interesting to introduce myself to those who have so kindly chosen to hit the follow button, explain the reasoning behind the blog’s name, and talk about why I decided to start a blog in the first place. AND, if you’ve made it this far in the post, I’ll keep this short and sweet in the friendliest way possible 🙂 Ok, here we go!


About Me

My name is Alicia. I’m a 28 year old Midwesterner with aspirations to see as much of the world as possible. And while the Midwest will always be home sweet home, I would like to eventually move out of it and experience the thrill of living somewhere near mountains or ocean. I am married to the most incredible guy on Earth, Bobby, who was one of my very best friends throughout high school, and is the biggest blessing that God has graced upon my life. He’s my forever human, and my first pick for the many adventures yet to come.

We have a giant wolf dog named Jax, who is not only a gentle giant, but afraid of her own shadow and obsessed with the dog park. Her favorite things in the world are other dogs, the snow, and having the undivided attention of everyone in the room. We also have a 6 month old kitten named Finn, who is scrappy, curious, and a destroyer of aglets. While this little guy has only three legs, he doesn’t let his ‘lucky fin’ keep him from his favorite things which are terrorizing/cuddling the dog, night time, and a grey blanket that upon contact will instantly turn him into a purring mess of emotions.

We root for the Chicago Bears and Chicago Cubs in my household, Indiana Hoosier basketball is somewhat sacred, and hockey is always a blast to watch (and play), although it is the one sport we don’t share the same team spirit for. 😉

I have an Associates in Science, although my passions in life have always been more on the creative side of things. I plan to return to college this coming fall and finish the Biology degree I started a few years ago. I sometimes refer to myself as an ‘aspiring jack-of-all-trades’ because my interests in so many different things pull me in all sorts of directions, rather than helping me narrow down what I’d like to do in life, maybe even specialize in. So for now, we’ll stick with the simple truth that I am a learner, a seeker of knowledge, and a desperately hungry scholar of all life has to offer.


I Sense A Story

I love stories. You’ll find them in books, pictures, and in people. Every book you open relays a story, real or imagined. Every picture you take or review tells a silent story. And every person on Earth is a bottomless pit of a collection of stories, whether the stories are interesting, sad, exciting, happy, angering, truthful, etc. When I decided to start a book blog, I wanted a name that wouldn’t need to change if the content ever did. But I also wanted a name that most accurately reflected what message I personally take from each of the mediums listed above. I’m not saying those three are the only ways to relay a story, but I am instead looking at the avenues in which I can share with people the most common ways I seek out and absorb the art of storytelling. And you can sense a story in just about anything if you set your mind to it.


Why A Blog?

I was actually working as a creative copywriter when the idea for a book blog started to gain momentum in my thoughts. Before that job, the only time I’d really written anything at all was for school papers. And while I’d always received good feedback on those, I never really thought about using that strength in a setting where I’d be sharing my written words with an audience. I don’t have aspirations to be an author, I don’t think my writing is a ground breaking, earth shattering blessing to mankind, and the only reason I think I’m any good at it has to do with the simple fact that I just enjoy it. I’m more at ease writing down my thoughts than I am relaying them in person, and that’s especially true when most of my conversations with people result in me thinking of all the things I could’ve said or asked long after the event has passed.

I started this blog because I wanted an avenue to express my thoughts about what I read in a more personalized space, where I could get a bit creative with the design, and write a more personal and informal review than what you may find on Goodreads. ALL outside of my comfort zone, but rewarding should I choose to take the step forward and put my thoughts and opinions out there.

I also wanted to explore a book community that was unknown to me before registering with WordPress. Rather than remain solely on Goodreads, I want to meet new people, readers to share a love of books and stories and life experiences. I want discussion with people. Maybe even make some real life friends in the process, who knows? By starting a book blog, I was committing myself to an open-door opportunity that had I passed it up, may have regretted, or at least driven myself crazy with all of the “what-ifs.”


So that’s it for this post. If you’ve stuck around and read to this point, thank you for reading…and for your patience! And in the spirit of discussion, I’ll end by asking anyone reading, “what is your favorite way to learn a new story?”

9 Series to Finish & Start in 2019

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As 2018 wraps up and I see a whole bunch of people posting their reading goals for 2019, I’ve been thinking about my own. Do I have any, or do I just want to keep grabbing at whatever catches my attention throughout the year? I’ve decided the answer is both. Yes, I plan to grab at what entices me because reading should be an enjoyable, relaxing experience. But, I also have a project in mind that I would like to spend 2019 working towards. And that is to get at more than a few series that have been on my radar for a long time.

One of my favorite things to do is marathon a series. I feel that when I read each book, one after the other until the end, I get a better feel for the series as a whole and can rate the series as well as each individual book. Reading an entire series when the previous book is still fresh in your memory allows you to transport yourself into the world that has been carefully and (hopefully) masterfully written, immersing you in the entire experience. I LOVE it.

I will typically read the first book in a series to determine if it’s ‘for me’ and whether or not I’ll want to continue. If the series passes the test and has been completed, I’ll scramble to get my hands on the remainder and marathon the series. If the series has not been completed, I’ll hold off and wait (painfully) until the series has been completed. That way, if a few years have gone by since I started the series and I need to reread the first book to refresh, I won’t have to slog through three or four rereads to get to the good stuff. Maybe I shouldn’t say slog…I enjoyed the books for a reason. I would just prefer not to reread more than two books in the same series if I don’t have to.

Anyways, here is the list of series I will be finishing AND starting in 2019. There are nine total which I am confident is a totally realistic number for an entire year of reading. I will include Goodreads links to the first book in each series for those interested in reading more about them. Enjoy!


Series to Finish

1. Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas

I am a total sucker for books about assassins and all their blade swirling shenanigans. This young adult fantasy series begins with a story about an assassin who finds herself summoned to a king she hates after being imprisoned for years by said king. She is being given the option to die in prison, or fight as his champion to earn her freedom. I love what I’ve read so far and will admit that I couldn’t stop myself and made it to book four before realizing it wasn’t complete…until now! I can’t wait to continue with this amazing story and see how it ends. There are seven books total in the Throne of Glass series and five novellas. You can check out book 1 on Goodreads here>> Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)


2. The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie

My husband and I both love this epic adult fantasy trilogy and are each competing for ‘next up’ with book three. The characters are amazing and the world building in each novel is outstanding. You will follow each character through rough and dangerous lands, where politics can kill and magic is no safer. Point of view switches between chapters which allows you to get well acquainted with each individual, as well as getting the inside scoop on how they feel about the characters around them. Though I haven’t finished the trilogy yet, I HIGHLY recommend these books to just about anyone who enjoys a great story that makes you chuckle here and there. The Blade Itself will get you started if you’re interested….and you definitely should be.

The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1)


3. Robert Langdon series by Dan Brown

You may or may not have seen the movies associated with this series like The Davinci Code but I really enjoyed both the first book in the series and the movies. (Plus they star Tom Hanks so really it’s a no brainer for this fan girl.) If you are a fan of mystery thrillers and enjoy stories that encompass religious theories about the Holy Grail and the deep secrets of the Vatican, this could absolutely be a series you’ll love. I love the types of mysteries that have ancient ties to history, and books that take you on a journey through architecturally stunning cities that you can actually go see in reality. (If you dare). There are five books in this series, starting with Angels and Demons. I am really excited to keep going with these books and find out what adventures lie ahead. Just don’t say Illuminati…

Angels and Demons (Robert Langdon, #1)


4. The Empress of Rome series by Kate Quinn

I read the first book in this series years ago and really enjoyed it, but had no idea it was part of a series which is wonderful! I never tire of reading books set in a Roman setting, especially those written about the Greco-Roman era. The story follows a slave girl and her fight for survival in the cutthroat political climate of Roman society. The book is historical fiction with a side of romance and, in my opinion, does a great job of taking the reader undercover into the daily life of the citizens and slaves of Rome. There are four books in the series with a prequel to read in between books three and four. Mistress of Rome will take you straight into a world of gladiators, politics, and love that kills.

Mistress of Rome (The Empress of Rome, #1)


5. Fire and Thorns series by Rae Carson

This young adult fantasy series is about the youngest of three princesses who has been chosen to fulfill a prophesy that may very well kill her. There is political court drama, a journey through harsh terrains, and genuine character building that is done so very well. There were aspects of the first book I did not enjoy and made me want to forget the series entirely. However, there was enough about the story I truly enjoyed that has me ready to complete the series and find out how it ends. There are three full length books in the series and a handful of novellas to strengthen the story. You can begin the series with The Girl of Fire and Thorns.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns, #1)


Series to Start

1. Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb

Assassins: check. Adult Fantasy: check. Raving reviews: check. I have heard so many great things about this trilogy and now I must have it. The series is about a young boy who is cast out of his royal family and must train to be an assassin to survive. There is a magic system that allows the boy to communicate with animals and an epic fantasy adventure I really don’t want to miss out on. And assassins….clearly I’m in the right place. The trilogy is complete so I am really looking forward to a good old fashioned marathon coming soon. Assassin’s Apprentice is where I’ll begin in my quest to devour every twist of the blade.

Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy, #1)


2. Shades of Magic series by V. E. Schwab

This series seems to have been read by everyone, and no one really has anything bad to say about it. Even my husband has read it and now I will be playing catch-up. From what I’ve gathered, this young adult fantasy series is about a magician with the extremely rare ability to travel between the four parallel Londons (Black, Red, White, and Grey) that make up the book universe. Each London has it’s own political hierarchy, cast system, and deadly aspirations associated with the powers that be. I’m intrigued and am excited to get started with book one: A Darker Shade of Magic. Oh, and I forgot to mention this series is also complete which means it can be marathoned the way God intended. Happy day!

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)


3. Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon

This is a series I’ve been meaning to start for a very long time and now that there is a TV series that people seem to love, I feel it’s high time to get started. The story is about a woman in the 1940’s that, on a second honeymoon with her husband in the British Isles, steps through a stone that transports her to 1743 Scotland as an ‘Outlander’ where she must navigate life as a native and stay alive. It’s historical fiction and sounds amazing and I can’t wait to dive in. The books are rather large, which could be a good or bad thing though my money is on ‘good.’ There are nine books total in the series, the last of which is set to release in 2020, and the first being Outlander. There are also three novellas, and a prequel to the entire series in the works. There’s a lot of ground to cover with this series and I think I have my work cut out for me…

Outlander (Outlander, #1)

SIDE NOTE: I really want to buy the first copy in this series. They are wonderfully floppy paperbacks and I have a feeling I will enjoy this series enough to want to add them to my forever shelves. HOWEVER: since the release of the TV series, I CANNOT find these floppy paperbacks without the obnoxious “Starz series” tag on the front. ANYWHERE. So, if anyone knows where I might find copies of these paperbacks without the TV tags on them, please please please let me know! 


4. The Young Elites by Marie Lu

This is a young adult dystopian fantasy series that  follows a young girl who has survived a deadly fever that otherwise killed most of the nation she lives in. The survivors of this mysterious illness are rumored to possess other worldly gifts, magical abilities if you will. She will find out in this three book series that has a lot of great reviews and an intriguing element of mystery. I am looking forward to reading some of Marie Lu’s books, and The Young Elites will be my first.

The Young Elites (The Young Elites, #1)


That’s all for my series of 2019. Have you read any of these? Thanks for reading!