[BT] Books that Shaped my Life

We all have those few books that have changed our lives in small or large ways. Here are just a few titles/series that have made major differences in my life.

1. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

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I am guilty. Although my parents say I was an avid reader as a kid, the truth was I carried around books to look smart. But once our school’s librarian suggested I read Twilight when I was in 8th grade, I was on a reading streak for five years after that. I didn’t read the book right away when it was recommended, but I did pick up a copy for my nine hour flight from Hungary (I did a student exchange thing). After I showed my parents all the pictures I took while on the trip, I went straight to my room and finished Twilight. By that time, book four was just coming out, so I had to catch up in the series. I read late into the night and woke up two hours earlier than usual to do so. I was in love with the series and it was my introduction to Paranormal Fantasies, Young Adult literature, and being the reader that I am today. I read troves of books after Twilight. Plus, the covers were gorgeous.

I hated the movies. Don’t talk to me about it, even if I did have an Edward and Jacob closet poster. I will talk about the fact I read it and enjoyed it in eighth grade and how it shaped me as a reader, but I won’t talk about anything else concerning it.

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[BR] Down These Mean Streets – Piri Thomas

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Down These Mean Streets by Piri Thomas

Rating: ★★★★ 1/2
Page Count: 331 pages (Vintage Reprint – 1997)
Read Time: ~14 days following class syllabus
Genre: Non-Fiction (Memoir)
Cry-O-Meter: 5/10 (out of sadness and anger)
Break down: Readers follow the narrator (a black Puerto rican) from early adolescence  to adulthood; from Piri spending his days out on the streets of Spanish Harlem (& “Italian turf”) and falling down a path of drugs, violence, and crime, eventually leading to his incarceration. We follow the narrator from Harlem and Long Island, to down South, to jail, and to Harlem. The book covers the above mentioned topics and is heavily immersed in discussion of self-identity and race.
Would I recommend? 100% yes.
Recommended Reading Age: The book does delve into sex and drug use meant for an older/more mature crowd, but I am for not censoring the reading experience for a younger audiences if they decide to pick the book up. I would say starting around 15-years-old should be fine if the reader is mature about the topics involved.

Everything happened yesterday. Trina was yesterday. Brew was yesterday, Johnny Gringo was yesterday. I was a kid yesterday and my whole world was yesterday. I ain’t got nothing but today and a whole lot of tomorrow.

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[BR] Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Book was audiobook with Audible.com. I listened to this while on commutes between school and home. It is the first in The Lunar Chronicles. Second book: Scarlet (2014)

Story Rating: ★★★★1/2
Audiobook performance Rating: ★★★★★
Released: January 08, 2013
Page Count: 387 pages (Square Fish; 2013 – Paperback)
Audiobook Time: 10 Hours 6 Minutes (via Audible – Narrated by Rebecca Soler)
Audiobook Speed: 1.25X
Genre: Young Adult Sci-Fi (Fairytale Retelling of Cinderella)
Summary: Cinder, a young mechanic cyborg tries to navigate life in New Beijing during an outbreak of letumosis (aka Blue fever) in the midst of her empire trying to make alliances with Luna’s (the moon) queen–Levana who is known for her beauty and mind controlling abilities as a Lunar. Along the way Cinder “befriends” a scientist (Dr. Erland) who is working on a cure for Letumosis, and the emperor regent, Prince Kaito.
Would I recommend? Yes….yes!

Even in the Future the Story Begins with Once Upon a Time.

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[BT] On How I Pick Books to Read

Over summer I was reading  Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas and I wondered why I hadn’t picked up the book any sooner. It’s quite a brilliant and fun read and I don’t think I’ve ever had a female lead make me laugh out loud as much as Celaena does and still be the most kick-ass ever (my opinion of Celaena has since Queen of Shadows came out. I might discuss this development in a post of its own). And then it hit me.

The original cover was sorta kinda shit?

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A billion thanks to the new cover artist for making a cover that’s far more appropriate for the book than the old.

And yes, the cover of the book does matter in some instances. Especially if it’s a good book with a shitty cover.

So here’s some insight as to what makes me go out to a bookstore and buy a book.

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[BR] Me Before You – Jojo Moyes

Rating: ★★★★ 1/2
Page Count: 369 pages (standard American paperback)
Read Time: ~3 Days
Genre: Romance (+wonderful dabbles of lol-moments)
Cry-O-Meter: 8/10 (Joy & Sadness)
Break down (apologies, I suck at summarizing without spoilers): Quirky young woman paired with caustic man in a wheel-chair due to accident to be his new caregiver in hopes that she could brighten his outlook on life and change his mind regarding a choice that would change his life forever.
Would I recommend? Definitely! (I have already recommended it to 6 people since I read it last summer)

Movie Trailer staring Emilia Clark (aka Khaleesi!) and Sam Claflin (aka Finnick Odair)
Release Date: June 03, 2016

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Read below for some more detailed thoughts (spoiler free!)

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Why page view can’t be trusted

I use Scrivener to write my stories and Microsoft Word for papers. When it comes to assignments for class, we’d always be given a page count or page range to reach (ie. 5 pages or 3-5 pages ). Page number is affected by a bunch of different things–font type, font size, margins, kerning, indents, spacing, etc. We all know what it’s like to sit there and mess around with formatting to see if we can get a 4-page paper to reach 5, because we’ve run out of things to say. If you do it right, you can definitely make the 4 turn into a 5. I found if you’re using Google Docs, what appears as a 5-page paper (standard formatting of 1″ margins all around, Time New Roman, 12-pt font) on the program, it turns up short when you paste it to Microsoft Word (even if you clear the formatting and redo it on MSWord). Formatting can be fun sometimes, but for the most part, it’s a huge pain in the ass.

Photo courtesy of lolzhumor.com

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Photo courtesy of reactiongifs.me

Conclusion: Page count is unreliable.

Word count, on the other hand, is handier.

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