Booking on a Budget

I’m a college student; I am the definition of a financial struggle. You want me to pay for school, books (textbooks –that is), food, and some sort of social life while giving me the enticing opportunity to online shop every day during class? My poor bank account is SHAKING.

While I try to save my money to pay off my endless student loans, new books are constantly calling my name. Thankfully, there are so many options of where you can buy cheap books, or even get them for free!

I just want to let you guys know that this is not a sponsored post, these are just the different resources that I’ve found and personally use a lot for my reading!

  • Book Outlet (https://bookoutlet.com/)I love Book Outlet with a burning passion. They have discounted books in every genre and they’re actually popular, well-known books! You can get paper back or hardcover, in good condition or a “scratch and dent” book that shows it’s been loved a little before. Any time I feel like treating myself to some new physical books, this is my first stop for discounted reads!
  • Thriftbooks (https://www.thriftbooks.com/) This is another discounted book site! This site has more options than Book Outlet, but it seems to me that the books aren’t discounted as much. The differences in discount mostly vary by book, how recently it was published and what condition it is in.
  • Hoopla (https://www.hoopladigital.com/) This a website and app where you can rent audiobooks, ebooks, movies, TV shows or movies for free with your library card! Each library is a little different depending on the contract they have, so with my card I can rent up to 5 items every month but I have heard that some people can get anywhere up to 10 rentals a month. You get the item on your computer/phone for 21 days. If you don’t finish your book by then, no worries, you can rent the same item as many times in a row as you want as long as you haven’t met your maximum rentals for the month. My dad actually introduced me to this app so shout-out Dad!
  • Libby (https://meet.libbyapp.com/) Here’s another app where you can rent audiobooks, ebooks or magazines with your library card! You can have 10 items at a time on this app. I have found that the selection on Libby is much larger than Hoopla BUT Libby only has a certain number of copies available at once. If there are only 3 copies of the ebook you want to rent, but all of them are “checked out” you can put a hold on the ebook and you have to wait the estimated time before you can get the ebook. Hoopla, on the other hand, allows for automatic rentals of any materials listed on the app.
  • Bookbub (https://www.bookbub.com/) This is a website where you can sign up to receive daily emails containing ebook deals on Amazon. You can input your favorite genres and they’ll email you every day with titles of discounted ebooks and some free ones too!
  • Chirp (https://www.chirpbooks.com) This is a partner company of BookBub! They use the same process as BookBub but will send you discounted audiobooks instead of ebooks.
  • Giveaways!
    • Goodreads: If you haven’t checked out the Goodreads Giveaways, please do! A lot of people enter them so they can be difficult to win but I’ve won a few and they’re helpful if for nothing other than to expose you to new books!

I hope that this helps any of you out there who are looking for new ways to read books without breaking the bank!

Have you tried any of these book resources? Do you know of any good places to get books while keeping your budget in mind? Let me know in the comments below!

Have a paw-some day!

Book Review: Lady Midnight

Title: Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Rating: 4.5/5 paws

Synopsis: Lady Midnight revisits the Shadowhunter world five years after the end of City of Heavenly Fire. We follow Emma Carstairs as she seeks revenge for the murder of her parents, along with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, as he steps into a fatherly role in order to hold his family together. Based in sunny Los Angeles, Emma and Julian navigate the tense atmosphere created by the conflict between Nephilim and Faeries as an unexpected member of the Blackthorn family is used as a bargaining chip between the two groups.

“Lex malla, lex nulla. A bad law is no law.” 

I loved this book! Are we shocked? I mean, it’s Cassandra Clare. If you’re still reading her books at this point, I’m assuming that you’ve probably liked her past ones, and will continue to like everything she writes. I’m in it for the long run, Cassy.

Because I loved so much in this book, let’s start off with everything I liked!

I love Emma and the sarcastic queen that she is. So feisty, so fiery and I’m HERE for a powerful, unapologetic, female character. Her sarcasm is amazing and great comic relief throughout the book, even in some of the most tense situations without her coming off as insensitive. Here are some of my favorite Emma quotes:

“That’s not the spirit of the Law, Emma. Remember? ‘The Law is hard but it is the Law.’” “I thought it was ‘the Law is annoying, but it is also flexible.’”

“I don’t want to die on the Pacific Coast Highway!” Sterling wailed. “Oh, I’m sorry,” Emma’s voice dropped acid. “Is there a different highway you’d like to die on? BECAUSE WE CAN ARRANGE THAT.”

“Deprive me of my chance to regain Annabel, and you will pay with agony,” he snarled. “Can’t be worse than the agony of hearing you talk,” Emma said.

So basically, she’s my spirit animal.

If we talk about Emma, we have to talk about her other half, Julian. He’s known to most as an artsy, gentle older brother but he would do anything to protect those he loves. Now that his parents are gone, and his uncle is an absentee leader of the Institute, Julian feels like he has to take care of everyone in his life; from his siblings, to his uncle, to Emma. It’s clear that he’s struggling under the pressure of all of this but he can’t talk to anyone about it because all he wants to do is make sure his family is safe and feels loved. His four younger siblings have become like his own children. This makes Julian feel lesser because he’s always taking care of them and telling them what to do rather than being a fun brother for them (omg my poor baby someone give him a vacation!!). He’s loyal, loving, protective, and in way over his head but he’s just doing the best he can –how can you not love him?

We meet a new character, Christina Rosales, in this book who I think will end up being one of my favorites! (Did I just curse her to die later on in this series? Actually, don’t answer that) She’s a Shadowhunter from Mexico who is taking her travel year to visit and learn in the LA Institute. She’s a sweet friend to Emma, and someone who always knows the right thing to say. She an Emma click immediately, but Christina continues to hide some secrets about her life in Mexico. Still, she quickly became close to the Blackthorns and was a reliable friend to all of them. I can’t wait to learn more about her (and her “Perfect Diego”) in the next books!

Overall, I love how well the characters are developed and how many layers each of them has. They all serve their own purpose in the story and aren’t just there as fillers. I feel like I could write a book for every side character just based on all the information we get in Lady Midnight.

Cassandra Clare included flashbacks as well as visits from old friends! The parallels made between the flashbacks and the present time were evident as they were used to either explain something that’s currently happening or to point out how much has changed. I’m picky about my flashbacks but I felt they were used really well here.

Now let’s get to the juicy stuff: romance. In some ways, the romance is predictable and in some ways, it’s not. You definitely know what’s going to happen in a *certain* situation but it feels like such a slow burn. The alternating POVs and the dramatic irony were so key for this because you already know how everyone feels but the actual characters don’t. So you’re just waiting and waiting until the moment finally happens and the buildup was spot on for me.

I may have been able to guess about some things in the book, but a few things caught me by surprise too. I honestly wasn’t expecting any love triangles in this one (why? -I’m not totally sure to be honest, wishful thinking maybe) but NOPE. We’ve got a love triangle people and I’m just gonna embrace it. We also have fake dating, one of my favorite tropes, but this fake dating is going to hurt one of my favorite characters so I’m very conflicted on this specific situation. And this is just going to lead us to another love triangle/square/pentagon, so bring on the heartache!!

Now, onto the (few) things I didn’t completely enjoy about this book.

It took me a while to get all the Blackthorn kids straight; longer than I would have expected. The older siblings I had a good grasp on from previous books, but the four younger kids gave me a bit of a hard time. I couldn’t remember who was what age and what each of their personalities and interests were for about the first 75-100 pages. I feel like we got an overload of details about each kid at the beginning of the book, but it got sorted out later on.

Let’s talk villains (this may be semi-spoilery, no explicit spoilers but it gives away things that might make you guess a spoiler so better safe than sorry). Why can’t everyone just be genuine? Why are there so many villains who act for so long like they care about the main characters just to turn their back on them when the time is right? The elaborate scheme of fakeness just seems old and played out to me, especially seeing as a similar situation occurred in The Mortal Instruments. I’m just over this source of evil, like you really want me to believe that someone would put all that time and energy into helping people and pretending to care for them, knowing full well that they were going to sabotage them in the end? Mayne I just don’t have that villainous mind, but this seems wild.

All-in-all, this was another amazing book from someone who I will throw all of my money at for new books! There’s a huge reveal at the end that I did NOT see coming and I can’t wait to see what it means for the future! And that cliffhanger…darn you Cassandra Clare, darn you to heck. But lucky me, I’m about to pick up Lord of Shadows right now!

One tip I’ll leave you with: try to read Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy before reading this! I almost skipped it because I’m not always a fan of short stories but the events in Lady Midnight make a lot more sense if you get the background on everything from Simon’s stories in the Shadowhunter Academy. You can find my review of the book here!

Have a Paw-some day!

What Books Mean to Me

AKA: why am I starting this blog?

Reading has always been a huge part of my life –that’s how these things are supposed to start, right?

But seriously, my earliest memory at school is learning how to read, my parents used to read to me every night before bed, I started a book club in high school with my friends just so I would have an excuse to read even more and me able to call it “socialization”. Books have always been there for me in whatever aspect I’ve needed them.

Books have so much to offer us; from wisdom to comfort to creativity.

            WISDOM: You can learn literally anything from a book. Yes, Google is nice and convenient and at the tips of your fingers at all times but nothing is better than a book. I mean, my university keeps making us buy at least five new textbooks every semester even in this digital era so there must be some value in them…right? Books don’t only teach us facts, they give us wisdom through experiences and lessons learned. They allow us to see the lives of others from a point of view that gives us insight into people and places that we may never have the chance to see in our own lives. And that’s pretty freaking awesome if you ask me.

            COMFORT: Books are amazing if you’re trying to get away from something. Don’t want to do homework? Grab a book instead. Avoiding cleaning your room? Head outside with your next TBR. Feeling a little down and just want to get away for a little? A book is always there for you. Now while there is always comfort in escaping, I find the most comfort in being understood. Nothing is better than when you’re reading a book, getting to know a character, and realizing “wait, this is so me”. There’s nothing more reassuring than seeing your own traits in a character and knowing that someone out there understands you and values you and thinks that other people will connect with these attributes in the same way. {Enter me –connecting to every single introverted character who would rather be home alone than out with friends…is this just reinforcing my bad habits?}

            CREATIVITY: I, for one, am not creative. I’ll be the first to admit that. I have always been a math and science person. I have an analytical mind and I honestly think that’s why I love reading so much. I’m astounded by how creative other people can be; how they can introduce us to worlds beyond our imagination, make us fall in love with fictional characters and then proceed to cry when they’re ripped away from us. I fully believe that the creativity of on person can spark the creativity of others. Books give me the opportunity to feel like, maybe, one day, I could possibly create something special.

Which gets me to my wrap-up point. Why am I actually making this blog (other than the fact that I clearly love books)? If you’re here, you probably already love books. You don’t need me to tell you how truly amazing they are. But I’m also making this blog for a selfish reason: I’m trying to let all the books I’ve read, and will read in the future, spark something in me. I’ve never been a writer and I’ve frankly never wanted to be. I have always been more comfortable reading other people’s words than trying to come up with them on my own. So, here is my attempt make some words by myself that hopefully some of you will enjoy reading.

Hope you have a paw-some day! ~Lindsay

Book Review: Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy

Title: Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy Author: Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson & Robin Wasserman Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5 paws

Synopsis: In Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy, we follow Simon Lewis and his fellow new recruits in their journey to ascension now that the Shadowhunter Academy has reopened. Simon faces many challenges; including being a former vampire, saving the world but not being able to remember it and slime-covered dormitory walls. Through these ten short stories, we see Simon trying find his new self as well as some old favorites exploring a bit of their past.

“They shared a small moment of bizarre, companionable silence -the boy who’d forgotten everything about his history, and the boy who’d never known it.”

Okay so, I loved these short stories. It’s been a few years since I’ve read a Cassandra Clare book and it was so great getting back into her world. It took me forever to get to this and now I can finally move on to The Dark Artifices!!

It was so great getting to hear Simon’s story and see him and Izzy work through his memory loss and his feeling of living two different lives. Simon has always been a favorite of mine, from his nerdiness to his humor to his unexpected, but completely warranted, leadership and sense of righteousness. Simon truly shined here, not as the geeky sidekick, but as the star he is.

It was also so fun to check in on other storylines like those of Helen and Mark Blackthorn and Julian and Emma (who I’ll finally get to read about in Lady Midnight – yay!!) And, of course, Magnus and Alec. This couple…just yes. I can’t wait to see what happens next with them after the new development in this book.

The flashback scenes were an awesome addition to the story. While Robert Lightwood isn’t my favorite character, it was interesting to read more of his backstory. We were able learn who he is and how that compares to what he thinks of himself. Also, James Herondale. He is my precious little baby and I will protect him at all costs. I cannot wait for Chain of Gold to come out (March 3rd 2020, where you at??) so the hole in Herondale-loving heart can be filled again. And of course I’ll ALWAYS take more Will Herondale in my life. ♥

Now, things are going to get sad.

That ending though…my heart actually broke. I didn’t see it coming until seconds before it happened. I had this realization and thought wow, Cassandra, you’re really gonna do this to me huh? and yup, she went and did it. She soothed me into a false sense of security, filled my heart up to max capacity, then ripped it out and threw it into a fire (not to be dramatic or anything). Did I really think I’d read a Shadowhunters book that was all happiness and good times? How naive of me.

This was an amazing compilation of stories in one of my favorite worlds, but it wasn’t a 5 star read for me because I felt like it was somewhat difficult to tell how much time had passed between stories. This made the timeline a bit confusing for me. Not enough that I was completely lost, but I felt that it took me until halfway through a story for some hint to tell me where in time I actually was.

In summary, I will be reading every book Cassandra Clare writes, this emotional rollercoaster just doesn’t get old.

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