How to Ease into Reading Fantasy

How to Ease into Reading Fantasy

Fantasy is a new genre for me. I realized that I loved all the fantasy I’ve been getting my hands on and I promised myself that I would really explore it.

But how do you start reading a genre that you don’t know about? Do I start with the classics or go for a well-known author? How do I keep a handle on all the parts of the world and the names? I mean, Game of Thrones has so many interweaving storylines that I honestly need a notebook to watch that show.

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Welcome to My Fall Fantasy Kick-Off!

Welcome to My Fall Fantasy Kick-Off!

Welcome to a new week and welcome to FALL! Well, I know fall officially started last month, but I don’t feel fall until October. I grew up in New York where summer lasted through all of September and you don’t really feel fall until mid-October. Because of that, I feel like the only time I deem worthy to be fall is mid-October. And here we are!

This year, I don’t get to experience all the magic of fall. Living in LA means sacrificing those beautiful changing seasons, but that’s okay. The weather drops enough to warrant sweaters and I’m hoping that winter will be more like fall and I don’t mind an entire winter of fall.

Of course I’m drinking my pumpkin spice, making apple everything, and reading what I love to read during the fall; FANTASY.

For me, fantasy reads and fall weather go hand-in-hand. I think it has a lot to do with those late nights waiting to see the new Harry Potter movie or Lord of the Rings. Somehow, my brain has mapped fall with fantasy and I’m so excited about it.

I’ve collected a pretty good number of fantasy reads that I’ve been dying to read for a few years now. I think this will be the perfect season to finally catch up and maybe level up my fantasy reading. I’ll share my list in a couple of days.

What are you excited about reading this fall?

Feel Good Friday – Encouragement to Find Out Where You Came From

Feel Good Friday – Encouragement to Find Out Where You Came From

Hi everyone and welcome to Friday! We made it!

I know that weekends are meant to be a little bit more fun and relaxing, but this weekend I find myself wanting to know more about who I am.

Well, I know who I am, but I want to know more about where I came from.

I recently finished reading All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung. The memoir is based around the years Nicole Chung spent looking for her birth family. It starts with the feelings she had when she was a kid; being raised in a predominantly white neighborhood to white parents and not knowing a heck lot of where she came from. As the story unfolds, we get to see that Nicole Chung does find her family and along with it, generations of family history she could have never received if she didn’t look for them.

And I found myself thinking about how happy I am to know where I come from and even celebrate some of that culture. I don’t think I would be the same person if I didn’t know. I think I might even be less than I am now.

I’m always a promoter of finding yourself; the anatomy that makes up who you are and the people that made you you. I know that I was born and raised Korean American. I love searching through my Korean heritage and falling in love with the people and culture. I also love that my husband knows where he comes from and has had family traditions passed on to him as valuable as the color of his eyes and the texture of his hair.

I wonder sometimes if people take pride in the culture that raised them. Do they know where their family is from? Even if you’re a billion different countries, at least you know where you’re from.

Being able to know yourself and where you come from is this amazing journey through culture and significance. You can find out so much of yourself through the countries your ancestors may have come from. With new technology and DNA screens, you can easily do a DNA test to find out where you’re from and other little tidbits. I love that these tools are readily available for us to find out who we are, where we come from, and what to celebrate.

Celebrating culture is super important to me too. While I may forget a random holiday in the middle of the year, I always know New Year’s Day is reserved for family. We bow, eat lucky foods, and wish each other a happy and safe new year with many lucky moments. My husband loves to celebrate his Irish and German heritage even though he’s a few generations in America. I always try to make some Irish eats and tried my hand (and failed) on some German foods too. It’s always fun to dive into those cultures even in a foodie way.

So that’s what I encourage you all to do this weekend. Even if it’s one thing or a whole festival of things, take a moment to find out who you are, where you come from, and how you can celebrate that culture in your family. You might find yourself trying out a new tradition or even learning that there’s more to you than meets the eye.

Happy weekend,

Simone

Share Kindness. Spread Love. Read Books.

Share Kindness. Spread Love. Read Books.

I feel like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon. I feel like I’ve stumbled across my final transformation into the person I’m supposed to be. I’m upgrading.

When I first started Simone and Her Books, the intention was to write about books and talk about them. It was for my goldfish brain to dump every thought and nuance onto a page for someone to read and consider. However, I’ve been thinking about the content I put out there and the kind of influence an influencer has.

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Life Update: The Missing Book Blogger

Life Update: The Missing Book Blogger

Hello everyone!

I’m sorry for the absence these past couple of weeks. TBH, it feels like I’ve been absent in more ways than one the whole summer. There’s been so much going on in the real world that the Internet world needed a step back. All that being said, I’m finally back to the swing of things and I can’t wait to share with you what’s been going on.

Well, there isn’t much to tell. I think many of you already know, but my husband and I moved across the country to Los Angeles.

For the next part of this blog post, I’m going to tell you everything that happened in a timeline.

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What’s Your Choice? Loving or Hating a Book

What’s Your Choice? Loving or Hating a Book

There are some wonderful books out that most of the reading world will love. It deserves all the stars and their only flaw being too beautiful. Most people read these books and most people give it four or five stars. It didn’t offend them. It was easy-to-read. It led to 80% of the audience to tears. These are great reads and if you read reviews, you’ll know you’re getting a good read.

However, there are other books in this world that will always polarize the audience. People will absolutely adore it and others will absolutely hate it or not finish it. Each of these books is like a fork in the road. One road will take you on to the sunsets and heavens of great reading. The other road will leave you confused by the roadside.

Recently, I picked up Uprooted, a book that’s a little bit polarizing on Goodreads. Some people absolutely loved it and credit the book to being a fantasy series they can actually endure:

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And others hated it to the point where they felt exhausted by the words:

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I started this book pretty hopeful that a wonderful fantasy story will push me to finish this book in a few days. Then, a week went by and I didn’t make it halfway. Then two weeks went by and I still didn’t feel the motivation to continue reading. Oh no, was I siding with the people who hated the book?

Seriously, I’ve tried so many things to avoid putting down this book. I borrowed the ebook from the library in hopes that reading it on my Kindle will change my mind. I also borrowed the audiobook because maybe someone reading the book to me will be a better experience. I think I really like the audiobook version, so I might change my mind about DNF-ing this book.

I’ll admit that I was upset when I put this book down. I really wanted to love it especially when so many people reached out to me and told me that they loved it. And at first I thought the story was intriguing and different despite some important details that were left out (oh, he’s training you to be a wizard? How come your opinion in this matter isn’t discussed?), but then the story kept going on and on and I couldn’t get into it.

At this point, I’m stuck. I wanted to love the book and write a wonderful review and make all the people who loved this book feel validated because yes, I loved it too. But now I’m a naysayer and I’m about to tell the world that I didn’t like the book. Will people love my honesty? Will people hate that I didn’t like one of their favorite novels?

It’s a point of contention for a lot of reviewers. You want to be honest with your reviews, but a small fraction of your body wants to be nice and like a book people recommended. Honesty may cause you to offend that one person who loved it. Honesty can also offend those who hated it.

But the moment I shared on bookstagram that I didn’t finish this book, all of a sudden a few people popped up sharing that they didn’t finish it either. People came up and shared how the book felt problematic and boring. That Agnieszka was manipulated by the Dragon and held against her will. Some people mentioned that the middle is the slowest part. I felt the same, but the middle is also 300 pages and that’s a lot of slow parts for me.

It’s kind of interesting how people sort of “hold their tongue” when it comes to certain books. We’re all waiting with baited breath if our favorite book reader liked that book we hated. And when they admit to hating the book too, it’s like a sigh of relief.

I guess that many book readers already understand that a book will either be loved or hated by other people. While as reviewers we try to be unbiased and explain that hating a book doesn’t mean you’ll hate it too, there’s still that little button inside of our brains that tells us we need validation. We need to be heard and understood and if that doesn’t happen, we feel that tension. We feel vulnerable and maybe a little upset that someone you so admire did or didn’t like a book.

But the truth must be known. If you loved a book, then share the love. If you hated a book, then that should be shared as well. A negative review doesn’t have to be overwrought with jabs at the book, but it needs to be clear so that others can understand. And I think that’s where we all ending up finding ourselves; at this crossroad between loving and hating a book.

 

Have You Ever Written to a Boy You Loved Before?

Have You Ever Written to a Boy You Loved Before?

After watching To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before for the second time, I started thinking back to my high school career and the boys I might have loved before. Then I remembered it. I actually have a story similar to what Lara Jean went through. It made me wonder, what would Lara Jean do?

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