I’m Back!

Hello, my fellow bookworms!

It has been almost a year since I have posted on my blog, and I have decided that I need to start posting again. This year, I will be posting reviews of the fabulous books that I read this summer, but I will also be posting a series of short stories on this blog as well. I am extremely excited for this journey, and I can’t wait to have discussions with everyone.

@madisonberko

Top 5 Wednesday: Top 5 Required Reads

Top 5 Wednesday

Hey, readers! This Top 5 Wednesday is your top 5 favorite required reads from school. This was a great top 5 topic because I always loved reading for school, and I have plenty of books to choose from. Let’s get started!Th

  1. The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay 

This was a book I read my sophomore year of high school. This was such an influential book and was one of the first books that sparked my interest in historical fiction. With references to racial divisions in South Africa, it followed a young boy Peekay in his journey to becoming the welterweight champion of the world. However, he may find that learning self-preservation and survival in society will be harder than his physical training. I recommend this book to people of all ages and is definitely a classic.

     2.  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

This  book is a definite favorite of a lot of people from high school. I read this book my freshman year of high school and I  instantly fell in love with the story and the meaning behind it. This is another book that dealt with the racial division within society. Taking place in Alabama in 1936, racism boils between the white and black citizens. This story deals with the loss of innocence and the introduction to cruelty and prejudice.

     3.  A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

This I read in 7th grade and was the first book that got me excited about analyzing pieces of literature. This is the first book that I tore apart and studied closely. I had to write page summaries and annotate the pages of the text. My teacher saw that I had a gift for understanding literature, and sparked my love for analyzing and consuming everything I read. It taught me to be a critical reader.

     4.  Auschwitz and After by Charlotte Delbo

This was one of the most hauntingly beautiful pieces of literature about the Holocaust that I have ever read. I read this book my freshman year of college, and it has impacted me in ways I never imagined. It was so raw and emotional that it was hard to read at times. The imagery and the writing style was so unique and gave Delbo’s retelling of her experiences a new take on the Holocaust. She was a French woman taken into a camp for her political affiliation, which also was something I never read about. It is to this day one of my favorite books I have ever read. Read it, please.

     5. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt 

Another memoir has made it onto this list. I read this book my junior year of high school and loved it dearly. This is my favorite book of all time, and  it was miraculous. McCourt talks about his childhood and how he lived with nothing in Ireland during the famine. He lived in filth and with his mother who has lost three children. She is a hollow shell of herself, and McCourt and his brother have to grow up too fast. Their father is an alcoholic and treats them terribly. It is a difficult read, but the life lessons and the humor that he brings to his darkest times were incredible. This another must read.

What were your top 5 favorite required reads from school? Comment below!

Read ya later!

Mads

Top 5 Wednesday: Top 5 Books from July

Top 5 Wednesday

Hey, readers!

I did not have enough books with awesome maps in them currently, so I decided to change the topic to my top 5 books that I read in July. I read about nine books in July, and they were all fabulous. Here we go!

  1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

This was definitely my favorite read of the month. I have a review of this book up, and it was just incredible. I am currently watching the television show, and it is just awesome. Check it out!

    2.  Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas 

Of course, I had to mention Heir of Fire. This book was fantastic, and it really displayed the character development of Celaena, Dorian, and Chaol. They all had to make difficult decisions and seeing that play out in the book was fantastic.

    3.  Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo 

This book was great. I loved the Darkling. The Darkling was the perfect villain and he was so multidimensional. He was my favorite character in the first book and added the action and mystery that the book needed. The other characters were likable as well. There were some aspects that I did not enjoy, such as the emphasis on beauty, however, it did not detract from the integrity of the story.

    4. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

This was the second book in the Grisha trilogy, and it was even better than Shadow and Bone. This book did not fall into second book syndrome. It was packed with even more world and plot building. It was amazing. However, the Darkling is seen less in this book. However, we learn a little bit more about him.

    5. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien 

I reread The Hobbit this month, and it will always be a favorite of mine. The attention to detail and the story building is flawless. The elements of medieval oath taking and merry making is fabulous. I am a history major, so I am a huge fan of Tolkien’s works. This book leaves me speechless each time.

What were your favorite books that you read this month? Leave your comments down below. I also have a review coming up soon.

Read ya later!

Mads

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Character Tropes

Top 5 Wednesday

Hey, readers! I was on vacation last Wednesday, so I was not able to do a Top 5 Wednesday last week. This week the topic is Top 5 Favorite Character Tropes. So, here we go!

  1. Mysterious characters

I really enjoy mysterious characters, and I don’t really think mysterious characters are not represented much in literature, especially YA. However, let me make this clear, by mysterious I mean that there seems to be more to a character that meets the eye. I DO NOT mean that they are mysterious in a brooding “you don’t want to get too close to me” type of mystery. A character that perfectly fits this would be Gandalf from The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. Gandalf is so compelling and mysterious because we are only ever allowed to see the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his powers. However, we know there is more to him than meets the eye. He is immensely powerful, and yet we have never uncovered his true potential. I would love a series of just Gandalf and his adventures.

  1. The dorky kid who surprises everyone

I love me an adorkable character who grows and comes into his own. They may seem weak, but then one day the blossom into a badass. The first person that comes into mind is Neville Longbottom. He is fanfreakingtastic!  We first see him a young, insecure wizard trying to find his pet toad, and then in the last novel he bursts out of his shell and wreaks some havoc. What a great character.

  1. Heroes and heroines that immediately embrace their power

I don’t know if I would exactly consider this a trope, but it should be. There are too many characters that shy away from responsibility. They are always “wahh I didn’t ask for this” (aka Katniss Everdeen). However, sometimes we have characters such as Hermione, Harry, and Ron who all embrace the difficult journey that is to come, and don’t care what will happen.

  1. The good old classic sociopath

When the author does this one correctly, there is nothing like a bone chilling sociopath. A sociopath lacks empathy and usually are stone cold killers. Without giving spoilers, I will not reveal my favorite sociopath. However, this character is in Gone Girl.

  1. The old mentor

Old, wise mentors are great. I know this is not exactly the best character because he was hardly old. He is more of an old soul and that is Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Just the sarcasm and wisdom from these mentors I just love.

What are your favorite character tropes? Comment below!

Top 5 Wednesday: Anticipated Pre-Orders for the Rest of the Year

Top 5 Wednesday

Hey, readers! Welcome to another Top 5 Wednesday! The topic for this week is: Top 5 Anticipated Pre-Orders for the Rest of the Year. This was an easy one because there are so many books I am excited about that are coming out in a few months. Here we go!

  1. Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas- September 1st

Yes! I cannot wait for the fourth book in the Throne of Glass series to come out. I finished Heir of Fire at the beginning of the month, so I just need to get my hands on the next one. This is probably my number one most anticipated book release for the fall of 2015.

  1. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo- September 29th

I read the Grisha Trilogy also this month, and I am super excited that there will be another book in the Grisha world. This is a different aspect of the world, and will follow new characters. I am excited about this and I want to learn more about the world of Ravka.

  1. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness- October 6th

This book follows a high school senior in his quest to finish out his last year of high school. This book deals with how we try to make our ordinary lives something extraordinary. I am excited about this book because I always hear positive things about Patrick Ness, and this feels like an overall good feelings read.

  1. Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman- August 25th

This one is going to be incredible and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. This is a historical fantasy series that is somewhat like the Game of Thrones. Also, it follows the reign of Alexander the Great. I am a history major, so this definitely up my alley!

  1. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff- October 20th

This is a book set in 2575, and is about two megacorporations at war. I don’t know too much else, but that alone sounds awesome. I love futuristic dystopian books, so there will definitely be some awesome elements to this one.

What are your most anticipated book releases? Comment below!

Read ya later!

Mads

Exciting News Part II: Liebster Award!

liebster-award

Wow, this is incredible! I have gotten nominated for another blogger award. This one is the Liebster Award, which is to help people discover new blogs. This is incredibly awesome, and I am so super excited. This is just making more excited about blogging, and I am so thankful for this great community of bloggers.

A big thanks to allyssaisreading for nominating me!

Here are the rules:

  1. Thank the blogger that nominated you
  2. Answer the 11 questions that the blogger gives you
  3. Nominate 11 blogs that you think deserve the award
  4. Give them 11 questions to answer
  5. Let the bloggers know you nominated them

Here are the questions I need to answer:

  1. Do you let others borrow your books? If yes, what book/s are on your ‘no borrowing list’?

I do let some people borrow my books. It depends on how much I love them. The books on my “no borrowing list” would be any book I haven’t read yet!

  1. What are your top 3 series?

Harry Potter, Throne of Glass, and Outlander.

  1. Series you couldn’t finish?

The Immortals series by Alyson Noel. They were just too angsty for my taste. Ever kept blaming herself for the tragic car accident that her family was in, and that doesn’t interest me much.

  1. What do you do when you buy a book but then dislike the story?

I hope I didn’t buy the second book if it were a series… I may donate it, or possibly try to get through it! I may read it at a later date with fresh eyes.

  1. Do you judge a book by its cover?

Definitely, especially YA covers.

  1. Favorite high school read?

I read Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt when I was a junior in high school, and it is one of my favorite books. It is a memoir that is beautifully written. There is so much pain, but McCourt does a wonderful job adding in a cocky Irish sense of humor that makes even the toughest times bearable. I recommend this book to anyone, and everyone.

  1. Do you lean more towards contemporary or fantasy?

Fantasy 110%. I rarely ever choose a contemporary read. I may have two or three that are in my bookshelf right now. The rest are fantasy! I am a nerd, I know.

  1. Thoughts on humans on covers?

I normally don’t like humans on the covers of my book. Since I read mostly fantasy I don’t have to worry about the creepy pictures that sometimes are put on book covers. Some book covers with models on them just look like they are trying too hard, and just come off as tacky.

  1. Do you annotate your books? Highlight quotes or put sticky tabs on favorite scenes/pages?

I do this in my history books that I read for school because I am a history major, but my fiction books I don’t. I don’t judge anyone that does, I just don’t like the way it looks.

  1. What got you into blogging?

I am an English major as well with a concentration in Editing, Writing, and Media. A blog is a perfect way to practice my skills, and start promoting books that I love because I want to be a publisher when I graduate.

  1. How do you decide which books to buy?

I am really into the BookTube community, so I look at what my favorite BookTubers are into at the moment. I also love going to the bookstore and browsing the new arrivals. I also love looking at what my fellow bloggers are reading as well.


Here are my 11 questions for my nominees:

  1. Do you prefer paperback or hardcover books?
  2. What do you do to get out of a reading slump?
  3. What got you into blogging?
  4. Would you prefer your favorite book series to become a movie franchise or a television series?
  5. Do you buy your books in a bookstore, or off the internet?
  6. How often do you buy books?
  7. What is a popular book that you dislike, but everyone else loves?
  8. Who would be your fictional one true pairing?
  9. What is your favorite genre?
  10. If you could reread a series over for the first time which would it be?
  11. Who is your favorite author?

Here are my nominees:

Emma from SheReadsBooks

Arie from Arie Reads

Nicki at Fyrefly’s Book Blog

Clara at Night-Time Reads

Rose at Rose Reads

Amber at Wild Heart Reviews

Sarah at Sarah in Zombieland

Laura at Blondehurst

The_bookette Reviews

Veronica at Literate Girl in an Illiterate World

There’s Always Time for a Book

Exciting News: Blogger Recognition Award

blog award 1

Hey, guys!!

This has been the first blog award I have ever been nominated for and the feeling is surreal! It is amazing to be nominated for something that you love doing, and I would have never thought that I would be nominated for something like this. There are so many amazing blogs out there, and to have new followers every day and have a fellow blogger enjoy my blog is amazing. I feel so accomplished and I am super excited to keep following the Yellow Brick Road to see where this takes me!

This award was originally created by Eve at “Edge of Night” so go over to her blog if you want to read the origin of this awesome award! A great big thanks to Morgan at “Hopeless Book Addict” for nominating me!

Here are the rules taken directly from the original post:

“If you are nominated…

  • Select 15 other blogs you want to give the award to. Do some digging if you must! Find those blogs. You cannot nominate yourself or the person who has nominated you.
  • Write a post to show off your award! Give a brief story of how your blog got started and give a piece or two of advice to new bloggers. Thank whoever nominated you, and provide a link to their blog. List who you’ve nominated in the post.
  • Make sure to also attach the award itself! (You can do this by right-clicking, saving, and uploading the image above).
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you’ve nominated them. Provide a link to the award post you created.
  • Provide a link to the original post on Edge of Night. That way, anyone can find the original guidelines and post if needed, and we can keep it from mutating and becoming confusing! (It happens LOL).”

My Story

I started book blogging as a way to connect with people who also love books. I wanted a way to talk about books to others, and hopefully give them a book that will also change their life. Reading has always been something close to my heart. Literature is an art and words are so powerful. I love being able to find fellow book nerds and “fangirl” with different people over our favorite books.

What made me really want to get into book blogging was watching BookTube videos. I want to switch over to BookTube in the future while also blogging. Doing both will help me reach people who like to read about books and people who enjoy watching videos of people talking about books!

I am also an English major with a concentration in Editing, Writing, and Media. I want to work in the book publishing industry, so this is a great place to start working on my skills.

Blog Tips

Now, I have just started my blog this summer so I am in no way an expert. So, here are some tips for new bloggers that may help you get started! It is really intimidating at the beginning, but stay positive!

  • Read what you love: Reading what interests you is something that is super important. Don’t try to read something just because everyone else loves it! Stay true to yourself, and you will find your niche and following!
  • Stay Positive: Staying positive is super important. It may be frustrating when you aren’t getting the traffic that you want, but it will come in time. Just have fun doing what you love! You will get so much more out of this if you are positive.
  • Social Media: Create accounts to advertise your blog everywhere! I have a Tumblr, Facebook, twitter, Instagram, and google+ account that all give updates on my recent blog posts. That is super important because you reach more people!
  • Comment and follow other blogs: Make sure to support others and follow their blogs because they will return the favor! Also, reply to every comment you receive that will show your followers you appreciate their comments and interest. It is all about supporting each other and being grateful for their support.
  • Post frequently: I try to post at least twice a week. I know life gets hectic, but you really need to try to be consistent. You don’t want to overwhelm your followers, but you also don’t want to neglect them either. Find a system that works for you and go from there.

Nominations

Here is who I nominated! I looked far and wide for these gems, and I think they are all really deserving!

Brittany at “Brittanymariereads”

Ashley at “What’s She Reading?”

Aima at “Bookshelves and Paperbacks”

“Books over People”

Beth at “Best Books by Beth”

Hannah at “Sprinkled with Words”

Ginaalana at “More Books Than Shoes”

“Bookstatesinblue”

Jane Emily at “Beyond Seventeen Reviews”

 “Read Watch and Think”

“The Enchanted Book”

Becki at “GoaskBecki”

Clare at “Stacks and Shelves”

Joey at “Thoughts and Afterthoughts”

Juliet at “Girl, reading”