Friday, January 29, 2016

TAG: Reader Problems

I saw this post initially on Sierra's blog, who in turn saw it on Nori's blog.

The questions are interesting and are, frankly, ones that I think a lot of readers get (probably why it's called  Reader Problems). Let me know what you think of my answers and I'd love to see some of yours in return.

1. You have 20,000 books on your TBR. How in the world do you decide what to read next?

I would usually read whatever was the most recent book to come into the house, whether it was a gift, purchased, or borrowed from the library.

If I really couldn't decide, I might take to Twitter and post a poll.

2. You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it. Do you quit or are you committed?

Halfway is more than enough to figure this out and I would probably dnf the book at that point. There have been one or two exceptions where I powered through, but there are too many books to read in life to worry about finishing one that just isn't working out.

3. The end of the year is coming and you’re so close, but so far away on your Goodreads reading challenge. Do you try to catch up and how?

I might try to catch up, depending on how far away I am. The best way to catch up would be to read a lot of manga. A volume of manga tends to go a lot faster for me than a novel.

4. The covers of a series you love do. not. match. How do you cope?

This didn't bother me so much until I started becoming more involved in the bookish community. Now it grates on my nerves a bit. To solve this problem, I'd buy the matching cover. If it didn't exist, I would try and hold out on purchasing a copy of the mismatched book in the hopes that the publisher would fix it.

5. Every one and their mother loves a book you really don’t like. Who do you bond with over shared feelings?

I give it to my husband and see what he thinks, first off. If he doesn't get to it, I'd likely check Twitter or BookTube to see if there was anyone who shared a similar opinion.

6. You’re reading a book and you are about to start crying in public. How do you deal?

I've come to the realization that I don't care if I cry in public over a book. If I'm genuinely sad because of the story, I'll let the tears come. True story: I started crying near the end of The Fault in Our Stars and I was reading that book at work.

7. A sequel of a book you loved just came out, but you’ve forgotten a lot from the prior novel. Will you re-read the book? Skip the sequel? Try to find a synopsis on Goodreads? Cry in frustration?!?!?!?

I'd try to read the sequel and see if I could remember things as I go. If I get too far into the book and realize I'm not remembering anyone/any
thing, I'll stop, re-read the first book, then go back to the sequel.

8. You do not want anyone. ANYONE. borrowing your books. How do you politely tell people nope when they ask?

The only person that I would lend a book out to is my mother. This is only because she generally respects books and when she doesn't, she replaces it if I ask.

For everyone else, I would explain that the last time I lent a book out, a good condition paperback came back with the spine destroyed and pages falling out. That one bad person ruined it for everyone, sorry.

9. Reading ADD. You’ve picked up and put down 5 books in the last month. How do you get over your reading slump?

I kind of power through it. I might pick up and put down even more books before the slump is over. Sometimes I'll try and distract myself with one of my other hobbies, but it usually come down to sampling every book that takes my fancy before finding something that sticks.

10. There are so many new books coming out that you’re dying to read! How many do you actually buy?

I'll buy whatever I have the money for at the time. If I have the cash, I buy them all. If not, then I'll probably beg my library to buy them so that I (and others, of course) can enjoy them.

11. After you’ve bought the new books you can’t wait to get to, how long do they sit on your shelf before you get to them?

It depends on how badly I wanted them. I might get to a few right away, but a lot end up on a shelf for a few weeks, maybe months depending on the amount of books coming out at the time.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Top 5 Wednesday: Disappointing Eye Candy

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Gingerreadslainey. Check out the Goodreads group here.

I try not to judge books by their covers, but it does happen from time to time. This post is an instance where that act came back to bite me in the literary butt.

5. Rat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch

I am a big fan of manga and graphic novels. This book looked epic. I was let down, though, by the bland and basic story line. The art was really pretty, but I felt like it was a book I'd read many times before without any special aspects to make the repetitiveness worth it.

4. Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern

I hate it when I can't connect to the characters. Next to plot, they're the most important thing in a book. Nobody in this story made any sense, especially the main character. Her inner thoughts told us one thing while her actions proved the complete opposite.

The only thing I'm glad of regarding this book is that it was incredibly short. If it had been much longer, I'm not sure I would have been able to finish it.

3. Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley

I wanted to like this book, I really did. It's got a beautiful cover and it's about the (fictional) lives of authors that I do enjoy.

I was disappointed because I found the writing style to be incredibly ill paced and not engaging at all. The characters were one dimensional and virtually interchangeable.

I might give it another go at some point because I did receive a finished copy of it in January's Owlcrate, but it won't be near the top of the list any time soon.

2. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Besides the fact that it got a lot of hype, I picked this book up because the cover was cool. It looks like a paper doll marionette show of some kind and the main character was a movie geek, which I mentioned liking above.

However, this book was flat out terrible. Nothing happened over the course of the story. There was no action, no character development. It was one of the biggest disappointments of 2015.

1. Movie Game by Michael Ebner

I thought this one looked cool because it reminded me of a video game cover and I do like video games. I also like movies or movie geek characters.

This book is the lowest on the list, the worst rating, because it was so dull that I couldn't even finish it. I think I got about 25% through before I allowed myself to put it down.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Top 10 Tuesday: Freebie Week! Top 10 Fictional Schools You'd Like to Attend

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme that is brought to us by The Broke & the Bookish. Check out the topic list here.

This week felt devilish at first because it was a free week, meaning I could pick any topic my heart desired. Having free reign is usually a bit more daunting than having a guideline, but as I was sitting on the couch trying to think of what topic to pick it hit me. We as readers are always saying how much we'd like to go to Hogwarts. Why not a list of the top 10 fictional schools I'd attend?

10. Crunchem Hall Primary School (Matilda by Roald Dahl)

Primary school was not all that bad, from what I remember. This school sounds like it would be a wonderful place to go to learn as an ordinary child, provided that you attended after Ms. Trunchbull had been removed from the premises.

9. Ouran Academy (Ouran High School Host Club

It might be a tough time dealing with all of the privileged people that go here, but with the Host Club there to take awake the tedium, it might be worth it.

8. Jedi Academy (Star Wars)

I doubt I'd be very good at using a lightsaber, but I'd like to learn how to use the Force. I bet there'd be a lot of travel opportunities upon graduation.

7. Coal Hill Secondary School (Doctor Who)

Going to school here greatly increases your chances of running into the Doctor. Granted this might mean that there are monsters or an evil plot afoot, but if you impress him he might invite you along for a journey in the TARDIS.

6. Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined (The Paper Magician Trilogy by Charlie N. Holmberg)

Ceony Twill might not think that paper magic is all that special when she is bonded to it at the beginning of the story, but I think it would be an awesome power to learn. I would be fine with that as my talent. Anyone who's ever read Read or Die or Read or Dream knows there's a whole world out there for paper benders.

5. Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters (X-men)

If you get to go here, even if you aren't a member of the X-men, the fact that you were invited means you've got some kind of power. A power would be awesome! As mentioned above, I'd love paper manipulation, but there are so many more that would be cool: electricity, super speed, ice, etc. I'm not sure I could choose (which, as a student here, you wouldn't really be able to do anyway).

4. Neptune High (Veronica Mars)

Veronica Mars was a badass private eye and it would be exciting to be her friend, maybe a part of her inner crew that helps her solve mysteries. This is a regular school, so to speak, but with all the intrigue around these halls there would never be a dull day.

3. Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy (The Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman)

If I didn't want to go all the way back to high school, why not attend college? Early enough on in the experience and it's more or less just like high school except by that point you don't care as much about silly things like stereotypes and dress codes (at least, I didn't). Brakebill's is talked about like it's the school Harry Potter would go to if he went on to higher education. With it's proximity to my own house (same coast, close enough), I'd be making a break for it if I could figure out how to get accepted.

2. Unseen University (Discworld Series by Terry Pratchett)

This place has a library big enough to warp the fabric of space and time. Who wouldn't  want to go here?

1. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling)

Dangerous as hell, sure, but another place with never a dull moment.

Hogwarts would have the bonus of being the magic school where the heroes of the wizarding world went, but it's still amazing, enormously cool even if Harry and his group of friends hadn't attended school here.

The meals, the staircases, Quidditch, the classes...can I get my letter already, please?


This bonus round is for people/places that I don't think really fit into the main list. In the bonus round, there are small groups that learn together, but don't really attend a school and private tutors that have only have a few students, maybe even only one.

The Little Palace (The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo)
Merlin (Disney's The Sword and the Stone)

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Review: A Girl's Guide to Moving On by Debbie Macomber

In this powerful and uplifting novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber, a mother and her daughter-in-law bravely leave their troubled marriages and face the challenge of starting over. Leaning on each other, Nichole and Leanne discover that their inner strength and capacity for love are greater than they ever imagined.
When Nichole discovers that her husband, Jake, has been unfaithful, the illusion of her perfect life is indelibly shattered. While juggling her young son, a new job, and volunteer work, Nichole meets Rocco, who is the opposite of Jake in nearly every way. Though blunt-spoken and rough around the edges, Rocco proves to be a dedicated father and thoughtful friend. But just as their relationship begins to blossom, Jake wagers everything on winning Nichole back—including their son Owen’s happiness. Somehow, Nichole must find the courage to defy her fears and follow her heart, with far-reaching consequences for them all.
Leanne has quietly ignored her husband’s cheating for decades, but is jolted into action by the echo of Nichole’s all-too-familiar crisis. While volunteering as a teacher of English as a second language, Leanne meets Nikolai, a charming, talented baker from Ukraine. Resolved to avoid the heartache and complications of romantic entanglements, Leanne nonetheless finds it difficult to resist Nikolai’s effusive overtures—until an unexpected tragedy tests the very fabric of her commitments.
An inspiring novel of friendship, reinvention, and hope, A Girl’s Guide to Moving On affirms the ability of every woman to forge a new path, believe in love, and fearlessly find happiness.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4 Stars

Debbie Macomber has a knack for writing a novel that is a quick read, but is still satisfying to read.

The thing I like about her writing is that I can see  these people as real. They don't tend to be overboard in their actions, which is an annoying factor in a novel, nor are they so ordinary as to be boring.

I think that Debbie's been moving toward rougher characters in her novels, which I've been enjoying. Her take on these characters has felt real and, again, she hasn't made them into caricatures of themselves. It began, at least for me, with Max from the Blossom Street series and his biker persona and has moved to Rocco in this book. Finding the heart beneath these rough characters adds a nice element to the story.

The "villains" of the book were, regrettably, real as well. I felt the pain that Leanna and Nichole experienced with what their ex-husbands put them through. I would have understood if neither of them had ever forgiven those men, but they were the bigger people and I found that admirable. Being cheated on and having your ex manipulate you to do what he wants, or not have something that makes you happy, would have made some people bitter, but watching these women have the strength to move on and stand on their own two feet against their situation was inspiring.

The only thing that kept me from giving this a full five stars is the fact that, while the writing is good, there are several portions that feel superfluous. I think that you could cut out several paragraphs per chapter and not lose anything to the story.

Music Recommendation

This song reminded me of Nichole and Rocco especially because they have a moment near the end when things are getting really tough and nearly let their chance at happiness go by because of a difficult situation.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Clean Slate Readathon & #24in48 Challenge Wrap Up

This is a quick wrap up post regarding the Clean Slate Readathon and the #24in48 Challenge.

Things did not go as well as I'd hoped.

The Clean Slate Challenge was a great challenge, but I think the part that I got stuck on was that I was not as into the book I started the week with as I had hoped I would be (Six of Crows, in case you're wondering). I know you don't have to have read the Grisha trilogy to read this book, but I'm starting to think that it would help immensely. I'm putting it aside, then, until I can work my way through Siege & Storm and Ruin & Rising.

I didn't read much past the first two chapters of Six of Crows and I didn't start anything else, which I see now was a mistake. I thought that I could power through my slump with the book I'd picked and I didn't want to start another book because I thought it would distract me. Maybe that's what I should have done.

As for #24in48, that didn't get finished either, but I did a lot better than I expected, seeing as I'd only seen it was happening about 12 hours before it began.

The thing I now know for sure about challenges like it is that I need to schedule the day off from work. If I don't, there's no way to finish because I'm either at work and unable to read or I'm so tired when I get home from work that I don't want to read. Pro tip: keep a better eye on the calendar for future events of this nature and book the day off!

What I did get to read for #24in48 was a fair bit of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell via audiobook. I was in the office the first day of the challenge so I was able to listen to it. I've read Fangirl before, but it's a fairly easy read to get through and it was nice to get back to the story of Cath and her first year at college.

I've got a bit of a break from any timed challenges or readathons, so I won't have any posts about them as such, but if you know of one you think I'd like to participate in, let me know.

Until next time!

Top 10 Tuesday: Top Ten Books I've Recently Added To My TBR

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly feature that was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

My tbr is an ever growing monster, as I am sure a lot of you can understand. Every day I see a new possibility on Twitter or Goodreads and I can't help but add it to my list. This means my tbr will likely never stop growing, but for the moment, these are the top 10 book most recently added to that list.

The list is numbered 1-10, going in order from the most recently added book onward. I have skipped titles that are mini novellas, such as the The Wrath & the Dawn stories that were announced recently.

1. Assassin's Heart by Sarah Ahiers

In the kingdom of Lovero, nine rival Families of assassins lawfully kill people for a price. As a highly skilled member of one of these powerful clans, seventeen-year-old Lea Saldana has always trusted in the strength of her Family. Until she awakens to find them murdered and her home in flames. The Da Vias, the Saldanas’ biggest enemy, must be responsible—and Lea should have seen it coming. But her secret relationship with the Da Vias’ son, Val, has clouded her otherwise killer instinct—and given the Da Vias more reason than ever to take her Family down.
Racked with guilt and shattered over Val’s probable betrayal, Lea sets out to even the score, with her heart set on retaliation and only one thought clear in her mind: make the Da Vias pay.

2. Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan

Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok’s lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna’s survival depends on the world believing she is dead.
But that doesn’t stop Luna from wanting more. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer braving the woods outside her tower, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk. When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is more treacherous than Luna ever realized.
With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet.

3. Six Feet Over It by Jennifer Longo

No one is more surprised than Leigh when her father buys a graveyard. Less shocking is the fact that he’s too lazy to look farther than the dinner table for employees. Working the literal graveyard shift, she becomes great at predicting headstone choice (mostly granite) and taking notes with one hand while offering Kleenex with the other.
Sarcastic and smart, Leigh should be able to quit this stupid after-school job. But her world’s been turned upside down by the sudden loss of her best friend and the appearance of Dario, the slightly-too-old-for-her gravedigger. Can Leigh move on, if moving on means it’s time to get a life?

4. And Again by Jessica Chiarella

Would you live your life differently if you were given a second chance? Hannah, David, Connie, and Linda—four terminally ill patients—have been selected for the SUBlife pilot program, which will grant them brand-new, genetically perfect bodies that are exact copies of their former selves—without a single imperfection. Blemishes, scars, freckles, and wrinkles have all disappeared, their fingerprints are different, their vision is impeccable, and most importantly, their illnesses have been cured.
But the fresh start they’ve been given is anything but perfect. Without their old bodies, their new physical identities have been lost. Hannah, an artistic prodigy, has to relearn how to hold a brush; David, a Congressman, grapples with his old habits; Connie, an actress whose stunning looks are restored after a protracted illness, tries to navigate an industry obsessed with physical beauty; and Linda, who spent eight years paralyzed after a car accident, now struggles to reconnect with a family that seems to have built a new life without her. As each tries to re-enter their previous lives and relationships they are faced with the question: how much of your identity rests not just in your mind, but in your heart, your body?

5. Followed by Frost by Charlie N. Holmberg

After 17-year-old Smitha is cursed to be as cold as her heart, Death himself offers her a chance for relief. Unwilling to give up her life, Smitha seeks redemption deep in the savage deserts, where her perpetual winter dares to make her a hero.

6. Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet by Charlie N. Holmberg

7. The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman

Quentin Coldwater has been cast out of Fillory, the secret magical land of his childhood dreams. With nothing left to lose, he returns to where his story began, the Brakebills Preparatory College of Magic, but he can’t hide from his past, and it’s not long before it comes looking for him.
Along with Plum, a brilliant young undergraduate with a dark secret of her own, Quentin sets out on a crooked path through a magical demimonde of gray magic and desperate characters. But all roads lead back to Fillory, and his new life takes him to old haunts, like Antarctica, and to buried secrets and old friends he thought were lost forever. He uncovers the key to a sorcery masterwork, a spell that could create magical utopia, and a new Fillory--but casting it will set in motion a chain of events that will bring Earth and Fillory crashing together. To save them he will have to risk sacrificing everything.

8. The Magician King by Lev Grossman

Quentin and his friends are now the kings and queens of Fillory, but the days and nights of royal luxury are starting to pall. After a morning hunt takes a sinister turn, Quentin and his old friend Julia charter a magical sailing ship and set out on an errand to the wild outer reaches of their kingdom. Their pleasure cruise becomes an adventure when the two are unceremoniously dumped back into the last place Quentin ever wants to see: his parent's house in Chesterton, Massachusetts. And only the black, twisted magic that Julia learned on the streets can save them.
The Magician King is a grand voyage into the dark, glittering heart of magic, an epic quest for the Harry Potter generation. It also introduces a powerful new voice, that of Julia, whose angry genius is thrilling. Once again Grossman proves that he is the cutting edge of literary fantasy. 

9. Chain of Thorns by Cassandra Clare

The Last Hours is a new Shadowhunters series set in 1903. It deals with the next generation after Will, Tessa and Jem as well as Charlotte and Henry’s children, Tatiana Blackthorn’s children, the Lightwood kids, and many more. 1903 is right around the time the Victorian era tips over into the Edwardian era — beautiful clothes, fabulous history and so much more that I’m excited to write about! 
The title is taken from the book Great Expectations, of which the series is a retelling: those of you who’ve read The Midnight Heir installment of the Bane Chronicles probably have some ideas about certain of the characters!
There will be three books: Chain of Thorns, Chain of Gold, and Chain of Iron — also a reference to Great Expectations.
The books will interconnect with The Dark Artifices trilogy as two separate trilogies that are also the stories of the Blackthorns, Herondales and Carstairs, much like TMI and The Infernal Devices interconnected despite taking place in different time periods and locations.

10. Furthermore by Tahareh Mafi

here are only three things that matter to twelve-year-old Alice Alexis Queensmeadow: Mother, who wouldn’t miss her; magic and color, which seem to elude her; and Father, who always loved her. The day Father disappears from Ferenwood he takes nothing but a ruler with him. But it’s been almost three years since then, and Alice is determined to find him. She loves her father even more than she loves adventure, and she’s about to embark on one to find the other.
But bringing Father home is no small matter. In order to find him she’ll have to travel through the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, where down can be up, paper is alive, and left can be both right and very, very wrong. Her only companion is a boy named Oliver whose own magical ability is based in lies and deceit—and with a liar by her side in land where nothing is as it seems, it will take all of Alice's wits (and every limb she's got) to find Father and return home to Ferenwood in one piece. On her quest to find Father Alice must first find herself—and hold fast to the magic of love in the face of loss.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Review: Finding Hope by Colleen Nelson

Hope lives in a small town with nothing to do and nowhere to go. With a drug addict for a brother, she focuses on the only thing that keeps her sane, writing poetry. To escape, she jumps at the chance to attend Ravenhurst Academy as a boarding student. She’ll even put up with the clique-ish Ravens if it means making a fresh start.
At first, Ravenhurst is better than Hope could have dreamed. She has a boyfriend and a cool roommate, and she might finally have found a place she can fit in. But can she trust her online boyfriend? And what can she do after her brother shows up at the school gates, desperate for help, and the Ravens turn on her? Trapped and unsure, Hope realizes that if she wants to save her brother, she has to save herself first. 

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3 Stars

I didn't think that this book featured anything special in terms of plot. I've read about addicts before, about cyber bullying, etc. However, what rated this book its 3 stars was the way it was written.

This book is written from two points of view: the first that of Hope; the second of Eric, Hope's brother. Hope was a bit generic for me and the only thing that set her apart from most of the other girls I've read of in similar situations is her poetry, which was honest, non rhythmic, and raw, but nothing that I would have read in a volume of poetry.

Eric's voice was the most frightening for me. The author really drew me into his paranoia, his need for more drugs, and all the horror and confusion that goes along with it. I found it unsettling, to say the list, but that's different for me. It isn't often I find a book that can make me unsure whether I want to keep reading or not because I'm feeling disturbed.

There was a part of the book I didn't like because it was a bit of a cliffhanger question that bugged me: what happened to Storm, Eric's dog?

Music Recommendation

Warning: This video is explicit, so be aware of that before watching it.

Monster by Eminem featuring Rhianna reminded me of Eric and all the horror he's facing as an addict.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Scarlet Guard Mission - New Glass Sword Trailer

As an agent of the Scarlet Guard, it is my duty to share with you a brand new trailer for Glass Sword. It brings to you new footage and an amazing glimpse into Mare's powers and her destiny as our greatest hope.

Be sure not to miss a moment of her journey. Glass Sword is available for pre-order at all the places listed below.

Barnes & Noble
Books-a-million (Signed)
IndieBound (Signed)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Clean Slate Readathon

This post is a little late coming. The Clean Slate Readathon, hosted by Latte Nights ReviewsNovel Ink, and Lost in Lit, started on Sunday and I was meant to have a progress post up by then. Oops.

Basically this readathon is mean to clear away the books that I have on my shelves that I bought and were published in 2015. That is a lot more than I could possibly read in one week, but I thought I'd give it a go.

What I conveniently forgot was that I was going to an author event in NYC on Monday, which not only took up reading time with travel and hanging out in the city, but I really wanted to get started on the new books! I mean, you would too if it were Truthwitch and Passenger!

I have managed to get some reading done, though, so I'll put up my progress post now and account for my time (as best I remember). Hopefully I can make a bigger dent in my reading list in the remaining days.

What I Intend to Read

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Soundless by Richelle Mead


Sunday, January 10
Reading: Six of Crows
Pages Read: 17
Books completed today: —

Monday, January 11
Reading: Six of Crows
Pages Read: 0
Books completed today:

Tuesday, January 12
Reading: Six of Crows
Pages Read: 0
Books completed today: —

Wednesday, January 13
Reading: Six of Crows
Pages Read: 0
Books completed today: —

Thursday, January 14
Pages Read:
Books completed today:

Friday, January 15
Pages Read:
Books completed today:

Saturday, January 16
Pages Read:
Books completed today:

Sunday, January 17
Pages Read:
Books completed today:

Biannual Bibliothon Wrap-up

This was my first readathon of the year. It did not go as well as I had planned, but it takes awhile to get into the swing of things, so that's okay.

What I did manage to read was pretty fantastic, so I'll count this one as a win, even if I didn't meet all of the challenges.

The Challenges

1. Read the Group Book
2. Read a book that has been sitting on your shelf for over a year
3. Read a book over 300 pages
4. Read a book from your favorite genre
5. Re-read your favorite book in a series
6. Judge a book by it's cover: read a book that you haven't read the synopsis of or with a synopsis you can't remember
7. Read a book that has been recommended to you more than once

I managed to read three of the seven books I intended to read: Saga, Volume 5 by Brian K. Vaughn (#4), Binge by Tyler Oakley (#6), and Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (#7).

Three books is actually pretty good. Saga was amazing, as per usual, though the clffhanger is killer and I'm anxiously awaiting the release of volume 6.

Binge had some pretty dull essays at the beginning, but I am glad that I read past them because there were some much better ones in the later half of the book.

Red Queen was very enjoyable. I did have a couple of problems with some of the characters, namely the MC Mare, and her behavior changing drastically in such short periods of time. The twists at the end, though, had me very happy that I'd pre-ordered Glass Sword.

At the time of writing this post I'm almost done with my next readathon and it isn't going nearly so well as the Biannual Bibliothon did. I better get back to reading. ;)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Self Published Books

Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey at GingerReadsLainey. This week's topic: Favorite Self Published Books.

This week was definitely a challenge. I'm not sure what to put on this list as I don't usually pay attention to publishers and I'm not sure I can think of more than three books for this list. I am sure that I've read more than that, but I sure can't remember whether they were self published or not.

So, here's my attempt. Here are the self published books that I not only remember, but that I've enjoyed reading (whether I've finished them or not).

I saw this book at a convention years ago and was able to meet the author. He was selling it there and it was so popular it had sold out, so I didn't get it until afterwards when I ordered it from his website.

It's a good, fun book and I think fans of anime, video games, etc. will love it. Others would hopefully enjoy it as well. It has a good insight into the Japanese culture fandom.

I wasn't sure at first if this was self published, but the original manuscript was so I'm counting it! Apparently a "real" publisher found it during the tour and it became mass produced.

This might be the most well known book on this list and possibly one of the most "controversial". A lot of people didn't like it because it had a lot of tropes from the fantasy genre and this wasn't good to them.

I enjoyed it, though I will say that this book as well as the others in the series are bricks and take some doing to get through.

This is a novel that doesn't get enough credit. It's a bit rough around the edges, but it as a decent plot going and with a little editing and a reprint, I think this would definitely get more than few YA fans talking.

This is my favorite of the ones I've selected today. It's got magic, it's got books, and it has an amazing female lead. Everyone needs to read it and I sure as heck need to finish it . :) There is one more book in the series published currently and one more coming out soon.

As of the writing of this post, I can't think of another book to round out Top 5 Wednesday. What book do you think should have made it? I'll be making the rounds tomorrow and seeing what everyone else has chosen. Maybe they'll jog my memories.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

One Lovely Blog Award

Let me start off by saying the biggest thank you to Sierra from SDAVReads for nominating me for this award. It was very unexpected, but I was ever so pleased when I read her post about it.

Here are the rules:

1. You must thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
2. You must list the rules and display the award.
3. You must add 7 facts about yourself.
4. You must nominate 5 other bloggers and comment on one of their posts to let them know they have been nominated.

My 7 Factoids:

1. I am an unapologetic crazy cat lady. At the current moment we have six.

2. I'm not a fan of eating a huge meal. I'm much more of a tapas person.

3. Since beginning to watch BookTube, read blogs, and creating my own blog, I've picked up the habit of needing a series to match i.e. editions, formats, etc. It can get expensive, but I find it worth it.

4. I did and still do like the Twilight books and movies. I'll never say they're the best of either format, but I enjoy them and went to the midnight release of Breaking Dawn (book).

5. I can't sleep without music or a movie playing in the background.

6. I would move to a real Stars Hollow in a heartbeat, nosy neighbors and all.

7. I have a problem. It is that I start books and don't finish them as much as I'd like. With good books, I like to think this is because I don't want it to end. If I never finish it, it'll never be over, right?


Ardis @ Pondering the Prose

Sarah @ The YA Book Traveler

Lillie @ Little Lillie Reads

Hannah and/or Gabrielle  @ The Irish Banana Review

Jennifer @ That's What She Read

Top 10 Tuesday: Top Ten 2015 Releases I Meant To Get To But Didn't

This is a great post for this week. Thank you, as always, to The Broke and the Bookish for this meme. As anyone who has seen my reading challenge post for the year will know, this week is the Clean Slate Readathon. It's a readathon all about reading those books published in 2015 that we bought but never got around too.

I don't think I'll do this list in any particular order, except to say that if it's on this list, it is definitely a top priority regarding 2015 books.

As an aside, I suppose you could consider this my informal TBR for the Clean Slate Challenge. :)

1. This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzie Lee

2. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

3. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

4. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

5. The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

6. The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

7. Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

8. Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

9. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

10. The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

Monday, January 11, 2016

Review: The Truth by Jeffry W. Johnston

When Chris wakes up tied to a chair in a dark basement, he knows that he's trapped—and why. He shot and killed Derek's little brother. He had his reasons, but no matter how far Derek goes to uncover the truth about that night, Chris's story won't change. It can't. There is far too much at stake…
Derek is desperate to prove his brother didn't deserve to die. And if kidnapping his brother's killer is the only way to the truth, than he'll go to extremes. But Chris's truth is far more dangerous than Derek could have imagined, and knowing could cost both their lives… 

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4 Stars

This was a bit of an odd book for me. The writing was done well; it was fast paced even if the events of the book only took place over a couple of hours. The combination of those two things made the story feel surreal at times.

The plot itself was straightforward, though there was a twist hanging over the head of the reader. I thought that I knew what it would be, since other reviewers seemed to have guessed it, but it wasn't what I expected. I enjoyed the shock of it.

The ending didn't go in the direction I'd expected either. Normally I dislike books that have a cliffhanger ending when there's no intention of a sequel, but this one was uneasy and intense and good. It ended, in that the main point of the story was wrapped up, but there's a hanging thread that leaves you wondering how the characters are going to fair now that the book is over.

The Truth had a few nail biting moments that encouraged me to keep reading and I'm glad I did. It's a quick, somewhat suspenseful read that's not too complicated to get through in an afternoon.

Music Recommendation

Despite the way things end up working out, I think this song speaks to the hope that each brother had before it all went down hill. Derek and Chris were both incredible brothers, but their circumstances led them along a much more terrible path than they ever imagined.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Sunday Street Team Review: The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry

Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves. 
Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start…until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.
That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.
Emily Henry’s stunning debut novel is Friday Night Lights meets The Time Traveler’s Wife, and perfectly captures those bittersweet months after high school, when we dream not only of the future, but of all the roads and paths we’ve left untaken.

Rating: 4 Stars

I received an ARC of this book as part of an ARC tour, courtesy of Nori's Sunday Street Team.

I am so glad that I signed up to read this book as part of the Sunday Street Team. I thought that the plot looked interesting, so I thought I'd give it a try and wow, I do not regret it one bit.

Natalie is one of my new favorite heroines. She shared some traits with a lot of other female characters that I've read in my favorite books, but she had enough of her own personality to make me rate her among girls like Hermione, Luna, and Katniss.

This is one of those stories that it was engulfing. I would sit down to read a chapter and then look up and realize an hour or more had passed and I was having trouble re-enter the real world because I wanted to stay with Natalie and Grandmother and all the other characters that I wanted to know more and more about.

The writing was very good, as mentioned above. I don't think you get sucked into a book and its world if the writing stinks. There were many dull spots and there were just enough funny bits to alleviate the pressure from the story.

Goodreads Link

About the Author:

Emily Henry is full-time writer, proofreader, and donut connoisseur. She studied creative writing at Hope College and the New York Center for Art & Media Studies, and now spends most of her time in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the part of Kentucky just beneath it. She tweets @EmilyHenryWrite.

Music Recommendation

Lindsey Stirling is always good for reading and this song is what reminded me the most of Natalie and her journey in The Love that Split the World.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Top 5 Wednesday: Top 5 Fandoms

Thanks to Gingerreadslainey for this week's topic, the hardest one yet!

This one took some thinking. I mean, I'm a part of so many fandoms, how can I really narrow it down? A lot of it is dependent on my mood at the time, what I consider my most favorite in the moment. Some of them are my favorites because I've been a part of them so long it's sort of default (i.e. Disney movies: grown up on them, kind of part of the fandom whether I realized it or not).

Normally Top 5 Wednesday are reserved for book topics, but I wanted to think outside of the box and went with my favorites from across the board: movies, television, and books.

Counting down to number one,  here are my top 5 fandoms:

5. Twilight

This goes for both the books and the movies.

I understand why a lot of people don't like either. Heck, I'm not terribly impressed with the movies either, but they're good in a cheesy kind of way.

The books too had their problems; underlying messages and all that. When I first read them, though, I wasn't really thinking about any of that. I was just enjoying what I thought, and still kind of think, is a good story. Great, no; good, yes.

I remember when there were the first rumors that a movie would be coming out. That was when it started feeling like I was a part of the fandom because the talk about the books and what we hoped would be in the movies really came to the fore front. It was a fun time and I miss it.

4. Percy Jackson

I got into this series very late. All of the books in the Percy Jackson series are published, the Heroes of Olympus series was nearly done, as well as the Kane Chronicles. This means, of course, I don't always get the jokes and trivia right away, but it's a great fandom that I'm working my way through.

If I had to pick, I would've said I'd be a Daughter of Athena, but my first quiz said that I was a Daughter of Hades. Unexpected, but I'll wear the title proudly. :)

3. Gilmore Girls

Thanks be to Netflix for having this on the website. This is one of very few shows that I can watch straight through only to restart it a moment later. The humor, the characters, the setting...I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again and again: I wish I could live in Stars Hollow.
2. Superwholock

I realize this might be considered cheating as it is technically the combination of three fandoms into one. Really, though, how did you think I was going to fit my favorites onto such a tiny list?

I have loved Doctor Who since I first started watching the reboot all those years ago. I watched it, caught up with it around Season 6, and have continued to this day. I watched Old Who as well, but not as much because I only have a few of the dvds.

Supernatural started out as a binge for me and I loved it, thankfully. It's been a rough road for the boys and for us fans emotionally. May it continue for many more seasons.

I had never read any Sherlock stories before meeting my husband, but as he was a fan, I thought I ought to give them a try. I haven't read all of them yet, but they're very good. We started watching the movies together and when we saw this show being introduced settled in to watch it. It was amazing and we've both become huge fans of it since, quoting it constantly to each other.

1. Harry Potter

I don't think I started reading these books until at least Prisoner of Azkaban was released, so I was a bit behind but I think I made it just in time to be part of the Potter generation.

I love this series more than any other and constantly re-read it. I have started reading the first book to my son and I can't wait until he's old enough to be Sorted (though we're pretty sure he's a Slytherin).

There were things and concepts in these books that I hadn't thought of before or at least hadn't remembered. This was the first book series that I had pre-orders for, that I waited in line for the midnight release for.

I wish, more than anything, that I could go back and re-read them for the first time. I can't remember all my thoughts and emotions from back in the day, but I'm betting they were pretty intense.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Top 10 Tuesday: Top Ten Resolutions For 2016

I don't usually make resolutions because I'm terrible at keeping them. When I saw that The Broke and the Bookish had selected resolutions as their top ten idea for the first Tuesday of 2016 I was hesitant, but I figured that if it's book related, I'd probably have a better chance at completing them.

There's no particular order, but I would like to see these things accomplished in the coming year:

1. Read A Game of Thrones

I've watched the first two seasons of this show and I've heard everyone talking about it for years, so I think it's time that I at least try to get through the first book.

2. Read more classics

I know the stories because of the movies I've seen or the Disney cartoons I've watched as a kid, but I've never read the original books for a lot of works. 

3. Attend more author events

I attended my first real author event last September and I want to go to many more this year, the first of which will be the Susan Dennard and Alexandra Bracken launch event next Monday.

4. Volunteer at the library

I got the training to volunteer at my library last year, but I never seemed to have the time to actually volunteer. I hope to fix that this year.

5. Stick to my Goodreads goal (250 books)

It's a little on the big side this year, but I want to hit my goal and be fine with it. I won't worry about not making it or, if I do make it, worrying about making it higher and higher until I end up not really making it by 2017.

6. Participate in more challenges

I tend to forget about challenges or only find out about them at the last minute. This year I have an entry on this blog that will help me keep track of all the challenges I plan to take part in and when they're happening so I won't miss them.

7. Read more of my current books

They might not be on my active tbr, but I want to read more of the books I already own. I'm not going to stop buying books or anything, just maybe remember that I have a ton of good books at home already that I want to read.

8. Read more of my NetGalley books

My rating ratio is something like 67% at the moment and I want to get all those books done, or at least get my ratio to 85% or more.

9. Comment on other blogs more

I want to take advantage of all the blogging friends I've made in the past year and comment more on their blogs.

10. Keep up on my own blog

Sometimes I lapse in my own posting and I want to be better about that. No skipping posts if at all possible. Definitely try to think of new things to add to the blog. Maybe giveaways, buddy reads, who knows?