Monday, March 6, 2017

Books I Read in February

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco - 3.5 stars (finished 2/3)
I am not typically a fan of historical fiction and can find it hard to read at times, however, this novel was NOT one of those kinds of books for me. I flew through it and loved the additions of media related to the story. I know with certainty that I am not interested in continuing the series because I feel like even though I did like this book, I didn't love it. It also ended with some resolve where it could easily be a standalone book. I did like the characters and feel they were very well developed, but the plot was a little on the dry side and there was a lot that didn't really contribute to the plot overall. I wasn't really surprised with who was named as Jack the Ripper or the reasoning behind it. I kind of figured that's who it was about midway through. So overall, not a bad read by any means, but definitely not something that blew me away.

The Vile Village by Lemony Snicket - 4 stars (finished 2/3)
I like that in this story, the villainous scheme is a little less obvious and the children are beginning to get more worn down by constantly having to be on their toes. I could not remember what happened in this book, so it was like reading it for the first time. I think I remember what the real V.F.D. stands for, but I'm not 100%. It's been too long.

Heartless by Marissa Meyer - 5 stars (finished 2/13)
I love the idea of a villain origin story and Wonderland is one of those incredibly enchanting worlds where anything can happen. It was such a good choice to pick such a world to do an origin story and there are so many characters that could have been selected, but the Queen of Hearts was definitely a perfect choice. I think this may have been my first origin story read, so it was interesting to "know" what would happen to the character in their future, but not really know how they got there. I have only read Cinder by Marissa Meyer, so I can't really speak on good authority as to if all her books are written so well, but Heartless and Cinder were both magnificent. Meyer is great at world building, character growth, and describing scenes without being boring.

Cath (Queen of Hearts) is a girl after my own heart, no pun intended. Her love of food and eating spoke to me. I adored every part that involved her describing food she had seen or had made or was eating. I loved the bits of Cheshire because I have always loved Cheshire as a character -- it's the crazy cat lady in me, I suppose. I especially loved the bits with Hatter...because as much as it was Cath's story, you got to see some of how Hatter became who most of us are familiar with. I honestly would take a whole story just with the Mad Hatter being the main character. I didn't have strong feelings towards Jest really. I thought he was a good character, but I didn't love him. I didn't hate him either. I did despise Cath's parents, Peter Peter, and the King of Hearts. Those are all characters I would love to give a good shaking.

Overall, I was so glad this book lived up to the hype. It was such a wonderful story. Truly.

The Hostile Hospital by Lemony Snicket - 4 stars (finished 2/28)
This installment of the ASOUE series is much more sinister than the others...even though there have been plenty of horrible things happening. Up until this point, I feel like Count Olaf's troop was toned down and didn't seem as villainous as him. This book really shows how evil they are too. Once again, there is a little more information (literally the smallest of pieces) given to the past that has led to the Baudelaire's unfortunate circumstances.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March TBR List + Upcoming Releases

So February slowed down for me a lot because we had 2 of 3 kids celebrating birthdays, plus our family just came down and we also celebrated my brother-in-law and sister-in-law's birthdays as well. Because our family has all the February birthdays haha. I didn't really accomplish as much of my overall goals as I wanted, but I'm not too upset because I am still ahead in my yearly Goodreads goal and I'm pretty convinced March will be a great reading month for me. So here are my March goals:
  1. Series of Unfortunate Events: FINISH. I'm typing this up on the last day of Feb and I'm hoping to finish the 8th book today...then I have 9-13. Just five more. I can do this!
  2. I would like to read some of my Owlcrate books. That list is now: Of Fire and Stars, Roseblood, Caraval, and My Lady Jane.
  3. I rarely buy books anymore, but picked up To All the Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han and This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab at Target because I have heard really great things about both books. So I hope to read one of them in March to justify buying them LOL

Goodreads Challenge: 9/52 books
ABC Challenge: 8/26 books
Travel Gnome Challenge: 3/23 books
Series Challenge: 0/10 series
Movie Adaptation Challenge: 0/3 books
Netgalley Challenge: 2/25 books
Throwback Book Club: 7/12 books
Diversity Bingo 2017: 0/36 books

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Book Review: Fearless Travelers' Guide to Wicked Places by Pete Begler

Publish Date: March 1, 2017
384 pages [Kindle edition]
Capstone Young Readers

Twelve-year-old Nell Perkins knows there is magic at work that she can’t yet understand. Her mother has been taken by witches and turned into a bird. Nell must journey to get her mother back, even if it takes her deep into the Wicked Places — the frightening realm where Nightmares resides. There she must break the spell and stop the witches from turning our world into a living nightmare.

My Thoughts:
I was gifted this book via Netgalley.
The cover of this book is seriously stunning and that's all I have to say about that. I thought the premise sounded very interesting and was really looking forward to reading this because it's classified as a middle grade novel and I am trying to get ahead of the game, so I can recommend books to my veracious little bookworms. This book started off very well and I was impressed with how things were being revealed as the plot progressed. Then it kind of went off the deep end. It was a lot of information and a lot of describing characters and places that I feel did not add to the story, as much as it bogged it down. I got about 40% in before I started speed-reading it. Normally, I would have just set this in my DNF pile...however, as I had said before, the premise was really interesting and it did start off well. I had to know what happened. There were pretty exciting parts that I did slow down to enjoy, but I feel overall that this is too much book. It may have been better off being split into smaller chunks with a little bit better flow. I also really think this would make an excellent mini series.

Find on Goodreads

Friday, February 17, 2017

Weekly Wrap-Up

I have been bad for not updating. I'm starting to slowly week some things out of my schedule that I'm losing interest in and trying to figure out what I would like to do with my time. I decided to stop filming planner videos (at least for now) because I'm always scrambling to film and scrambling to edit and get very frustrated. I would like to focus more of my time on reading. I've been loving that lately and feel so much more like my old self. My main focus online has been my food blog and I honestly think that will remain. This blog has always been more of a hobby. I may photograph and share hauls of Owlcrate boxes and ipsy glam bags, etc., but the majority of the posts here will be TBR on the 1st, What I Read in {Month} posts, and my weekly wrap-ups.

My baby girl turned 9 on the 11th. I still can't believe it. Very shortly, Mason will turn 2 and Matthew will turn 10. Ugh! They grow up too quickly.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Books I Read in January

The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles - 4 stars (finished 1/5)
Review: here.
I was gifted this book via Netgalley.

The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket - 5 stars (finished 1/12)
I love that even though I am now a 28 year old adult person... I can still enjoy these books as much as I did when I read them in my early teen years. They are just so funny and brilliant...and dark. The best non-happy ending story I've ever read. I think the wittiness is so quick and unexpected at times...or perhaps just the humor itself - not necessarily wit. IDK. Regardless, love this series.

This particular book is not one of my favorites, but I still have to rate it 5 stars because it's still such a good book. The Baudelaire orphans have arrived to live with their Aunt Josephine (who isn't really their aunt), who is a widow and also frightened of literally everything. She also loves grammar. Her love of grammar was probably the most annoying part of the book.

The Miserable Mill by Lemony Snicket - 3.5 stars (finished 1/15)
This is not my most favorite of the series. It seems relatively short compared to the other stories and I think that's only because not much really actually happens. It's a very blah book.

The Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket - 4.5 stars (finished 1/20)
I have always rather liked this book even though it's incredibly depressing..I mean all the books are depressing, but this one is just rather sad because even through all their experiences, the Baudelaires don't seem as down as they do in this book. They even meet another set of orphans and befriend them. So there are good things that DO happen, but the bad stuff is just so bad that it's so hard to not feel so bummed for the Baudelaires. Nero is one of those characters who you just want to slap. Count Olaf, I feel, gets even darker in this book. AND a little more is revealed that starts unraveling the past and I love that.

The Ersatz Elevator by Lemony Snicket - 5 stars (finished 1/22)
It may be because I went into the book "blind", a word here that means I couldn't remember what happened in this book of the series, but I really enjoyed this one. I totally forgot who was assisting Count Olaf and most of the details of what happened in the plot. The guardians in this book, while one did know the Baudelaire's mother, are per usual.

The Fearless Travelers' Guide to Wicked Places by Pete Begler - 2.5 stars (finished 1/26)
My review will be up closer to its release date of Mar 1.
I was gifted this book via Netgalley.