Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Summer Biannual Bibliothon [Day 4]

Today's blogger challenge is hosted by Amy of Bursting with Books and we are talking about a book we've rated 3 stars or less.

The last book I finished that I rated 3 stars or less was Wedding Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke. I rated it at 2.5 stars.


This is the 19th book in the Hannah Swensen series. I have loved this mystery series for a really long time, but the last couple of books have definitely gotten really awful. The story has had a love triangle from like book 1. Suddenly a third guy comes waltzing in and he is a manipulative person. I don't know if it's meant to come off that way in the story or if it's something I'm side-eying, but I hope that the author is setting him up to be the manipulative jerk that eventually goes away. The plot seemed very forced and the recipes took over. In the first book, there were 7 recipes. This installment had 20.

For me, 3 stars is an okay rating. It's not bad and it's not good. It's meh. Once you go to 1 or 2 stars, it's different. 1 star is a book I didn't finish or one that was so awful that it caused me to be annoyed, irritated, or pissed off. 2 stars is a less than okay. It's not ridiculously awful, but it wasn't a meh read. I definitely didn't like the book.

READING UPDATE:
I'm determined to have a really good reading day for day 4. Day 3 wasn't the worst, but I could've done better. I kept getting distracted by the internet.

DAY 3 PROGRESS:
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks [Kindle] - 59% (~96 pages read)
The Upside of Unrequited [Physical] - didn't read

TOTAL: 220 pages  

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Summer Biannual Bibliothon [Day 3]

Day 3 Blogger Challenge is hosted by Dominique of Pirates N Pixie Dust. Today, we are challenged to take a book we love and imagine the story was told from the antagonist's perspective. Then we get to rewrite synopsis in the villain's POV.

I chose to do Lemony Snicket's The Bad Beginning, which has always been one of my favorite books {although I almost chose Matilda}. It's told as a letter to the reader from Lemony Snicket, so I'm going to stick with that format :)


Dear Reader,

I apologize to inform you that the book you are about to read is an awful and horrible story. It is the depressing story about a lonely man. Even though he is an esteemed actor and very handsome man, Count Olaf's life is terrible. Even from the beginning of this story, when he finds he is the custodial guardian of three orphans with a huge but untouchable fortune, reaching until the final page of the book, tragedy befalls him. One might say he can't catch a break.


Solely amongst the pages of this book, he endures a banker with whopping cough, a baby who bites, a know-it-all smart aleck, a girl who breaks everything to invent garbage, puttanesca for dinner, and an unreliable narrator.

It is my misfortune to have to tell his unfortunate story, but you do not have to read about these unpleasant events. In fact, you can read something much better and happier at any time.

With all due respect,
Lemony Snicket


READING UPDATE:
Another poor day of reading...I didn't do any sprints. Mondays are always hard with grocery shopping and all that. Plus we had some friends come in from out of state and it was definitely more important to spend time with them. It honestly was a blast :)

DAY 2 PROGRESS:
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks [Kindle] - 28% (~18 pages read today)
The Upside of Unrequited [Physical] - didn't read today

TOTAL: 124 pages 

Book Review: Mabel Opal Pear and the Rules for Spying by Amanda Hosch


Publish Date: August 1, 2017
272 pages [Hardcover edition]
Capstone Young Readers

Synopsis:  
A young spy gets entangled in an action-filled, whodunit mystery! When Mabel's parents leave town without warning, she isn't worried. They're spies, after all. But when her beloved Aunt Gertie is arrested for leading a smuggling ring, then her obnoxious Uncle Frank and Aunt Stella show up, demanding to be let into the family's private museum things begin to look fishy. Especially since Mabel hasn't heard from her parents in days. Tackling a mystery like this one is what she has been training for her whole, short life. Using her self-authored spy handbook, will Mabel be able to find her parents and unmask the real criminal before it's too late?

My Thoughts:

I was gifted this book via Netgalley.

The title, cover, and synopsis of this book drew me in immediately. A little ten year old named Mabel -- come on! How cute is that! I think my galley was missing a few pages in front and back, but I got most of the rest of the novel and ADORE it. I cannot wait for this to come out and for my 9 year old daughter and 10 year old son to be able to read it. I know they will both love it too. I think the inner child in all of us once wanted to be a spy and this book definitely brought me back to my childhood and how much I loved following clues and figuring out whodunit. Mabel is an absolutely strong character. She's brilliant and likeable. I would want to be friends with Mabel. I would want my kids to be friends with Mabel. I loved all the little spy nuances that her parents left behind to keep Mabel in the loop. The attention to detail that Hosch put into this book was just superb. The characters and plot were just so rich and strong. I cannot say enough good things about this book.

Find on Goodreads

Monday, July 24, 2017

Summer Biannual Bibliothon [Day 2]

Today's blogger challenge is hosted by Kassie of Miss Sassy Kassie. The challenge is to write a book review. I am pretty good about writing my reviews as soon as I finish a book, so here are three of my most recent reviews (linked to Goodreads)

Dreaming of Antigone by Robin Bridges // Synopsis: Every star has its own path…

“I can’t ever be the blazing star that Iris was. I’m still just a cold, dark satellite orbiting a star that went super nova.”

Andria’s twin sister, Iris, had adoring friends, a cool boyfriend, a wicked car, and a shelf full of soccer trophies. She had everything, in fact—including a drug problem. Six months after Iris’s death, Andria is trying to keep her grades, her friends, and her family from falling apart. But stargazing and books aren’t enough to ward off her guilt that she—the freak with the scary illness and all-black wardrobe—is still here when Iris isn’t. And then there’s Alex Hammond. The boy Andria blames for Iris’s death. The boy she’s unwittingly started swapping lines of poetry and secrets with, even as she tries to keep hating him.


Aftercare Instructions by Bonnie Pipkin // Synopsis: “Troubled.” That’s seventeen-year-old Genesis according to her small New Jersey town. She finds refuge and stability in her relationship with her boyfriend, Peter—until he abandons her at a Planned Parenthood clinic during their appointment to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. The betrayal causes Gen to question everything.

As Gen pushes herself forward to find her new identity without Peter, she must also confront her most painful memories. Through the lens of an ongoing four act play within the novel, the fantasy of their undying love unravels line by line, scene by scene. Digging deeper into her past while exploring the underground theater world of New York City, she rediscovers a long-forgotten dream. But it’s when Gen lets go of her history, the one she thinks she knows, that she’s finally able to embrace the complicated, chaotic true story of her life, and take center stage.


Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst // Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile lands. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a kingdom where magic is forbidden.

Now, Denna must learn the ways of her new home while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria’s formidable warhorses—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine—called Mare—the sister of her betrothed.

When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two become closer, Mare is surprised by Denna’s intelligence and bravery, while Denna is drawn to Mare’s independent streak. And soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more.

But with dangerous conflict brewing that makes the alliance more important than ever, acting on their feelings could be deadly. Forced to choose between their duty and their hearts, Mare and Denna must find a way to save their kingdoms—and each other.


READING UPDATE:
I planned on reading last night, but ran into a little bit of an issue. As Nick and I were finishing up our episode of Shameless and about to head to bed, the power went out with a nice loud pop. I think the wind gusting caused the transformer in front of our house to go out because down the road, the street lights were on. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was only on my phone...not my actual Kindle or the tablet. Since the power was out, Nick's alarm clock was out and his phone was at like 20% and mine was at 65%, so I didn't want to kill off my battery in the event that the power didn't come back on for him to have to leave for work. That meant no reading on my phone. So I ended up starting The Upside of Unrequited in physical format.

DAY 1 PROGRESS:
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks [Kindle] - 22% (~68 pages)
The Upside of Unrequited [Physical] - 38 pages

TOTAL: 106 pages 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Summer Biannual Bibliothon [Day 1]

Day 1's blogger challenge is hosted by 4TeenLiars and is a series of questions to answer :) I'm going to try and update on my social media (goodreads, insta, and twitter - linked in my sidebar).
  1. What are you planning to read for the Summer Biannual Bibliothon? The Flame in the Mist by Renee Adhieh, The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli, Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia, and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  2. What is your favorite genre to read in the summer? I don't have a preferred genre. I am a mood reader!
  3. What is your favorite place to read in the summer? Inside in the A/C LOL
  4. What is your favorite challenge done in the Summer Biannual Bibliothon? This is my first time participating :)
  5. What fictional character would you hang out in the summer with, if you could? Hermione. I feel like she'd be a bookworm and I'd definitely get along with her.
  6. What are your plans for summer? To survive it! We just finished school supply shopping because the kids are back in school in a few weeks.
  7. Do you have a summer reading playlist. If not, what would be on it? Nope. I don't really have playlists for reading.
  8. What is your favorite summer movie? Grease! Most of it is set in school, but it's still like that last part of school and summer is within grasp and then they have the big carnival at the end. It's just like that huge relief that summer is here.
  9. What book do you read every summer? If not, what thing do you do every summer? I start rereading Harry Potter every summer. I most likely will start on the 31st of July once again :)
  10. What other book tags are you planning to do this summer? I am really new to book tags, so if you want to direct me to your favorite, I am all ears!!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Mid-Year Book Freak Out 2017

I had seen this going around Booktube and loved the idea :) I'm a little late to the game but only by like 2 weeks!

Hosted by Earl Grey Books and ReadLikeWildfire
  1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2017. A tie between Heartless by Marissa Meyer and My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows, and Cynthia Hand. I loved them both so much.
  2. Best sequel you've read so far in 2017. The rereads of The Wide Window and The Ersatz Elevator - both in the Series of Unfortunate Events.
  3. New release you haven't read yet, but want to. Caraval by Stephanie Garber.
  4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year. Tie between Warcross by Marie Lu (I've read an excerpt and LOVED it) and They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera (love the premise).
  5. Biggest disappointment. Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
  6. Biggest surprise. My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows, and Cynthia Hand. I didn't really expect to like it but had heard it was so so funny. It was. I laughed out loud so many times.
  7. Favorite new author. (Debut or new to you) Amanda Hosch! I read her debut middle grade, Mabel Opal Pear and the Rules for Spying, and it was adorable. It's set to come out in October.
  8. Newest fictional crush. I have none - most of the romantic interests have been annoying. o.O
  9. Newest favorite character. Mabel Opal Pear from Mabel Opal Pear and the Rules for Spying by Amanda Hosch.
  10. Book that made you cry. I don't think I've cried yet this year that I can recall.
  11. Book that made you happy. My Lady Jane!
  12. Favorite book to film adaptation you saw this year. I have watched Miss Peregrine's School for Peculiar Children, but I haven't read the book yet. The movie was amazing.
  13. Favorite review you've written this year. My review for Heartless and My Lady Jane.
  14. Most beautiful book you've bought so far this year (or received). Flame in the Mist by Renee Adhieh is stunning!!
  15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year? All of the books on my desk :S

Monday, July 17, 2017

Summer Biannual Bibliothon [Reading List]


I didn't really get to participate in the last Biannual Bibliothon, even though I followed along. This time I think I am prepared enough to do it and I'm excited. The Summer Biannual Bibliothon runs from Jul 23rd through Jul 29th and the Live Show is on Sunday, Jul 30th. This time there will be video challenges (as per usual) plus Instagram and blog challenges. PLUS the normal reading challenges which I will talk about in this post :)

For the group reading challenges, you are allowed to double up (a book can count for two), but not triple up. So I will be taking advantage of that because with 7 group challenges equaling 7 books, I know I would not be very successful. So let's talk reading challenges and my reading list!

  1. GROUP BOOK: Flame in the Mist by Renee Adieh - I'm really excited about this one. I have read an excerpt and really enjoyed that little bit.
  2. READ FROM A HOST'S FAVORITE GENRE: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli - this is from Emma's favorite genre: diverse books. I know there is some LGBTQIA+ representation, as well as, underrepresented body type.
  3. BANNED BOOK: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Funny enough, this book was actually banned/challenged in Knoxville, where I live now, for too much graphic information.
  4. THROWBACK CHALLENGE: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia. I'm using the "Book over 300 pages" challenge for this one from Winter 2016 Bibib.
  5. BOOK TO MOVIE ADAPTATION: Doubling up with The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
  6. READ A BOOK NOT FOUND FROM BOOKTUBE: Doubling up with Eliza and Her Monsters - found via Owlcrate sub. I had never heard of it. I typically don't watch unboxings until I unbox my own Owlcrate.
  7. LGBTQIA+: Doubling up with The Upside of Unrequited :)

Even 4 books is quite the stretch for me and I'm hoping that I can attempt to finish all four. I have hardback copies of Eliza and Upside and Immortal Life on my Kindle. I just need to get my hands on Flame in the Mist...otherwise, I'm prepared and ready to read.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Series Challenge - Update #2


At the beginning of 2017 I was in the middle of 63 series. In March, I went through my TBR and removed books I no longer was interested in or series I knew I was never going to finish. In the past 3 months (April, May, June), I didn't read a lot of my series books. I just wasn't feeling it. However, I'm still proud to say...no new series added!

As of 7/1...
I have finished 0 series.
I have started 0 new series
I have read 1 books in series.


I am currently in the middle of 57 series. Still. :S

You can check out my list of series books here. I will be back in the beginning of October for my third update. I do hope to finish 5 series by then. I want to say my goal for the year is 10 and I have NOT done reached the halfway point yet :/ Oops!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Book Review: Aftercare Instructions by Bonnie Pipkin


Publish Date: June 27, 2017
352 pages [Paperback edition]
Flatironc

Synopsis:
In the tradition of Jandy Nelson and Rainbow Rowell, a big-hearted journey of furious friendship, crazy love, and unexpected hope after a teen's decision to end an unwanted pregnancy

“Troubled.” That’s seventeen-year-old Genesis according to her small New Jersey town. She finds refuge and stability in her relationship with her boyfriend, Peter—until he abandons her at a Planned Parenthood clinic during their appointment to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. The betrayal causes Gen to question everything.

As Gen pushes herself forward to find her new identity without Peter, she must also confront her most painful memories. Through the lens of an ongoing four act play within the novel, the fantasy of their undying love unravels line by line, scene by scene. Digging deeper into her past while exploring the underground theater world of New York City, she rediscovers a long-forgotten dream. But it’s when Gen lets go of her history, the one she thinks she knows, that she’s finally able to embrace the complicated, chaotic true story of her life, and take center stage.

This powerfully immersive and format-crushing debut follows Gen from dorm rooms to diners to house parties to auditions—and ultimately, right into readers’ hearts.


My Thoughts:
I was gifted this ebook via Netgalley.
This story follows Genesis, a 17 year old from New Jersey. She is getting an abortion. The story goes through the timeline following the abortion and flashbacks in a play format from the events leading up to the abortion. It was a very character-rich, character-driven story and I really enjoyed it. The writing style was so easy to read and so easy to really connect with Genesis and her life. I wish there was a little more about her parents and family in the book and would ready a second one about it - 100 percent. However, it was still a wonderful read. It really handled touchy subjects well IMO.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Books I Read in June



The Soul Thief by Majanka Verstraete - 3 stars (finished 6/9)
BOOK 1 IN ANGEL OF DEATH SERIES
I was gifted this ebook via Netgalley.
Review: here. 

Kathy Griffin's Celebrity Run-Ins: My A-Z Index by Kathy Griffin - 4 stars (finished 6/10)
Kathy Griffin is one of my favorite comediannes and I live for these tales of her run-ins with different celebrities. A lot of her standup is pop culture related and she is so good at what she does. It's interesting to hear about the celebs that are good sports. I especially loved hearing about the exchanges between Morgan Freeman and Don Rickles. AND her relationship with Kris Jenner, especially after all her digs at the Kardashian/Jenner family. My favorite "chapter" was probably the Weird Al one though :) Perfect light read and absolutely hilarious. 

Wedding Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke - 2.5 stars (finished 6/15)
BOOK 19 IN HANNAH SWENSEN SERIES
I knew I was going to hate this book because I'm not happy who Hannah is with. The plot was okay, but seemed really forced. I feel like the recipes are taking over. I love food. I love recipes. I am a self-proclaimed recipe hoarder who blogs about food. But these books used to have so much more to them. I'm still hoping that her groom drops dead or is the murderer in the next book or someone speaks up and stops the wedding. There are so many instances throughout the book where Hannah was being manipulated by him and so many where she has moments of realization that she doesn't really know him as well as she knows others. 

Recipes in book: Easy Lemon Pie, Chips Galore Whippersnapper Cookies, Chocolate Almond Crisps, Green Tomatillo Stew, Cheesy Chili Corn Muffins, Soft Chewy Milk Chocolate Cookies, Magic White Chocolate Souffle, Vanilla Nutmeg Sauce, Milk Chocolate Sauce, Double Rainbow Swirl Cake, White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting, Breakfast Puffs, Butterscotch Sugar Cookies, White Chocolate Mocha, Chocolate Coffee Cake, Lunchbox Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies, Peanut Butter Potato Chip Cookies, Angel Crunch Cookies, Honey Drop Cookies, and Blue Banana Muffins. In the second book, there were SEVEN recipes. This one has TWENTY. 

Dreaming of Antigone by Robin Bridges - 4.5 stars (finished 6/19)
I was gifted this ebook via Netgalley.
Review: here.

The Form of Unknown Things by Robin Bridges - 3.5 stars (finished 6/28)
I was gifted this ebook via Netgalley.Review: here


Saturday, July 1, 2017

July TBR List + Upcoming Releases


In June, I read 5 books and am still on track with my Goodreads challenge - actually 1 book ahead. So that is super awesome! I made a mini-goal of reading 2 Owlcrate books, 1 book off my desk, and 2 Netgalley books. I read 3 Netgalleys and I'm currently reading an Owlcrate.
  1. I am working on reading my Owlcrate books. I have Roseblood, Caraval, Daughter of a Pirate King, The Upside of Unrequited, Eliza and Her Monsters, The Sandcastle Empire, and New World: Rising on that list too.
  2. The books on my desk I have: Dead in the Family, The Slippery Slope, This Savage Song, To All the Boys I've Loved Before, Simon Thorn and the Wolf's Den, and Aftercare Instructions.
  3. Netgalley books are on my need-to-read-like-last-year list. Last month, I reported having 70 books on my Netgalley list. This month, I'm starting with 70. I read 3 books but also added 3 to my list. :/ Whoops.
  4. I joined a new reading challenge: 20 Books of Summer. The premise is to read 20 books between 1 June and 3 September. 5 books down and 15 to go.
  5. I am participating in the 2017 Summer Bibibliothon and my goal is to read 4 books: the group book, Flame in the Mist by Renee Adieh, and then The Upside of Unrequited, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia