Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday- Books On My Fall TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a really cool original feature/weekly meme created over at The Broke and The Bookish. Each week they post a new Top Ten List that bloggers join in on answering... and today (September 27th) I'm one of them :)

Today's Topic

Top Ten Books On My Fall 2016 TBR




  • I'm SUPER bad at sticking to reading lists.  I try and have really good intentions... but mood reader over here.  I get in moods and go rogue, or I go into slumps and don't read fast enough to keep up with my plans, so I change them.  But I enjoy making the plan, so here it is:





1.  The Telling by Alexandra Sirowy
  • I loved The Creeping, so I'm really excited to get to this one.
2.  And the Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich
  • My friend Cassi let me borrow this, and I think it's perfect for Halloween season :)
3.  Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig
  • I love Mystery books and I'm super excited to meet the author when the Fierce Reads Tour comes to Pittsburgh.
4.  This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills
  • I just started this yesterday... not sure if I like it yet or not, but THAT COVER!!
5.  Replica (#1) by Lauren Oliver
  • A MUST-READ for me!!




6.  We Are Still Tornadoes by Michael Kun & Susan Mullen
  • I love books written in letter form.
7.  Heartless by Marissa Meyer
  • No explantation needed.
8.  Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
  • Confession: I'm not an Illuminae super-fan like a lot of you guys.  I thought it was cool, but SO MUCH HYPE.  I do want to read the sequel though.
9.  The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
  • I can't believe I haven't read this yet.  I think I just don't want it to be over... but then Maggie goes and announces a MAYBE Ronan book, so.....
10.  The Amateurs (#1) by Sara Shepard
  • I've been missing a Sara Shepard series in my life.




What books are on your Fall TBR??


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Friday, September 23, 2016

Super Picky About Romance-- It Has To Be JUST Right



So romance...  it inevitably shows up in most YA books.  It doesn't even matter the genre.  Girl could be in the middle of a futuristic war with no food, dirty, freezing to death, and you better believe she'll be crushing on some boy who she met along the way.

Now, I have zero problems with that.  It's a book, we want to be entertained and feel something and romance is part of that.  Plus, young adulthood is a time of hormones and first loves and crushes and all that.  So I get why it's a popular book element.

The thing is--- I'm picky about my romances.  It almost has to have this perfect unexplainable FEELING for me to like it.  What I mean by that is, if some small thing feels wrong to me, I'm OUT.  Abandon ship.  Bye Girl.

Like-- the guy comes on too strong, NOPE.  the guy makes it super obvious he likes the girl from first sight and just blurts it out, nope.  There is a really traumatic event and a romance feels out of place for the story, nope.  The guys starts acting like the girl is made of porcelain, HELL NO.

But-- these allllll have exceptions.  Like in The Vincent Boys.

The Vincent Boys Exception:

  • The Vincent Boys is about a "good" girl, the preacher's daughter.  She's been in a relationship since forever with Sawyer, who is also a "good" guy.  But she's always been attracted to his bad-boy cousin Beau.  They grew up together and Beau and Ashton used to be partners in crime... but as they got older, Ashton and Sawyer paired off.  There's a bunch of BLAH things in this book like Ashton being a virgin and alluding to that making her "pure".  Also, there's like 999 descriptions of Beau's abs.  So all of that together and I would normally be like-- NO!  But the way it was written and the setting and the family, I was LOVING every minute.


Other Romances That Did and Didn't Work For Me:


My Life Next Door-- Jase-- YES!!

  • Loved how their romance developed.  Jase may have been a TAD too good to be true, but it was a sweet relationship and didn't annoy me at all.

The Female of the Species-- Jack--- LOVE

  • This definitely isn't a romance book, but when Jack and Alex get together it's kind of adorable. Jack was bordering on the cliche "hottest guy in the school who likes the girl that no one notices", but we get to see from his POV and it just works.

Tell Me Three Things-- Ethan-- BLAH

  • Ethan was fine, it was Jessie that ruined this romance for me.  It was one of those things where she's constantly in her own head drooling over him, but then telling herself she can't do that.

Stalking Jack the Ripper-- Thomas-- no then YES

  • At first I was like here we go-- another I hate you, then I love you romance.  But while Thomas was frustrating to Audrey, eventually it became this really cute back and forth banter that was fun and inappropriate in all the best ways :)

The Creeping-- Sam--OMG YES

  • Another exception.  I shouldn't have liked this Sam/Stella relationship.  He's this nerdy guy that's carried a torch for Stella no matter how horrible she's been to him through the years.  And he says weird things like "say the word and I'll be all over you".  Maybe it was the wishful thinking part of me, but I thought Sam was too adorable to get annoyed at.  We need more Sam's in the world.

This is Where it Ends--NO inappropriate

  • This book takes place during a horrific school shooting and while I know tragedies bring people together, I don't think it's appropriate for people to be outside DURING the shooting getting together.  SO insensitive.  A true example that every book does NOT have to have a romance forced in.

The Lunar Chronicles-- Too many couples

  • I love this series, but the romance elements are probably my least favorite parts. There is too much coupling up and besides Cinder and Kai (or Cinder and Thorne), I'm really not a fan of any of them (Scarlett and Wolf and totally Insta-love and Cress and Thorne is Stalker-city).

To All the Boys I've Loved Before-- Cute

  • Another example of a romance I should have not liked, but somehow I did.  Peter and Lara Jean are really cute, and to be against it would be like looking at a puppy and being like "I hate you".



I will say I don't read a lot of straight-up romance, which could be a reason that I don't love some of the romances.  The reason I don't read a lot of romance books though is because I'm super picky about it.

The end result is, it all comes down to how it's written.  Romance can go bad really easily, and it has to walk a fine line of being swoony without being overly sickening.  It probably also depends on my mood.


Now Let's Talk:
Are you super picky about romances or are you able to just go with it?  What are some of your favorite and not so favorite romances?




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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

So Obsessed... (18)

It's OBSESSIONS time!!  Here are my most recent obsessions:


Fall TV




So this week is when Fall TV starts!!  To be honest-- I don't watch a lot of TV on actual networks.  Basically I watch Project Runway, Dance Moms, Real Housewives (sometimes), Football/shows where people talk about football, and the ID network.  Everything else I watch via Netflix or Amazon Prime.  Why??  It's so much easier for me to wait for a show like American Horror Story to come out as a full season on Netflix than it is to wait and watch 1 episode per week for an entire TV season.  Also, I have SUPER bad luck with shows getting cancelled as soon as I start watching them.

Having said all that, I'd really like to try a few shows out (or at least keep an ear out to see if they're something I'd like to watch in my Netflix future)

Frequency
  • Premiere Date: October 5, 9 pm on the CW
  • It's a remake of one of my fave ever movies!!!  It's a woman this time that can talk to her dad through the ham radio.  I love everything about solving crimes through time.
Pitch
  • Premiere Date: September 22, 9 pm on Fox
  • A girl MLB pitcher??  Love the idea of it.  This has me a tad worried about making it long-term, but it's SO cool!
Timeless
  • Premiere Date: October 3, 10 pm on NBC
  • A criminal steals a time machine and a team must chase him through time to save America.  It's very Terminator and I haven't watched a time travel show in forevs!! (Like maybe since Quantum Leap??)
The Exorcist
  • Premiere Date: September 23, 9 pm on Fox
  • I should probably just give up on this one since they are airing it on FRIDAYS???  That's the kiss of death for TV shows.

Are you watching any NEW shows this fall?




Stranger Things & Now in Desperate NEED




So like most people, I watched Stranger Things this summer.  But now I'm in an EPIC Netflix slump!! Nothing is going to be as good as this was and is anything going to be as addicting???

Why I loved it (and why you should watch it if you haven't):

  • It's so true to the 80's.  Did you ever watch a show that's supposedly set in the 80's or 90's and it's SO stereotypical fake??  Like all the actors are just playing dress up instead of actually being true to the time period?  Well this isn't that.  This actually felt like I was watching a movie made in the 80's.... like Poltergeist or E.T.
  • At first I was like where is this going??  I thought it was going to be one of those big build-ups that wouldn't live up, but I was wrong.  I liked where the story went and how things played out.  It was just the right amount of creepy and sci-fi.
  • I know everyone is all !!!! over Eleven, and I thought she was fab, but I liked all the kids.  I thought they equally drove the series.
  • I need season 2 like NOW!!!

Now I need something to watch!!!  I watched the new episodes of Baby Daddy (and LOVED each one), I'm awaiting Scream season 2 on September 30, but what else can I watch???

(Here's what I've already done- Gilmore Girls, Gossip Girl, Greek, Baby Daddy, OITNB, Fuller House, AHS, Damages, Rectify, Switched at Birth, Degrassi, Pretty Little Liars, Gotham, Friends, Secret Life of the American Teenager (oh God), House of Cards, Kimmy Schmidt, Bates Motel, Dexter, SOA, Californication, Blue Mountain State, Freaks and Geeks, Parenthood, Once Upon a Time, Marcella, Scream, Stranger Things)



Bookstagram




So I've book Bookstagramming a lot lately.  I go through phases where I'm all about it, and then I get BLAH about it, but right now I'm in a groove.  I feel like I've found a good rhythm and sense of what I like and how I like to picture on there.

The thing about it is, I have to keep it fun or I'll go to the bad place:

1.  I can't take it too serious.  If I start getting all nit-picky and perfectionist about it, I'll drive myself insane.  I took a photography class in college and I really went to a bad place because of how HARD I was on myself.  I'm a Self-Loather.  Always have been.  I generally hate everything I do creatively, but if it's something I'm taking seriously, I take that hate to a whole new stress level.

If I start taking Bookstagram pics too seriously I'll wake up one day with a Canon Digital Rebel, 999 versions of editing software downloaded on my phone and laptop, and my entire day will just be me stressing out over how bad I hate my pictures and how embarrassed I am for anyone to see them.  This sounds dumb to say out loud, but this is legit how I am.  Taking Bookstagram lightly is key, so....

2.  I only allow myself to use Instagram to edit my pics.  If I fall down the rabbit hole and start using all sorts of other programs, I'll be in trouble.

3.  I don't believe in themes.  Yes, I'm sure themes look nice when you open up your or someone else's main Instagram page, but I just want to do whatever strikes me at that moment.  I don't want to feel like it has to be a certain filter or background or whatev.  I just want to go with it.

4.  I gotta keep it simple.  I like the cleaner look, I think that's more my style, but beyond that-- it's too time consuming to drag out 999 props.  I also have a touch of OCD from back when I was a kid where I don't like to move stuff.  It's a weird thing, but if I start moving things around that haven't been moved in a while I get anxiety and I really don't think Bookstagram is a good enough reason to trigger it.

5.  I just like taking pictures.  I'm not a photographer and I don't want to be one.  I don't think my pictures are anything great (self-loather coming at ya), so I am seriously just doing it for fun.

I also talked about recycling Bookstagram pics because we take them and they end up just getting buried in our feeds.  It seems like there should be other things we can use those lovely pictures for besides blog graphics.  I personally started doing THIS with them, and I'm looking for more ideas.  Do you have any??

PS- My instagram name is MichelleSulk-- follow me and I'll be sure to check your account out also :)

How is your Instagramming/Bookstagramming going?



Books




Asking For It by Louise O'Neill
  • I read this book earlier this month (and still need to review it), but I can't get it out of my mind.  It's so honest and HARD and I really think EVERY SINGLE PERSON needs to read it.  I love books that make you feel uncomfortable and the way Ms. O'Neill made an unlikable character into the victim made me feel like I swallowed a cinder block.  It hurt my head how much this book made me think about societal views on sexual assault and the role social media plays in it now.


Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
  • Holy SHIZZ I like this book!!  I just started it yesterday, but hell-to-the-yes this is a ME book.  I don't know about Alex yet, but Peekay and Jack are major YES characters.  I'm feeling the alternate POV chapters and the way the characters communicate with each other.  So far I'm INTO it.  Thanks Cassi for letting me borrow it!!


Have you read/plan to read either of these books?



Long-sleeved Dresses


  • One of my favorite things about fall (besides PLAID) is long-sleeved dresses.  I love wearing dresses because they're cute and it's an easy outfit to put together.  So now that the weather is about to turn, I'm on the hunt for some cute long-sleevers :)


Henley Long Sleeve DressFloral DressBlue Jean DressTribal Print DressVampire Dress


What do you like most about fall fashion?



Let's talk!!  What fall TV are you watching?  What fall books are you excited for?  Do you have certain fashion items you love for fall?  Tell me about your Bookstagram stuff!!



PS- See Past OBSESSION posts HERE

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Monday, September 19, 2016

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco- I Love A Smart-Ass Love Interest

Audrey Rose isn't like most society girls.  Growing up the daughter of a Lord should mean afternoon teas, coming-out parties, and social engagements.  But Audrey Rose would prefer to be apprenticing with her Uncle in his lab-- performing autopsies on the dead.  It's unusual for a girl in these times to want to work, but to have such a fascination with human anatomy and science, is truly odd.  It also must be hidden.

When gruesome murders begin happening in Whitechapel, Audrey's uncle is called in to consult.  Also hanging around is her uncle's irritating know-it-all student, Thomas Cresswell, who Audrey finds herself disgusted by and drawn to at the same time.  Will they be able to figure out who this psychotic killer is before the body count piles up?










I don't read a lot of books set in the 1800's, but when I saw the title of this book, I knew I had to read it.  I love reading books about serial killers and anything to do with true crimes will totally peak my interests.  I don't think I LOVED this book, but my like-factor was pretty high.  It reminded me of Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger without the technology.

I loved the mix of historical fiction (and the way it felt real to the time period), mystery, slight-Steampunkery, and horror.  I was hot and cold on the romance.  I started off annoyed at yet another arrogant love interest that the m/c says she can't stand, but in her head it's totally obvious she's into him.  On the other hand, Thomas grew on me because he became playful and funny and less over-the-top asshole-ish as the book went on.  I really started liking his inappropriateness, especially for the time period.  I don't think it was common for a man to talk to a lady of such high class the way Thomas did, and I started to find it really adorable and funny.

I did figure out who the killer was early on, and I think it will be super obvious to most people who read a lot.  In that aspect it felt like it followed a certain mystery formula that I've read before.  But in saying that, I don't think it mattered that much that I wasn't shocked by the big reveal.  I still liked seeing them get to that point and seeing the WHY of all of it.

I know this is a series, but I'm not really sure what else there is for Audrey Rose to do in future books.  I guess other crimes that aren't quite as famous as the Jack the Ripper case will pop up??  Whatever she'll be doing, I'll be reading it and hoping to see more of Thomas's inappropriate nature.

OVERALL: A creepy, interesting fictional look at the Jack the Ripper murders in the late 1800's.  I loved reading about life in that time period, and while the mystery wasn't that "mysterious" for me, the book and it's characters were strong enough to overcome it.  I definitely recommend this because it's different and cool and atmospheric.

Date Published: 9/20/2016
How I got this book: BEA- Thanks to Little, Brown & Company and Jimmy Patterson books for allowing me to read and honestly review this book.
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson

Add it to your To-Read List!!



This Book Contains:
  • Violence and gruesome descriptions
  • Historical photographs
  • Aristocratic life
  • Fashions of a lady of quality
  • Autopsy practices of the 1800's
  • Barnum and Bailey Circus
  • High tea
  • A psychiatric hospital for criminals
  • Drug use
  • A look at poverty and class difference in that day
  • The beginnings of forensic science

My Rating: 4/5












Character: Audrey Rose Wadsworth
Book: The Diviners (#1) by Libba Bray

  • Evie O'Neill and Audrey have so much in common.  They both do work for their uncles doing unconventional things.  They're both trying to catch a psychopath and end up inserting themselves into the crimes.  For their time periods they're both pushing boundaries.  I think Audrey would pos-i-tute-ly adore Evie.


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Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Boy Who Killed Grant Parker by Kat Spears- Blog Tour Review

The Boy Who Killed Grant Parker
by Kat Spears

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: September 13, 2016
Format: Thanks to St. Martin's for providing me a finished copy to read and honestly review.


Luke Grayson's life might as well be over when he's forced to go live in rural Tennessee with his Baptist pastor father. His reputation as a troublemaker has followed him there, and as an outsider, Luke is automatically under suspicion by everyone from the principal at his new school to the local police chief. His social life is no better. The new kid in town is an easy target for Grant Parker, the local golden boy with a violent streak who has the entire community of Ashland under his thumb.

But things go topsy-turvy when a freak accident removes Grant from the top of the social pyramid, replacing him with Luke. This fish out of water has suddenly gone from social outcast to hero in a matter of twenty-four hours. For the students who have lived in fear of Grant all their lives, this is a welcome change. But Luke’s new found fame comes with a price. Nobody knows the truth about what really happened to Grant Parker except for Luke, and the longer he keeps living the lie, the more like Grant Parker he becomes.





You know what I love and hate about this book?  That the main character is an antihero.  He's someone you want to root for because he's a total underdog, but he's definitely not going to let you root for him.  That would be too easy.

Luke moves from Washington, D.C. to Rural-Town, Tennessee to live with his preacher father that he barely knows.  He's branded an instant outsider by his band t-shirts and the fact that the town doesn't get new people very often (if ever).  After getting bullied and embarrassed by the town's golden boy, he fights back and finds himself in the odd situation of taking Grant's place in his absence.  He starts dating Grant's girlfriend, sitting in his prized lunch table seat, and going to the popular parties-- not the weird role-playing parties in the woods that his initial friend Don took him to.

I have COMPLICATED feelings on this one. While Jason from Breakaway became an instant book boyfriend for me, I know Luke is never going anywhere near that status. Every time I started getting my hopes up that Luke was going to have a breakthrough, he would fuck it up.  I wanted to like and understand him, but he just kept getting in his own way.  He's not the the overlooked kid with the heart of gold.... actually he's an average angsty teenage boy with cowardly tendencies.  It's tough reading about someone who never has their "moment" of growth.  Luke is who Luke is, but it makes the book feel more real.

I do love reading from a boy POV.  There's something about boy's random vulgar, immature thoughts that I relate to in ways that are probable not normal.  And then there's Delilah, the Police Chief's daughter who I kind of wished this book was really about.  She liked Luke (for reasons that are unclear to me), but she also didn't care about his bullshit.  She's only in the book when she feels like talking to Luke, and that's really not often enough.

It's an interesting look at bullying and crowd mentality, but Luke is so frustrating that it's hard to separate my other feelings about it.  I do appreciate the stories of high school hell, growing up, and being an outsider-- but I also spent a lot of this book pissed off at the characters.

OVERALL: Not a book that gives you lovable characters.  It felt like real high school where crowd mentality is strong, people do really hurtful things, and embarrassing stuff happens in bucketfuls.  I say read if you are in the mood for a book that puts high school cliques in the center spotlight.

Rating: 3.5/5













Kat Spears has worked as a bartender, museum director, housekeeper, park ranger, business manager, and painter (not the artistic kind). She holds an M.A. in anthropology, which has helped to advance her bartending career. She lives in Richmond, Virginia with her three freeloading kids. She is the author of Sway, Breakaway, and The Boy Who Killed Grant Parker.










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