Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday- TBR from Before the Blog

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 (August 23rd) I'm one of them :)

Today's Topic

Top Ten Books That Have Been On My TBR From Before I Started Blogging That I STILL Haven't Read

Before I blogged (way back in 2011), my reading habits were SO different.  

First of all, I wasn't in the know about books coming out, or ones that were already out, or who the good authors were.  2nd-- I bought one book, I read one book.  If I wanted to read, I would go to the bookstore or library, find 1 book & buy/borrow it-- then I would read it.  So yeah, I wasn't a book hoarder and I didn't have a body-crushing TBR laying around.  I don't really think I had any unread books laying around :(  So this list is what I can think of from the way back that I had in my mind at one point, but didn't get around to reading them:

1. Feeling Sorry for Celia (Ashbury/Brookfield #1) by Jaclyn Moriarty
  • I read The Year of Secret Assignments and The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie and LOVED.  So once I found out it was a series (back then I just didn't know when things were series unless it was CLEARLY stated) I wanted to read the beginning of it all.  I need to find time to do that (and reread the others!).

2. Freaky Green Eyes by Joyce Carol Oates
  • Joyce Carol Oates = Writing Goddess.  If I made a list of people I would want to write like, she would be high on that list.  I first read Where are You Going, Where Have You Been (a short story) and I knew I wanted to read more by this talented woman.  I read Big Mouth and Ugly Girl, but never got around to reading this one.

3. You are So Undead to Me (Megan Berry #1) by Stacey Jay
  • I am all about the cute Paranormal books.  This was one of those that caught my eye way back when, but I still haven't gotten to.

4. The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
  • I LOVE a good cult/polygamy book.  Definitely got to remember this one for SOON!

5. Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen
  • This might be the only older Sarah Dessen that I didn't read back in the 2000's.

6. Envy (Empty Coffin #1) by Gregg Olsen
  • I bought this because the girl on the cover looks like the girl from The Ring, but I read the first few pages and it didn't stick with me.  Maybe it will now?

7. Following Christopher Creed (Steepleton Chronicles #2) by Carol Plum-Ucci
  • So I read The Body of Christopher Creed and LOVED it.  But by the time I bought the sequel, I had sort of forgotten what happened in the first book.  SO now I need to reread if I want to ever finish this.

8. Shine by Lauren Myracle
  • Love the cover!! Love Lauren Myracle (usually), and I love Mysteries.  Need to do this at some point.

9. Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Shroeder
  • This is about multiple ghosts haunting multiple people & it just sounded good at the time.

10. Same Difference by Siobhan Vivian
  • I wanted to read this because coming-of-age was my jam back in 2010.

What did your TBR look like before you started blogging??

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Light Fantastic by Sarah Combs-- And How It Made Me THINK

On a day in April (a month where bad things seem more likely to happen), 7 teens make life-changing decisions, face unimaginable horror, and learn they are stronger than they imagined.

An internet group termed The Assassins by it's creator, The Mastermind, is about to carry out their plot on this very clear and happy April day.  Some people are having second thoughts, some feel they have nothing to lose, and some are being intercepted by people who have no idea what's going on.  Will this be another black mark on the April calendar?

This is going to be a tough one to review.  It's like trying to describe the way something delicious tastes-- there are only so many words to do it and none of them are as good as the actual eating of the food.  I had the best time reading this book.  It's so smart and emotional that I basically never wanted it to end.

This book was one of those "not a lot happens" books, but it makes up for it in FEELING.  I'll always love a book that makes me think about the whys in life.  And this one made me do a lot of thinking.

I loved so many of these characters.  Good and bad.  Not everyone is a good guy in this book, but mostly, even the ones who were the bad ones made me feel compassion towards them in some way.

April is in Delaware and she has that weird condition where she can remember details about every day of her life, and she's always felt like she was tied to the bad things that seem to happen in April every year.  After all, she was born on the day of the Oklahoma City bombing.  Lincoln's dad was killed on September 11th, and now he's seeing a girl way out of his league.... except nobody knows the secrets she carries.  The Mastermind has been waiting for this day for a long, long time.  Nothing is going to stop him from carrying out his ultimate plan.  Gavin is crammed in a janitorial closet with an entire classroom of kids scared he'll never be able to run again.  And a bunch of other kids hate themselves more than anyone else could ever hate them.

It's a really hard book to explain because it's not what happens in the book that is impactful, it's what the book makes you think about.

Sometimes the philosophizing got old, but it was so insightful and meaningful that I didn't mind.  This book made me think about all the crazy things that happen in the world we live in and it made me feel like I did when I read Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock.  Like how there are so many people in pain & how many of those people are people that I know??  How many people are hiding their pain and how many do I interact with, and am I too self-involved to ever notice it?  How many people do I miss out on helping?  It also made me realize that I'll never understand certain things (like why people are so intent on hurting other people) and that people are really hard to understand in general.

So it ended rather abruptly, but I think I am okay with not knowing what happens to every last character.  I kind of like imagining it on my own.

Quote: "I think about it all the time, how many people there are, how there can't possibly be room on this earth for all that love and confusion and longing and fury.  Where are you supposed to put it all?  Where's it going to fit?"

OVERALL: Another one of those books that hit me right in the gut.  I love books like this that make me think outside of myself and look around at life that's going on that has nothing to do with me.  I'd recommend this to so many people, so I'm just going to say-- if you like books that make you feel, read this!

Date Published: 9/13/2016
How I got this book: Thanks to Candlewick Press for providing me with an Advanced Copy to read and honestly review
Publisher: Candlewick Press

Add it to your To-Read List!!

This Book Contains:
  • 7 Narrators
  • Bullying
  • Depression
  • A boy who talks in hashtags a lot
  • A girl with HSAM (Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory)
  • The Glass Menagerie
  • Forum transcripts
  • 1st & 3rd person narration
  • East and West coast, USA
  • NO romance

My Rating: 5/5

Character: Gavin
Book: Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

  • Annie is training for a marathon she never wanted to race, and Gavin never got to race the marathon he trained for.

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Monday, August 15, 2016

DNF Mini Reviews-- 2 Books That I'm BUMMED Didn't Work Out For Me

I don't DNF a lot, but when I do I usually like to share a little bit about why.  Here are 2 recent DNFs and a mini-review of each one:

1.  How to Hang a Witch (#1) by Adriana Mather

My Synopsis:

Samantha moves to Salem, Massachusetts and finds out that she's related to a man involved in the witch trials... and as it turns out, it's not a popular guy to share a last name with.  She soon meets a group who calls themselves The Descendants (because they're related to the "witches" who were tried and executed) and they immediately hate her guts.  

Sam and a ghost who hangs out in her house find out about a curse that kills off family members of people related to the trials and she needs her enemy's help to stop it.

How Far I Got: 150 pages in

Why I DNF'd: The writing, the ghost, the M/C.  I was SO excited to get this book at BEA.  It was a top priority going in because WITCHES!!!  And SALEM!!!  But ughhh this one was so hard to read.  The writing, I felt, was not up to par.  The main character was constantly in her own head and telling us every little stupid snarky thing she was thinking.  I don't need to know that you thought "Yeah right" and then all the reasons you can't say "Yeah right" to a whoever.  I KNOW why you don't want to or can't say certain things to certain people because I am not stupid.  So please Samantha, stop treating me like I'm stupid.

Let's talk about the love interest(s)-- First off, the neighbor boy (who she meets in the first 2 pages) was a combo 2 tropes I am so bored of.  1-- Sam instantly acts like she hates him, but it's totally obvious she thinks he's dreamy.  2-- he comes on super strong and tells her he likes within the first 2 conversations he has with her.  UGHHHH- stop telling the girl you like her right after you meet her.  The whole kissing thing was another disaster that added to my frustration.  THEN a ghost romance started happening and I was like ?????  I was fully prepared for maybe witches, but not witches and ghosts.  Just no.

This had the potential to be a favorite book for me.  The setting is awesome, the story has potential, but the writing needs a lot of work.  A lot.

2.  Stealing Snow (#1) by Danielle Paige

My Synopsis:

Snow has been in a mental institution since she was 6, but after a stranger comes into her room and tells her she's a princess, she's beginning to think that something has been kept from her.  When her BFF and love Bale gets pulled through a mirror, Snow escapes and finds a carved tree which takes her to a frozen world.

Once there, she finds out that her real father is the king of Algid and that she's the princess that has been presumed dead.  This is important because the king is a jerk and there are 2 prophecies that involve Snow and the fate of Algid.

How Far I Got: Page 130

Why I DNF'd:  The story.  Where the heck was the story??  I wanted to like this so bad!!  You see, I don't read a lot of fantasy, but I want to try to broaden my horizons and read more of it.  I've had luck with retellings, so this was all over my radar!!  Alas, I was just not feeling it.

It starts with Snow in a mental hospital, and that was the only part I liked.  I felt like that world was explained and the characters felt real.  Once she left there it was like an outline took over instead of an actual book.  There was no world, it was just oh you fell down a tree and here you are in Algid... and BTW it's cold here & you are a princess with powers.  And Snow's just like-- are all these guys here single??(cause she crushes on EVERY guy she comes across).  After that random things started happening just to happen.  It didn't feel believable, it felt... lazy?  I don't know where this book goes from there, but I don't really care.  I don't feel like the author took enough time to care about the world, so I'm not going to take time to care to read it.

Have you read either of these books??  I'm usually the black sheep, so don't hate me if you loved these books!!

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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Let's Set Noah Czerny Up On A Blind Date!!-- I Need Your Help!!

Today I'm doing a post for part of Nori's Book Blogger Creativity Project.  My team (TEAM PERIWINKLE) decided to send characters on dates for our project.  Thing is though, I need YOUR help to make it happen.  Here's the Details:

Match Made In The Pages:

  • Today I'm posting a dating profile for one of my fave characters ever-- Noah Czerny from The Raven Boys.
  • After you read through it, it would be awesome if you could suggest a character (from another world, not the Henrietta, VA/Glendower-searching world) to go on a blind date with Noah.
  • Next week I'll imagine how I think the dates would go!
Welp, Here's Noah:


1.  Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
  • My group of 4 friends and Tony Hawk
2.  What's the first thing people usually notice about you?
  • Very few people do actually notice me....
3.  What's the craziest thing you've ever done?
  • I was thrown out a window once, that was pretty crazy.
4.  What's your biggest goal in life right now?
  • To help a buddy fulfill a quest/obsession/adventure.  After that, my schedule looks wide open.
5.  What is your favorite way to spend a Saturday?
  • I know it sounds weird, but I spend most of my Saturdays searching for an obscure Welsh King that died 600 years ago.
6.  What are you looking for in a partner?
  • I'm a bit of an introvert and kind of shy, so I'd like to meet someone that won't misunderstand my shyness for disinterest.  Ideally I'd like to meet someone to bring me out of my shell and make me feel alive.
7.  Anything else I should know about you?
  • It's hard for me to be myself sometimes (unless I'm near a ley line), but I'll sacrifice anything for my friends... oh and my hands are always cold.
8.  What do you hate most about the dating process?
  • Being Ghosted.

So let me know in the comments who you think would be a good match for the awesome, adorable Noah.
**I gotta give a shoutout to Cassi from My Thoughts Literally for helping me with the answers (and for helping to pick Noah to begin with).  She rocks and is way smarter than me!!!**

Also here's the schedule for all of Team Periwinkle's posts:

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Backlash by Sarah Darer Littman-- Again With The Unlikable Characters!!

When Lara finally feels her middle school troubles are behind her-- she meets new friends, makes the cheerleading squad, and she thinks that she's left "Lardo Lara" behind for good.... especially when a good looking guy on Facebook named Christian begins chatting with her.  But just as their chats get more serious and he seems close to asking her to his school dance, he abruptly (and publicly) posts that she's a loser and he wants nothing to do with her.  Lara doesn't understand what she did wrong, what she always seems to do wrong, but this sends her right back into her middle school depression spiral.

Bree is Lara's next door neighbor.  They used to be besties, but Bree had to move on from Lara because she couldn't take her constant depressing talk and complaints about herself.  Bree never expects that Lara will have such a major breakdown, but when she sees her come out of her house on a stretcher, she can't help but snap a few pics for Facebook.  Anything to get a few likes right?

Neither Lara or Bree realize what the backlash will be for not only them, but their families, when their online lives have major consequences.

I've been wanting to read this for a long time because I love books about real-life issues.  And also books like this always make me really happy that I didn't have to deal with social media when I was "growing up".  I can only imagine all the stupid stuff that teenagers do to each other over the internet just because it's easy.

My heart breaks for all the kids out there going through online bullying and having to see the mean things that people write.  If you're one of those people, just know that people suck, and Facebook makes it easier for sucky people to show off their suckage.  They would never say it to your face, they're just cowards w/ a keyboard.  (I know that doesn't make it any better, but I wish there were words that could!!).

As far as books go, I wouldn't put this up with my favorites.  It had a good story: girl with a history of depression gets dumped publicly on social media, peers jump in and "like" the post, girl ends up in the hospital over it... and other spoilery stuff I can't mention.  It was a book I read really fast and wanted to keep reading and reading, but there was a lot I didn't like about it also.  The characters weren't my favorite.  I like a flawed character, but all the characters in this book were mega-selfish and had MAJOR brat moments, even the adults.  It's like each character was trying to yell louder than the other character to be able to be heard.  And they all got super pissed if anyone else was getting the attention.  I can take 1 or 2 people like that, but everyone?  It was super difficult.

Beyond the brat-attack moments, the book also felt a little juvenile.  I read almost exclusively YA, and most of them don't feel this young.  I don't know if it was because the characters were less developed or what, but I definitely would recommend this to younger readers.  Also, the cautionary, after-school specialness of it would be for the younger reader.

The ending frustrated me a little because I wanted people to feel bad, and not just for themselves.  There are things that happen in this book that deserve many apologies and very few of those apologies went around.  Yes, many (all) of the characters were self-centered, but I wanted them to GROW and they didn't.  It was all about ME ME ME in the beginning and it was the same in the end.  I did like that some things were left up in the air.  Problems weren't just magically fixed, but more character growth would have been nice.

OVERALL: I liked it, not anywhere near loved.  I'm glad I read it, and even enjoyed reading it, but it wasn't without it's flaws.  The characters got on my nerves, and there was a frustrating lack of character growth, but it was an issue that I'm glad a book was written about.  I'd say it's worth a try, but get it from the library.

Date Published: 4/28/2015
How I got this book: I bought it
Publisher: Scholastic

Add it to your To-Read List!!

This Book Contains:
  • Cyber-bullying
  • A Suicide attempt
  • Depression
  • A mom in politics
  • No swearing or sexual situations
  • A treehouse
  • Cheerleading
  • Body issues
  • Therapy

My Rating: 3.5/5

Character: Lara Kelley
Book: 52 Reasons to Hate My Father by Jessica Brody

  • Lara needs some lightness in her life to take her mind off all the things.  This Jessica Brody book is fun to read and has LOL moments.  I think Lara would also relate to the parental issues in the book!!

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