Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Top 5 Wednesday: Book Wish List



December is upon us and that means many holidays as well.  My family celebrates Christmas, and while we haven't quite put up the tree our outdoor decorations are up.  My husband embodies Clark Griswold each year and puts up more lights than any one house really needs, and synchronizes them to music.  Clark would be proud and its fun and the kids in the neighborhood enjoy it.

This week's topic is:

Book Wish List If you celebrate a gift-giving holiday this time of year, or even if you don't, talk about the books or bookish items you have on your wishlist!


  • I actually asked my husband for a new bookshelf (or 2) for Christmas because mine is overflowing and I've got books all over the place in our guest bedroom.  It is getting a bit out of hand
  • An Amazon gift card is always a good idea since I read on my Kindle alot, and I like to use gift cards to buy e-books.  I have a long wish list of books I want to buy, some I've read and want to buy and some I want to read.
  • As for physical books, I'd like a copy of Time's Convert by Deborah Harkness.  I have the other books in the series and this would finish up the collection.
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  • I'd like a hardback copy of Intensity by Sherrilyn Kenyon, with this particular cover.  I read an ARC of this so I haven't been in a hurry to buy it because the cover didn't match, but I have all of the other books in the series so I'd like to finish out my set.  This was self published with a different cover, now I think the original publisher is going to publish it with the regular covers so they will match.  If the cover matches I'd happily add it to my collection.  I'd like to reread the series at some point and I'd like to share it with my boys because I think they'd like it and it was geared toward YA boys.
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  • The last book I think I'd like is Death Doesn't Bargain by Sherrilyn Kenyon.  This the second book in the Deadman's Cross series and I have most of her other books.  
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Saturday, December 1, 2018

December TBR


Most of these are for my reading challenge prompts, so I'll be reading those by the end of the year.  Most of these were on my TBR for November and I just didn't get to them.  I also have a couple of ARCs for books that come out in January, but I'm not sure if I'll get to them in December.  Most of these are fairly long, so we'll see how it goes.

Books/Ebooks/ARCs

  • Vicious by Victoria Schwab
  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by by John Tiffany (Adaptation), Jack Thorne, J.K. Rowling 
    • I'm reading this for a challenge for a book turned into a screenplay or play.  Perfect fit I think.
  • White Stag by Kara Barberi
    • This is the first book in a new YA Fantasy series.  This is supposed to be brutal, and have monsters.  Sounds like a fun read.
  • Firestarter by Tara Sim
    • This is is a January release and the 3rd book in the Timekeeper series.  I've really enjoyed the series and I'm looking forward to finding out how our Clock Spirit and Clock Mechanic fair in this installment.
  • Freefall by Jessica Barry
    • This is a mystery/thriller out in January.  There's a plane crash, and a mother/daughter that are separated and determined to find one another.

Audiobooks

  • The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemison
    • Everyone keeps talking about this series.  So I thought I'd give it a try.  It sounds like something I'd like.  I've already started this and while it started out slowly I'm really enjoying it.
  • The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan
    • This is a challenge prompt book for a book involving a bookstore or a library.  It involves both.  I've started this one as well and its cute, though the main character is infuriating at times because she so ridiculously afraid of everything.
  • A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi
    • This is a repeat from last month.  I own it so I'll get to it when there is a break in my library holds.
  • Don't Put Me in Coach by Mark Titus
    • This is a challenge book to for a book involving a sport.  I listened to the intro, and I can tell that this is going to be a difficult listen for me because the writer is a self titled clown.  He doesn't take anything seriously, so we'll see how it goes.  I want to give it a chance.

November Wrap Up


I had a pretty good reading month.  I read 9 books and 4 audiobooks.  I am finally caught up on all of my ARCs that I needed to review.  And I knocked out 5 reading challenge prompts.  

Books/Ebooks/ARCs

  • Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand
    • Review
    • This came out October 2nd.  I got super backlogged in October.  This was fairly long, and it took me a while to read.  This wasn't scary at all, and it was a bit slow paced.  Overall I liked it.  It had decent diverse representation and good character dialogue.
  • Lies by TM Logan
    • Review
    • This came out on September 11th.  The plot was pretty good, and there was a great plot twist at the end.  Overall, I thought the main character kept doing really idiotic things to get himself in trouble, which played into the twist eventually.  It was certainly not the scariest or best reads of the year as promised.  It was an OK mystery/thriller and a quick read.
  • Evermore by Sara Holland
    • Review
    • This is the sequel to Everless.  I really like the premise of how time is currency in this story.  This moved a bit slow for me.  There was a long time where not alot happened as the main character tries to remember her past lives.  It is a good conclusion to the duology, but what I was expecting.
  • Cranberry Bluff by Deborah Garner
    • It fits the prompt for a fruit or vegetable in the title.  It was a quick, cozy mystery type book.  I got it for free and it was pretty cute.
  • Blue Water by J.A. Armitage
    • Review
    • This is a reverse fairy tale/retelling of The Little Mermaid.  It is a fun YA story line with some interesting mythology that I'm enjoying.  Overall I'm liking the series and am looking forward to the third book.  
  • Pittsburgh Irish by Gerard F. O'neil
    • I read this for the reading challenge.  I really enjoyed learning about the city I grew up in and walk around in everyday.  I learned so much from this and about the surrounding areas of Pittsburgh.  It was really nice reading about places that I know and learning about their namesakes and more about the events that took place there and the people who formed the city I call home.
  • Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
    • I used this for my time travel prompt book.  I'm so glad I read this.  It was a quick enjoyable read.  I really enjoyed the historical and secret society aspects to the story.  I also like that the main character is not having he male chauvinism and she is speaking up for herself more and more as the story progresses.
  • The Darkest Star by Jennifer L. Armentrout
    • Loved this Lux spin-off series.  I always thought Luc was a great character and I'm happy we get to finally know him.  We meet some new characters, and see the return of some old favorites.  I would have liked to see Katy and Dee, but we got Daemon and Archer so...
  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
    • This fulfilled another reading challenge prompt for a book I meant to read last year, though it could have filled several others.  It was a short, but powerful book.  I really loved it and the illustrations were as beautiful as the words.  So glad I finally read it!

Audiobooks

 I did pretty well in the audio department this month.
  • Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor
    • I really enjoyed this.  It was a little heavy on the romance, but it was still great!  I loved the mythological and paranormal element to the story.  I can't wait to read more of Taylor's writing.  This didn't really go where I expected, but I liked where it ended up.
  • A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner
    • I loved this installment of the series.  We finally get to know what happened to Sofos who kind of just disappeared from the story a while back.  It also kind of brings all of the political plotting of the 3 kingdoms together once and for all.  There is still plotting but it seems that finally all of the kings and queens will be united.  This series keeps getting better.
  • The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager
    • Review
    • I got an ARC of this from Edelweiss after it was published, so in an attempt to get to clear my review list up I grabbed the audio book.  This was a great mystery with alternating times.  I really enjoy the way Sager tells stories.  If you liked Final Girls check this out.
  • Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner
    • This surprised me by following a completely new character in the series.  It took me a bit longer than normal to get into the story, but it was just as good as the rest of the books.  The writing is amazing, and now I have to wait patiently for book 6 which doesn't come out until March.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Top 5 Wednesday: Books You Want to Read Before 2019




Our Goodreads goals are quickly closing in. What are you prioritizing for the end of the year?


I'm mainly focusing on reading books for the remaining challenge prompts for my reading challenge for the rest of the year.  I have 8 prompts left as of the time I am writing this post, and books picked out for all of them.

  • Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier - This is for a book involving time travel.  I've heard things about this series, some good some bad.  We'll see how it goes.  
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  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo - This will cover a book with an animal in the title.  I've been wanting to read this for some time now and I've heard nothing but good things.
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  • Vicious by V.E. Schwab - This is for the anti-hero prompt.  I know this involves some mad science and perhaps some mutants.  I like her writing and I can't wait to read this.
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  • The Darkest Star by Jennifer L. Armentrout - OK this isn't for a prompt, but I just got it from the library today so I'm going to read it ASAP.  I loved the Lux series and this follows one of the side characters from that world.  I can't wait to read it, so all other books will just have to wait until I'm done.
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  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by by John Tiffany (Adaptation), Jack Thorne, J.K. Rowling - This is for the challenge prompt for a book that has been turned into a play.  I think it fits perfectly.
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Sunday, November 25, 2018

Review: Evermore by Sara Holland

Evermore Evermore by Sara Holland
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received an arc from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  This comes out December 31, 2018.  I enjoyed it and feel like it is a good wrap up to the duology.

This follows Jules directly after the first book (Everless) leaves off. She is on the run from the Sorceress after discovering that she is the Alchemist reborn and their ages old conflict after the Alchemist steals the Sorceress' heart. We do eventually find out the entire back story on the Alchemist and the Sorceress over the course of the book. Jules must put together the pieces of her past lives in order to save herself and everyone she loves before the Sorceress destroys them all. Jules and Liam return to places that the Alchemist once lived in an attempt to restore Jules' memories, and as she relives her memories she uncovers the truth of what she did to Caro and what she must do to save those she loves as well as her kingdom.

This was a bit slow for me, while the plot wrapped up nicely, I felt like it just moved a little slow for my tastes. Anytime you have a story that is told between the current time and an alternate time, in this case flashbacks to help Jules remember her past lives, it tends to slow down the plot, make things repetitive, and impact the flow of the storyline. I found that to be the case here. While those flashbacks were crucial to the development of the story, it just isn't my favorite type of storytelling. I think that's a personal preference thing, not a knock on the author's writing abilities.

I also didn't care for the romance, they went from enemies to in love very quickly. It just didn't develop naturally in my opinion. I always expected Jules and Liam to end up together from the very beginning, it just went from I hate you to I love you very quickly and without much development to turn the tides.

I would have liked more character development and more explanation on the "magic" system. I didn't really get a good grasp on why Jules' country is the only place blood-iron works and if there was other magic elsewhere in their country and outside their realm. I guess it wasn't really relevant to the story, but it would have been nice to get a better understanding.

Overall, I did enjoy the story. It wraps up the series well. I think I had different expectations based on the first book and how that focused more on the blood-irons and how people use their blood for currency and time. This focused more on past lives of the main characters not on the magic. I really loved the premise of the blood-irons and I think I wanted more on that and the mythology and magic.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Tag Tuesday: Out of My Comfort Zone Book Tag

As per usual, I was watching BookTube and this tag caught my attention. I really love Julie's vlog over at Pages and Pens. She has similar reading tastes to me, and I get alot of good recommendations from her, go check out her video here. I was also happy to hear that this tag was created and inspired by vloggers that I actively watch and enjoy, go check them out too.

Emma’s Video (creator): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kod0Z... Hardback Hoarder (inspiration): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URKD3...

I really love the concept of this tag. I've been participating in the Popsugar reading challenge for the past 2 years because I found myself in a reading rut, always reading the same thing over and over. I found myself getting bored reading the same basic story time and again. When I found the challenge in 2017, I was able to still read books I wanted to read, but branch out and read things I never would have read before. It forces me to read out of my comfort zone and I really love it. There is a goodreads group and a Facebook group and the members are lovely and always have great discussions and give the best suggestions. I also love that the only rule to the challenge is that you read books, there aren't any rules and no one to police your challenge list. It is purely for fun. The 2019 list just came out and I'm really excited about it.

CREATE A RULE: Choose one genre/category of books that you frequently talk about in tags and don't use ANY books from that genre for answers. For my rule I'm staying away from YA Fantasy which is mostly what I tend to read.
  • A book that is an exception when it comes to genres or elements in books that you don't typically like.
    • I usually don't like non-fiction especially biographies, but Born a Crime was excellent. I think because Trevor Noah wrote with his sense of humor which I enjoy made it enjoyable.
  • A book you enjoyed from a genre you previously held some stigma about.
    • We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, as I said I don't read alot of non-fiction especially, feminist non-fiction.  I didn't find this overwhelming or overbearing.  I kind of expected a feminist book to tell me I wasn't being a good feminist because of this and that, it wasn't like that at all.  This was a great little book and kind of broke down reality vs perception of feminism and how you can be a common sense feminist or an extreme feminist or somewhere in the middle.  I really enjoyed it and learned a few things too.  
  • A book you didn't know was actually out of your comfort zone until you started reading it. 
    • The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi was a tough read for me. I've really liked other books he's written and this involve a bunch of stuff I'm interested in, this just dragged on for me. I'm just not into bio-punk I guess.
  • Pick a friend or BookTuber that motivates you to pick up books you might not normally be interested in. What is one book out of your norm that they convinced you to give a try? 
    • There are so many. Hardback Hoarder, Chelsea Dolling Reads, Peruse Project, Emma Books, Books and Lala, Pages and Pens, and Katie Loves to Read, there are more but lately they are my go to. They all read some genres that I like and some that I don't, so I'm always finding something interesting from them.  
    • I picked up Walk on Earth a Stranger which is a historical fiction with a twist, recommended by Regan at PeruseProject and loved it.  I loved the whole series.
  • A book that is out of your comfort zone that you would like to read. 
    • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, clearly this is one of the greatest books ever but I've never read it. I don't love classics, but I do feel a bit of an obligation as a reader to read the great works of literature.  I'm putting this on my TBR for 2019.
  • A book or genre so out of what you normally read that you'll probably never give it a(nother) chance.
    • Erotica, I'll read contemporary romances once in a while but it isn't my go to. I read one by an author I really like, and while the plot was good, I just didn't care for the construction.  I much prefer her contemporary works.  

Monday, November 19, 2018

Review: The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

The Last Time I Lied The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this. I really like Sager's writing style. I had my theories about what was going to happen, but I like that the story is told in alternating times so you are left never knowing what exactly is going on until the end. I really enjoyed how the mystery unfolded and I really had to work to figure out what was going to happen, and when I thought it was over there was more.

I didn't particularly find this overly thrilling or scary, but it was a well put together mystery. I thought the characters were well put together and all of the side characters played their roles nicely. This definitely has the feeling of being told through the eyes of an unreliable narrator, as you aren't really sure if main character Emma is telling the truth about anything or if she even really knows what is happening today or what happened 15 years ago at Camp Nightingale. You know that everyone has their secrets at the camp and just as the girls liked to play, you just aren't sure which ones are the 2 truths and which ones are the lie.

The premise of the story is fairly simple, Emma goes to camp one summer and finds herself bunking with 3 girls she's never met before. She is drawn to the leader of the group Vivian, the older sister she never knew she wanted. As the summer unfolds, Vivian and Emma form a bond, but something causes a rift between them. When her roommates disappear one night, the camp is upended and Emma's life is tormented by the lies she told and the guilt she feels. Emma grows up and 15 years later she finds herself back at the camp as a painting instructor when the owner of the camp tries to find closure for Emma and everyone who was there 15 years ago. Emma is determined to find out what happened to her friends that night. When strange things start happening at camp, Emma finds herself reliving the night Vivian and the girls disappeared. She also finds herself main suspect of her current charges disappearance at camp in the present day. She can't let more girls get hurt on her watch, and she is tired of all of the lies.

Overall, this was a great read. If you liked Final Girls and the way it was told, I highly recommend this. I really like the way Sager constructs stories to keep the reader on their toes and kind of in the dark before the big reveal at the end.



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