April Wrap-Up/May TBR

Here’s a look at my April TBR. I only got to three of them so…that’s a little embarrassing. I think I just didn’t really set realistic goals for myself. This month I think I’ll do better.

TBRs I ended up reading:
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Review
Born of Deception by Teri Brown – Review Coming
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo – Review

ARCs that I read:
Neverland by Shari Arnold – Review
The Miracle Girl by Andrew Roe – Review
The Happy Hour Choir by Sally Kilpatrick – Review
The Alchemist’s Daughter by Mary Lawrence – Review
Material Girls by Elaine Dimopoulos – Review

Other books read:
A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd – Review
Dangerous by Shannon Hale – Review Coming
Hit by Delilah S Dawson – Review Coming

So total I did end up reading 10 books like I planned just not the ones I had necessarily planned on. Other things I did in April, I did the #ReadingMyLibrary Challenge which was a ton of fun. I’ll be posting a wrap-up of that this weekend, I started doing Top Ten Tuesdays, and I started volunteering at my local library. Fun stuff!

May TBR:

A School For Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin
From a Distant Star by Karen McQuestion
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
They Call Me Alexandra Gastone by T.A. Maclagan
Spelled by Betsy Schow
Boywatching by Chloe Bennet

Other Books
My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
The World Before Us by Aislinn Hunter
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

In addition, I hope to pull three titles from my TBR jar. This is a total of 14 books. Last month I was really busy so I think I should be able to make this goal this month. We’ll see. Wish me luck!

What’s on your TBR for May? Do we have any in common?

Dangerous by Shannon Hale

Despite being born with one arm, it has always been Maisie’s dream to become an astronaut. She’s finally given her chance when she wins a cereal box sweepstakes to go to a summer space camp. There she meets the rest of her “fire team” and the confusing Wilder. When they are mistakenly gifted powers by extraterrestrials, each team member struggles with what kind of person they really are. Maisie isn’t scared though–her middle name is Danger after all.
I thought this book was just alright. The kids seemed a little too immature to me and I felt like none of the adults were portrayed as being trustworthy or on the kids’ side. Maisie especially felt immature because of how obsessed she was with Wilder. I could have done without the frequent physical descriptions and the “Oh my gosh he could have any girl but I like him so much and I think he likes me back”. Annoying. I just really didn’t feel like I could relate to any of the characters. I would have made very different decisions had I been in their shoes.

In addition to slightly annoying characters, the pacing of the plot felt really off to me. First it was like BAM BAM BAM stuff is happening really fast (but just because it’s happening fast doesn’t mean it’s anything of consequence). Then it slowed down a bit until something kind of big happened and then it was just warp speed again. It was just strange. I felt like more time should have been spent on certain things and less time on others. Like the space camp. I wish more time had been spent on the evolution of the fire team and less time talking about Wilder’s hair.

Things I did like: Maisie had a unique weakness. I can’t remember any other female protagonist who has a physical disability and this one is kind of big. SHE’S MISSING A WHOLE ARM. So I enjoyed that. I alsoreally enjoyed reading about the fire team working together, but like I said before, not a lot of time was actually spent on that. I liked Luther pretty good and I thought that Maisie’s parents were very sweet if incredibly unrealistic and perhaps too trusting of their daughter. Not that she didn’t deserve their trust, but the whole situation was just very hard to believe.

Overall, just alright. I probably wouldn’t recommend it or read it again. But here’s a quote I liked as consolation.

“By examining what’s different from us, we understand ourselves better.”

– pg 34

Overall Rating: 2
Violence: Heavy. A lot of fighting but not too much gore.
Language: None
Sexual Content: Mild
Smoking/Drinking: None

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters with Fun/Cool/Interesting Talents or Hobbies


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week there is a new topic and this week’s topic is: Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Who _____ (are musically inclined, have lost someone, have depression, who grow up poor, etc.)

I love this week’s topic! I always like reading through other people’s lists and I love that this week everyone has a different list because they chose a different fill-in-the-blank! My topic is going to be Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Who Have Fun/Cool/Interesting Talents or Hobbies. Basically anything that I read about and am like, “Dang, I wish I could do that.”

1) Cath from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – Cath is a really talented writer and she’s very passionate about it. I’m not sure that I have anything in my life that I’m that passionate about so reading about her love for writing is really inspiring.

2) America from The Selection Series by Kiera Cass – America comes from a family that is, for the most part, really talented artistically. There are a couple of scenes throughout the series when America plays the violin. Again, I’m not that talented at ANYTHING so I’m just floored thinking about her talent.

3) Wes from The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen – Wes makes these cool metal art pieces that are described pretty well, but that I would still love to see in real life. I have a friend whose dad makes metal art pieces and they are so cool! I think it’d be awesome to be able to take “junk” and turn it into a meaningful piece of art.

4) Juliet from The Madman’s Daughter Trilogy by Megan Shephard – Juliet must be crazy smart to be able to do all of the science/medical experiments that she does. I mean, I know that she learned some things by watching her dad, but she didn’t really have any formal schooling. So props to her. You go girl.

5) Patsy from Hit by Delilah S. Dawson – This is a book that I haven’t actually finished yet, but Patsy does something called “yarn bombing”. Just look it up, it’s pretty cool. I can knit, but I haven’t done much of it because there are only so many scarves a girl can wear. I like hearing about why she does “yarn bombing”.

6) Sloane from Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson – I’m counting Sloane’s lists for this one. I’m a list maker (at times) so I like reading about the lists that she leaves behind for Emily.

7) Katniss from The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins – Katniss has some pretty cool hobbies that make her survival in The Hunger Games a little easier. First of all, she can hunt, but more importantly (in my opinion) she knows about plants. She can tell what’s okay to eat, what’s poisonous, and what can maybe work as a medicine. Good things to know about.

8) Kate from Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson – Kate likes watching birds and has a ton of bird calls memorized. I think that’s so cool! There are a ton of birds that live in my area and I think it would be awesome to be able to tell bird calls apart.

9) Marguerite from A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray – Marguerite is described as being a really good artist. Her sketches tell more about a person than a photograph or an entire biography could. I’ve always wanted to be able to draw so…yeah there’s some talent envy going on right here.

10) David from The Reckoners Series by Brandon Sanderson – David has cataloged every single Epic that he could. While not a hobby that I could necessarily pick up (since, you know, Epics don’t really exist) I’m impressed by his focus. He is so obsessed with his records, maintaining them, making sure that they’re accurate. That’s very impressive to me.

Thanks for reading! Did I miss any characters that have fun/cool/interesting talents or hobbies? Let me know in the comments! For the record, I did consider Harry Potter, but magic and quidditch are just two things that I could not relate well to my own life so I decided to pick other characters.

#ReadingMyLibrary Challenge: Week Four Update

I know I’m late, okay??? Like I said in my last post, I’ve been so unbelievably busy. Seriously. It’s been crazy. This is the second to last update in this challenge and I must say that I’ve really enjoyed it!

I finished reading the ebook that I checked out, Dangerous by Shannon Hale, and hope to post a review soon. I started reading Born of Deception by Teri Brown which I physically checked out from the Orem Public Library. I’m probably around 2/3 of the way through it and I’ll be reviewing that when I’m done too. I’ve got a bunch of other books checked out waiting for me on my Kindle, but I’m just not sure that I’ll get to them before they’re due (dang ARCs getting in the way!)

This week we’ve been asked to share how often you visit the library.

My answer: Not often enough. I get on Overdrive fairly often (the electronic platform that my libraries use for ebooks) but I don’t get around to going to the real library as often as I’d like to. However, I do see that changing (especially this summer) since I re-realized how many books libraries have just chilling on their shelves that I want to read but aren’t available through Overdrive. Hopefully this can be a once-a-week thing.

USED - I-love-books-quote

Happy reading!

Busy busy busy

There has been so much going on this week and I haven’t had as much time as I’d like to read. Graduation is this week so there have been some events associated with that. My parents are in town so we’ve spent some time with them. Even though I haven’t had time to read much, I still wanted to check in with you, my lovely readers!

Back in junior high I had this thing where I would only read books with maps in the front cover. If it didn’t have a map, then it probably wasn’t good, and wasn’t worth reading. I don’t really know where that idea came from, but it probably lasted about a year. Honestly, I’m pretty glad I got over it because I like reading fantasy type books, but I also really enjoy contemporary YA and I’m glad that I let myself discover other books.

Did/Do you have any strange reading habits?

Material Girls by Elaine Dimopoulos [ARC]

Pre-teens who are creative are tapped to go immediately into the workforce while those who are not are listed as “adequate” and continue their schooling to become teachers, doctors, and journalists. In this world fashion is everything and any given article of clothing could be in one week but out the next. The same holds true for people.

Finally a Netgalley ARC that I enjoyed! I was starting to feel guilty for giving bad review after bad review, but I genuinely liked this book. Think Brave New World mixed with the Lego Movie set in the fashion industry and you have this book. That may not sound appealing, but it surprisingly works. I just finished this book today, but since it’s Earth Day, I wanted to get this review up as soon as possible. A big theme throughout is how wasteful this society is (and it’s obvious that the author thinks our current society isn’t too far off). Some of the characters try to start an “eco-chic” movement and at the back of the book there are some sources for being eco-friendly. Thus why I wanted to publish this post on Earth Day.

Okay, but onto the analysis. I liked that the chapters alternated between the characters Ivy and Marla. Ivy is a teen pop idol while Marla is working at one of the Big 5 Fashion Houses. It lets the reader see two separate angles of how the society operates. In addition, it was interesting that the author chose separate points of view for the characters. Marla’s chapters are written in first person while Ivy’s are written in third person. Not an obvious thing, but I thought it was interesting that the author chose to write that way. I also liked that Marla’s main group had a unique dynamic. They were united in a cause, but that was the only thing uniting them. They didn’t agree 100% on what their purpose was and they all had different degrees of investment in the group–if that makes sense. Lastly, a lot of times in these dystopian type books, teenagers form a revolution but it seems a little implausible that they would have as much power as they seem to have. It’s like…after hundreds of years in their society, all of the sudden these teenagers are special enough to take on the adults who are clearly running things and have everything under control. What gives them the power or the right to do that? Well, in this book teenagers legitimately have the power in society. So it’s more plausible when they stage a revolution against some of the more powerful adults.

A couple things I didn’t care for. First, I didn’t feel like any of the characters were that developed. As a group they had depth, but on an individual level I felt like they were lacking. But maybe they’re supposed to be portrayed that way because of the society they grew up in? Marla especially was an issue for me. I liked her, but she felt really naive. Even when she met the other drafters and *small spoiler* joined their cause, she seemed kind of clueless the whole time. I wasn’t 100% convinced that she thought the strike was a good idea or that she even knew what was going on and why they were doing what they were doing. Just a small thing.

The ending was great. Not necessarily a happy one, but realistic in my opinion. Make sure to pre-order yourself a copy before it comes out May 5th. Amazon link HERE.

Overall Rating: 4
Violence: Mild
Sexual Content: Moderate
Language: Mild
Smoking/Drinking: Heavy. Characters repeatedly take an illegal “drug” called Placidophilus (P Pills).

Note: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Weekend Review: 4/17-19

As some of you may remember from my Weekend Plans post, I had four things that I planned to do this weekend. I’d like to say that I accomplished all of them…not quite. But I was close!

1) Volunteering. I did start volunteering at one of my local libraries! I’ll be doing two things. First, I’ll be contributing to the library’s blog with a series called At the Table. It’s where we post about recipes that we have tried or crafts that we have done taken from books available at the library. It’s pretty cool actually and I’ve always wanted to get better at cooking and become more crafty, so this is like a win-win-win for me. Second, I’ll be working with the donations department. We go through each of the books that have been donated looking for damage, then we check it in the system to see how many copies we have and all that good stuff. Then we decide whether to add it to our collection, sell it at the library, or sell it on Amazon. It’s fascinating to see how the library works behind the scenes. I’ve only done the one week so far, but I’m definitely loving it!

2) #ReadingMyLibrary Scavenger Hunt. This was so fun! See my post for it HERE. I really appreciated the nudge to get back out to the library that’s physically the closest to where I’m living. I’ll definitely be going back more often!

3) Make a TBR Jar. Okay, I almost have this done. I was going to do this cute little “ships in a bottle” type thing. I have all my slips folded into origami boats, but my bottle wasn’t big enough. So I’m currently on the lookout for something else to hold my TBRs, but at least the slips are completed (that took the longest amount of time anyway).

4) Book shopping. I kind of did this…but not to the extent that I had hoped. After my volunteer shift was over, I stopped by the sale section of the library and picked up a couple books. I was also sent a book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. So without further ado…..MINI BOOK HAUL!

Mini BH

The World Before Us was the book that I got for free. I’m interested in reading it, but it’s not the type of book I would usually read.

Wither and City of Fallen Angels ($1.50 each, $3 total) are both books that I’ve read before, but also both part of a series that I’d like to own. Wither is the first in The Chemical Garden trilogy and City of Fallen Angels is number four for The Mortal Instruments series. I’ve been aching to reread the whole series…in fact, I’ve only just realized that I haven’t actually read the sixth book yet. It’s been sitting on my Kindle forever, but I don’t quite remember what happened in the first five books so I haven’t read it yet. I’ll get to it eventually.

As far as reading goes, I finished the ARC that I was trying to get through and I’m almost done with the ebook that I have checked out. How were your weekends? Productive?

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Authors


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week there is a new topic and this week’s topic is: Top Ten All Time Favorite Authors.

Let me just add a quick disclaimer–this list is always changing but this would be my top ten list right now.

1) Jane Austen – Because duh. I have yet to read a book as witty and clever as some of Jane Austen’s (I even liked Emma).

2) Sarah Dessen – She’s an insta-read for me. Ever since I read This Lullaby, I’ve been hooked on her books. I feel like I can really relate to her characters and that’s something that I’ve come to enjoy.

3) Jennifer E Smith – Another insta-read, but a newer one. She just writes cute, fun books that have a lot of heart.

4) Cassandra Clare – Talk about world building. The Shadowhunter world that she has created is unbelievable. I honestly hope she keeps all of her books as part of this one world.

5) Gail Carriger – While not as witty or as clever as Jane Austen, Gail Carriger comes close. Her heroines are spunky and smart and don’t take “no” for an answer.

6) Suzanne Collins – The Hunger Games was brilliant and I’m really excited to see what she decides to do next.

7) Frank Beddor – Writer of The Looking Glass Wars. I don’t really hear people talking about him or his series ever, but of the several Alice and Wonderland retellings that I’ve read, his is my favorite. Give it a try (there are even some slight elements of steampunk which I LOVE).

8) Rainbow Rowell – Beautiful writing, real characters. Rainbow writes about people who don’t exist, but legitimately could.

9) Cornelia Funke – Who could forget the Inkheart series? Definitely due for a reread in my opinion. I loved these books.

10) J.K. Rowling – Another duh. Do I even need to explain?

This was a fun list to come up with. Who are your favorite authors? Do we have any matches?

The Alchemist’s Daughter by Mary Lawrence [ARC]

Bianca is a chemiste (NOT an Alchemist) and is fascinated by science and creating new medicines. When her best friend Jolyn dies right in front of her, Bianca is determined to figure out the cause. She wants justice for her friend, but Bianca also needs to clear her name since she has suddenly become suspect number one.

It looks like this author might want to make Bianca Goddard the main character in a mystery series and I wouldn’t be opposed to the idea. Bianca is a great character because she’s a little unconventional for the time period. She’s smart and doesn’t particularly want a man to have to take care of all the time. She’s more interested in her work than love. I liked that about her. That being said, the mystery that she was involved in was more than a little confusing. At any one time I wasn’t quite sure what mystery we were trying to solve. There was the main one: who murdered Jolyn? But then I felt like there were a lot of other questions that were never answered and I was just kind of confused a lot of the time.

The book is written from multiple different viewpoints, but one overarching narrator. I enjoyed this, but at the same time I didn’t. I liked it because it made it so that the reader had the most complete set of information. We had all of the facts while each of the characters only had a couple of them at a time. I didn’t like the different viewpoints for the same reason. I liked knowing everything that was going on, but I also didn’t. There’s something fun and suspenseful about solving the mystery along with the main character. We have all of the same facts that they do and are trying to connect the dots with them.

Overall, I didn’t particularly care for this book. I think I read on the Amazon page that it’s set in sixteenth century England, which is interesting and I think the author portrayed it really well. However, I don’t want to read about two different girls hiking up their skirts to relieve themselves in alleyways. Just…why? Maybe the author’s trying to convey something about the time period? I don’t know. It just seemed unnecessary and gross. There were just things like that throughout the book that made living in that time period seem really uncomfortable. While all of these things may be true, do they add to the book? Do they add to the plot? If you’re still interested, the book comes out April 28th and you can pre-order it HERE.

Overall Rating: 2
Violence: Heavy. The author was not shy about describing gore either (but nothing TOO explicit).
Sexual Content: Moderate. A lot of talk about prostitutes/prostitution.
Language: Mild
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate

Note: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

#ReadingMyLibrary Challenge: Week Three Update (plus, Scavenger Hunt!)

This week I finished one electronic library book (Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo, see my review for The Grisha Trilogy HERE). I’m also about a third of the way through another electronic library book, Dangerous by Shannon Hale

So…that’s not great but it’s better than nothing.

The prompt for this week is to talk about why you love libraries or why you love being a librarian.

I wish I were a librarian. I love libraries because they’ve always felt like a safe place to me. You walk in and it’s quiet and there are just books EVERYWHERE. There’s really nothing like it. The fact that libraries continue to be free boggles my mind. For the last couple of years, I’ve been almost exclusively getting my books from Overdrive (an online library connected to your local library). When I went to the Provo Library today for the scavenger hunt, I realized how many books were just sitting on the shelves that are also sitting on my Amazon wishlist because Overdrive didn’t have it. I need to get back to using the physical library. Seriously. SO MANY BOOKS.

Okay, so the scavenger hunt…I’m just going to have links to my Instagram instead of actually posting the pictures. Sorry, too lazy to double post. My husband and I stopped by the wonderful Provo Library to take some pictures for the scavenger hunt…and to pay my 20 cent fine…whoops!

1) Library card
2) An audio book (shout out to my husband the hand model)
3) A DVD
4) A large print book (bonus points if you can tell what the book is)
5) Event calendar
6) Flyer for an upcoming event
7) A fun display “Grab & Go Spring Break Bundles”
8) 800 Non-Fiction
9) A set of encyclopedias
10) Magazine(s)
11) A graphic novel

And then for the fun round we decided to limit ourselves to just the Young Adult/Teen section so that’s why we didn’t get some pretty easy ones on the list. Here’s the picture.

What we did get:
Girl in a dress on the cover – The Elite by Kiera Cass
Green – Following Christopher Creed by Carol Plum-Ucci
Number in the title – 1001 Cranes by Naomi Hirahara
Picture of someplace you’d like to visit – Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (My husband chose this one.)
More than eight words in the title – How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True by Sarah Strohmeyer (It had exactly eight, but I counted it. Also, I love this book.)
One word title – Nothing by Janne Teller (My husband picked this one too. He liked that the title for the one word book was “Nothing”. I have to admit, pretty clever.)
About libraries or the word library in the title – The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen (She works at a library for part of the book so I counted it).

For the record, the library had TWO authors with last names starting with “U” in the YA section which makes it virtually impossible to find a book written by an author with my same initials (AU). I was not pleased by their selection.

Anyway, I will leave you all with a nice quote to warm your bellies.

USED - d2243857073829e99f166f2c2c9a795dFollowing this train of thought, I would just add that libraries act as portals to anywhere you’d like to go.