Weekend Plans: 4/17-19

Hello everyone! No review tonight…sorry! I’m currently reading two books at once but maybe I’ll be able to finish them both this weekend? We’ll see. Perhaps wishful thinking. So instead of a review I thought I’d let you guys know what my bookish plans are for the weekend.

1) Volunteering. I start volunteering at one of my local libraries tomorrow and am SUPER excited! I’ve always wanted to work in a library and now I get to! Dreams really do come true people.

2) #ReadingMyLibrary Scavenger Hunt. See rules HERE. I LOVE scavenger hunts. Seriously. Another one of my dreams (besides the working at a library one) is to be on the Amazing Race which, really, is just a worldwide scavenger hunt. That’s how much I love scavenger hunts. I’ll be dragging my husband along with me (he’s a really good sport) to the Provo Library and we’ll try to check off as many things from the list as possible!

3) Make a TBR Jar. I know a lot of book bloggers/readers in general have one of these. I think it’s genius! It’s a fun way to get through books that have been sitting on your shelf for AGES. Also, they look really cool and would probably work as a fun conversation starter. I finally was inspired to make one of my own by booksarebetter23 @My Life in Books. Click on that link if you want to see the cutest TBR Jar ever. Seriously, cute little origami stars? So fun.

4) Book shopping. I still have $30 in cash left over for my birthday so I’m hoping to be able to hit up a few local second hand/thrift shops. So you might expect another haul coming your way. Am I the only one obsessed with book hauls? I love seeing all the books you guys buy! Though it makes me want to buy more books so…maybe it’s an unhealthy habit? I don’t even care!

Okay, I think that’ll be a pretty full weekend…maybe I won’t have time to read very much after all! I’ll leave you, my lovely readers, with this quote:

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Have a good weekend everyone! Do you have any bookish plans?

The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

Alina and Mal grew up orphans in the care of a generous duke. Now, they’re soldiers in the first army preparing to cross the Fold–a misty darkness inhabited by dangerous monsters called Volcra. When their skiff is attacked by these monsters, Alina reveals a surprising power that nobody knew she had–including herself. She’s a sun summoner, one who can control and harness the power of the sun. This power is rare and she is immediately brought before the Darkling (the most powerful of the Grisha). Who can she trust now that everything she thought she knew about herself is wrong?

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Okay, I’d been hearing a lot about these books but had not read them. First impression was that the covers reminded me of The Hangman’s Daughter (a little) which was not a book that I particularly enjoyed. But since I’d heard so many good things about it, I decided to finally give it a try. First off, the way Bardugo portrays magic/the small science is GENIUS. Picture the element bending from The Last Airbender, but more thought out and better. I loved in the third book how they stretched their powers and applied them in different ways. I mean, Alina using her power over sunlight to make things invisible? Awesome! And (if this power actually existed) physically possible and accurate. It’s obvious that the author spent a lot of time thinking about these powers, how they’ll work, and realistically what applications there are for them. Another thing I liked was that using their powers made them healthier and suppressing them made them sick. I just thought that was interesting (and maybe symbolic). Also, Heartrenders? Terrifying. I’d be so scared of them if they were real.

All that being said, I had a really hard time with Alina (and at times Mal) in the first two books. Literally the first note that I wrote while reading Shadow and Bone was, “I don’t like Alina. She’s kind of annoying to me so it’s really annoying to have her be the narrator and stuff. She’s just a very flat, superficial character.” Even after reading the rest of the series, I still stand by that statement. She was too wishy washy for me. I think my readers know by now that I can’t stand when a girl can’t make up her mind between guys and throughout the series, she shows interest in THREE. And her whole thing with the Darkling? CREEPY. He’s like 100 years older than her! At least! Anyway…that seriously bothered me at the beginning, but kind of got lost by the end of the series. So, I had my issues with the characters in the beginning, but by the end they’d grown on me and I think Bardugo did a really good job showing the complexities of side characters like Genya and David. Nobody in these books was perfect and I liked that.

One last small issue that I had with these books is how physically weak Alina was at times. She’s in first army for crying out loud! I know they drafted basically anybody and that she was a cartographer, but don’t they have some kind of physical training or boot camp? Once she starts training with the Grisha, she gets her butt kicked and I just felt like it didn’t make sense to me that she was so weak. Am I the only one?

Overall though, I did like these books pretty good (I mean, I read all three of them, so that’s saying something). In a nutshell a few more points:

  • Sturmhond–awesome character. Loved him the whole time.
  • I had a weird suspicion of Oncat that I couldn’t get over in the third book…I was certain that he was spying on the group somehow for the Darkling. Weird, I know.
  • I felt like the ending for these books was PERFECT. There’s nothing that I would have changed.

One of my favorite quotes from the last book Ruin and Rising:

Maybe love was superstition, a prayer we said to keep the truth of loneliness at bay.

– pg 229

Overall Rating: 3, 3, 4
Violence: Heavy (all three)
Sexual Content: Mild, Moderate, Mild
Language: Mild (all three)
Smoking/Drinking: Mild, Moderate, Moderate

Top Ten Tuesday: Inspirational Quotes

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When I started this blog, I intended to just use if for book reviews, but as I have become immersed in the bookish community, I’ve really come to enjoy these weekly memes. So here’s my first Top 10 Tuesday, a popular weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. The topic this week is:

Top Ten Inspiring Quotes from Books (anything that inspires you, challenges you, makes you think, encourages you, etc.)

So without further ado…

…books are like flypaper–memories cling to the printed page better than anything else.

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

They had an ordinary life, full of ordinary things–if love can ever be called that.

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Now I know grief is a whetstone. It sharpens all your love, all your happiest memories, into blades that tear you apart from within….They say ‘time heals’…what people really mean is that eventually you’ll get used to the pain. You’ll forget who you were without it; you’ll forget what you looked like without your scars.

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

It isn’t about the sharpness of the blade, but the hand that holds it.’ Science doesn’t do good or ill by itself- it’s the intention behind it.

Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd

It’s just that…I just think that some things are meant to be broken. Imperfect. Chaotic. It’s the universe’s way of providing contrast, you know? There have to be a few holes in the road. It’s how life is.

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

You can’t spend so much time in a place and not carry a bit of it inside you.

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

Figure out what is real for you. No use leaning on someone else’s story all your life.

Austenland by Shannon Hale

The world isn’t just the way it is. It is how we understand it, no? And in understanding something, we bring something to it, no?
Doesn’t that make life a story?

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

‘Happily ever after, or even just together ever after, is not cheesy,’ Wren said. ‘It’s the noblest, like, the most courageous thing two people can shoot for.’

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Birthday Book Haul

My birthday was yesterday and I received two gift cards to Amazon (courtesy of my siblings and my in-laws). My mother-in-law made it a point to tell me (jokingly) that Amazon actually sells more than just books. Whatever. Everyone knows I’m just going to buy books.

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Ahhh new books…there’s seriously no better feeling in the world.

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins – The second book (Miss Mayhem) just came out last week and the cover really grabbed me, but I figured I should probably read the first one first.
Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson – I loved, loved, LOVED Since You’ve Been Gone (review HERE) so I’ve been very eager to give another one of her books a try.
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufmann and Meagan Spooner – The cover for this book and the fact that it’s a future, spacey book reminds me of Diana Peterfreund’s books For Darkness Shows the Stars and Across a Star-Swept Sea both of which are AWESOME. So that’s mostly why I got this one.
Something Real by Heather Demetrios – Someone on here wrote a review about this book and it really intrigued me. I love reading books about reality TV shows (don’t ask why). So if you were the one who wrote that review, let me know in the comments because I’d love to link you.
On the Fence by Kasie West – I’ve really liked what I’ve read so far by Kasie West and am very interested in reading this one.
The Distance Between Lost and Found by Kathryn Holmes – First of all, the cover is gorgeous. Secondly, this book just seems different from a lot of the books that have been getting published recently so that kind of intrigued me.
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord – This is the kind of book that I just love. Fun, easy, romantic. Definitely feels like it’s going to be a perfect summer read.

The Happy Hour Choir by Sally Kilpatrick [ARC]

Beulah Land (like the hymn) got pregnant at 16–to the dismay of her mother and preacher father–and sensing that she was unwelcome at home, moved in with her piano teacher Ginger Belmont. Beulah had been living with Ginger for nine years when Luke Daniels (Preacher Man) comes to town. Her life had been going well, she worked at the local bar playing piano and she took care of Ginger. When Ginger’s cancer comes out of remission, she has one request for Beulah–to take her place as the church pianist. Beulah’s hesitant to return to church where she was so severely ostracized less than ten years before, but she does as Ginger asks. Over time she comes to learn some new things about herself, Ginger, and the people in her small town.51UHxLcC3kL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

The book started out kind of shaky for me. It was very hard to tell how old Beulah was until she stated her age. The tone of the book makes her sound really immature throughout (she sounded like a teenager to me). This was mildly annoying at first, but then once we really got into her past, I felt like a lot of things had happened that should have made her seem older than she was, more mature. The fact that she complained and acted like a teenager was distracting and made me not like her as a character.

I liked the other characters okay. The book deals with some pretty deep issues, which I wasn’t expecting, and that brought some meat to the book, but the characters were too shallow to really round out the plot. I just feel like this book was mostly a missed opportunity. Tough topics include sexual abuse, rape, cancer, and dealing with loss.

I feel kind of bad because this is the third NetGalley book that I’ve reviewed and I haven’t really liked any of what I’ve read so far. But I definitely don’t want to give a dishonest opinion. With that being said, I’m pretty excited for the next two ARCs I have lined up. They seem promising. If you’re still interested in this book despite my review, it comes out April 28th and you can pre-order it HERE.

Overall Rating: 2
Violence: Moderate
Sexual Content: Moderate (see tough topics listed above)
Language: Mild
Smoking/Drinking: Heavy. Beulah works in a bar so a lot of scenes are set there with people drinking.

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

#ReadingMyLibrary Challenge: Week Two Update

Quick update on books, I’ve read one physical book that I checked out from the library (Ready Player One) and am in the process of reading a digital book that I checked out (Ruin and Rising). As I said in my April TBR Checkpoint, things are a little slow as I’m trying to get through some ARCs as well (and I’m moving this weekend) but I’m anticipating a good reading week next week.

This week’s challenge topic is:

Books you would like to suggest to your library.

I’m not completely sure how to answer this one…I think libraries in general tend to be stocked pretty well. The only issue I have, I guess, is with the digital library (Overdrive). I have accounts with three different libraries on Overdrive: KCLS, Provo Library, and BYU. Provo and BYU both have a pretty pitiful showing online, but KCLS (King County Library System) rocks. They’re pretty good at getting the newer, popular books on there and the hold times aren’t usually too bad. I guess if I were to suggest some books to my library it would be all the books on my TBR that aren’t already online–but nothing specific.

100 Followers!!!

Thank you to the 100 glorious people who saw fit to follow my blog! I’ve only been writing for about a month and it feels great to know that there are 100 people out there in the world who want to read about my bookish opinions besides my husband and my mom!

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Sparklers for everyone! As a quick thank you, I’m going to spotlight my 100th follower:

November Rose @roundedbookends

Only a couple reviews up so far, but I love the WordPress theme! It’s very girly, fun, and most importantly clean looking. It even has a slightly modern edge to it which I love! The reviews include Genre, Setting (I love this!), Author, Recommended Ages, and of course a Rating.

I’m very much looking forward to reading more from this blogger so why don’t you guys head over and check them out!

April TBR Checkpoint

Hello readers! April is just about a third of the way over. Crazy, huh? It feels like it just started! Especially when I look at my TBR list because let me tell you…I’m definitely NOT one third of the way through that sucker. As a refresher, here’s my TBR list for April:

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Born of Deception by Teri Brown
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
To the Rescue by Heidi S. Swinton
The 100 by Kass Morgan
The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
The Diviners by Libby Bray
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Paper Towns by John Green

Okay, so I just wanted to give you guys a quick update on what’s going on with my list:

  • “Ready Player One” has already been read and reviewed.
  • I’m currently reading “Ruin and Rising” and then I’ll be posting a review for the entire Grisha Trilogy.
  • “Born of Deception” I physically checked out from the library, so that one will definitely get read along with “Anna and the French Kiss” and “The Diviners” which I checked out digitally.
  • I’m waiting for my hold to be fulfilled on “Cinder”, but I’m definitely planning on reading that too (along with the rest of the series).
  • “To the Rescue” I’ve definitely thrown out. It’s a pretty hefty biography and it’s not something that I can just read quickly or even while reading other books at the same time. It’s definitely one that will require attention and time.
  • “Paper Towns” is on the fence along with “The 100” and “The Paper Magician”. Those are all books that I own so…they kind of have last priority at this point.

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of ARCs that I’ve requested from NetGalley. I just want to make sure that I review as many as I can before their publication dates and that’s something that’s been keeping me from hardcore attacking this list. I think once I get through the ones being published in April/the first week of May (three at this point) then I can really focus and attack my TBRs. We’ll see though. I’ll keep you guys posted.

How are your TBRs going so far? Are you further than you thought you’d be or behind like me?

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The Miracle Girl by Andrew Roe [ARC]

In 1999, there is a girl in a small town near L.A. in a coma (technically she’s suffering from a condition called akinetic mutism). People flock to her house just for a few minutes by her bedside. They say she can perform miracles, that she listens to them, that her room is alive, 51kgifio8wL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_that she glows. They call her “The Miracle Girl”.

After I finished reading this book I did my customary Google search to get a picture of the cover. I found that this story is actually based on the real life of Audrey Santo. It’s kind of crazy to think that a lot of the things described in this book actually happened. Anyway, on to the review…

I thought the book was alright. It kept switching narrators which isn’t my favorite thing, but I admit sometimes it can be done right. I don’t really think this was one of those times. Even though the narrators kept changing, I never felt like the voice changed, if that makes sense. The writing was beautiful throughout–it had a very poetic flow to it. But it was the same poetic flow for John (the dad), Karen (the mom), Annabelle (the daughter), Linda (the PT person), Donald, Nathaniel, and all the other narrators. Because it all sounded like it was coming from the same person, I would have preferred it if the book had just one narrator.

That being said, the characters were very complex and you can’t help but wonder “What would I have done?” The ending was a little abrupt, but I still liked it. I liked the last section…or epilogue or whatever it was too. I won’t say anything more because I don’t want to give any spoilers, but I thought the author did a good job.

Overall, the book was just okay. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it, but it did have its moments. The book comes out April 21st if you’re interested. You can pre-order on Amazon by clicking HERE.

Overall Rating: 2
Violence: None
Sexual Content: Moderate
Language: Heavy, but spread throughout so it never really feels heavy.
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate

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