October Wrap-up/November TBR

October Wrap-up

It’s a Wonderful Death by Sarah J Schmitt – Read and reviewed
My Secret to Tell by Natalie Richards
The Farmerettes by Gisela Tobien Sherman
No True Echo by Gareth P Jones – Read, review coming
If You’re Lucky by Yvonne Prinz
Red Girl, Blue Boy by Lauren Baratz-Logsted – Currently Reading
The Sister Pact by Stacie Ramey
Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin – Read and reviewed

For School
The Six by Mark Alpert – Read
Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King – Read
More Than This by Patrick Ness – DNF, 142 pages
Wonder by R.J. Palacio – Read

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen – Read
What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi – Read
Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman – DNF, 74 pages

Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan – Currently Reading

The Heir by Kiera Cass – Read and reviewed
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell – Read and reviewed
In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters – Read, review coming

So far I’ve finished 11 books this month, 2 DNF.

November TBR

Dead Ringer by Jessie Rosen
Everything but the Truth by Mandy Hubbard
Did I Mention I love You? by Estelle Maskame
Inherit the Stars by Tessa Elwood

Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby
Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E Smith
The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson
Fairest by Marissa Meyer

BOOK TAG: Villain Squad Book Tag

I was tagged for this by Joey @Thoughts & Afterthoughts. It seemed Halloweeny-ish so…here it is.

Think of your own villain identity and power!

My supervillain power would be to make people need to pee really bad. Seriously, have you ever tried to do something or move quickly when you really had to go to the bathroom? Yeah. Not happening.

The Leader – Pick a villain to lead the squad

The Vampires from any of Gail Carrigers’ series

The Killer Smile – Pick a villain who’s just extremely attractive

The Darkling from The Grisha Trilogy

The Loose Canon – Pick a villain that marches to the beat of their own drum

The Komizar from The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E Pearson

The Unhinged One – Pick a villain that isn’t playing with a full deck.

Thiago from the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series

The Redeemer – Pick a villain that’s on a path of redemption/would play both sides

Death from The Arcana Chronicles

The Evil One – Pick a Villain That’s Just Bad to the Bone

Voldemort. I don’t think I need to say anything else here.

The Once-Was-Good – Pick a villain that didn’t originally start out as a villain.

Levana from the Lunar Chronicles? I don’t actually know this to be true–I haven’t read Fairest yet, but I’m guessing that’s what that book is about.

I encourage anybody who would like to participate in this tag to do it!

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Those who have read Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl are already familiar with Simon, Baz, Agatha, Penelope, The Mage, and the Insidious Humdrum. This story opens on Simon’s eighth and last year at Watford School of Magicks. As he continues his battle with the Insidious Humdrum, Simon will learn things about all of the characters listed–including himself. This last year at school promises to be the most exciting one yet.

downloadOkay, first let me be the one to clarify something that has SERIOUSLY been getting on my nerves these last few weeks. Simon Snow is not “basically the Harry Potter of the Fangirl world”. I have seen this statement in multiple reviews for the book (tsk tsk) and it’s not true. It’s not true because Harry Potter exists in the Fangirl universe as well. Cath mentions Harry Potter–I remember because it was such a startling revelation that Harry Potter and Simon Snow would exist in the same world.(even the second time I read it, I was still startled). Thus, Simon is actually a Harry Potter competitor. In the Fangirl universe, both of these series’ exist. So…yeah. Now that I’ve gotten that off of my chest I feel a little better.

Okay, so on to the book. It’s kind of hard to wrap your mind around the concept simply because of how meta it is. It’s a book about fictional characters created in another book whose character writes fanfiction about them…confused? Yeah, so was my husband. Rowell stated in an interview with Time Magazine that she wasn’t writing as the fictional author Gemma T. Leslie or as Cath. With that in mind, I began reading. This book was…unexpected. Since Rowell said she wasn’t writing as Cath, I imagined some parts would be different. *Minor Spoiler* Mostly, I didn’t anticipate Simon and Baz being in a relationship since that was pure “fiction” from Cath’s mind. Honestly, it didn’t even feel necessary to the story to me. I’m all for diversity in YA, but I feel like that diverse characteristic needs to be important to the plot or helps to define the character in some way. I think that’s where true diversity comes from. If I was writing a book and made my main character Asian, but didn’t tie that in to anything else, I wouldn’t really classify it as being a diverse book. That might just be me though.*End Minor Spoiler*

Supporting characters were okay. I liked Penelope quite a bit, but Agatha was a total bore and a lot of the characters felt a little flat. There was very little character defining/development which kind of fits if this book is intended to feel like the eight book of a series. Overall, I’m not sure how I feel about that concept. Rowell does a good job of explaining past events without making it seem overwhelming, but it still feels like we’re missing some background knowledge. It literally is how you would feel if you picked up the last book in a long series and started reading.

The plot was okay. Again, it seemed like we’re missing some of the build-up that would have come from seven previous books. We don’t have any real reason to dislike the “bad guy”. Without all of that build-up, the plot and conflict felt flatter than I think they were meant to. Also, there were some “key plot twists” that didn’t come as a surprise to me because I’d read Fangirl so…I don’t know. This whole book left me feeling a little confused.

Overall, there’s nothing really inherently wrong with this book, it just didn’t blow me away like I would expect it to. If you’re a big Rowell fan, go ahead and give it a read. If you don’t end up reading it though, I wouldn’t say you’re missing out on much.

Overall Rating: 3
Violence: Moderate. Some fight scenes, some gore.
Language: Heavy. Similar language to Rowell’s other books.
Sexual Content: Mild. Some kissing and other non-explicit talk.
Smoking/Drinking: Mild? Honestly, I’m having trouble remembering. But Mild at most.

HW Assignment: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Note: This post was used as a homework assignment and 23009402may contain spoilers.

First let me preface this by saying that I absolutely love Sarah Dessen. I have read all of her books and loved almost all of them. This book is definitely no exception. I feel that Dessen defines her audience for this book best with her dedication: “For all the invisible girls” (dedication page). I do feel like this is a book that “invisible girls” will relate with, but at the same time, I think there are some aspects to it that are unrealistic.

Throughout the book, Sydney often thinks about how she’s invisible—especially to her parents. It comes as a shock, then, when the Chathams seem to notice her. This is essentially the aspect of the book that I have an issue with. There are plenty of invisible girls out there, but very few of them come across a Layla Chatham. This is the description that the reader is given of their friendship (emphasis added): “If I was the invisible girl, Layla was the shining star around which her family and friends revolved. We didn’t form a friendship as much as I got sucked into her orbit. And once there, I understood why everyone else was” (pg. 77). Layla chose to be friends with Sydney. Meanwhile, Sydney didn’t have to do a thing. This is not realistic! I wish that Dessen had made Sydney a little more proactive with making new friends and un-invisibleizing herself. I like that Dessen has relatable characters in her books—they really seem like normal girls—but more often than not they have a perfect friend who comes into their lives at the most perfect time. This might teach readers to be more complacent than they should be if they want to develop the kinds of relationships that Dessen writes about.

With all that being said, I really did love all of the friendships portrayed in the book. I was extremely effected when Layla moved her air mattress to block the door at that first sleepover—this is not your everyday kind of friendship. I also liked seeing that Sydney was able to maintain a relationship with her old friends.

Throughout the book Sydney’s dad is kind of a non-factor. Where Sydney’s mom has thrown herself into Peyton projects, her dad has thrown himself into work and has chosen not to be as present with his family. There are times, though, when his relationship with and feelings towards Sydney are apparent. I thought it was so perfect that Sydney’s dad is the one to save her from Ames. There are too many YA books where the love interest is the one who saves the girl and I love that Dessen chose to make that “savior” her dad instead.

I would recommend My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick as a read-a-like. It also features a girl meeting and being “adopted” by a family. Another good read would be Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park which deals a bit with sibling dynamics and potential feelings of inadequacy in comparison. Saint Anything got me thinking about the different saints. For anyone else who was curious, you can look them all up here (and yes, there is one for librarians/libraries).

Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween


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: Halloween themed freebie

My theme is going to be: Ten (#trending) bookish characters you should dress up as for Halloween (aka Costumes based on the books that everyone is reading right now).

1) A Shadowhunter

2) The Martian (Mark Watney)

3) A Wight (or any character from Miss Peregrine’s really)

4) A Grisha

5) Faction member from Divergent

6) Simon/Baz/Penelope/The Mage from Carry On

7) Calaena Sardothian

8) Cinder or Levana from the Lunar Chronicles (or Iko!)

9) Akiva from Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy

10) A popular/distinctive book cover character (ex. The Selection Series, The Winner’s Trilogy)

The Heir by Kiera Cass

The country isn’t exactly “at peace” and King Maxon and Queen America need some way to distract the population until they can come up with a more permanent solution. The royal family must make sacrifices for their people–so now Eadlyn is the center of attention as she endures her on Selection even though she’d rather be doing anything else.

The-Heir_612x925Was anyone else surprised when this book was announced? I was under the impression that the Selection series was just going to be the three books. I’m not complaining–it was just unexpected. But anyway, I really enjoyed that this book gives us the opportunity to check-in with some of the characters. I liked seeing grown-up May, Aspen, and Marlee (as well as America and Maxon of course). At the same time, it was really hard for me to picture America and Maxon as adults. In my mind, they’re still teenagers so I can’t help but have a little bit of a disconnect there. It was easy, though, for me to picture grown-up Aspen. Not sure why. As far as other characters, I think Eadlyn’s brothers are really fun–especially the youngest. I hope we get to see more of them in the future.

I had a hard time with Eadlyn. She was just so…unlikable. I’m not sure if maybe this is supposed to be intentional? But it’s so obvious that she feels really entitled and that she thinks she’s better than everyone. Also, I’m having a hard time figuring out why exactly she has such a hard time opening up to people? Hopefully this just means that there will be lots of character development in the books to come. I also feel like it’s kind of obvious who she’s going to end up choosing even though there are so many options. If I’m wrong in my prediction I will be very surprised. I like my pick the best out of all of the guys so I  both hope and don’t hope that I’m wrong.

The guys are all kind of one-note at this point. This is expected since there were so many guys introduced in the first place. I’m sure we’ll get to know them better as the series progresses.

Overall, if you liked the first three books in the Selection series, this is basically more of the same. A lot of fluff and not much substance (in my opinion) but a fun and quick read all the same. My overall rating is probably a little generous here.

Overall Rating: 4
Language: None
Violence: Moderate. Some fighting.
Sexual Content: Mild (if that)
Smoking/Drinking: None (maybe some wine drinking, but I can’t remember)

Top Ten Tuesday: I wish, I wish with all my heart…


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: 10 Wishes I’d Ask The Book Genie To Grant Me

1) More Sarah Dessen books. Just more.

2) That all the books in a series would come out at the same time.

3) For all of the books on my “To Buy Eventually” Amazon wishlist.

4) To never have to wait for holds to be fulfilled at the library.

5) Nightvision so that I can read a physical book at night without disturbing my husband’s slumber.

6) Super reading speed (but with normal retention) so that I can read books faster/get to more books!

7) The ability to read in the car and NOT get carsick (Seriously, the greatest disappointment in my life is that I get carsick when I read–I should have thought of this one right away.)

8) Perfect recollection of past books in a series (assuming #2 didn’t come true).

9) To go to Hogwarts.

10) The ability to reach into a book and pull out whatever delicious thing the book is describing/characters are eating (sometimes I get really hungry while I’m reading).

HW Assignment: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Just a reminder that the giveaway I’m hosting is still going!


Note: This post was used as a homework assignment and may contain spoilers.

Bullying is a topic near and dear to my heart. I know that this is an issue that children struggle with every day. I think this book is great for kids in every situation of life whether they’re the bully, the bullied, or a bystander. There are a lot of lessons that the author tries to teach in this book. By having Auggie be so disfigured, I think bullied kids will be able to think, “Well, if even Auggie can find a friend or two, I certainly can too.” His case is definitely the extreme and I think kids will be able to find comfort in the fact that their situation isn’t as bad as Auggie’s, but everything still turns out alright in his story. While I don’t know that this book is 100% realistic, I think bullied kids will be able to read this book and feel braver about their situation.

As I mentioned earlier, I also think this book would be good for the “bystander” kids to read as well. The way that this book switches between perspectives is great because it shows how some of the people in Auggie’s life feel about him. Perspectives range from very close (Via) to sort of close (Jack, Summer) to peripheral (Justin, Miranda). The Kirkus Review says about the multiple perspectives, “Palacio divides the novel into eight parts, interspersing Auggie’s first-person narrative with the voices of family members and classmates, wisely expanding the story beyond Auggie’s viewpoint and demonstrating that Auggie’s arrival at school doesn’t test only him, it affects everyone in the community.” I think this shows how everyone can have an impact no matter how close a child perceives their relationship to be with someone who’s bullied. They can step in and make a difference no matter how well they know the kid.

Lastly, I think this book would be important for bullies to read so they can see the other side of things. Not only that, but it shows that sometimes we don’t even have to try to be mean—sometimes our initial reactions to someone are enough if we’re not consciously being kind. Like Jack’s babysitter Veronica tells him, “‘Jack, sometimes you don’t have to mean to hurt someone to hurt someone. You understand?’” (pg 137). I think this book can help kids to be more conscious of their actions around other people.

In 2013, NPR did an interview with the author, R.J. Palacio, and it’s really interesting to hear what sparked this book. It’s actually based on a real experience that Palacio had. For those who enjoy reading books written from multiple perspectives, I would recommend the Gone series by Michael Grant. The books in this series are told from both the “heroes” perspectives as well as the “villains”. Another book about bullying that would be good for an older crowd is Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher as it also deals with suicide.

Book Release & GIVEAWAY: The Girl from the Stars Book 1 – Daybreak

Liora Day, half-human, half-mess with her and you’ll die Damaclan, had been thrown onto a rough path at a very early age. But when she is broken out of a cage by Devren, the young captain of the SS Kratos, she is shown that perhaps humanity does have a heart. The Kratos is set on a mission to rescue fallen surveyors from the Revolutionaries, and Liora is given the choice to follow her Damaclan instincts, or trust Devren’s dark eyes and captivating smile that promise an adventure unlike any she has ever experienced.

Book Links: Amazon | B&N | Smashwords

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter


Enter the giveaway by clicking the link below for a chance to win one of three FREE copies of the eBook! Thanks to Cheree for helping me host this giveaway! Winners will be selected and contacted on Sunday 10/25.

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BOOK TAG: Nostalgic Book Review Tag – Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

I was tagged for this by Joey @Thoughts and Afterthoughts (was anyone surprised?)

I’ve really been wanting to reread Inkheart by Cornelia Funke lately. I just remember it being SO GOOD and I don’t remember much about it. Warning: This might contain spoilers if you haven’t read it yet. Then again, I might not even remember the book right so…there’s that.

Part 1: The Summary

First, tell us a little bit about this book, and approximately when you read it. Write a summary (brief, long, anything you like!) of the book you are reviewing.

I probably read Inkheart for the first time in fifth or sixth grade so…a little over ten years ago now. It’s about a girl named Meggie (or Maggie?) and her dad. They both love books, but her dad never reads aloud to her because (unbeknownst to her) whatever he reads will switch places with someone in real life. He’s called Silvertongue by a bad guy named Capricorn who is out to get both of them…so that they can read him a bunch of gold? (Oh, and by the way, Meggie’s mom disappeared when she was a baby). So they go to stay with her aunt because a guy (character) named Dustfinger comes with his marten to warn Meggie’s dad that Capricorn is after him. Capricorn finds them anyway (because Dustfinger BETRAYS THEM) and takes them to his weird settlement of storybook characters where they end up finding Meggie’s mom who got read into the story in exchange for Capricorn (along with their two cats). She got read back out of the story as a servant, but the guy they had reading wasn’t as good as Meggie’s dad so she lost her voice in the transition. Also, Capricorn’s mom is called the Magpie. Yeah, that’s all I remember.

Part 2: My Thoughts

Share your thoughts on your chosen book. Reflect and talk about what you thought of the book back then.

I already mentioned this, but I LOVED IT. The idea of being able to read characters to life absolutely fascinated me. The characters were all fantastic and seemed so real–I think I might have had a tiny crush on Dustfinger back in the day. Capricorn was basically the most evil villain I could have comprehended at that point. I would recommend this trilogy to ANY CHILD. Seriously, anyone. How can you not love these books??? I also remember loving the quotes from other books at the beginning of every chapter. Just a book about other people who love books *sigh*.

Part 3: The Epilogue

Here’s the fun part: now you can look up a summary of the book – find all those names that you couldn’t remember, those plot points that seemed pretty important – and all those things you might have forgotten. Don’t go back and edit the summary from the first part!

Okay, so I forgot that her dad’s name was Mo and her aunt’s name is Elinor, but no big deal, right? I also forgot about the part where they go to meet Fenoglio, the author of Inkheart in the book (so meta, I know). It’s not clear in the summary that I read whether or not Dustfinger betrayed them, but I’m pretty sure he did. Also, I’d forgotten how Capricorn got defeated. It’s a lot darker than I remember it being…

So that was pretty fun to take a walk down memory lane. I’ll admit, I’m pretty proud of how I did. I challenge anyone who is interested to also take part in this tag!