February Wrap-Up & TBR Update

This month went better than I expected it to even if I didn’t stick to my TBR so religiously. My book club ended up going to a library event instead of discussing a book, so The Girl Who Drank the Moon will go back on my TBR for another time. I found that I read more non-fiction and graphic novels this month than usual and I hope that trend continues. Lastly, another observation is that I really need to get better at reading digital ARCs…my bad.

monthly tbr

Also read/reading:

Books finished this month: 8
Books currently reading: 2

Overall TBR:

TBR at the beginning of the year = 383
TBR at the beginning of February = 411
Books added to TBR = 39
Books completed/deleted from TBR = 6
Total on TBR now = 444

How did your reading go this month?

How my reading life has changed post-baby

discussion posts

Those of you who have been following me for a while might remember that I had a baby last April (he’s amazing and the best thing to ever happen to me). Shortly after having the baby, my husband and I moved in with my parents for a summer internship. For whatever reason, I barely read anything that summer. I was adjusting to being a mom, I was adjusting to being back at my parent’s house, I didn’t have my bookshelves, I started playing the new Zelda game, etc., etc. A million excuses could be made. It wasn’t until we came back home after the summer that I really got back into reading.

My best year of reading to date was 2015 when I managed to read 175 (!!!) books. I know, it’s crazy. I had just graduated with my undergrad and was only working part-time while my husband was still going to school/also working. I had a lot of time by myself to read and that’s actually when I decided to start this blog. Then, that Fall, I decided to get my Master’s in Library Science and I read even MORE books for my classes. So that’s how I got to 175. Last year, I squeaked by with 62 books–about a third of what I’d read in 2015.

So that’s the short answer to how my reading life has changed post-baby: I’m reading less. But that’s not really the whole answer. I don’t have as much time to read during the day because I’m watching my baby (and he must always come over to supervise as soon as I pull out a book) and also because I’m working part-time at the library. I have about a three-hour window after he goes down for bed and before I should go to bed. These three hours have to be allocated between watching shows/hanging out with my husband, reading, blogging, and any other hobbies I want to pursue. It’s been tough to figure out when to do what and I constantly feel like I don’t have enough time to do everything I want to do.

With that being said, because I work at the library, I am constantly surrounded by books! I’ve noticed that I’ve been reading a lot more broadly than I used to. I used to just stick with YA, but I’ve started reading non-fiction, adult fiction, and graphic novels as well. That is definitely a change that I welcome. I’m still planning/trying to get more into audio books–I think that’s something that I could easily do while playing with my son–I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. Also, podcasts.

Overall, I (obviously) don’t regret having my baby, but it has changed A LOT about my life. I know everyone says that, but it’s so true! In the end, I’ve found that I really need to adjust my expectations and to not try to do so much. There are a couple of hobbies that I’ve decided to let go for the time being. I’m prioritizing reading and spending time with my husband at night over other things and I’m trying to squeeze in the blog whenever I can (aka nap times). I’ve set a tentative reading goal of 70 books this year and so far I’ve read 11, which Goodreads tells me means I’m on track.

I’ll just leave you with this picture of my baby pretending that he likes to read when he’s really just licking books.

D reading

Have you had any changes in your reading life lately? And to other moms, how did your reading life change when you had kids?

TTT | Fictional Wanderlust

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Top Ten Tuesday Blog

Places Mentioned In Books That I’d Like to Visit

For me, this topic comes with the condition that I would fit in wherever it is that I am. Wouldn’t it suck to go to Hogwarts and be a Muggle?

Hogwarts – Literally everyone is going to have this on their list, but how cool would it be???

The Capitol from The Hunger Games – It sounds so opulent.

The Night Circus – I saw this on someone else’s list, but YES.

London Below from Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere – This place sounds so fascinating! I especially like the sound of the market.

Caraval – This is kind of similar to The Night Circus, but it also seems like it would be cool.

The Library from Victoria Schwab’s The Archived – This sounds like such a cool place.

The Pie Laundromat in Colby from Sarah Dessen’s books – 24/7 LAUNDROMAT THAT SERVES DELICIOUS PIES.

Lunar after everything in the Lunar Chronicles – Who wouldn’t want to visit the moon?

Lazlo’s Dream Weep – I know it’s a dream, but what an amazing sounding place.

The Grandma’s house from Crazy Rich Asians – TBH, I just want some time in their dining room.

What are the 10 places you’d want to visit?

Provo Library’s Best Books of 2018 | YA Non-Fiction, Fiction, & Graphic Novels

Every year my local library puts on a “Best Books of…” event and I love it! A lot of the books I’ve already heard of, but I always come away with new books on my TBR! Even though I do work here, I wasn’t part of putting on the event or choosing the books–I was able to just attend as a patron, so that was super fun as well. I made my book club come with me too, so hopefully some of these books will make it into our discussions! Here’s a link for anyone who missed my post on the Adult non-fiction and fiction list.

Provo Library Best Books YA

Bolded books are ones that are on my TBR. Italics are ones I’ve read.

Non-Fiction
Fiction
Comics & Graphic Novels
Have you read any of these? What young adult books would you add to the list?

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Provo Library Best Books YA

21 Best Book Deals for 2/23/19: Twelve Years a Slave, A Study in Charlotte, The Alienest, and more

As of this posting, all of these deals are active, but I don’t know for how long!
Less than $1

Black Panther: The Young Prince by Ronald L Smith

A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan

Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup

Less than $2

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

The Traitor’s Game by Jennifer A Nielsen

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

How to Love by Katie Cotugno

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan

The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine

The Infinite Pieces of Us by Rebekah Crane

The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Hazel Gaynor

Bad Girls Throughout History by Ann Shen

Calling My Name by Liara Tamani

Less than $3

Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier

American Housewife: Stories by Helen Ellis

The Alienist by Caleb Carr

Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely

The Rainbow Comes and Goes by Anderson Cooper & Gloria Vanderbilt


Recommended from this post:

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Book Deals 2/23

Provo Library’s Best Books of 2018 | Adult Non-Fiction & Fiction

Every year my local library puts on a “Best Books of…” event and I love it! A lot of the books I’ve already heard of, but I always come away with new books on my TBR! Even though I do work here, I wasn’t part of putting on the event or choosing the books–I was able to just attend as a patron, so that was super fun as well. I made my book club come with me too, so hopefully some of these books will make it into our discussions! Keep an eye out for the Young Adult list–I’ll be posting that in a few days as well.

Provo Library Best Books Adult

Bolded books are ones that are on my TBR. Italics are ones I’ve read.

Have you read any of these? What adult books would you add to the list?

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Provo Library Best Books Adult.PNG

 

Am I missing something here? | An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

An American MarriageRoy and Celestial had only been married for 18 months when Roy is falsely accused of rape. Despite Celestial’s testimony that he had been with her all night, Roy is convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison. 12 years is a long time and Celestial and Roy both have to come to terms with what this sentence means for their relationship and for them as individuals.

eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

TL;DR – In a book where the characters are super important, I found Celestial and Roy both to be mildly unlikable.

I really feel like I’m missing something here, guys. I’ve only heard good things about this book! Now don’t get me wrong, I thought the writing was good (probably even great) but I just found Roy and Celestial both unlikable and was not a fan of their relationship. Even from the beginning.

Roy is a confident man–maybe too confident for my liking. To me, he just seemed immature, manipulative, and entitled. And he doesn’t seem to have any qualms about flirting with other women–even going so far as to get their phone and room numbers (even if he doesn’t actually go their room). It’s just…disgusting to me. How can he claim to actually love Celestial if he’s pulling crap like this? The entire book he’s setting himself up as this victim–and to an extent he is–but sometimes I just wanted him to own up to the other stuff.

When I really think about it, what happened to Roy is clearly awful–I wouldn’t wish that on anybody. I also recognize that going to prison would change anybody, but I had such a hard time pitying him because of his attitude. He’s going around like everyone in his life (especially Celestial) owes him something and I don’t feel like they do? Am I just a horrible and callous person?

Celestial, while more sympathetic, is no more likable to me. Both Roy and Andre describe her as being this super strong and admirable woman, but I feel like the reader doesn’t get to see any of that. She doesn’t ever really stand up for herself and she let’s both Roy and Andre tell her what to do. In the end, she chooses the path of least resistance and it’s just so frustrating to me! There were so many times when I wanted Celestial to show a little backbone, but she always ended up disappointing me.

In the end, I just couldn’t get over my dislike for the characters. Secondary characters were pretty good–I liked Andre and both Roy and Celestial’s parents. I liked how Roy’s time in prison was told through letters, but I wish that there had been dates maybe? Sometimes it would skip a few years and you wouldn’t find that out until halfway through the letter. I thought the ending happened suddenly and it felt too tidy and convenient to me. I feel like there was no win-win situation here, but somehow the author created one. I don’t know…I just feel like I’m missing something.

Overall Rating: 3
Language: Moderate
Violence: Moderate
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate
Sexual Content: Moderate

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An American Marriage review.PNG

TTT | Hidden Gems

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Top Ten Tuesday Blog

Books I LOVED with Fewer than 2,000 Ratings on Goodreads
The Geography of Lost Things by Jessica Brody – 522 ratings

I really enjoyed the “trading up” aspect of this book.

My Review | eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

You Were Here by Cori McCarthy – 1,000 ratings

Almost every chapter was a different format (regular text, graphic novel, graffiti) and I really liked that about it.

My Review | eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

Trusting You and Other Lies by Nicole Williams – 1,007 ratings

So many summer camp feels!

My Review | eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson – 1,287 ratings

This is such a satisfying travel/wanderlust type book.

My Review | eBook | Paperback

We Are Still Tornadoes by Michael Kun & Susan Mullen – 1,320 ratings

I don’t read a ton of epistolary novels and I didn’t know this was one when I picked it up, but I really liked that format!

My Review | eBook | Hardcover

Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan – 1,322 ratings

This was an interesting fantasy book–I still need to pick up the rest of the series.

My Review | eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

The Comeback Season by Jennifer E Smith – 1,520 ratings

This is probably my favorite Jennifer E Smith book! It’s a cute romance and it features baseball, the Cubs, and Wrigley Field!

My Review | eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

The Last Forever by Deb Caletti – 1,578 ratings

Deb Caletti is an underrated author imo. I love the retirement home group.

eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes – 1,608 ratings

Sneaky debutantes and secret contracts!

eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

Iron Cast by Destiny Soria – 1,836 ratings

Such a great female friendship story!

My Review | eBook | Hardcover

Bonus: Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard – 650 ratings

Okay, this is kind of cheating because there are only so few ratings because it just came out. But it still has less than 2,000 ratings!

eBook | Hardcover

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TTT Underrated Books

 

16 Best Book Deals for 2/16/19 : The Traitor’s Game, The Selection, The Royal We, and more

As of this posting, all of these deals are active, but I don’t know for how long!
Less than $2

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

The Traitor’s Game by Jennifer A Nielsen

Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine & Ann Aguirre

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

The Selection by Kiera Cass

Sounder by William H Armstrong

Love & Other Train Wrecks by Leah Konen

How to Love by Katie Cotugno

Monster by Walter Dean Myers

Less than $3

The Way to Game the Walk of Shame by Jenn P Nguyen

Duels & Deception by Cindy Anstey

Vampire Academy (VA book 1) by Richelle Mead

Frostbite (VA book 2) by Richelle Mead

Shadow Kiss (VA book 3) by Richelle Mead

Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter

The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan


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Book Deals 2-16

A book in which I anticipate a love triangle forming pretty much the whole time | Windwitch by Susan Dennard

Note: This is the second book in the Witchlands series and may contain spoilers for the first book. Click here for my Truthwitch review.

WindwitchSafi and Iseult are now separated. Safi has given herself up to the Empress of Marstok and Iseult is left waiting for word from Mathew and Habim. When word doesn’t come, she finds herself making a tentative truce with Aeduan, the Bloodwitch. If he can help her find Safi, she will tell him where his silver talers ended up. Can the bond between Safi and Iseult withstand the miles and trials between them?

eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

TL;DR – A solid follow-up to the first book. Characters are diverse in a natural way and the author does a great job making all of our narrators sympathetic.

This book started off a little bit slow for my taste, but it picks up momentum rather quickly. I think it would have been fine for readers who are reading the series one book at a time, but not so much for those of us who are bingeing the first three books in the series. These books feel really thoughtfully written to me. I really liked how Dennard is able to use things like a storm or an earthquake to help the reader to know when things are happening. Since virtually all of our characters are separated, it helps to know that these two events are happening at the same time and so on. In addition, without giving any kind of spoilers, I knew that Chiseled Cheater was going to play a more prominent role. I waited for him to show up the entire first book and I was thrilled at his appearance.

The dynamic between Merik and Vivia is really interesting throughout. I really enjoyed getting Vivia’s perspective on things because, in the first book, Merik portrays her as this evil, power-hungry person. She’s actually extremely likable, in my opinion, and it’s crazy to me how neither of them can see how manipulative Serafin is. I think Merik said at one point that Serafin wouldn’t waste his time or energy pitting his children against each other, but he very clearly has wasted a LOT of time and energy doing just that. Speaking of Merik… I know this kind of gets explained later in the book, but he’s always talking about how weak his witchery is, but he’s never seemed particularly weak to me. I mean, he can still use his powers to fly so…just how weak can he be?

Another thing that I’ve enjoyed in this book and series is that Dennard has done a great job including diversity without hitting the reader over the head with it. I feel like when diversity is so “present”, it kind of defeats the purpose. I think what we diverse readers are looking for is for diversity to be included in an authentic and organic way. Undue attention does not need to be drawn to it. I feel like Vivia’s sexuality is handled really well, in that regard. She obviously thinks about her relationship with Stix from time to time, but it’s not something that gets brought up in every single paragraph. I also appreciated the vitiligo rep with Cam. I don’t think I’ve EVER read a book that included a character with vitiligo.

The plot got a little more confusing in this book. It clearly feels like this book is being used to set up events in future books. That’s not necessarily bad, but there are some things that just feel like they don’t quite make sense yet.

While I really enjoyed this book overall, there were a few things that I didn’t quite care for. Fairly early on in the book, Iseult calls the Puppeteer by name, Esme. I didn’t remember her learning Esme’s name in the first book, so I did a quick Kindle search. The name “Esme” doesn’t appear ANYWHERE in the first book. So…yeah. All of the sudden Iseult knows her name and just casually drops it in there? The second thing is that I feel like Aeduan’s bloodwitchery should work on blood stains. I mean, he can seize blood, right? Stop it circulating in someone’s body? So why can’t he seize dried blood and lift it out of clothes?

The last thing, to address the title of this post, is that pretty much the whole book I anticipate feelings developing between Safi and one of the characters that she’s with. It kind of seemed like things were heading that way. Nothing comes of it in this book (luckily) but we’ll see what happens in future books. All I’m saying is that if Safi is part of a love triangle, that will completely cheapen the ENTIRE series.

Overall Rating: 4
Language: Moderate
Violence: Heavy
Smoking/Drinking: Mild
Sexual Content: None

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Windwitch review