Reading Challenge

#Armedwithabingo – What I’ve read so far…

So I just discovered this bingo, and I’ve added it to the reading challenges I’m doing this year. It lasts the entire year, and you get a personalized bingo card. It’s hosted by Kristi and Ariel, and you can find out all the details here.  The cool thing about this challenge is that it fits right in with any other challenges you might be doing.

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So here’s what I’ve read so far:

Poetry collection – Ink Knows No Borders

Book in the middle of a series – Blizzard of New Moon (Magic Treehouse Series) by Mary Pope Osbourne

Book published in the last decade – A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahareh Mafi

A YA novel – Heart of the Moors by Holly Black

A memoir – Wildflower by Drew Barrymore

Friendship/family – Drama by Reina Telgemeier

Fantasy – Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Bestseller – The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Meant to read last year – Final Girls by Riley Sager

Nonfiction – You Can Only Yell at Me for One Thing at a Time by Patricia Marx

Have you read any of these? What did you think of them? Do you have any suggestions for any of the prompts? Let me know in the comments.

Also, if you haven’t seen the Little Women challenge and giveaway I’m doing yet, you can check that out here.

Uncategorized

My Best Reads of 2019

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So I haven’t been as active on here as much I would have liked to lately. The holiday busyness, a sick dog (who is doing better now 🙂 ), a new position at my day job, and multiple car issues  have all contributed to a crazy start to the New Year.  Thankfully, things have calmed down some now and I’ve had the time I’ve needed to get in some writing time.

So, I had to share my best reads of the 2019:

1. Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly – A retelling of Cinderella that’s more about one of the stepsisters than Cinderella. I love retellings and this one didn’t disappoint. If you’re a fan of retellings, you’ll want to check this one out.
2. The Blood Spell by C.J. Redwine – Another Cinderella retelling. I love the worldbuilding and the characters in this world.
3. My Plain Jane by Jodi Meadows, Cynthia Hand and Brodi Ashton – At first, I wasn’t sure what to think of the humorous take on famous literary/historical characters, and then I read this almost 500 page book in two sittings. It was so good! You just have to read it to understand. 🙂
4. My Squirrel Days by Ellie Kemmet – Sometimes the celebrity memoirs are a bit over the top, sounding more like made-up or at least exaggerated stuff. This one wasn’t like that. A fellow Midwestern girl, I found it really easy to relate to Ellie’s experiences as a kid.
5. Lock Every Door by Riley Sager – So I read all three of Sager’s books this year, and he’s become one of my favorite suspense writers. I can’t wait for the new book to drop this year!
6. Save the Cat Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody – An excellent writing source, and if you’re a writer you need to have this book in your library. It’s one of the best writing books I’ve ever read. It gets to the heart of what makes a story work.
7. Last of her Name by Jessica Khoury – Another favorite author, this book was a bit of different take for Khoury – a spacey sci-fi story – but I still loved it.
8. My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite – This one was so good! Braithwaite balanced suspense and humor masterfully. I loved the dynamic between the sisters, and as an older sister I can totally relate to the “always cleaning up my sister’s messes ” thing. I will read anything else Braithwaite writes without even having to read the blurb.
9. Educated by Tara Westover – Oh, this one! It hit me right in the heart. Her story is amazing and it shows the resilience of the human spirit.
10. Escaping From Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco – Another great addition to the Stalking Jack the Ripper series. I really wanted to read Capturing the Devil last year too, but didn’t get to it, so it’s up next on my TBR. 🙂
11. The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson – This is part of another mystery series, and the third book comes out Tuesday! I can hardly wait.
So what about you? What was your favorite read of 2019? Did you read any of these? Let me know in the comments!
Top Ten Tuesday

Fall 2019 TBR List – Top Ten Tuesday

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Girl. To find out more about the top ten theme, or to join in the fun go here.

It’s hard to believe it’s already fall. I always hate to see summer go, but I also enjoy fall and all the fun activities that come with it. This year I’m participating in a Halloween themed read-a-thon, so a lot of my book choices are based on that. Here they are:

1. Defiance by C.J. Redwine – I’ve had this book a long time, and have had it on my TBR even longer, so I decided it was time to get to it.

2. The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones – I just received this book in my Owlcrate, and it’s a perfect read for this time of year.

3. Dr. Frankenstein’s Daughter by Suzanne Weyn – I randomly found this on Book Outlet awhile back, and while I hadn’t heard of this book, I had read some other books by this author, so I bought  it.

4. Shakespeare’s Landlord by Charlaine Harris – I’ve recently started reading some of Harris’s books, and really enjoy them. Over the weekend I saw this at Goodwill and snatched it up.

5. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson – This was also included in my last Owlcrate.

6. The Rules by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie – This was another Book Outlet purchase. Because I’d read some of the authors’ other works and enjoyed them, I bought it.

7.  Dark Shimmer by Donna Jo Napoli – I’ve had this on my TBR awhile and decided it was time to read it.

8. The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw -I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book, and the cover is just so pretty!

9. The Misery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos – This is a mystery I’ve heard a lot about, and it’s been on my TBR awhile too.

10. The Blood Spell by C.J. Redwine – I love the Ravenspire books and pre-ordered this one, but hadn’t gotten to it yet. Now it’s time to read it. 🙂

What about you? What’s on your TBR list for this fall? Let me know in the comments.

Top Ten Tuesday

Summer TBR – Top Ten Tuesday

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I’m so excited about today’s Top Ten Tuesday theme because summer is my favorite season, and I love finding great books to read at the beach or by the pool. 🙂 Here are the ones I’ve chosen for this summer:

1. My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton – I’ve read books by both Jodi Meadows and Cynthia Hand and really enjoyed them, plus this is a Jane Eyre retelling, so it’s a must read for me.

2. Save the Date by Morgan Matson – I’ve had on my TBR for awhile, and it’s a perfect read for summer – with the wedding shenanigans and all.

3. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir – My sister recommended this one, and I haven’t gotten around to reading it, though I’ve had it on my shelf a long time. I decided it’s time to read it.

4. For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig – I got this one at a book festival earlier this year. I met the author and got my copy signed, so I’m pretty psyched to read it.

5. The Jewel by Amy Ewing – This one has been on my shelf and my TBR for like years. So it’s high time I get to it.

6. The Beholder by Anna Bright – I got an advanced reader copy not too long before the book was released, and I loved the premise. Also, the author works at a local bookstore that hosts all kinds of great YA events.

7. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier – I’ve also had this one on my TBR awhile. I loved the movie, so I’m sure I’m going to really enjoy the book.

8. Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson – This whole series has been on my TBR for a long time as well. The premise sounds so intriguing, and every time I see it on my shelf I think “I need to read this,” so on the summer list it goes.

9. Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly – My summer list wouldn’t be complete without a mermaid tale. I meant to read this last summer, but didn’t get to it.

10. Lifeguard by James Patterson – I also got to have a good mystery on this list, and what’s more summery than a lifeguard?

In conjuction with these books, I’m also participating in the Goodreads Summer Reading Challenge. If you haven’t heard about that yet, you can check it out here. And if you haven’t added me as a friend on Goodreads, you can do that here. I’m always looking for new bookish friends! 🙂

How about you? What are you reading this summer? Are you doing the Goodreads challenge? Let me know in the comments.

 

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Girl. To find out more about the top ten theme, or to join in the fun go here.

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday – Page to Screen

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I haven’t done a top ten Tuesday post in awhile, but today’s topic is so fun, I wanted to post this week.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Girl. To find out more about the top ten theme, or to join in the fun go here.

We all love movie adaptations, but sometimes we’re left wondering if it would’ve been better left as a book. Here are a few movies that were better as books:

Twilight – The movie wasn’t horrible, but it did change some things I thought it shouldn’t have.

Ella Enchanted – Honestly, I thought the movie was kind of on the dumb side. The book however, was great!

The Handmaid’s Tale – (This is actually a tv series.) I do enjoy this tv series – a lot. But the book was amazing. I had never read anything by Margaret Atwood before, and only picked the book up because of the show. I was also amazed because the book was written in the 80’s. If you haven’t read it, and are a fan of the show, you need to read the book!

Most of the time, the book is better than the movie, but sometimes the movie is better. Here are a few movies I found better that the book:

Tuck Everlasting – In the book, Winnie was only ten, making her romance with Tuck unbelievable and bordering on a predator-prey type of relationship.

Mary Poppins – The books are much sillier than the movies, and are so fantastical that the fantastical element diminishes the plot.

The Princess Diaries – I do enjoy the books, but I loved the first movie and thought it was better than the first book.

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (both movies) – Again, I enjoyed the books, but liked the movies even better.

And sometimes, the movies though a little different than the books, are almost as good as the books. Here are few of those (IMHO):

 

Harry Potter – Who doesn’t enjoy the movies almost as much as the books?

The Hunger Games I loved the books and the movies!

The Chronicles of Narnia Another great adaptation of a series.

What books do you like better than the movie? What movies do you like better than the books? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday – Characters that Remind Me of Myself

 

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Girl. To find out more about the top ten theme, or to join in the fun go here.

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I haven’t done a Top Ten Tuesday in awhile, and this was such a fun topic, I had do it even though it’s going up so late in the day. So here are the characters that I relate with in some way:

1. Lost in a Book – Belle. Belle’s curiosity reminds me of my own. I would’ve totally gone in the west wing of the castle to see what the Beast was hiding. In this book, Belle enters a book world, another place I would go to see what was there. I’ve also always identified with the “there must be something more” feeling.

2. Little Women – Jo. One of my first ever bookish heroines, I identified with Jo’s tomboy spirit, and I always had long, long hair. I would hardly let my mother even trim it. I may have finally cut my hair a little shorter, but I still identify with Jo’s dream of becoming a writer.

3. The Lunar Chronicles – Cress. I’m little, and even now that I’m grown, people still think I’m younger than I really am (which I like now 🙂 ). I also get anxious around big groups of people I don’t know, and would prefer to stay home. I do well with computers, not on a hacker level or anything, but I am my family’s go-to tech person.

4. Secrets Can Kill (Nancy Drew Files) – Nancy Drew. I couldn’t leave Nancy off the list. I lived in a small Illinois town (just like Nancy) when I flew through all the Nancy Drew files. Also, I’ve always had a thing for mysteries and true crime. I love solving the mystery before the book is over and I’m rarely ever wrong or unable to do so. I know it’s a clever mystery if I haven’t figured out who the baddie by the time I’m halfway through the book.

5. Pretty Little Liars – Aria. I enjoyed this series and the tv show. I relate most to Aria, because she is the creative one – she enjoys photography, art, writing ect. (In the tv show, she’s also the littlest one.)

6. Wendy Darling Series – Wendy. This series is so good, and I think one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much was because I really connected with Wendy. I’m the oldest of four, so I totally understand the need to protect and care for younger siblings. She loved to read and was interested in always learning more.

7. Worlds of Ink and Shadow – Charlotte. This is a fictionalized story of the Brontes. I related to Charlotte, as the oldest sister. Her father was a minister, my father is also a minister. Her family didn’t have a lot growing up, but her and her siblings created their own worlds to entertain themselves. That is much how it was growing up was for me too. We didn’t have much, but we did have our imaginations and we ran wild with them. If you love Jane Eyre and Charlotte Bronte, you need to read this book.

8. Before She Ignites – Mira. Mira loves animals, and even had her own dragon! Who wouldn’t want a dragon? Also, she experiences a lot of anxiety.

And in a throwback:

9. The Saddle Club – Stevie.  Stevie was the one I most related to in the Saddle Club series. She was a little disorganized and a bit of a tomboy, and of course, loved horses.

10. The Babysitters Club – Claudia. Claudia loved junk food and had long hair she always styled different ways. She also loved Nancy Drew. 🙂

 

What book characters do you most relate to and why? Let me know in the comments.

Book Reviews

The Lunar Chronicles – In review

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I finished The Lunar Chronicles over the last year, and I loved them all!  I enjoyed these books so much, that I wanted to share a little about each book and what I loved about them. If you haven’t read them yet, maybe this will convince you to. 🙂

For those who don’t know: The Lunar Chronicles is set in a futuristic world where some people live on Earth.  Some more powerful people called Lunars, who can create glamours and control humans, live on Luna. The Lunar Queen is evil and she is determined to rule all of earth as well as Luna.

There are four main books. Each book introduces a heroine and a hero based on a fairytale. I love they way their stories intertwine and each one’s story continues until the very end of the last book.

Cinder – A retelling of Cinderella. Cinder is a cyborg girl who serves as a servant to her mean stepmother and her two stepsisters, one cruel, one kind. In a nod to the original fairytale, Cinder goes to the ball and falls for the prince. When she rushes out she leaves behind her robotic foot instead of a slipper. (I lent out my copy of Cinder which is why it’s missing in the picture.)

Some of the things I liked best about this book: I loved Cinder’s courage and resilience. When things weren’t going well, she took action to try to change them. Also, I loved Iko, Cinder’s android friend. Iko was full of personality and was incredibly entertaining.

Scarlet – A retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, with hints of Beauty and the Beast as well. Scarlet lives on a farm with her grandmother. She meets Wolf, a beast-like man trained to be a special operative for the Lunar army. In a nod to the original fairytale, Scarlet always wears a red hoodie.

Some of the things I liked best about this book: I loved Scarlet and Wolf’s relationship. Even though he was trained to kill, Scarlet’s love for him and his love for her kept him from turning into a beast. I also enjoyed the many different locales visited in this book, a trend which continued into the next book as well.

Cress – A retelling of Rapunzel. Cress is trapped in a satellite, and has to do the Lunar Queen’s bidding. In a nod to the original fairytale, a guy named Thorne frees her from the satellite, and is blind for a period of time. (In the original story, it was a thorn that made the prince blind). Cress also has really long hair that she ends up cutting.

Some of the things I loved about this book:  This book was my favorite of the Lunar Chronicles. I could relate to Cress with her small stature and her anxiety about new things. I also loved Cress and Thorne’s relationship.

Winter – A Snow White retelling. Winter is the stepdaughter of the Lunar Queen. She is beautiful and well-loved by the people, so of course the queen hates her. Winter refuses to use her glamour to control others even though  doing this makes her see things and gives her nightmares. In a nod to the original tale, the Queen tries to kill Winter by glamouring herself as an old woman and offering Winter toxic apple candies.

Some of the things I loved about this book:

It ended happily ever after!  It tied everyone’s stories together so well. We really get to see Winter’s strength and personality. Prior to this book, she seemed to just be crazy, so I had been wondering how Meyer was going to have a whole book about her. It was the perfect ending to a great series.

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Some companion books to the series include  a shorter book that tells the Lunar Queen’s origin story, a book of short stories, and a coloring book. There are also two graphic novels that tell about Iko’s escapades after the main books end. I just finished the first one and enjoyed it just as much as the other books.

The Lunar Chronicles has made Marissa Meyer an autobuy author for me. 🙂

If you’ve read the series, which book is your fave? What’s your favorite thing about the Lunar world? If you haven’t read the series, why not?! Let me know in the comments!